Growing up in a busy city, with strangers all around it has been ingrained in me not to talk to anyone I do not know. I have now been living in the countryside just over two months and I still get alarmed when the passerby smiles at me, waves or worse yet talks to me. These things for a city girl are a foreign concept. In the tiny town of Dillon it does not matter whether you have never seen a folk before, you will be greeted in a friendly manner. It does feel nice but at the same time I am still cautious of stranger danger (as they taught us in primary school).
I am now used to and even enjoying waving at every driver I pass by, smiling as I walk through town at everyone and greeting people on hikes. However, sometimes it is still good to be cautious as I learnt yesterday. After seeing the amazing photograph presentation at the university a retired meteorologist decided to talk to us. He was very keen inviting us to his bible studies, out for lunch and offering to give us a lift almost 2 hours out of his way. While I am sure he has a kind heart, giving him our phone number was a rookie error. As afterwards he starting reeling off furthermore invitations – dinner offers and so forth. Luckily we do not have much reception where we are staying, so he hasn’t been able to follow any of these up.
The next day, when I got back to the office after a long, tiring and informative day out in the field, the receptionist beckoned me over with the most serious expression written across her face. I walked over wondering what the matter was. She said ‘Sarah, someone called for you today’. My heart sank, my palms grew sweaty and my face turned pale. Who would call me at work – I started to think the worst . Then she said a man named (Mr unnamed meteorologist) had wondered if you were interested in a church meeting and free lunch. I let out of sigh of relief that nothing bad had occurred back home and then a sigh of frustration. However nice it is to have a fan, I am not interested in being converted and certainly did not appreciate being called at work.
Situations like these can not be avoided – giving our phone number made no difference, he found us at work and ignoring everyone who says hello to you is just rude. It is a different way of life in the country, one which at times is welcoming and at others bizarre.