Sunday, April 21, 2013

Moving in and culture-shock

Thanks be to God in heaven, our moving truck rolled into town two Tuesdays ago. We've been living in our new Montana home for 12 days now. And here are some scenes from our life lately.

Empty boxes make really good forts. And warm cookies right out of the oven are a cozy comfort when it's snowing.

When I need a break from unpacking, I've been checking out some of the local antique and thrift stores. I've been finding some treasures (like that original Stratego game - a favorite of my brother's and mine when we were kids). And I am repeatedly aghast at how many dead animals and their parts are strewn about these shops. All manner of animals. A couple days ago, the kids and I went into one shop that had a row of FOUR full body pelts (heads included) of baby black bears hanging on the wall. Really? Cubs? I mean, antlers are one thing. I'm even cool with mounted deer heads, because those guys are super plentiful. But bear cubs? C'mon.

Let's just talk about animals for a minute. And California. There is zero hunting in Southern California. Most people's dogs live in greater luxury than 90% of the world's children. And while I've never taken my dog to the doggy day spa, or bought him a $5 doggy cupcake from a special doggy bakery (yes, there are several) I actually really love animals. I once spent about 30 minutes on the beach freeing a giant, exhausted pelican from fishing line cutting his skin and a hook puncturing his wing. A stranger and I worked to free that poor bird, which was so big that both my arms had to wrap around its body to hold him still. So I'm experiencing a bit of culture shock seeing the walking sticks made out of deer hooves, pelts that still have the faces on them, and, you know, dead baby bears.

Also, I took that bottom right photo of my lovely shelf paper in the pantry project. I almost wanted to jump off a cliff by the time I was finished, and it took me a crazy number of hours. But it looked great at the end. I organized my shelves, filling them with cookbooks and canned goods. It looked so cute. I thought it was worth it. For about two days. Until all the shelf paper started to peel up. Mmm hmm. No more sticky downy.

And here are some local sights you'd not see in Orange County. The DMV shares a building with a Baptist church, come to find out. Imagine how that would go over in CA. And I love that I live in a town with old abandoned mills (it's so Scooby-Doo, right?). The snow lacing this white wooden church was so lovely to me. I'm really enjoying the snow, actually. And then there's a pheasant in someone's front yard. I've never seen one of those guys in person before.

The last thing I wanted to share that falls under the category of "Not in California" happened at church today. (I wish I had a photo, but that wouldn't have been appropriate, right?). Someone on stage said that a baptism was coming up, and there was a big sort of temporary pool on the left of the room. When the lights were directed to the baptismal, I strained my eyes to see that the head pastor was in the water with the person getting baptized. And next I realized that the pastor was wearing a white undershirt and suspendered rubber waders nearly up to his chest. Is that Montana, or what? We are probably living in the fly-fishing capital of the world, and obviously the pastor wears waders into the baptismal! In fact, I now think the manufacturers of waders are missing a huge market. Five minutes later, he was back up on stage ready to preach in his dry clothes. Sort of genius.

So it's different here. Oh it's cold, but breathtakingly beautiful. I love my house, I'm loving exploring, and I love experiencing a different way of life. We are still missing our homeland; just tonight, my son said, "Let's talk about happy memories from California." But we're growing into our new culture.

And I like it. Well, except the baby bears part.



  1. i love this.
    reading about what is new and different, and then thinking about "home" and what makes us new and different out here in California, it's all so intriguing.

    sounds like you are finding some amazing things to appreciate out there.

    i also feel like you could make out like a bandit with an etsy shop full of antlers.

  2. I love this-Montana is pretty different, I felt somewhat the same moving to Central Oregon.

    Also, our baptismal is a big huge stainless water trough, a nod to our rancher/cowboy way of life here. But we have also had the pastor in waders doing baptisms in the river-it's just what you do when the water is so cold!

    Praying you're feeling settled in and continuing to adjust! And for maybe a bit less snow?

  3. i hear all of this. and i love you so much!
    praise jesus for new breathtaking beauty and sweet memories of what's behind.

  4. I kinda wish I could have seen your face when you saw the bear pelts. I wonder if the shop owners noticed your horror.

    Also, I'm sad your shelf paper didn't stick. I'm glad you mentioned it didn't stick because when you posted it on instagram it motivated me to redo all the shelf paper in my kitchen to something cute. Now I can put it off.

    Continuing to pray for you and your family on your new adventure! Keep the updates coming!

  5. It's so interesting to hear the differences through your California lenses--and good for you for documenting all of your Big Sky Country impressions. :)

    We use that rubber shelf stuff that just lies flat on our shelves. I'd be so irked if the sticky wore off after all your effort. Sorry!

    Our preacher wears those waders too for baptisms here in TX.

  6. such adventures await you guys!
    montana sounds kinda like WI.
    we go down to the river for baptismals and our preacher wears waders, too. :)
    baby bears aren't my thing either, but i ADORE that Bible School sign! swoon!

  7. We live in Spokane and I would say it's this area of the country ;) But it's very practical :)