08 November 2009

What a day

Today has been such a blog-worthy day.

Let me start off by saying that for a while now I've been wanting to get back into church. I was brought up Catholic. Both my mom's family & my dad's family are Catholic. My dad was very religious & I went to Catholic school when I lived near Boston (the first 10 years of my life). I even have a great aunt who's a nun.

However, Catholicism really isn't for me. I was content to be brought up in the Catholic church, to say prayers every morning at school before the Pledge of Allegiance. When we moved & I had to attend CCD, I went willingly. I wanted to learn more, I wanted to make my Confirmation. Not just because my family expected me to make it, but because I was fairly religious & was excited to make the commitment myself, to be Catholic.

Somewhere down the road, sometime after making my Confirmation in 10th grade, things changed. Or maybe it's just that things caught up with me. I was well educated in the Catholic religion: the beliefs, the traditions. Some things just didn't make sense to me. The biggest gripe I had was about the Catholic church & homosexuals. I was always a good student in religious classes, but then I started to fall out of the good graces of teachers because I began to question things. I wasn't satisfied with the answers I was given. I was disheartened.

So, I stopped going to church. I didn't like being one of those holiday church-goers, but I agreed to go along with my family (who are holiday church-goers, not regular church-goers). The exceptions for me have been Ash Wednesday & annual memorial services for my dad.

Although I haven't considered myself religious for quite a while, I've recently become more spiritual. With that increase in spirituality, I wanted an outlet. I decided that when I moved, I would go "church shopping" & see what happened. I found a non-denominational church just down the street from me & decided to give it a go.

Last night (er, at 2:30am) I went to bed, resolved to go to church in the morning. I was nervous, because the only time I've ever gone to church by myself has been to get ashes. Forget about a completely different church! By. myself.

I had the strangest dream. No, nightmare. It really was bizarre. All I really remember now are the ridiculous parts, like getting cold called on to read a part in a play about Mary & Jesus. The script was on these huge ass lobster bibs. I don't even eat lobster, so I don't know where that came from at all. The gist of it was that the whole experience was really embarrassing, stressful, & not at all fulfilling. I woke up wondering if I should still go to church.

I also woke up late, with half an hour to get ready & get out the door. I decided to go any way, despite the nightmare & all the nerves. The service was wonderful & I can't really explain the feeling I had. Things just felt right.

My nerves weren't unjustified though. When I got to the church, I was pegged as new immediately. Someone came up & introduced herself to me, telling me to sign the guest book & sit wherever I would like. When I sat down, waiting for the service to start, someone else came up to me & introduced herself. I felt very welcome, but also very awkward. I'm not a huge fan of small talk. The church has a coffee hour after service, something I didn't intend to touch with a ten foot pole. I was raised Catholic, we don't do that.

About ten minutes before the service was over, two older ladies who were sitting behind me got up to prepare the snacks. One of them tapped me on the shoulder & said, "make sure you join us for coffee after." Well, shoot. I guess there was no way of getting out of it at that point. I should point out that it's a small congregation, so it was evident that I was a new person. That & it spread like wildfire that there was someone new.

I went to coffee hour, very apprehensive. I met basically the whole congregation & it was so overwhelming. Everyone was very nice, but it was so overwhelming. I kept thinking I could finally get away, but someone else would come up & start talking to me. And then when I finally felt like I really could get away, the woman I was talking to told me not to go anywhere because Pastor Katie wanted to meet me. The pastor. Again, very nice woman, but I was overwhelmed.

I'm planning on going back next week, but hoping that I can slip out of coffee hour or at least just make a brief appearance as opposed to being held for an hour after service. I spent two hours at church today. Have I mentioned I was brought up Catholic? AKA get in & get out.

Warning: rapid topic change

Tonight I got together for dinner with the friends I stayed with for three weeks. M & E came to pick me up & I gave them a tour of the apartment. It only makes sense that they were the first to see it. And they love it. That makes me very happy. I love my apartment & I love that other people love my apartment. There are still lots of unpacked boxes, but it's homey & I guess more put together than expected for only a week in the apartment.

Back at their place, the kids were playing & I sat in the kitchen talking with M & M2, while M2 made dinner. We caught up, even though it had only been a week since I had left after staying with them for almost a month. We joked about the huge difference between living with a family of four with a dog & a cat, as opposed to living in an apartment all by myself. I told them about my experience going to church & with coffee hour. The church they go to also has coffee hour, so they understood what I was talking about. They also told me about their experiences in church this morning.

They go to a Methodist church which is made up in part by immigrants from Ghana. This morning they held their annual harvest, which basically is where they shake down members for money. It's done in almost an auction style & they've described in detail the stark difference between the Ghanian members, for whom this is tradition, & the other members who are quite uncomfortable with the public giving. The stories involved a lot of re-enacting of dancing, along with some castanet playing. I can't even BEGIN to describe how entertaining this all was.

The rest of the night was filled with ridiculousness that can't quite be put into words unless you've hung out with this family. Things that may have been involved: fake piercings; spanking (which did not involve the kids); someone laughing so hard they practically choked ... & really without warrant; (falsely) implied behavior involving magic mushrooms. Really, just your average night.

Oh & I FINALLY got to talk about Mad Men! If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've become obsessed with this show. I got the first season from the library & once I got into it, I kept trying to find people who watch it so I could talk about it. It's a show which really does need to be discussed. I generally feel that way about all shows I watch, but this one in particular. Probably because of the time/culture differences which make it so interesting. M & M2 are the ones who got me into the show, after talking about it constantly while I was staying with them. I jumped on the chance to talk about it & it was delicious. Although there was the tease, "Just wait until you get to season two!" Evil. Just evil! I should have it by Wednesday though.

Then I came home & realized that tomorrow is trash day & I didn't have an city bags. (City trash bags, seriously? Thanks for charging me $8 for FIVE trash bags, "City".) I made the minute long trek to CVS hoping they carried trash bags, only to be hit on my the high school aged cashier. Story of my life, I don't know what it is with me & cashiers. And then, since Friendly's is right there, I decided a hot fudge sundae was necessary. Sundae Sunday, any one?

And now I'm craving pizza so bad that it's practically all I can think of. It's 10:30pm & there's no way I'm ordering pizza right now, so ... I don't know. I'll probably have to give in to it tomorrow, when it won't be quite as satisfying, but still completely necessary. You know how it goes.


With (not magic) mushrooms. And eggplant. And onion. And green peppers.

Now I'm literally drooling. Thinking about pizza. I might have to check & see if my favorite place is still open. Damn it.

PS -- It's my mom's birthday! Happy 51st, Mom!

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