Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Finding our Niche, aka My Sweet Spot

Definition of Niche- " a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species c : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption d : a specialized market"

I love this definition of Niche-" a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person is best fitted" because it does describe what I feel we have found here in Washington. We have found a place where the people and the environment seem to be best fitted to me and my family. There are many ways that a niche can be found, but for us it was with many trials and tribulations to get to where we are now.

Looking at the above statement, I have to giggle at how dramatic I can be sometimes. Because really compared to those that move to the States from another country, not knowing a single soul, or the native tongue, what we experienced was as easy as eating a piece of apple pie(which is pretty easy, too easy for me). That's not to say that it wasn't difficult to go from the state that I have lived in my whole life, where all my immediate family still lives, where some of my very best friends live, to a place where we all had to start from scratch. I feel really fortunate that two of my very close friends from my youth both live 20 minutes from me and also some wonderful family. Their friendships truly have been a life line to me. I knew though that as much as my comfort zone didn't want to stretch and meet new friends, it was necessary for this Old Sanguine.

It is an interesting thing meeting new people though. There are awkward silences. There are looks that are unfamiliar. There are moments that can feel like an eternity has passed if you don't keep the conversation rolling. We have been here in Washington since October 2009, and we are just now beginning to find our "niche" as far as people are concerned. We have finally found a church to settle into and call home, and we have got in sync (LOL in sync, like the band) with the culture that surrounds us.

I now know what it is like to be the newbie. The outsider looking in. The foreigner. The stranger. When I left NV, I left the place where everybody knew my name and my business, and I entered a land where I was completely unknown. It's good to be known. It feels better to be known, than to be unknown. I had been known for so long, I had forgotten what it felt like to be unknown. However, to be unknown in some ways, if I am completely honest was really nice for a time. It brought a freedom that could have soon turned into apathy if left unchecked. Thankfully, I have a checker. That checker gently nudged in the direction of living in community once again, and I am thankful for him. And I am thankful to be known once again.

I am also so very thankful for the people who have shared their gift of hospitality with me and my family. There have been all kinds of gestures to welcome my family and I, like a walk up my hill, a pie brought over, a free week pass at the gym, a birthday party, a night out , a night in, a book club, an invitation , etc. these extension of friendship have meant the world to me, and my kids.

And now that I am sitting sweetly in my "sweet spot" or niche, I hope I can extend the same gesture of friendship to the next newbie.
A kind of pay it forward in the niche department if you will.


shontell said...

Yes. pay it forward to me. In Idaho. Because Dave Ramsey said I can't visit you anytime soon. Bastard.

Jen Simms said...

Well, Seattle fits you. It's true. And don't we all know who that next newbie will be :)

noel said...

@ Shontell-Dave Ramsey is a Cotton headed ninny muggins!!

@Jen-Yes, I hope the next newbie will be our friends the Heifners. They are pretty darn sure about it, just waiting for the green light from the Master traffic controller!

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