Lindi and Ari Vanderwalde
(Moved to Memphis in 2013)
Where did you grow up?
Lindi grew up in Los Angeles in the Pico-Robertson area. Ari grew up in Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC.
Where did you live as a couple before Memphis?
Why did you leave that community?
We left Los Angeles because of Lindi’s work. With the many changes in healthcare, Lindi decided to close her solo private practice and seek hospital employment. We looked nationally for better opportunities, and Memphis had all the elements that we sought for a successful move.
What attracted you to Memphis?
A headhunter contacted Lindi about a position with Baptist Medical Group in Memphis. The job description fit her career goals.
What clinched your decision to move here?
We decided to move to Memphis for a number of reasons. We both found great jobs but most importantly, we recognized that we could improve our lifestyles. Memphis is a small and maneuverable city, nearly eliminating the long daily commutes commonplace in other cities. We felt welcomed by the Jewish community and were pleased with the strong Jewish infrastructure and the supportive community. There is a Jewish high school, so we could envision staying in Memphis as our children reached that age. Financially, the move was very appealing, as the cost of living was dramatically lower with a very affordable housing market and no state income tax.
What do you do professionally?
Lindi is a breast oncology surgeon with Baptist Medical Group (BMG). Ari is an oncologist and serves as the Director of Research at the West Cancer Center, and as the associate vice chancellor of research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
What ages are your children and where do they go to school?
Our children are 10, 8, 5 and 5 (we have twins). They all attend Bornblum Jewish Community School.
What do you like best about Memphis and/or what makes it different or better than other places that you have lived?
It is the rare city where one can experience both small-town perks and an exceptional Jewish community, complete with choices of schools, synagogues and activities. The pace of life is slower and easier and it is much more family friendly. There is a ton of outdoor space and the kids are able to both explore and play safely. Protecting family time is a cultural value in the city—work ends comparatively early for even the busiest professionals. People are nice, accommodating and generally care about each other. And traffic is now a thing of the past!
How do you manage being far away from family?
Being far away from family has been the hardest part of living in Memphis. We have visited our families and they have visited with us. We speak on the phone often and try to Skype on the weekends. Shortly after Ari started his job in Memphis we decided to get an au pair so that we would have live in help. Prior to that I had found childcare and babysitting on care.com and from suggestions from other moms in the community.
We are lucky that Ari's brother, Noam, and his family also moved to Memphis about 1 year after we moved.
Where are your favorite places to go in Memphis with and without your kids?
Our favorite family place is the Memphis Zoo. The zoo has a wonderful design and amazing enclosures allowing the children to see the animals. We have membership there, and visit regularly. We love the Shelby Farms playground, and biking on the Greenline. Ari loves to take the older boys to Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) or Redbirds (AAA minor league) games, where seats are great and inexpensive. During the hot summer months, we live in our pool or at the JCC water park!
Without the kids, we like the Cooper Young area in Midtown Memphis, where you can hear live music. We have also seen Broadway shows at the Orpheum Theatre and attended world-class concerts at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (ticket prices are much lower than in larger metropolitan areas!).