In a previous post, I wondered how I'd go with the SPY mission to Henty, in country NSW; and how country folk would cope with an immigrant.
Well, the response to the first is: I am such a city boy.
Anyone surprised? No? Didn't think you would be.
Henty was nice to visit, but I couldn't live there. I got too easily bored & restless. And when we visited Albury one afternoon, I was disappointed with how small the botanical gardens were - until I was reminded that they actually pretty good for a country town. And when we went to an agricultural show on Saturday, I couldn't tell my sheep from my goats, or the llamas from the alpacas - much to the mirth of the locals...
Even in Sydney, I'm happier in the city than in the suburbs. I really enjoyed living in Newtown, 'coz it was inner city Sydney. I loved the crowds, the noise, the bustle. I loved the fact that I could jump on a bus and be in the CBD in ten mins, and circular quay in fifteen. I loved the fact that I was so close to cinemas, the opera house, museums, the art gallery.
I can understand the pastoral issues that city people face: the pressure of job and career, ridiculous housing prices, constant pressure to compete and perform (regardless of how young or old you are - after-school tutoring has mushroomed lately), constant busyness making everyone "time poor, infinite choice, rapid change, multicultural communities. I can comprehend country pastoral issues - the drought, uncertainty as to who's going to take over the farm - but they're not so proximate to me, I don't "feel" the weight of those issues. Basically, I don't really know what that's like.
As to the second question: I got on well with everyone from Henty church. Everyone was very pleased with our youth group, and with my evangelistic talk - which is interesting, 'coz I said some pretty hard-hitting things. They probably liked me anyway, because I did the old iron-first in velvet-glove thing: I made lots of self-deprecatory jokes about being an immigrant and a city boy, and knowing nothing about the country. They laughed uproariously, especially at the sheep-goat and llama-alpaca story.
Anyhow, I'm back in the concrete jungle now, and loving it. Okay, I'm off to busily evangelise some competitive, hard-working, time-poor multicultural city dweller.