On Sunday mornings, church parking lots are crowded and stores empty. There are approximately 400 churches in Toledo area. 400 wooow, that’s a lot! I guess there are as many churches as there are fast foods. People expect you to attend service. I was not asked if I go to church but where do I go to church. Why are churches so important? Is it because people are real believers or is it because going to church means being part of a community?
Needless to say that we are all social. We need others. We are not made to live alone. We need to interact, drink wine and complain (well, French people at least). This is the essence of being human (and being French). What if you do not go to church? Where do you meet people?
In Europe, our « social groups » are co-workers, school buddies, old friends, friends of friends etc. We go to the gym, interact with others and if we find common interests we end-up having a drink. My best friends are former coworkers. Here in Toledo, religion takes a big place. The other day, I was in Barnes and Nobles with my girls. I started talking with a man that was interested in my accent. He wanted to know why and how we ended-up in Toledo. He started to make some jokes about the fact that he has a hook to replace one of his hands. For instance, he joked that he cannot play « paper, scissors, rock » anymore. That was a good one! You never know if you should laugh at this kind of jokes but I did. At the end of our conversation, he said: « God bless you ». My answer to that was: « babeu heuuuu ok, you too ». I was so surprised that I got completely confused.
Few days ago, we received a quotation from a plumber. At the end of the form you can read: « Jesus is the Lord ». Also, it is very common to see cars with stickers that display religious thoughts, such as “honk if you love Jesus” or “do you follow Jesus this close” or even “elect Jesus, your life leader”.
In France, we do not display our beliefs and it is one of the biggest cultural gaps that I face here, in Toledo.
To the question, where do you go to church, I gave the same kind of answer that I gave to captain Hook at Barnes and Nobles: « babeu heuuuu no heuuu church ? heu don’t go ». Sometimes, I even feel I should apologize…
Here, it is all about food, children and me.
Claire, mom of two adorable girls. Montessori believer.
A few pounds overweighted and a few inches too short. Sometimes too French for Americans and most of the time too American for French people. Rarely down to earth but often out of my mind.