Zac and I arrived late on Friday night to Ramer's Bed and Breakfast in Goshen, Indiana. Alta and Issac Ramer are Old Order Mennonites, which means they have electricity but do not drive cars. They also dress "plain" which means long dresses and head coverings for the women and black "suits" with black hats for the men. We couldn't see much because it was dark, so we went straight to bed. I could not sleep very much because I was so excited about being in Amish country!
The next morning we woke up in our beautiful part of the house (it was the grandparent house that many Amish / Old Order Mennonite have attached to the main part of the house). Alta brought over a wonderful breakfast, and we met her for the first time. I am so in awe of her plain attire and was giggling with glee after she left the room.
Immediately after breakfast I suddenly developed the worst headache of my life. I was laying on the floor in the bathroom when Issac came over to "our part" to chat with Zac. After a few minutes of intense pain I had to call Zac for help. As soon as he came in I puked up my wonderful breakfast from the pain. I told Zac I needed help, please take me to the hospital. Zac lead me out to the car and we drove about 20 minutes to Elkhart County General Hospital. I could not open my eyes from the pain. They got me in a bed right away and hooked up to some drugs. A CT Scan was done, which was clear. The doctor (who was so great through this whole ordeal) then preformed a lumbar puncture, when came back not clear. There was red blood cells in my spinal fluid which usually means a brain anurisym. SHOCK! Another CT Scan was done, but this time they injected dye into my veins to get a better picture of my brain. About an hour later the results came back all clear. This mean the lumbar puncture had been "traumatic" which happens 20% of the time. My head was feeling much better after the pain drugs, so the doctor wrote up a prescription and we were out of there - 8 hours after we arrived! Not sure what happened with my head, but it's been fine since this incident.
I was weak from not having any food all day so we made our way South to Amish Acres and had a great dinner. It was on the way there that I saw my first horse and buggy on the road! We actually saw 3 on the way there and another 2 on the way back to the B&B. We made it back in time to walk around the farm with Issac (it's a dairy) as he fed the calves - so cute! It had been a long day so we went in to "our part" of the house and called it a night.
On Sunday we woke up to another wonderful breakfast from Alta and then got ready to join them for church. Now I have read A LOT about the Amish and "Plain Folk" in general, and all of the accounts of the church service was EXACTLY like I have read!!! We were instructed to park our rental car closest to the road so we would be out of the way of the horse and buggy's. There were TONS of horse and buggy's!!!! Coming from every direction to the meeting house. There was not electricity in the building and outhouses outside. Alta and Issac met us at our car and that was the last we really saw of each other for about 3 hours! At church the women go in one door and stay on one side of the building and the men go in another door and have their own side. Inside was rows and rows of wooden pews. Alta explained that the older people sat in front, then the married women and married men in their own section. The little girls (all of them with braided pigtails, dresses and black shoes) and little boys (all in white dress shirts and black pants) had their own section. Once the girls got older (around 11) they moved to a different sections, as did the boys. Around marrying age (17 or so) the girls started wearing their hair in a bun with the prayer covering, and then sat in the back section, across from the older boys. Of course Zac and I stuck out like sore thumbs, but I didn't care - it was all so amazing!! The kids were adorable!! They stared at us, but didn't talk to us =) Everyone else was so friendly. Zac estimated about 300 people with an average age of 18. We didn't get any pictures of the church or the people though, it wasn't allowed.
As church started one of the Preaher's led a song, which was all in German (they speak a form of German to each other and in their homes called Pennsylvania Dutch). Another preacher commented on the Old Testament story of Daniel in English. The Elder then read Mark 12 in German and then another Preacher commented on it for a very long time - but it was in English, so we could understand. There was a song in English, some kneeling prayer and more commenting by the Preachers and then we were dismissed. Alta told me they did more in English then usual since Zac and I were there. I loved watching the people, especially the kids during the service. They sat through it all, without any issues! There were 2 cribs off in a side room for sleeping babies, but that's it.
Afterwards I went out one of the women's doors with Alta to the front of the building to watch all the Father's come pick up thier families in the buggy's. I was amazed how many people they could fit in a little buggy! It was so neat to watch (and hear!) them all go off down the road. Zac and I said our goodbyes and meanered our way back to Chicago to drop off our rental car.
We are having a wonderful time - but I am missing the kids a lot. It's worse because they have both come down with horrible rashes, which we think is poison oak/ivy =) Please keep them in your prayers. More to come later!