We took a little family vacation to northern Indiana last weekend. Our destination? Amish Acres in Nappanee.
When I was a little girl, I read every book about the Amish I could get my hands on in the Richmond, Indiana library. I was fascinated by their different way of dressing and their mysterious-to-me ways. In more recent times (like in the last 6 months), I've harbored a secret desire to embed myself with an Amish family for a couple of weeks. Totally disconnected. Work my fingers to the bone on something other than a keyboard.
So when the marketing manager for Amish Acres invited our family to come visit, I didn't think twice. Despite the fact that we had the kids convinced that we were going to assume the Amish lifestyle and customs for the weekend, we actually stayed in a modern(ish) hotel and were limited to learning about the Amish culture from our visit to the Amish Acres farm.
You know that transplanting a family of tech-heavy, suburban folks into a slow-paced environment where technology is not embraced is going to produce some laughable moments.
We watched two pretty interesting documentaries about how the Amish came to be and how they choose to live in the world and not of it. Amish today reject the use of most technologies, though they will use gas lanterns and gas washing machines in their homes.
After learning several of the customs of the Amish, Annie said to me, "Mom, I think you could be Amish with benefits."
"Amish with benefits?" I asked.
"Yeah, you could be Amish as long as they let you have a computer."
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On a tour of a restored Amish home, we approached a small building with a crescent moon cut in the door. Robbie asked what it was. I told him it was an outhouse and explained what an outhouse was used for -- that people had to go outside to go potty.
Without skipping a beat, Robbie said "I wish Daddy used an outhouse."
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On Saturday afternoon, Annie and I went to see "Plain & Fancy," in Amish Acres's Round Barn Theater. The Broadway musical about a New Yorker heading into Amish country to sell some inherited farm land to Amish neighbors has been performed at the Round Barn Theater for 25 years.
Before the show began, the announcer came over the loudspeaker and reminded people that videorecording and photography was strictly prohibited during the performance.
"If you use photography," said Annie in a very serious voice, "you will be shunned."