Southern work

I have worked in private Catholic schools, and so prayer and Bible verses aren’t entirely uncommon here and there slash every morning.

However, any work that I have had outside of these private schools usually has little to do with religion or God.

Sometimes, a prayer or invocation will happen at some event or other, because, well, this is Texas – there is a certain wholesome Christian-ness toy the culture, and so prayer before their performances was entirely normal and acceptable for the theatre kids at my cousins’ public high school in small-town Texas.

Houston is a whole ‘nother story – big city here means a certain amount of he open Christianity is lost – we have people from all over the world living here, and I’m not so sure Christianity has the majority hold here, even.

Therefore, it is uncommon for me to have strongly open Christianity show up at work here – leave Houston and enter smaller towns, and it absolutely is the norm… but not here.

And so, it was extremely odd for me to have the Bible quotes to me as part of my internship training the other day.

Yes, it was totally relevant to what I was being taught, (the quote, I mean), but the assumed foundation of Christianity was never discussed and was somewhat irrelevant to the topic of discussion at the time.

However, it reminded me that, well, I am in Texas and I am in the South, and I’m working with someone who is not Houston…, so of course Christianity is the standard foundation for anyone around – being not-Christian is rather abnormal and extremely uncommon.

And something about it was beautiful to me – no one was aiming to convert or preach or anything like that at all… it was merely a matter of, ‘Well, it is our task, given even by God, to do this and that, so it brings everything full-circle,’ having it make even more sense that we would do something a specific way in this job I’m learning (which, recall, is not a job about religion, but about caring for animals).

In any city-like job, I think I would have been uneasy about the comment, concerned that it was a radical Christian trying to convert me from my sinful ways without even getting to know almost anything about me, let alone the fact that I am Catholic – yes, we have these radicals here from time to time, too – but in the somewhat countryside, working with horses, it was utterly normal and acceptable, and it even surprised me that I wasn’t expecting it.

I guess I was thinking more about how this is a ‘work situation’, which I relate to big city, as opposed to that it is a ‘country work situation’.

Because if I had put in the word ‘country’, I’d have been ready and waiting for all sorts of Bible and God tidbits to show up – countryside in the south equals God-fearing and God-loving brings who are grateful for the gifts that God has granted them in their lives… for men, it means Christian cowboys through and through.

Traditionally, anyway… I guess we’ll just have to see how things go for the future of our Southern countryside, but I do kind of like it – the kindness and love that is always there really is wonderful.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that right now.

Goodnight! ūüôā

Post-a-day 2019

Maybe a cowboy

Tonight at the rodeo, during the invocation, I had a thought that surprised me. ¬†First off, I enjoyed the fact that a stadium full of people was taking a moment for prayer before beginning events of the evening…, even though it was¬†not a religious event, or even religiously-officiated event. ¬†Second, I noticed how much I enjoyed the praying part myself as an individual and as part of the community. ¬†And thirdly, the thought which then occurred to me and surprised me most, I wondered if I might not want to be somehow¬†involved in this kind of thing. ¬†Perhaps I really would¬†love to be involved in cowboy-related stuff, country and ranch stuff. ¬†A visually beautiful place, filled with happy, animal-loving people, and where God is a happy place (as opposed to a sensitive or nonexistent one)…, now that would be nice. ¬†I, of course, do not at all know that I¬†would enjoy such a setting. ¬†I think I fall under the common category of individuals who would be considered to be ‘liberal’, and that might not roll so well for me in the cowboy world. ¬†However, there’s a niche for everything, and it is certainly possible that I could slide in perfectly well in the ranching and rodeo world. ¬†Who knows, aside from God, anyway?

It’s just a thought I had, but I like the idea of considering it some more. ¬†ūüôā


Post-a-day 2018

ukulele and hula

I started ukulele lessons today.  It also included a reunion and a brief lesson on Hawaiian, the language, which were both a fabulous bonus.

I’ve always had a sort of passive affinity for Hawaiian culture – that wonderful island life, about which I knew almost nothing. ¬†I was almost afraid to go to Hawai Ľi, for fear of finding that the wonderful world I’d imagined was no longer in existence. ¬†After living in Japan, even being in the countryside, I have learned the sort of balance that likely exists in the culture today. ¬†It is like cowboys in Texas. ¬†We have our big buildings and fancy cars and billboards, but you can still find, here and there, the true tradition. ¬†Sometimes, it is only seen in ceremonies. ¬†And sometimes it is part of someone’s everyday life.

