Monday, February 9, 2009

The Story Of How We Got Here...To the Land of Corn Fields, Hogs and Tornadoes

Just six years ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be living in Indiana.

I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Going to see the Pennsylvania Farm Show was about as far west as I traveled.

The only folks I knew who moved to Indiana had gone to start a hog farm. So naturally, when I thought of Indiana, I thought of hog farms. . .and flat land. . .and corn fields. . . and tornadoes (of course).

When my husband was contacted about a job here, my first response was to wrinkle my nose. But I told myself that I was going to remain open to whatever God had in mind. And at that time, there were no other doors even cracked open.

His first interview with someone from the actual company was near the end of March, 2003.

I remember the turmoil inside as I began to research the area.

But before I knew it, we were boarding a plane bound for the Midwest. We had the name of a contact, a list of properties to see, an unsigned contract, and a million questions to ask. We were asking God to help us make all the right decisions.

To make a short story even shorter: In a whirlwind of events which only a sovereign God could orchestrate, we sold our house, packed up our belongings, and headed west. We arrived in Indiana to settle into our new home on May 14, 2003. With much help, and tears all around, our friends, family, and even neighbors pitched in to make it all happen and see us off.

With our move came many changes.

We've learned some new vocabulary, developed some new skills, and had to adapt to the subtle differences in the culture of the Midwest.

The first time a store clerk offered one of my boys a sucker, I had to ask her three times to repeat the question. In exasperation, she finally sighed, reached into a basket and held up a lollipop. "Oh!" I said, "You mean a lollipop!"

We've been here almost six years now and, still, I smile when I hear the candy referred to as a sucker. I look at my son's poster, the beginning of a student council advertisement for the Valentine's Sucker Sale, and I crack up. Seriously. Does this look right to you?

Granted, the little lollipop pictures were yet to be added, but still. . . Back east, you probably would have faced suspension for hanging something like this!

Anyway, groceries are put in sacks, not bags.

Kids drink pop, not soda.

We have fish fries at the local firehouse, not Chicken Potpie. (Being hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, this one makes no sense to me.)

If you are in the mood for a good American Hoagie, you'll need to make a road trip. . . 12 hours east. After hitting what seemed like every deli south of Indy, we gave up. If you live in the east, and you want to send us some hoagie buns, you'll be our friends FOREVER.

We don't have to rake leaves out here. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, every last leaf has been blown to the next county over. Saying it can get windy here is an understatement.

It's funny. During our first month, we actually thought someone was playing pranks on us. We'd leave on a sunny afternoon, head into town, and return to find our lawn furniture blown clean off the porch.

You'll now find most of my porch furniture either tied or weighted down.

We were surprised to find there are no car inspections in Indiana. Cars held together with bailing twine and duck tape are free to roam the streets. The only bad thing about it (says my husband) is that we didn't know that before he took his old car and pickup to the junkyard in prep for the move.

By the way, he's a mechanical marvel. He can squeeze another 20,000 miles out of just about any hunk of car. (You thought I was going to say junk, didn't you?) "That's when they're just getting broken in...," he says. Yes, well. . .where was I?

There are no dog licences. Well, there is, we were told by our vet, but no one actually buys them and he wasn't sure how to apply for one. We did, however, receive a dog TAX bill. And a tax bill for our Kayak. I'm told anything in my yard--moving or not--is taxable.

We rarely have snow days during the school year. Instead, we have fog and flood days. No kidding. I had never heard of fog delays, but sure enough, they exist--and for good reason!

We do have plenty of Storm Warnings. The spring is notorious.

One day, a particularly dangerous storm was approaching right about the time I needed to go meet the school bus at the highway, (3/4 mile down the hill).

With the electric gone out, and the sky dark as night, I got in the car and went down with my (then) infant son to wait. I prayed that the storm would either miss us or hold off till I could get the boys and return home.

As it turns out, the school had gone into lock down mode with the children tucked into tornado shelters. A kind neighbor, who had word from the school, came out to tell me so I could go home and wait it out.

That was a stressful day.

We take storm warnings more in stride now. I've learned to put a few plans on the books for different scenarios. Now, they are actually kind of fun and exciting. Sick, I know.

I think I'm adapting. I might even be accepted as a real Hoosier some day.

For the record, there may be some hog farms out here, but I haven't seen any.

There are plenty of corn fields and flat land to the north. But on the south side, where we live, there are hills and ravines and beautiful country sides reminiscent of our home back east.

And as for Tornadoes? I haven't seen any, yet, but can now do the drill in under two minutes.

This has become home. And we are happy to be "grow'in -n- bloom'in" here.


Candace said...

Oh my - I laughed so hard. This is soooo true, my fellow Pennsylvanian! I just can't get used to the "sucker" thing - I've often thought the same thing. Back in PA -you would be accused of calling someone a bad name!

Hoagies -yumm. They don't exist in Indiana. We've often joked about opening a "real" deli.

Thanks for making me laugh - you made my night!

ilovemy5kids said...

What a sweet post! Down here, we [not me] say "sody water" or "coke" [me] for pop or cola. ;)

Martha (FL) said...

I loved your story. I grew up and lived most of my life a little west of Philadelphia. (Lansdale). In 2003, I also made a whirlwind decision to relocate to Orlando! We have loved our life here, but in just six weeks, will be moving back to the land of a real HOAGIES and Philly Cheesesteaks! It looks like you have created a beautiful home for your family!

Gretchen said...

I just found your blog and I have been a Hoosier my whole life (except for 7 years I spent in Missouri). My husband is not from here and makes fun of us constantly. I don't call it soda or pop - it is all Coke to me.

This was a very cute post and I am glad you are liking Indiana. I personally think it is a great state. Of course the farther south you go, the better it gets.