Thursday, February 5, 2009

this is life

I ended up staying home from work today. When I woke up this morning I felt like death warmed up (whatever that saying really means is pretty much what I felt like). I spent the morning sleeping (literally could not move) and my afternoon Interneting and watching Stardust. Have you seen it? If not, do so! If you like fairytales. If not, then don't.

I have now showered (fact about rachel :: I don't sleep well at night if I haven't showered and made my bed), changed into clean comfy clothes (even though I have nothing to do with the medical profession they make the comfiest pants!), ate my grape Popsicle (not the greatest taste with Arm & Hammer toothpaste) and am now ready to tackle some of my homework.

But first I had to share some things with you. I realized that I make all these claims to be a Montana Missionary (and it's true. I AM a missionary and I DO live in Montana) but have not really shared that part of my life with you. Well, here goes. (within limits. for all of you crazy stalkers about there, I am not going to share the exact name of the town. it's not too hard to figure out, but you'll have to dig for it if you really want to know. this is to make my parents feel better. hi mom and dad!)

Anyways. I live in a small town in southeastern Montana. A town that most people cannot pronounce the name of. I couldn't until I moved here and got a lesson. Most people in Montana can't pronounce the name of our town. It was named after an Indian princess. Her descendants still live in the town today!

And let me tell you, when I say small town I really do mean small town. None of this calling a town of 10,000 tiny. None of this having only a Walmart and a KMart and Pamida and FleetFarm and Target and Home Depot and Applebees and Perkins and almost every kind of fast food and still being small (I can say this because that is true of the town that I grew up by and everyone there always talks about how tiny it is).

I live in a town of 438. Let me repeat this :: 438. And you know what else? This is the county seat. That's right. This is the biggest town in the whole county. In fact, discounting a bump in the road that has a gas station/country school/post office and a another smaller bump that has a post office/country school, we are the only town in the county (the county is approximately the size of Connecticut). We have three restaurants (if you come visit me I will buy you the best $1.80 bacon cheeseburger there ever was!), a market (its like a baby grocery store), 2 hotels, a bar (this town was founded around a bar and has had one in existence ever since - a very proud fact for people 'round here), a hardware store, a newspaper (look to further editions of Montana Missionary for that to make an appearance!), multiple churches (including Mormon, Baptist, Bible, Catholic, Lutheran, Charismatic, and Wesleyan), a nursing home/clinic (with a Physicians Assistant - no doctor), a courthouse, an elementary school and a high school (with an enrollment of 54).

36 miles up the road is our closest town. This town has a population of 1700 (it's an oil boom town) and has a grocery and numerous bars. However, if we want to do major shopping we have to keep going a further 80 miles to get to WalMart. That's right. We are 2 hours from the closest WalMart and from the closest fast food or chain of any kind. It is 3-4 hours to the closest mall (depending on road conditions - I normally shop in the Black Hills and the road we have to take to get there is not fully paved yet).

And its lovely. Everyone here is related (except for some special transplants brought in - mostly pastors and the people who work at the same Christian camp as I do). Most are ranchers. These are salt of the earth, no nonsense kind of people. People who get their work done and live life. People who aren't bound by city notions. A month ago I was eating at the "nice" restaurant in town and sat next to a cowboy in chaps.

Everyone here takes care of themselves and their neighbors. If someone is sick or hurt their neighbor steps in and takes care of their chores (cause if the cows or sheep don't get fed that person loses their livelihood). Everyone "shops in the woods with a rifle" as my friend put it. It always makes me think of Miss Congeniality when Candice Bergen says "this is Texas, my florist has a gun!" Well, this is Montana and most people here have a gun. (and yes, actually I have 3. surprised? so are most people. but I don't hunt. nothing against it and I support it. mostly I don't like venison)

I have been here for 2 1/2 years and have made some great friends. (of course I am still a stranger to a lot of people. I go to ball games and eat at the restaurants and get gas at the gas station and give blood and go to concerts and shop at the store. however, I'm a still a mystery. mostly because I don't go the bar.) I have experienced life in a small town. And I wouldn't give it up for anything!

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