Saturday, March 29, 2008

Living Overseas

What is it that makes people pick up and move overseas? How can a person or people sell everything they own, leave their support system, the familiarity of the things around them to go and live in a place minus those things? No familiar doctors, dentists, friends, or even simple things such as familiar food and types of housing?

I wonder about that often these days, especially living around a strong foreign business community. An arrogant person once stated to me that the only reason someone would try to work over here is if they couldn't make it in the states. At first the arrogance of the statement took me back, but I had to laugh about that later, because they fit that profile completely. Why can't I see those things immediately? It did make me wonder why THEY were here, though.

But that's not what brings people overseas at all. I can't imagine someone thinking "I can't make it in the states, so I'm going to go live overseas where I'm even MORE disadvantaged and give it a shot." No. There's more to it. And I'm not just talking about missionaries, either. Missionaries do feel a burden for those around them, but so do business people. Business people also have to deal with culture shock, learning a new language and learning to drive in a controlled chaotic style. They aren't working from a calling, so what keeps them here?

When we were going through the process of coming overseas, we met a couple named Jim and Jane. They shared that their family was accusing them of just wanting an adventure. The response of everyone there was, "So?" That sense of adventure seems to be a prerequisite to working in another culture. Can you imagine coming over here and NOT having one? We referred to Jim and Jane's process as "Jim and Jane's Great Adventure" after that.

But I think that's an important quality: a sense of adventure. I honestly didn't realize I had that much of an adventurous spirit until I lived in that little town on the mountain. A pioneer woman with a computer is what a friend called me. I never thought about it in those terms until she said that. Adventure can be addicting, making a person want to experience more and more. There's something about actually tangently feeling, tasting and seeing another culture. It is definitely something that keeps us working through the frustrations of daily living in another culture. And believe me, there are frustrations, because this is not my home culture.

But this is our home for now. God has called us to this life. I know, because he's instilled that sense of adventure in us, and keeps it alive in us on a daily basis. Our focus is on the lives around us, and the next adventure we're called to.

I wonder what God's adventures are like. You know he loves it, too. After all, we're created in His image.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Continued

You know, as of last Tuesday, the grass is a bit greener, the sky is a little bluer. Birds are chirping a little happier, and butterflies abound. What a wonderful world.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where my true love is?

My dad would quote that poem in the Spring when I was growing up. It comes to mind on days like yesterday. It was such a glorious day! Cool breezes, a few clouds in the sky, birds chirping, kindergartners chasing butterflies (telling what some of them did to the butterflies won't fit with the tone of this post). Everyone was walking around saying, "It's a sin to be inside on a day like today!"

When I was teaching in Florida, I had the privilege of teaching gifted students the subjects of reading and history. It's a great combination, and we were able to do so much with those topics, especially with those gifted minds at work. But occasionally, there were days like yesterday. I never could stay indoors on those days. So, no matter what was planned on these days, it always became a reading day. Novels were fetched, carpets were thrown on the grass, and our reading class commenced in the great outdoors. We were always sad when time was up, because it meant going back to the grind of studying and classwork. But at least we had one class period of reading in the sun.

I came to realize yesterday that I have a Ferris Bueller mindset. Sometimes you do have to stop and smell the roses. And I could see that others had the same mindset as well. Desks and chairs were moved outdoors, students sprawled on picnic tables with their books and papers anchored with bookbags. When you're given the gift of a beautiful day, occasionally you need to take the time to enjoy it!