Living in Humboldt County has taught me many things. Some of them are very Humboldt, some of them are just things I happened to learn while living here. This was Bryan and my first home; we moved here just weeks after we got married. I have definitely grown over the past two and a half years.
Here are just a few things I've learned during our time in Humboldt.
1. Just because someone mentions their "partner" does not mean they are gay. This may be incredibly obvious to some of you, but I'm sure not to everyone. Sometimes it refers to a homosexual significant other. Sometimes it refers to a heterosexual significant other. It can mean boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, fiancee, husband, or wife. It's like saying "my other half." All you really know is that the person mentioned is someone who is loved. I've even called Bryan my partner a few times, and laughed at myself later. Never thought that would catch on.
2. Nuggets mean pot, not chicken. Okay, not all the time, but a lot of the time.
3. Grass-fed doesn't mean organic. Organic doesn't always mean tasty. It usually is, however.
4. Never mention you went to McDonalds. Stop going to McDonalds. Same goes for pretty much all fast food, except In-N-Out.
5. Natural birth isn't a freakish thing. It's not for the crazies, it's a very normal thing that a very large percentage of pregnant women choose (here at least). It can be in the home, in the hospital, doctor assisted, midwife assisted, or unassisted. Birth can be transformative and exceptionally powerful and spiritual.
6. Babies don't need a lot of STUFF they need a lot of LOVE. They are also not as scary as I thought they were.
7. Beer isn't just beer. There is a culture and you should probably know if you prefer wheat to IPA to lager. Or something. Or you will look like a dork in an area that has at least 6 breweries within 40 miles.
8. High fructose corn syrup is in everything.
9. You don't need to wear makeup every day to look nice. You don't need to wear makeup in order to leave the house. Or to go grocery shopping. Or to go to work. In fact, it's perfectly okay to go to work with wet hair, no makeup, and wear a t-shirt and jeans. If you live here, that is.
10. Some of the people who are homeless choose to be, and some of them are victims of mental health, circumstance, and society. You really don't know which is which. Just because they look 22 and say they're "travelers," you shouldn't snub your nose at them. It will be hard not to snub your noses when they are asking for your spare change while they are wearing Patagonia. If you give them money, fine. If you don't, fine. But try not to judge them. This is a very very hard thing to learn.
11. The church is good. The church is corrupt. The church helps the poor. The church helps itself. The church can be powerful and transformative and honest. The church can be hateful and self-seeking and dishonest. The church is just people, and people are flawed. It is good to be a part of a movement that is committed to social justice, beauty, intelligence and community. However, conflict and ugliness can be found even in such a movement. We're all sinners. Let's learn to forgive ourselves and others and go on from there.
12. The Redwoods are huge and powerful and awe-inspiring. And then, slowly, they just become trees. They are still beautiful.
13. When people complain about paying $40 for a half hour doctor's visit and free meds, and you tell them how much it would have cost them if they were uninsured in Chicago... Well. They don't want to hear it.
14. The ocean is a thing of beauty. It is extremely powerful to be on the edge of a continent. You can go no further west on land. It's amazing.
15. Humboldt County is beyond beautiful.