Living in a different culture (and yes small town America is definitely different to living in the UK!) can be both really amusing and shocking when you come to realise what is and isn't culturally acceptable. It requires wisdom when you first arrive not to overreact to something that maybe perfectly normal in your new 'home' ... or when you're talking about something from your home culture that could be totally shocking to new friends.
Depending on how long you live somewhere, the cultural norm slowly becomes less of an adjustment in perspective and in many cases can just become the 'norm'! Some of my Stateside friends would be totally shocked that a 95 year old friend of mine in England goes to the pub for lunch once a week. She's a tee-total prayer warrior but when there is a seniors lunch including her favourite fish and chips for only a few pounds each week, she makes sure she doesn't miss it. Going to the pub in the UK is just a cultural thing, a nice place to meet friends, enjoy a meal and have a drink ... which doesn't have to contain any alcohol if that's not your thing!
Here in Coshocton the best coffee is sold at a place that has the comfiest leather sofas ... but because there is also alcohol sold on the premises a few of my local friends don't see it as a suitable place to frequent. (Resisting the urge to have a mini preach here ... as when I enter a culture I need to respect and adjust accordingly instead of trying to impose ... whatever the subject matter!)
So, if that's what's shocking this side of the pond. Guns would definitely hit a sore spot with friends and family back home. Guns are part of every day life here in Ohio and many friends have gun cabinets in their homes containing multiple guns. It wouldn't be unusual for the guys to arrange to go shooting together after work and Mark even went to a church fundraiser for our youth work which was shooting at a local gun club!
A couple of months ago I realised that if I ever wanted the experience of shooting a gun, it would most likely be while we're living here in small town America. So, not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I asked Mark if he could arrange something for me for my birthday. Although a little early ... but so that I could 'celebrate' while Rachel was visiting, last week there was a girlie shoot with two other really good friends and we had a lot of fun together. It was really funny to be given boxes of bullets decorated with ribbon as early birthday presents this year!!
A couple of guys from the hangar gave up an evening, brought a few guns each and we drove to the farm of a friend of a friend (!) and each had a chance to shoot six different guns before enjoying a girlie meal together afterwards. For those of you interested we shot a .22 revolver, 2x .22 rifles, .40 beretta pistol, 20 gauge shotgun, .223 semi-automatic rifle ... we got more powerful as the afternoon went on and we all definitely had our favourites!
Having now tried it, we all agree ... they make it look really easy in the movies ... and it isn't quite as straight forward as they make it seem. With practice though I'm sure it would feel a lot easier!! It was certainly a different way to celebrate my birthday ... can you tell I'm not a girlie girl?!!
You may be totally offended by this post, with talk of alcohol and guns, for which I apologise ... but it's interesting, as I know some who will be affected more by one topic and some the other!