Feeling Finnish

I used to live with a girl from Finland.  One of the best roommates I ever had, really.  Anu was amazing in a lot of ways, and taught me a lot about her culture, as she learned to understand mine.  She would often joke that I was Finnish because of my introverted nature.

Finnish people do like to party.  It’s just that they like to party with their friends.  Suddenly becoming friends with someone new is a rare occurrence.  Not that they don’t make friends, they just don’t talk to strangers.
If it weren’t for my job, I wouldn’t talk to strangers.
And they don’t make small talk.  Even working customer service, all conversation is minimal.  If someone comes through your line and you’re a cashier, there’s no need to discuss the weather or ask how someone is.  You ring them up and let them go.  Anu used to tell me how she didn’t understand why someone she didn’t know, or barely knew, would want to know how she is.  Whereas in America, asking someone how they are is a greeting, albeit a fake one.  Very rarely does anyone actually care how you’re doing, and they don’t really expect an answer.  We ask so many meaningless questions here.

I just moved to Alabama from California.  Although I’m an introvert and don’t do well in parties where I don’t know everyone, back home I was fairly friendly.  People describe me as nice, as kind, as sweet.  I’m not really a rude person, especially not on purpose.  Because I have worked in hospitality for the last couple of years, I’ve learned to be a little bit more outgoing.  I can talk to guests, ask them how their day is while I’m checking them in; ask them how their stay was when they check out; see if there’s anything I can do to make their time in my town more enjoyable.  But I don’t go much farther than that without a connection or a reason.  I run out of questions.  I suck at small talk.  Because I literally don’t care.  If I don’t know you, my heart is not genuinely concerned about your drive or your complaining because it’s raining outside.  I was telling a girl from my church that I am the least friendly person that I work with, because I’m from California.
In California, you’ll smile at someone when they walk through your lobby.  You’ll say hello to them.  If they look like they need help, you’ll talk to them.  Otherwise, you leave pretty much alone.  You want everyone to be happy, but that doesn’t mean you go out of your way to be their friend.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Californians are pretty judgmental anyway.
I missed church on Sunday, a church that I have been going to for a month, because I was at work.  But a friend of mine was playing a concert that night, so I saw a lot of people I would have seen that morning.  And multiple people asked where I was that morning.  If you miss church in California, everyone assumes you’re out of town, or that you had something else going on.  They might care that they missed you, but people come and go as they please.
So out here, in Florence,  I feel a little Finnish.

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About Hope

I tend to remember everything.  More specifically, I remember almost every conversation, especially minor ones, that I have with people.  As of late I have learned not to bring up old conversations, because the speaker usually doesn’t remember saying the things that I remember.  But I digress.  

I once had a conversation with a good friend of mine, Aaron.  I was 2.5 years ago, and my mind was still pretty messed up.  I wasn’t sure how long I would be metaphorically “sticking around” then, but I had a little bit of a grasp of what I would do if I got through my ish.  I had an answer for everything, even in my brokenness.  I was pushing people away in a successful manner.  Throughout our conversation Aaron noticed something.  He then asked me where my hope was.  I had no answer.  I had no answer, because I had no hope.  Even though I was in Bible college, doing my best to follow a God who I felt was betraying me, I had no hope.  My hope was not in God, even though I desperately wanted it to be.  

Fast forward a few years to where I am right now.  For church on Sunday we made s’mores and had community time.  We separated into groups around the four separate campfires and we told God stories.  I had on my heart a need to share where I had been and how I got to where I am now.  I talked about how I had always had a plan, and now that I have no plan I am more content than I have been in a while.  My sharing sparked an ongoing conversation, and some prayer and some vulnerability.  One of my roommates, Gus, went on to point something out to me.  He said that it seemed that for a long time I have had no hope in my life.  When I had a plan, I had no hope.  But now, he said, I have an evident hope.  Even though I have no idea what my life holds, I have hope.  

So maybe when I have plans, I put my hope in them.  If I have learned anything in my life though, it’s that if I don’t get my hopes up, they can’t be let down.  Now that I have no plan, I cannot be let down.  My hope is in God’s plan, and not knowing what it is makes life a little bit more of an adventure.  And I want to be in love with adventure.

Blogging about Returning to School and the Importance of Rules

I moved back into the dorms on Friday.  And my new room and my roommate are so awesome, except we’re still missing our couch.  It should be moved in soon.
I arrived to discover a new dinosaur that my roomie got my for my birthday.  I named him Rory Alexander and I love him.

Now on to the not so good news.  As I was getting off the freeway on Friday, my car started getting all clunky, and my front wheels stopped turning.  Yep, my car broke down.  Less than a mile from my school.  My friend/car guy Eric is going to look at it probably tomorrow.  He’s great.  I’m super bummed though, because now I have to spend all my hard earned money on fixing my car, rather than saving it for my future, which is quickly approaching.

 

I’ve been thinking today about rules and what the moral implications of breaking them are.  Just small rules, like breaking the school covenant, or not wearing a hairnet at work.  I do my best to uphold the covenant and I wear a hairnet, even if they make me feel gross and itchy, but what does it really mean if I choose to break a rule that no one knows about?  Am I hurting anyone, or am I only hurting myself?  And do I have the right to make other people follow rules, whether unspoken or not?

 

My hurt is currently a flutter with new beginnings.  I’m expecting this school year to be the best one.  And I get to meet my favorite author, or one of them, Donald Miller, in two weeks.