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My life is not an adventure, it’s a JOURNEY

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Time well needed and well spent. One of the things that I thought about is a phrase that so many people have said to me since I decided to temporarily leave the country. ” Wow, your life is an adventure” or ” You are going on an adventure!”  I honestly cringe when people say that to me. Now I know exactly why…….

“Living life in another country is no walk in the park.” 

When you are visiting another country it’s all fun and games. It’s exploring, relaxing,  and eating good food. It’s all about finding the beauty in a place with a limited amount of time to do it. It’s about making connections with yourself and what’s familiar and unfamiliar to you. Ahhh, now that’s the life! That’s the dream some people must imagine my life to be like. NOPE! Not exactly. It’s a little more intense…..

  • Like walking around hungry for hours because I can’t find a restuarant to eat at that I can actually understand what’s on the menu. Can I have SOME English, pictures, ANYTHING! I’m hungry!

  • Not having a good day? Too bad, the stares don’t stop, the sad attempts to have basic conversations in English don’t stop, the jaw dropping expressions don’t stop, the questions don’t stop!

  • Have banking needs? Good luck getting English assistance and don’t be in a rush to send money home, it’s going to take time. Lots of time.

  • When are my clothes gonna dry?? In southeast Asia, most people don’t have dryers in thier homes. I’m apart of the “most” group, so that means sometimes waiting countless hours and days for clothes to dry in the humidity and in the cold.

  • Mold has completly taken over my life! Moisture is such a big problem due to humidity and climate that you just have to surrender to the Gods!!

  • I don’t remember what life was like without google translate! I use it to talk to people in the stores, read my mail, read street signs, read posters on the street, and the list goes on! It has become a way of life.

  • Grocery shopping is like “Pick and Pray!” Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.  When in doubt, leave without!

I must admit that the major struggle comes with the language barrier. I have found that even if you know the language there is still a barrier if you are not a native. Some things just simply can’t be translated. Everyone’s experience living abroad is different based on the country you live in and the individual situation.

“THE JOURNEY”

I view life in general as a journey. What I am doing by living abroad is apart of my destiny. It goes far beyond the “adventure” of it all. Sure, I expereince some adventures along the way but there is a method to my madness. An order in which things have happened and will happen. Each step is calculated, considered, and contoured to directly influence myself and others. I want to be responsible for conducting a life that I can be proud of. A life that will inspire those around me. Each day is different, each expereince is motivating, each cycle changes. It’s a series of ups and downs, ins and outs. Through the happy times, the sad times, and the devestating times I find strength. I’m choosing to live life on my own terms. To navigate the path that God has given me, as he leads and guides me along the way. I’m loving every minute of it! I couldn’t always say that, so I’m grateful I can today. This journey, with some adventures, is the best of life as I know it. I stand proud and accept the challenge!

 

The unspoken truth about HOMESICKNESS

It’s a hot sunny day in China and I’m preparing to meet up with some friends to do some sightseeing. It’s so exciting living in another country and exploring the jewels of a city that you only learned of a few months prior to arriving. The sounds, the smells, the people, the energy feels incredible! We walk around this oil painting village which is quite charming. Viewing the art and negotiating prices becomes the highlight of the day. Something happens and it changes my whole perception in an instant! We walk around a corner and immediately things felt wrong. I hear barking and clucking. I see animals, long tables, and blood. Then, I see an animal get slaughtered! I take off running and screaming and suddenly what is a normal everyday occurrence for this culture is a trigger for homesickness. Although I’ve lived in this place for at least 8 months at this point, it’s still not home. Those sounds, smells, and people that were just so exciting are not exciting anymore. Matter of fact I’m irritated and annoyed. I notice the stares and a little girl relieving herself on the corner. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat. I’m thirsty but I know I can’t drink the water. Now I want a burger from Wendy’s. I want to go to my favorite store and shop for jewelry. I want to walk in the store and ask for something I want, anything and be understood in English! I want to go home!!

It’s cloudy here. Not much sun since I arrived. It’s cold but I’m happy because I arrived in Japan right before Cherry Blossom season! As I walk down the street I smile because it’s so clean. It’s so green and beautiful here. Things are very organized. I go for my breakfast and notice that on my tray there is a place for everything thing. I think I’m gonna like it here. As I move into my apartment a few weeks later I really notice how quiet it is. Where is everybody? Why is it so quiet? I walk down the street and no one even makes eye contact with me. I want to say hi to someone, anyone, and it’s like I’m invisible! The people I have had interaction with are nice enough but is it genuine? I realize that there is not much written English around. Nothing looks familiar in the grocery stores. What am I going to eat? I go to McDonald’s often because it’s the only thing I recognize. This city is missing energy. The energy that makes you feel alive. This feeling is different from the homesickness I felt in China. Now I feel homesick and alone.

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