Well, it was a strange Christmas. Strange for me, anyway: to keep sara’s parents happy, we went to church in the morning. They’re Lutherans—and not just any old Lutheran, either. It has to be a specific conservative Lutheran synod, not those ecumenical ELCA types.

I sat quietly, and stood at the appropriate points. I was there, but I didn’t sing or pray. I couldn’t have anyway—of the four hymns I actually recognized, two had totally different words, one had a completely different tune, and the third goes way too high for my post-teenage voice. There were another four or five hymns I didn’t recognize at all.

The entire experience left me with a strange mixture of nostalgia (for my C of E childhood) and extreme alienation. Here I was, in a frozen wasteland surrounded by strangers singing mutated alien versions of familiar hymns.

After church it was off to visit some relatives. I wasn’t terribly talkative given my mood—but then, we’re talking about Minnesotans, and most of the men weren’t very talkative either, unless it was about caring for twenty year old cars or discussing crop prices.

I haven’t seen any other men with earrings outside Minneapolis, but nobody has said anything. Or at least, nobody has said anything to me… Oh well. Tomorrow we’ll be back home amongst the freaks and I’ll be able to relax.