Friday, January 29, 2010

Becoming a Local

My last entry was about many of the difficulties of life on the farm, and since then I have been giving extra focus to not dwelling on what is difficult here. Writing that post drew out of me the heart of many of the greatest issues I face here, and has led me to consider what I can do to draw out of the dark place of loneliness and struggle.

At the heart of this struggle, for me, is moving beyond the loneliness and into a community. I am seeking to have relationships with each individual within our community, not just relationships from within and as a part of our group. I also have much exploring left to do in the community beyond my home and my colleagues with whom I live.

Slowly but sure, this is finally taking place. Today while Hannah and Rachel were away, Lucille and I went out for a walk to explore the long road on which we live. On our way back, we stopped at the house across the road from us to introduce ourselves. It was clear that they run some sort of Tuck shop there, and so as we introduced ourselves we also inquired as to what they had in their shop.

Lucy and I stood and spoke with Marianna and Slava for about 15 minutes, at which point Marianna finally asked what she had clearly been wondering since our conversation: [to Lucy]: “Where are you from?” When Lucy responded Cape Town, she was astounded that she was South African, she had been wondering what country she was from. She then promptly pointed out that I was obviously from the area, so she didn’t bother asking where I was from…

We just looked at each other and laughed, and I simply said, “no, I’m not from around here, either.” She was surprised and asked if I had moved here from Cape Town with Lucy. Technically I had, so we said yes and just left it at that. She was surprised, as she could have sworn I was a local. Who knows why: one of those familiar faces, perhaps? I know my accent has shifted a bit since moving here, but I am far from a South African accent and still hold strongly to my American accent, for better or worse. At least that’s what we thought.

On this particular day, I was evidently the one who looked and sounded more local than the South African I was with. Certainly amusing for us, and a moment that I will not let Lucy easily forget. Evidently I’m adjusting more quickly than any of us thought! Lets hope this is a sign of things yet to come as we get to know our neighbors and greater community better in the months to come.

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