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Khazan: Who picked up on the other end when you called? A lady that picked me up from the little town, the day that I left. Khazan: Where did you get your first non-Amish outfit? Khazan: Do you remember the first time you went on the Internet? I had no idea that my grandfather was such a horrible person. Gingerich: Because three of his sisters left, and I’m thinking it was all because of their dad. The people have a choice of staying where they’re at now or they can leave and join a different church, with less rules, I guess. Gingerich: Freedom to be able to go work outside the community, to be able to use a driver to go to work instead of horse and buggy. Gingerich: I had a difficult time speaking English, mainly because I was scared of what I was saying.
Gingerich: Some people donated clothes, which were way too big for me, to start with. I went to a thrift store first, because I didn’t have much money. Gingerich: I wanted to learn how to type, so I pulled up a Word document. I always wanted to be one of those people who didn't have to look at the keyboard. Gingerich: I started taking GED classes four or five months after I left. Khazan: What are some of your favorite websites now? I didn’t like him ever, while we were growing up, I hated going to his house because he was such a mean guy, but after I read some of that stuff, I thought, “Wow, no wonder my dad is so upset that I left.”I almost felt sorry for my dad at that point, because I think he probably blamed himself for not being able to keep me there. And my dad was not near the horrible person that his dad was, so he probably just couldn’t understand why I wanted to leave. I can just say what I think it is: Some people want a different lifestyle. And then there’s people who say, “No you can’t do that, that’s wrong,” and then they shun people. Khazan: So the thing that people want that’s different is more freedom? Worrying that I was saying something wrong, worrying that people wouldn’t understand me and I would have to repeat it. Gingerich: I don’t think it really hit me until I started my bachelor’s degree. I would wake up the next day and feel like, what was I crying about again? Khazan: Has technology ever failed you in a certain way?
Khazan: Some people think social media is making us lonely. He’s big on talking face-to-face or calling on the phone, which I really like.Gingerich: I really enjoy having the ability to share my faith, or my happiness, or share whatever to others, and not feel like I can’t do that because then I'm considered worldly.Because in the Amish, they don’t really share anything about themselves, how they feel, how mad they are. For the Amish, they just keep it inside and move on.I was practicing the letters, and I couldn’t figure out why some of them are big and some of them are little and why aren't they all the same size? I thought I had to hit caps lock every time I wanted a big letter. Khazan: You said that there are more people leaving now and coming back. Khazan: How long did it take for you to get better? I felt comfortable right as I was graduating with my associate’s degree. There were a few times I would call a friend, bawling my eyes out, saying I’m going to quit, I can’t get through this any more, because of homework and trying to figure out APA-style formatting. There were a few times where I thought, “Why am I doing this? Khazan: What do people who didn’t grow up Amish not appreciate enough, in your view? Gingerich: When the Internet is not working, I lose it. I went to Nepal last year for a mission trip and over there, at first it felt great to be able to be away from technology.It took me a long time to be able to type efficiently. Are you saying that more people are leaving the Amish, period, or that the people who do leave have more to talk about when they visit their Amish relatives? Recently, there has been a big division in the church and it has caused a huge uproar with different families. Then I moved away to Stephenville (Texas) for my bachelor’s, and I didn't know anybody in Stephenville, so I was alone all over again, making new friends and getting used to a bigger university., just fall asleep. Why not just work and forget about a college degree? Gingerich: They have more freedom, and sometimes I feel like people don't appreciate the choices they can make. Gingerich: Maybe, because I don’t like playing games. But then toward the end, I was thinking, I just can't wait to go back to the U. where I can be connected to technology again and see what all is happening.