About: Melissa Hardman
Originally from the Chicago area, Melissa Hardman came to Jackson to study Linguistics at Union University and plans to graduate in spring of 2016. She hopes to be a speech pathologist or work with humanitarian aid organizations one day.
Check out Melissa's latest contributions to Our Jackson Home:
"You want to do what?” was the phrase that passed through Shayne Crowe’s mind as his daughter Lauren, a high school student who was studying Spanish, told him she wanted to go to Italy for a year-long exchange. This announcement started a long process with the Rotary study abroad program. The family learned that the program encouraged them to take an exchange student into their home as part of their participation. “It’s actually a really good program,” said Shayne.
Exit 85: West Tennessee School for the Deaf. I take this exit off of I-40 every week to go to my English lessons. The exit sign catches my eye (and not just because it is also the exit for Christmasville Road, which I think is a pretty fantastic name for a road). Here is some background to the significance of my road sign musings: my youngest brother, Jack, is hard of hearing. After we found out about his hearing loss, our family moved several hours away in order to be near a good school for him.
On a sunny afternoon in the fall Melissa and I found ourselves outside, sitting at a black metal table with a red umbrella, and discussing ideas for “Cultures of Jackson.” As I perused through the calendar looking for some hidden inspiration, my eyes fell upon the dreaded finals week in December, but something else also caught my eye. With a mischievous grin I looked up at Mel and said, “Hey . . .did you know Hanukkah is in December this year?”
Upbeat music pounded against the walls and colorful lights flashed as we (Kimberly and Melissa) found ourselves on a dance floor. People of all ages and various ethnicities surrounded us as we all did dance motions to the best of our abilities. Women in bright traditional Indie dress flashed smiles as their friends joined the circle. A small boy laughed as he bounded from one side of the stage to the other and dodged between peoples’ legs.
Tranquil excitement, an exotic assortment of colors, and upbeat music greets my senses as I walk through downtown Jackson. I can't make out the words of the deep melody that I hear, but it reminds me of the Turkish music so dear to my heart. Walking through the streets of East Main and Highland, I feel more like I am back in Mexico City or Istanbul rather than West Tennessee.
“I don’t want to live to be rich; I want to live to be satisfied.” These are the words of Alex Hanson, a Lebanese man who owns the International Food Market off of Hollywood Drive in Midtown. For the past nine years, Alex has been supplying Jackson with shelves of hard-to-find international ingredients as well as refreshing Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.
Jackson. A town nestled in West Tennessee with a population of approximately 65,211*. Upon first glance, Jackson seems like an average urban area of the South, but visitors and locals alike are often surprised at the number of different people groups residing here: Arab, Japanese, Hispanic, Brazilian, and Ethiopian to name a few. Why is Jackson so diverse? Who are the people that make up our city?