“Where is the…?”

August 6, 2009


You know what a doctor’s office looks like.  You know what a high school looks like.  You know what a residential area looks like.  You know what to look for in the average storefront.  You get the idea.

I just found out I’ve been living down the canal from a retirement home these last eight months.  And I’m constantly discovering new businesses, shops and schools every day.

One of the major questions we’ve been asking since we arrived in Holland is, where are all the marginalized people?  Crazy to think about, but it was the wrong question.  The question that comes after thoroughly cultural questions like: What does an retirement home look like?  What does “need” look like in a semi-social state like Holland?  Where are the signs telling me what things are?  (many times the only signage a business will have will be some frosted lettering on the front door or a small sign by the front door)

From businesses that look like homes to schools that look like office buildings, it seems we’re constantly discovering new depths to enculturation and how we come to decode the world we live in.   And now, we’re learning (quite willingly), the Dutch code.

I think my favorite way of thinking about it is in the language of story.  Every culture (tribe is probably a better word) tells their version of reality’s story.  And right now our contribution to the story to listening to the story ratio is pretty lopsided.  Sometimes it feels like we only listen.  Someti

mes it feels like we can make meaningful contributions.

Lots to learn and a long way to go, but the progress is coming.  Imagine, someday we are going to be able to tell the difference between a school and an office building!  🙂

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One Response to ““Where is the…?””


  1. […] the point?  We’ve begun searching for these third places in our town.  On top of recognizing the buildings that house them, where do people connect? Where do people hang out?  Where does relationship […]


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