Life in the Village

This morning I walked the two blocks to the post office after I taught my segment of school. Our village is small–about four blocks wide and four blocks long–and everyone in town has PO boxes rather than mail delivered to their houses. When we first moved here in 1993, I thought that was the craziest thing–whoever heard of not getting mail delivery? But I actually grew to enjoy the walk there and back again each day. You never know what you will see. A few years ago, JJ and I walked to the post office and a squirrel fell out of a tree right next to me. A couple more inches and it would have landed on my head. THAT would have been interesting, although probably quite painful. Today I passed tree removal guys taking down a huge tree. I guess it was dying. I’m amazed that they can take down trees without hitting houses or cars or children’s play equipment. Further down, a house was getting a new roof. I don’t see how people can stand to climb up on roofs. I get woozy going up three ladder steps.

After EJ left for work, JJ and I drove Aunt Dolly Llama to the grocery store for water and a few groceries. Our water here is terrible, so we buy it. We have a water cooler for drinking and gallon jugs for cooking and coffee. We have no grocery stores in our village, so we have to drive ten miles to the next town.

Living in a small village is interesting. Besides having PO boxes, our library is open only on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Oh, a couple months ago it started opening on Saturdays too, so I guess we are going big time. Our village also has one of the few privately-owned telephone companies left in the country. It is owned by our neighbors’ family–the neighbors with the beautiful yard. The bad thing about a privately-owned telephone company is that it has to buy connection to long-distance providers,  so calling anyone outside of the village is VERY expensive. Which is why the three of us have cell phones and no land-line.

As soon as we got home and the groceries and water unloaded, I took my dog, Danny, for his walk. It’s the highlight of his day and I can’t stand to disappoint him. Besides, I have always loved walking dogs, even as a child. The day was beautiful–chilly, with interesting dark clouds moving in. Because of the Great Lakes, Michigan has a lot of clouds–sometimes we go weeks without a sunny day. People from other states sometimes struggle with the gloom in Michigan. One of my friends grew up in Michigan and married a man from Iowa and she said she’d never move back here because she couldn’t take the clouds. Even people in Michigan struggle sometimes. My husband has mild S.A.D., which means Seasonal Affective Disorder, which means that the lack of sunlight can cause depression. He gets a full-spectrum light to mimic the sunlight. My doctor said many women in Michigan have Vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight. When we do have sunny days, it’s a gift. I love Michigan’s clouds, though. Most of the time.

Despite the clouds, Michigan is an extremely beautiful state. I’m always amazed when we return home after vacationing in another state at how many trees we have. I don’t notice it while living here. We have TONS of trees. They are stunningly beautiful in the autumn. Michigan has many lakes; EJ says we have more coastline than any other state. We also have large sand dunes along Lake Michigan. They were named the most beautiful place in America this year. And we have the Hartwick Pines, which are like a mini redwood forest. One of the quirks about our state is that a person’s right hand, turned palm up, is almost a perfect map of Michigan. I remember an out-of-state friend years ago saying that he told his mother that “people from Michigan are weird. If you ask for directions to any place, they hold out their right hand and point!” It’s true. We always carry a map of Michigan with us in our hands, and we point to it when giving directions. I LOVE the beauty of Michigan, although I don’t particularly like the politics, high taxes, or high unemployment.  Click video tribute to see a tour of the beauty of Michigan.

JJ and I study Hebrew during school hours, but starting last night I have begun studying Hebrew vocabulary in the evenings when my other work is done. I use vocabulary cards, programs, and websites. I study a mixture of Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew. As far as I can tell, they are pretty much the same, but Biblical Hebrew has words like “grace” and “faith” and modern Hebrew has words like “computer” and “Facebook.” By the way, Facebook in Hebrew is pronounced “Facebook.” So now you know a Hebrew word. LOL.

I spent yesterday afternoon trying to roll my R’s. Hebrew rolls it’s R’s like in Spanish. JJ has a natural talent for rolling R’s, but I cannot do it. He has tried to teach me how to do it, but my rolling R sounds range from a growling grrrr, to a hiss, to a phhhffff. We end up laughing until we cry at my attempts. I googled “how to roll R’s” on the Internet last night, hoping for some more tips. I learned that native English speakers have a hard time rolling R’s because it’s not a sound we make in our language–so at least I am not alone in my failure. Sites/videos gave tips such as arching your tongue, flattening it like a pancake, rolling up the edges like a spoon and touching your molars, and blow gently like a whisper. They also suggest saying “de-de-de” or “te-te-te” really fast to teach your tongue to vibrate. But, they all advised, don’t get tense. Relax. Because if you aren’t relaxed, you can’t do it. By the time I try to twist my tongue all up, I am TENSE, not relaxed, and my rolling R sounds continue to range from a growling grrrr, to a hiss, to a phhhffff sound. I don’t have much hope that I can roll my R’s, but I haven’t yet given up. Yet.

One Hebrew word that I have been pondering lately is ha-olam emet. Actually, it’s two words, but one concept. Emet  אמת means truth in Hebrew. It’s interesting in that the first letter  in this word is an aleph א , the middle letter is a mem מ, and the last  letter is a tav  ת. (Hebrew is read from right to left.) These are the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, indicating that truth encompasses all things, and endures from the beginning to the end. Olam עוֹלָם means world, eternity, or everlastingness. (Ha means the.Ha-olam emet means the world to come in which truth shall prevail.  No deceit. No lies. No falseness. No manipulation. People will be who they are. They will say what they mean. Just ponder THAT for awhile!

I LOVE Hebrew. (Except for the rolling R sound.)

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2 thoughts on “Life in the Village

  1. thewomanatthewell says:

    I love MI too. My extended family lives there and when I was a kid I spent most of my summers there visiting my grandparents. My grandma and aunt still live in Union City. My mom goes back every year and she says her favoite time to visit in in the fall when the leaves change. I liked the summers because of all the fireflies, we don't have those here in CO. Anyway thanks for posting, I have made visiting here part of my daily routine to be reminded to nevber give up and always be thankful and see the beauty in the things of God.ttyl-WATW

  2. TJ says:

    I look forward to seeing you here, WATW. I have been visiting your site when I can, and enjoying it!

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