Friday, April 3

Culture Shock 85

California has power lines, of course. Many of them are under ground though.

I don't think Mississippi has any underground lines!  Driving through the city or on your way out to the country, the lines scar your view of the setting sun. In California cities,  the buildings are in your way unless you can find a small hill or rooftop. Either way, it's hard to get a clear view. 

I feel like God made this sky just for me!

Thursday, March 26

Culture Shock 84

I have a confession to make. I am afraid of the dark.

The city is a fine place to live with the streets lit up at night.

The country is a bit darker with backwoods lanes and farms all around.

My husband loves to remind me of our arrival to the southern states.

"Beth's flight came in around midnight.  As we drove to our new home, we got farther and farther from the city. The roads got darker and darker. Beth started asking if this was a joke.  We got to a point where city light pollution did not penetrate through the trees. Beth was sitting next to me getting more fidgety and nervous.  At one point, she asked if I needed to turn around!  When we pulled up to the house, only the garage light was on with no streetlights near by.  Beth insisted that we would get a light on our property like the neighbors across the way!"

When those neighbors trimmed their trees, I remember cringing that their light shone through our side windows in the master bedroom. Oh how quickly I changed my tune!

I don't relish in the darkness but, if you've read some of my previous posts, I do love a clear, crisp night of start gazing nowadays!

Wednesday, March 25

Board Games

My 9 year old is making a game board for a science project. We need to go buy index cards to make the questions that will advance you along the "Animal Trail."

His board actually started out very sloppy. We had a talk about being proud of your best work. He said it was his best. I said nope. He is too old to praise him for simply getting it done. He has to do it well or start over. Not a happy boy at first! 

I didn't make him start over this time as we are out of cardboard.  We learned how to fix mistakes and make it look nicer. Next time, he said he'll use a ruler!

Tuesday, March 24

Culture Shock 83

Do I know more than a 21 year old?

I thought I had some life skills. My husband taught me how to cook. I taught myself how to sew. My mom taught my to do counted cross stitch. My dad taught me how to change the oil in my car and put the spare tire on.  I can play every instrument in the woodwind family except bassoon. I can fold a fitted sheet neatly. I have teacher handwriting. I can write on a chalkboard in a straight line - in cursive. I can successfully negotiate commute traffic, saving a minimum of 15 minutes of travel time twice daily.

I thought I could survive. Silly me.

People out here in the country know how to survive. Before they get married they can cook, drive a tractor, plant and maintain a garden; they know how to can food, make jam, raise a pig, milk a cow, ride a horse, shoot a gun, butcher a deer. You know, real survival skills!

I'm learning, but I'm not there yet, and I'm twice their age! Did I just admit that out loud?!

Wednesday, March 18

Culture Shock 82

Rent. Try to guess what a 670 square foot apartment would cost ya.

This is what you get:
2 bedrooms. 1 bathroom.
A 2 ft wide balcony out your front door.
No backyard.
A front yard that you share with 10 other tenants.
A 3 ft wide bathroom with a broken fan and no window.
The highway 400 feet out your back window with 24 hour traffic.

Any guesses?  $900. And if you want downstairs with a tiny fenced in backyard, it'll cost you $950.

Now come to Mississippi with me.  We are currently in a one bedroom apartment so that is no fun with a 2 year old. BUT this is what we get:
700 square feet.
1 bedroom.  1 bathroom.
Walk-in closet.
A 3 ft wide front porch.
A huge backyard.
A decent front yard that we share with some hunters parking their trucks once a year.
A bathroom with a separate vanity.
A secluded house that no one can see from the small country road that is barely ever used.
Any guesses?  $300. Yep.

Groceries will cost you a little more out here. We get a lot of produce from other states.  Mississippi actually grows a lot of cotton, I think. Gas is cheaper. So in general we spend less; can live on less.

Typically, rent is $500 to $750 for 2/3 bedrooms out here. Still cheaper than Cali.

Tuesday, March 17

Culture Shock 81

We really are home - bodies.  If you are looking for us,  chances are we are at home.

Things we used to do for fun:

Hide and Seek
Watch movies
Swim at Grandmas
(Hide from our drug neighbors that approached my son.)
Our neighborhood park was under construction for 2 years. Gas prices were atrocious.  We stayed home a lot.

Things we do for fun now:

Play with our dogs
Watch movies
Chase chickens and bugs
Ride bikes
Blow bubbles and write on the porch

We are enjoying the freedom to venture outside! I could do with less carpenter bees though!

Monday, March 16

Culture Shock 80

We visited the children's museum in Jackson, MS a few weeks ago. They were celebrating Dr.Suess' birthday.  We colored sox on foxes. We made hats to match the Cat's!  We did spin art and listened to a story where The Cat in the Hat acted out the parts with Thing 1 and Thing 2. What a blast! We even ate green eggs with avocado.  Yummy!

It was crowded. We got bumped a bit and had to stand in line once. The crowd was generally pleasant, though. A surprise for me. People moved out of the way for strollers and parents running after toddlers. People smiled and said excuse me. Wow! 

You would hope that human decency would not be a surprise but it is. If there is a crowd in California, you simply prepare yourself to be bumped, prodded, and generally pushed out of the way for whoever is more greedy or self serving than you.

Thank you, again, MS, for showing us Californians some hospitality; a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, March 10

Culture Shock 79

I thought I'd written about this before, and I have, four years ago, before it was a life change! (You can click on the link to read if you'd like.)

STARS. A lot of them. The first week we moves to Mississippi, I made my then 8 year old stay up late so he could come outside. I stood quietly. He stood chattering, oooing and ahing over the night sky.

My husband and I often go out and gaze upon HIS glory. It's a beautiful, welcoming change to have little to no light pollution. WOW!