My brother, though he rides and owns no horses, spends his days working on his land. ¬†Physical labor in jeans and surrounded by grass, trees, and animals is his life most days. ¬†And he grew up in the city. ¬†There are plenty of others who grew up living his kind of life, and who still do the ranching on horseback. ¬†Inside our city limits, no one would guess that that kind of life is just beyond our little area. ¬†The average person wouldn’t even cross it knowingly, if he went driving outside the city, either. ¬†You have to know how to find it. ¬†And that’s just how Japan was… When I think of Hawai Ľi now, that’s how I imagine it must be to a certain degree.

Anyway, ukulele is fun. ¬†I started it back in Japan, because I was lonely and didn’t have music in my life. ¬†Plus, Hawaiian culture seemed to be prominent in Japan (the reasons for which I hadn’t understood at first), so ukulele seemed an appropriate way to bring music into my life while in Japan. ¬†I even took a few hula lessons. ¬†(Yes, they were awesome.)

Actually, what really spawned my desire to learn hula and ukulele – not just the casual interest with which I first bought the ukulele, but the real desire that got me into lessons for hula and then, finally, for ukulele now – was a film. ¬†It was based in Hawai Ľi, and the caucasian daughter, maybe about 14 years old (I forget), did hula. ¬†The way she moved her arms in the dance had me gazing, melting, it was just so beautiful to me. ¬†Watching her dance, I had something happen within me. ¬†I guess, because she was not Japanese or Hawaiian, but¬†like me went through me head… I was able to see hula differently. ¬†It was, at last, something that it was acceptable for me to do.

I had seen Japanese friends perform wonderfully, and plenty of other Japanese women I don’t even know, too. ¬†But their close ties to Hawai Ľi made it okay for them to do it. ¬†It was regular and standard for them to be doing hula. ¬†But what – it isn’t “right”, but something like that, “reason” perhaps – reason does a German-heritage girl from Texas have for doing hula, without an extreme, intense love for it?

Maybe this is just my own brain that had me stuck in this thought process, but it just didn’t make enough sense to me to feel comfortable with pursuing hula. ¬†It felt to me like visiting a religious building for a region to which one does not belong and about which one knows very little. ¬†It isn’t that the person is not allowed. ¬†Not at all. ¬†It is just that the person can feel a little lost and uncertain when visiting, and so it can be difficult to visit in the first place, without having a sort of invitation. ¬†That’s kind of how I felt about hula.

And that movie helped alter that for me.  I started attending hula classes whenever I could, and began somewhat seeking out a ukulele teacher.

Eventually, nude in a hot spring bath in the mountains, I found one. ¬†And now, almost a year later, we finally are in the same country and with the same currency (that was the issue before), so we can do lessons. ¬†We aren’t anywhere near one another, of course, because I’m in Texas and she’s in Hawai Ľi, but it’s going well so far. ¬†Playing together is a bit weird, because of the lag, but I’ve worked with it for years with other things, so I’m somewhat accustomed to being slightly ahead of the beat and to hearing the clash of notes and timing, so that it sounds good on the other side. ¬†All-in-all, it was fun, and I look forward to the next lesson next week. ¬†ūüėÄ

So, go listen to a ukulele song today, and think of me, yeah? ¬†ūüėČ

P.S. ¬†Icicles were crashing outside my window during our lesson today. ¬†And this is Houston.¬† How cool is that?! ¬†Or warming, I guess…


Post-a-day 2018

My well-worn boots

Tomorrow, I am to wear boots. ¬†They are cowboy boots. ¬†I got them in Vienna, while I lived there a few years ago. ¬†For my best friend’s wedding, the bridal party all wore cowboy boots. ¬†The night before the wedding, we had a fire outside in the cool, January first air. ¬†I had my foot resting on the edge of the ring around the fire pit, not realizing that it was a metal pit (as opposed to a ring¬†around a dirt pit), and the edge was connected to the part holding the fire. ¬†I felt a stickiness when I adjusted my footing, and checked my boot to see what its cause was. ¬†No, it was not tree sap, but rather the melting of the sole of my boot.

To this day, I recall the incident every time I think of the boots, and I smile goofily (or so it feels to me, anyway) when I see the deep line going across the forward sole of my one boot. ¬†I am also grateful that I noticed it when I had, and that the sole still remains entirely functional, despite the sort of gash – I could have burned my foot if it’d gone through the sole much farther!

Just an interesting story about my boots, I suppose. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Oh, and they’re from a store called something like “New York”.


Post-a-day 2017