I have to share a little story about the city of Sioux Falls. First, I must confess, I'm always quite skeptical about what someone from the outside might think about our great city. What will they make of the cold weather, and the infinite horizon, and the general excitement and malaise of the month of December.
Mainly, because those initial impressions are so permanent and non-fleeting. "It was snowing". "The hotel receptionist was distracted and abrasive." "The roads are so slushy." "Does the sun ever shine?" You know what I mean. Besides, it is winter, and you never know what to expect.
I can't believe I just uttered the words, "great", especially in reference to Sioux Falls. This, from someone who "grew up" in Sioux Falls, and promised never to return.
Well, here's the story:
We hired a new teacher at Baan Dek, and she arrived into town late yesterday afternoon. She's originally from Wales, but comes to us most recently from St. Louis. We've been trying to convince her to join us at Baan Dek for over half a decade, at least since we departed the great city of London. Yes, I said "great", and I meant it.
This is her experience, as witnessed by me.
1. Her landlord was waiting at her new home when she arrived. Not only did the gentleman and his wife hand off the keys, and show her around the house, they also helped to unhitch her car from the UHaul and unpack her necessities. When she was safely settled, and had figured out how to switch off the fireplace that they had so generously warmed for her arrival, they offered their phone numbers if she needed anything, "anything at all", because "they live just up the road".
2. Missing the drop-off time for the trailer hitch at the UHaul headquarters, we arrived seeking assistance, but none of the staff were on hand. They'd already left for the evening. Starting to Google, "how to unhitch a trailer", another customer, who was also late to drop-off their trailer, went out of their way to help us out, explaining the mechanics behind the lever.
3. We wanted to hire a few workers from Labor Ready to help with the unloading process. You should see the UHaul. Knowing they were closing at 7:30 p.m. we called ahead to tell them we were speeding across town, from just dropping off the trailer, and would be there approximately ten to fifteen minutes late. The receptionist didn't even blink. She offered to wait and help us out.
Sioux Falls is many things, to many people. Some of us don't like to admit it.
To some, Sioux Falls is great. To others, it is not so great. I suppose many people have similar relationships with their cities. But, last night, the city came alive for our old friend, moving to this new place. It was ready. Sioux Falls impressed me: the convenience, the humility, the friendliness, it was overwhelming and heartwarming.
And, then it snowed today.