Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Four-Digit Phone Number

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Oh, small towns. They are so cute, so behind the times that it’s charming.

I recall the last time I lived here in East Glacier, it was difficult to find regular internet anywhere in town. My dreams of being a work-from-home freelance writer were stifled at the thought that my reputation for meeting deadlines would suffer a huge blow. And if you can’t meet your deadlines, you’re plum out of a job.

Thankfully, that has changed. Now internet is strong and vital, and I can stay connected to the outside world with ease. I Skype, blog, and keep up with world news. My iPhone even works here. But the things that get my giggling are still aplenty, especially in relation to the local land-line scene:

  • StottRotaryPhoneOffTheHookIIOne area code: In Portland, there are too many area codes to count; in Montana: one. Yes, one. For the whole, entire state. And it’s a large state, mind you.
  • Home phones: Even more impressive is the fact that most people in East Glacier have home phones, due to a history of questionable cell service. The kinks are likely out of that system (to my knowledge), but it’s just so precious that it makes me want to get a home phone, too! Maybe I could get an old, rotary style one.
  • The 4-Digit Phone Number: With a local land-line here comes the same 3-digit prefix (226) supplied to each and every home phone number. (There’s so few home residences they won’t have to change this system for years.) The result: the 4-digit phone number. With the same six numbers (406-226) clearly known by all, it is customary to hear someone give out their number in four, little digits. It kills me. Hilarious, I tell you.

Oh I love it here…

Bringing back the social calendar

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That’s it; I’m settled. Our place has always been cozy and welcoming and the mountains, ever-gorgeous. But now, the people have captured my heart, too.

It started last weekend, when I babysat for a coworker I met at the restaurant, now closed for the season. She and her man had some ranching to do: a good, old fashioned round-up, to be exact. While they herded and gathered cows on horseback, I sat with a precious angel named Emma who took to me immediately. We colored and danced, and she fell asleep holding my hand. Then we ate a hearty ranch supper with the work crew, enjoying new friends and countless bear stories. The next day, we did it all over again, supper and all.

Precious Emma, already a cowgirl

Precious Emma, already a cowgirl

On Monday, we were blessed by a spontaneous invite to join some new friends for dinner. It was such a treat! Pete met them at a Bible Study (yay! we found one!) last Friday when I was at work. It was an instant hit. They’re about our age, with two young kids who ended up on my lap, books in hand. If Pete keeps leaving vests, gloves, and mail at their house, I’m guessing we’ll continue to see a lot of them!

Then I went to the “East Glacier Women’s Club” meeting on Tuesday (which I’d been looking forward to since I happily scrolled it on my slim social calendar weeks ago). As hoped, I met many wonderful women: the women of the community. The meeting was all-business, showing that these ladies took pride in their town and their people. More than that, I felt accepted, loved. They took me in and invited me to ski weekend getaways and Wednesday Mahjong. I was delighted, and took them up on the offers. I am now addicted to Mahjong!

games

But the best offer of the evening came from DeeAnna, who offered me a job on the spot when I mentioned I had a degree in Journalism. It’s just a temp job, but it’s so great! In my two short days, I interviewed the Executive Director, wrote and distributed a press release to local media and crafted a quick ad for the local TV station. I also produced a newsletter, updated contact lists, and started on some print materials for an upcoming clinic. I am in heaven working in this field again. Funny enough, I’m also working with teens in a way, too.

The organization, International Traditional Games Society, is dedicated to restoring and teaching traditional Native games that have been lost over the decades. The games are so interesting! Hand-carved, hand-painted and wrapped in leather, they are beautiful works of art, as well. Next week, they are putting me through a $250 training for free, so I can help facilitate these games in schools and at future clinics. I’m so thrilled!

On top of all of this, Pete and I heard our applications were approved at the local schoolhouse for substitute teaching, grades K-8. I’m nervous to teach but figure I could do it once in a while. Funny enough, you just need a high school diploma to sub at the school. I tell myself that a loving heart is what’s needed most, but I still fear they’ll tear me to pieces. I remember having subs in school… and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I just might stick with babysitting; word has already begun to circulate…

The charming schoolhouse where we may find work

The charming schoolhouse where we may find work

Either way, it’s a pretty place. And we’ve gone down to one car. Hurray! It’s a bit of a change for us, but it’s a tiny town, perfect for walking. It feels like home already. But we miss our friends and family! Big hugs!!

Just off my street...

Just off our street…

Stir crazy already?!

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We have been here for two and a half weeks – just long enough to go stir crazy. Already. I know it sounds lame, but it’s true. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. We don’t have close friends or family nearby, and we don’t have day jobs. Luckily, I’ve found regular work at a restaurant I used to work at (seven years ago!). But they were evening shifts… and that all ends tomorrow, when the restaurant closes its doors for the season, like always.

Despite his ongoing search, Pete remains jobless, save a few odd gigs he picked up around town. He never really took on the “vacation” mindset, as I have, and has been antsy to get that regular, daily nine-to-five going. I think it’s a man thing. He wants to provide. Meanwhile, I want to hike the park and have play days, which is how we’ve spent our weekends, to be fair.

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Bison flanked by the great range behind East Glacier Park

Both hikes have been in the snow. The first, it snowed on us. The second was a sunny “showstopper” kind of day where all the mountains took on a gorgeous coat of snow, illuminated all the more by a bright blue, cloudless sky. The birds chirped happily above us, and the brisk air smelled of new beginnings – and that fresh, nostalgic Glacier smell I’d been missing for so long.

Will this be the adventure I always dreamed of? I wonder. Can we handle the unemployment, the weather? Will we bail ship and come running back home?

It is far too early to tell how this chapter will unfold. But we are here, ready to see what God has for us. Only time will tell. So for now, we hope. And we settle into a slow pace of life very unlike the life we left behind. For how freeing it feels, it is yet unsatisfying. I suppose that “do or die” mentality still needs to simply die.

After all, it isn’t about “doing” here, it’s about “being.” And isn’t that the very essence of finding our satisfaction in the Lord? To know that you don’t have to earn His love or “arrive” at a certain place to be accepted and valued and so highly treasured. Ahh, to be in that place of freedom. I only long for it, being trapped continually by the desire to be “established” or settled or just plain busy. But this trusting in Him puts us in position to grow our faith. And if that is the only purpose for this journey, then so be it.