Monday, October 21, 2013

How to (Not Really) Make New Friends

You know how your life is just normal to you and so you just run along most days doing what you do and not really thinking that much of it? And then you have some experience that brings light to the fact that the rest of the outside world may just not perceive your life as exactly normal? Yeah, me too.

One of the things we long to find here in our mountain mission post that feels so isolated to us at times are a couple of friends who might just "get us" culturally, speak English even, know what life is like where we are from and understand the struggles that come with adapting to life in this place. And, in all honesty, who might crave pizza regularly too and rejoice when they find peanut butter stocked in a local store.

So the other day when we were in the grocery store in the city and a gentleman spoke up in perfect English and asked us if we lived here, we got a little excited. We later figured out we might have been slightly over eager for his conversation. And maybe, just maybe come off as a little "oh, please, please, be our friend creepy". Greg and I chuckled at ourselves as we relived this interaction afterwards.

After the initial introductions, he took us to the car to meet his wife (she grew up in the town where we live) and his daughter (she grew up in Connecticut where they have lived for the last 25 years until they moved back to Costa Rica a few months ago). They explained they are living in the city so she can attend the private high school our oldest son attended last year. But that they come to visit her mother in our town often.

Us: (Holding bags full of crackers and juice boxes) Oh, you should come by and visit us some time when you are there. We live right across the street from the soccer field. We're almost always there, we're just in town right now visiting the indigenous mom who has been living with us awaiting the birth of her baby. She's in labor right now. We're bringing her juice boxes....

Them: General conversation with the overall theme being "we've heard those indigenous people are weird".

Us: Generally awkward response the gist of which was "yes, culturally they are very different from us and difficult to understand at times but we let them live with us and sometimes we go live with them because that's what God told us to do and so we've gotten over it"

Them: Awkward response about how maybe they'll come visit some time and how they have a deacon friends in the States who might think what we do is cool

Exchange of information

Us (Over eagerly offering additional options to hang it with us): Yeah, and we should get together some time when we are here in town. You guys should come with us when we go visit the orphans (you know, for fun, on Friday nights). Or maybe you want to come feed the homeless with us (you know, because sometimes you need more than one fun thing to do)...well, we have to go back to our friend now.

Them: Yeah. Maybe we'll come by tomorrow when we're in town.

They didn't. Is anyone particularly surprised by this? I mean, in hindsight, perhaps inviting them to meet up for pizza with a casual nonchalance might have been a better plan?

Or maybe they would have preferred to join us to tie up live chickens in sacks in their Mass clothes? Because that's how we roll.

I mean, you'd want to be our friend, right?


  1. In the world but not of the world. I feel the same way. I don't do the "normal" people things. But God calls us to live different from the world.

  2. I would so want to be your friend! :) Normal is soooo overrated.

  3. Like Leslie, I would so want to be your friend! Then maybe we can hang out and figure out how to make pizza from locally available ingredients (not that I'm a culinary wizard). Peanut butter is more complicated, though...

    Seriously, I only have admiration for the work that you do and the life that you lead. May God bless you and protect you always.

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  5. Dressed to Kill, Chickens
    by Greg Mitchell

  6. Being your friend is an honor. Thank you for sharing, and yes I would come tie up chickens in my Sunday Go To Meeting Clothes.