Sunday, May 27, 2012

Simply Living!!

Hello old friends and new!! Today's post is a personal update of my life and whereabouts during the last month or so. You might have noticed that my beauty posts have been less frequent than usual and this is simply due to the precedence of my personal happenings that are outside of my blogging world. This month has been dense, but fast-paced: I've hosted friends from Paris, went out-of-state, worked on makeup for several weddings and even blogged a little... :)) I won't go into all the details, but I will show you some snippets from my travels!! Last week, I was away in Pennsylvania, accompanying LeeLee (my beau) on his work-related affairs. Due to the nature of his business, we often spend a lot of time in PA, so whenever we get a moment to escape, we like to explore our surroundings. In the pic above, I'm joyfully taking in the fresh country air aboard an old Amish wagon in Lancaster. Visiting the Amish in Lancaster County, PA was one of my favorite experiences in a long time, and today I'm sharing some of its picturesque beauty.

So, hop on the wagon and come along!

The Amish are a sub-group of the Christian Mennonite Church, originally formed in Switzerland in the late 1600's. In the 18th Century, many Amish and Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania, which is now considered the largest Amish community in the world. The Amish are known for simple living, plain clothes and detachment from modern technology and society. The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch (a dialect of Swiss German) and their population is about 250,000.
The Amish place high value on humility, composure and community; rejecting pride, vanity, and self-promotion. According to the Amish interpretation of the Biblical Commandments, they are not allowed to have graven images i. e. have their pictures taken and/or displayed. I was told it was OK to take photos from far away as long as their faces aren't shown. It was actually difficult to avoid them, they kept popping up in my viewfinder, so for this post, I'm limiting my photos to the most respectful ones, like the boy and the bicycle, below.
Arriving in Lancaster, LeeLee and I were a bit "underwhelmed" at first. The peace, ease, and tranquility of the Amish Village and its residents were too loud of a silence for city dwellers like us. As most tourists, we came in with our own predispositions, judgements and modern attachments (I was tweeting and IG-ing through my buggy ride smh). It was only after meeting Susan, a non-Amish tour-guide at the Amish Farm & House, that we began to understand what this culture was all about. Susan was incredibly knowledgeable and sincerely passionate about the Amish and their traditions. She guided us through the historic home giving us a crash-course in Amish lifestyle and culture. It was one of the best history lessons I've ever had!
Amish home decor and clothing is all about modesty and humility. There are no buttons, adornments, decorations, or jewelry. The girls own two to three dresses with aprons: 1 or 2 for every day and another for church. Since this culture is about collectivity and not individuality, there are no variations in style or clothing, other than the distinction that can be made between married and single persons. For example: a man grows a long beard after he gets married, so it's very easy for the girls to see who is available. Married women, on the other hand, wear a white heart-shaped bonnet to church on Sunday. In fact, a man would have to wait until Sunday to find out if the girl he has his eye on is actually available. I kind of like this practice! In a society that seems so strict, there are absolutely no arranged marriages. In order for a young man to court a girl he likes, he must ask permission from the girl's father and she ultimately has to give the OK for the father to report back to the young man. So, the dad is essentially the daughter's wing-man! Simply genius!!
Speaking of collectivity, the Amish one room school (grades 1-8) holds and teaches all class-levels at the same time. Not only does this practice help build stronger bonds between the students aka future members of the Amish community, but it also encourages interdependency. Take a look at the school desks built in ascending order, the smaller, 1st grader desks are in the front row, while the larger, 8th grader desks are in the back. Miss Lavina (an Amish school teacher) conducts the class while the students help each other learn between the rows. It's pretty awesome, if you ask me! Kinda makes me wanna go back to school...
Here I am, checking out some textbooks (printed by an unofficial Amish-supported publishing house) and LeeLee, modeling the parked scooters outside of the one room school. The cutest thing was seeing the children actually ride these scooters!!
the wagon and my import model pose hehe
I love animals, so I was totally at home on the farm :)) P. S. goats have really funny, horizontal pupils... I never noticed them before!!
After the Amish heritage museum and farm, we headed to Plain and Fancy Restaurant, the original Amish Farm feast served in pass-the-platter style, quite like a Thanksgiving dinner. Although this restaurant isn't Amish owned, it is fully supplied with Amish farm ingredients and I must say, I've never tasted anything fresher. Their fried chicken is so good that the restaurant was featured in Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. If you're ever in Lancaster, make sure to check out Plain and Fancy Restaurant -- I highly recommend it!! Sorry no pix, I was too busy munching and making friends out of strangers :)))
After the restaurant, LeeLee and I drove around checking out some Amish "real estate"... Driving through the little roads, we came face-to-face with a two-seater buggy holding a young couple. The guy did not have a beard, yet he was grinning from ear to ear. At that moment, LeeLee and I caught eyes and smiled: we knew exactly what was going on in that buggy: she gave the OK!!! 

I sense a ♥-Shaped Bonnet in her future!!



*There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Amish culture and also a whole lot of fascination and curiosity. Most people visit the Amish Country to gawk at the people who "live in the past", neglecting the fact that this is a closed society, often treating the Amish like zoo animals. At the same time, tourism is essential to the Amish, given the fact that they can no longer rely on subsistence farming as a main source of income, nor do they accept government assistance. If you decide to visit the Amish, please be mindful of these existing parallels.

Maryam Maquillage © 2012.
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