next wednesday will be exactly one year from the day i moved from metro detroit, michigan to salem, indiana. i must confess i almost moved right back when the first song i heard on the radio here was 'achy breaky heart,' but i am glad i stuck it out. it has been quite an amazing year. so in celebration, i will list the things i have learned about culture, church and myself in my time here. enjoy!
1. you'ens (or however it is spelled) is a phrase i will never use or understand no matter how often the people around me use it. i don't even know what two words it combines. ya'll is you and all. you'ens is you and... chickens? citizens? or is it young and ones? i don't know and do not really care to know.
2. having a section in your local newspaper where people can call in whatever comments they want is dangerous because it reveals a lot of ignorance, but it is also highly entertaining. 90% of the reason i get the paper is for this section.
3. people in small towns are generally a lot friendlier and a lot more likely to chat with you. in the suburbs, i could go days or weeks without a stranger acknowledging me. here, people will at the very least nod or tip their hats to you, but will more likely greet you verbally.
4. people are people no matter where they live. we all have problems. we all need grace and forgiveness. the size and setting of the church i work for is immaterial- the need for Jesus is universal and cross cultural.
5. goats are not that hard to wash. i wish i knew this from observation, not experience...
6. overalls are actually strikingly comfortable. i can see why agricultural types wear them now- very comfortable and pretty much zero chance of my crack showing when i bend over.
7. being 'metrosexual' is very contextual. i think here it must mean 'does not own anything with john deere on it,' because even i am a metrosexual here.
8. i absolutely love being involved in youth ministry. after being away from it for a while, coming back has reminded me how encouraging it is to see young people change, grow and ask tough questions.
9. i can, in fact, survive without internet at home. i used to think it would be impossible, but i honestly don't even miss it that much.
10. my life is good. in the past i have looked for things to whine about, but moving here has made me realize how blessed i am to have a great family, an amazing fiancee and a wonderful church family who has embraced a weird city boy like i was their own. God is good!
i am sure there are many other lessons i have learned, but 10 is a good round number so i will quit for now. i hope those of you reading this had a year that was just as great as mine was.