Khazan: Some people think social media is making us lonely. Do you agree with that?
Gingerich: Yes, I agree with that. One thing that me and my boyfriend are doing is we don’t text much at all. He’s big on talking face-to-face or calling on the phone, which I really like. I’ve had guys who were interested in dating me, but they would never call me, and I don’t like that.
I dated a guy for nine months in Stephenville, and we never once talked on the phone until the day after we broke up. I don’t think he wanted to, but I also don’t know why I didn’t make the effort to talk to him on the phone. I guess because I never saw him talking on it—except to his mom.
Khazan: So people, in your view, don’t communicate as much as they could?
Gingerich: I’ve talked to girls who freak out if a guy calls them. They’re scared to talk to him, they want to just text. It’s sort of like hiding behind who you really are. You don’t want him to see something, to notice something. It’s like a security blanket.
Khazan: Your siblings are still Amish, right?
Khazan: When’s the last time you talked to your family?
Gingerich: At the end of May of last year, I went to visit my sisters who are married. They all live in an Amish community in Maine. I’m allowed to visit, but it’s never easy.
I can just feel the tension. My sisters are always nice to me, but there’s always this, “Well, if you would just come back ...” They make me feel guilty for not being there and watching their kids grow up. That part is hard because I would love to see that. But now I live in Texas and this is my destiny.
Khazan: Would you consider moving to Maine and still not being Amish, but just visiting your Amish sisters more often?
Gingerich: I have tried doing that ever since they moved up there. I love Maine, it’s beautiful and I could see myself living there. I’ve actually tried looking for a job and looking for a place to live up there, but it just doesn’t work out. My sisters tell me it would just be too hard to see you living this close and you’re not Amish.
I don’t get that feeling from them of, “Yes, move up here, be closer to us.” So I don’t feel like I should force myself to go up there and make them like it. I just don’t have the energy to try to continue being closer to them if they don’t want me there.
Khazan: Do you have to wear Amish clothes when you go visit them?
Gingerich: If I go to my parent’s place, then my dad has put his foot down, you're going to wear Amish clothes when you come here. But my brothers and sisters, they don’t care.
Khazan: Last time we talked, one of the things you mentioned really enjoying about your new life was the ability to eat ice cream whenever you want, since the Amish don’t have freezers. Is there anything else like that that you’ve been thinking about?
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. They’re not supposed to be mad.
For the Amish, they just keep it inside and move on. I’ve had a hard time expressing myself because I was so fearful thinking I’m being selfish if I do. But I found out if I communicated right, it makes my life easier, and it makes life easier for other people because I’m not grumpy.