I’ve lived in Waco, and I’ve lived in Germany. I’ve lived in Colorado and in Nashville and in Scotland. I’ve been in public school and private school and school in a language other than English. I’ve lived in places where I was the most liberal person I knew and places where I was the most conservative person I knew.
If I could invite a smattering of people from different stages in my life to a dinner party, it would be movie material, a perfect storm of cultures and backgrounds and opinions. But wherever I’ve lived, people are still people. Here are some things that hold true no matter where you live.
1. Everyone thinks that their weather is the craziest.
No matter where I am, everyone likes to complain about their crazy weather. It rains all the time. It never rains. It’s cold. It’s hot. There’s snow in July. It’s warm in December. Unless you live in Southern California where the weather is 70 degrees year-round, chances are you love a good rant about the weather. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that your area’s weather schizophrenia is not special.
2. Every place has their hicks.
The South gets a bad rap for having a higher proportion of its population that is less educated, less cultured, and a general embarrassment to the area. However, they’re not alone. Their neighbours to the north and even their international counterparts have members and aspects of their culture that they would rather keep hidden when tourists come around.
3. Never, never, never assume
It can be easy to put other people in a box. When I first moved to Waco, it drove me crazy that people I had just met would ask me if I had found a church yet. How dare someone who knows nothing about me make assumptions about my spiritual life, even if they were right? It’s a mistake that I found myself making less than two years later, only to be humbled to find that I had assumed something that was not true. You see, you can never assume a person’s political or religious standing, opinions, or backgrounds. The writer in me always wants to imagine a person’s back story when I meet them, to fill in the gaps and posit details about their family and career. I like to be right. But this habit is dangerous– always ask first, keep an open mind, and never– ever– make assumptions.