And the New Cast Member is . . .

Park Slope in Brooklyn. She comes from money, but I wouldn't know if I hadn't been told. She is comfortable being herself and hopes I'll do the same. My new place character seems like someone I would like, so we'll try it out for a year and see if I'm right.

I have to mention a bit of irony about this move. When I was selecting a college, I was deciding finally between Barnard College at Columbia University and the University of Oklahoma. I had received generous scholarships from both schools, but at $30,000 a year the expenses-scholarship gap was much more sizable for Barnard. I was a little nervous tackling the big apple alone at 17 years of age, and I predicted that I'd probably make contacts there and end up working in the City afterward. I didn't know if I wanted to raise a family there and eventually chose OU. Fast forward more than ten years to when I actually have a family, and Justin and I find ourselves saying to each other, you know where would be a great place to raise kids? New York City.

People told us it was impossible to fly in and find a great apartment in three days. We fielded countless looks of skepticism, disbelief and amusement. Raised eyebrows escorted wishes for good luck. But after down-to-the-wire drama we've secured a place that will be lovely. It was my first time to see the Big Apple; Justin's was less than two weeks ago when he flew out to interview. Lucy slept through cold, cold weather and serious shlepping in a front pack. She was a complete rock star, and carrying a baby is one of the best ways to meet people and make friends. We now have two families that are our first friends in New York.

But I've been contemplating culture shock from this side and thinking about the pace of things in our world. It fascinates me that in a few hours on a plane you can cross a continent, that we can talk live on the phone to people in every kind of time zone and place. We study things like culture transitions, and I can draw you charts and timelines. But Cynthia and I were saying that it is frustrating beyond belief that all the knowledge about culture shock doesn't give us the ability to escape its clutches. Our bodies can move at breathtaking speed, but our souls take time. They are the one thing that refuses to be sped up and we lose our patience for the slow speed of spiritual journeys, soul formation.

When the soul becomes displaced, it can become disoriented and sad. My soul often feels this way since losing its home in the church. Unlike many of my friends, I am young and inexperienced enough to believe there's another place for me there, somehere a little urban, a little liberal, hell, even a little metaphysical. I don't know how to find that neighborhood, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to forfeit my residency just yet. The other neighborhoods bother me less if I have the option of just visiting occasionally and don't have to actually live there.