Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Everyday Life

 Time for an update on my everyday life….

I have been in country for two months, and in some aspects I feel like I landed yesterday and in others, I feel completely at home. 

I have a great little apartment in the Village.  When I say little, it isn’t that little, it is actually bigger then my old house in OKC.  It is the upstairs of a house right down the street from work and directly across the road from my little coffee shop.  It has one living space, my bedroom and bathroom on the lower level and up three little steps is where I spend most of my time.  I have started calling it the loft, but in all actuality it is a giant multipurpose room. The kitchen is in one corner, lounge space in the middle and my washer and clothes line in another corner. I have spent the past weeks, buying things and making it my space.  When I moved in, there was really no kitchen.   I had a sink, shelf and a large dorm style fridge.  After a few weeks of sandwiches and stuff that did not have to be cooked to be eaten, I did some appliance shopping.  I bought a cook top, fridge, microwave and a toaster oven.  I have really been enjoyed being able to cook some simple things for myself and feel a little more normal.   The best thing about my house… the view --- 
I have affectionately begun calling it my backyard, and it is absolutely breath taking.  I also have a great little balcony on the front of the house, that on days when I lose power, I drag a chair out there and read.  It is nice, I can watch what is going on in the village and I am sure it amuses some of the people around me.

Daily life is pretty simple, and very similar to the states.  Wake up in the morning, far to earlier for my taste… the village seems to start waking up around and since I sleep with windows open, I usually wake up around 4:30, don’t worry, I do not get out of bed at that time, but do the toss and turn and light sleep for another hour or so.  Then I finally give up and get up.  Start the day, surprisingly I have no coffee pot in my house, so I get up, get ready and then spend some time with the Lord.  If I have a skype date with someone at home, those usually happen in the morning. So maybe I skype maybe I don’t.  I usually head to the coffee shop for breakfast around 7:30, walk across the road and settle in.  Sometimes I eat alone, and sometimes friends are there.  I am making friends with the little kids that are there.  It is amazing how a smart phone can make them all like you.  Order breakfast in the open air coffee shop, I usually have fried egg and an iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.   Every now and then I will get egg noodles with pork, just depends.   I spend breakfast laughing with friends and listening to the language around me, trying desperately to pick out words or phrases that I may know and of course a good portion of this time is spent giving Da a hard time.  At 8:30 I walk down the street to work.  I usually have language in the morning and then spend the rest of my time reviewing, working on media, newsletters, and giving Da a hard time.  I have had the chance to go to a few meetings, and let me just say… I really have to fight my adult A.D.D. and pay attention, because of the ever present language barrier.   It is getting better though; I am getting better at hearing the sounds and am picking up on the missing ending consonants.   I usually eat lunch at home or sometimes I do lunch at the dining hall at work.    I am building relationships with my office mates and I am loving it.  Getting to the point that I can joke around and get them to laugh, they all speak English to some level.  They all want to help me with my Khmer and my heart is happy when I can grasp enough words, or better yet, can participate in conversations.  Still have a very long way to go, but am feeling a lot better about the language.

Evenings are usually pretty quiet.  Sometimes I visit friends, but most often I am at home, just relaxing and studying.   Go to bed around 9, but that is a victory, since usually when the sun sets, it feels like it is midnight, and it is usually only 6:30!!!

Weekends, are usually about the same, minus work.  I tend to head into the city on Saturday with some friends.  Do any errand running that needs to be done and hit up Lucky.  Lucky is the grocery store and Iet me just say, grocery shopping in Asia, is a task.  I usually try to make a list… but there is no consistency to what is at the store.  Just because I was able to buy something last week, that does not mean I will be able to get it this week.   It is always an adventure, and just like home, I have found my favorite Lucky, and if it all possible, I try to go to that store.

I have had the chance to attend a church, in town, one time.  It was good to have the corporate worship time, but unfortunately the message was not all that theological sound.  I plan to visit a few other churches and see if I can find a place that I can attend semi-regularly.

Hope that you have enjoyed getting to read a little about my everyday life.  I still wake up in the morning and kind of shake my head that this is my new normal.   It is very easy to get distracted and homesick and wonder if I can really do this… so for now… I am trying to embrace the new normal and the Goodness of the Lord.

by grace and with much love,                                                                                                                        sarah

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Have Short Arms

In one of the more ironic moments of my life, I once dressed as a T-Rex.  It was several years ago in high school for senior incognito day, my group of friends decided that we were going to dress up as characters from the movie Toy Story, and I was Rex.  It was a lot of fun, I remember staying up way to late making a paper mache dinosaur head, dying clothing green, painting clothing, dying shoes, and even constructing a tail that as the day progressed  I would grow to hate.  You try to navigate your way through a mass of 2500 people with a giant dino head and a 5 foot long tail… needless to say it was a learning adventure and we did win, so that was a plus and it is a great memory.

It was so ironic to me because I have always thought my arms weren’t quite in proportion with the rest of my body.  I feel like they need to just be a few inches longer.   Remember in Toy story 2 Rex  is trying to beat a video game and he cries out in defeat “I have little short arms, I can’t hit both buttons at the same time!!!” I have felt his pain, well maybe not with buttons, but man I have thought so many times, if my arms were just a bit longer. 

As my life has changed so much as of late and really over the past year, I have several times wished “I had longer arms,” I have longed for abilities and things that I thought if I just had that, this would be so easy. Or thought man, if God would allow me this, just think how he could use it.  Usually it is fleeting and nothing that significant, but this week, He opened my eyes to a moment of me desiring longer arms and it blew my mind.

It is currently the festival of the dead in my new homeland.  What that means is that people have to go to the wats (temples) to leave food for their ancestors or their ancestors will curse them.  It is very dark thing, and it is always right in your face, especially when the monks are chanting or calling the towns people over the loud speaker system.  It is a pretty constant drone… and it is disheartening. To see people headed to the wat, and not really be able to do anything.  To see the ever present fear and lack of hope manifested on people’s faces, is heart breaking.  I was making dinner one night this week and talking to the Father, while my iTunes was shuffling in the background, I was begging God for longer arms, I am struggling with the communication barrier. I am taking language classes, but it is one of those things that you cannot rush. But I want to be fluent today. Not tomorrow, today.  I want to be able to share the Love and the Hope that can only be found in Jesus.  I want to tell my sweet landlord and her family, that God loves them and that fear doesn’t have to be a part of daily life. I was pouring out my heart to God, saying Lord this is for you name and your glory, just let me wake up knowing what to say and how to say it…. Then my iTunes changed, I am pretty sure that it had been playing the theme from “A Goofy Movie” then it started to play “My Deliverer”  by Rich Mullins. I was speechless. God is the deliverer of me and HE is the deliverer of these people.  

God doesn’t have T-Rex arms…..

I know that may sound silly and a little elementary, but think about it for a second.  God doesn’t need longer arms.  He is coming for His people.  He is accomplishing His purposes throughout the world right now.  And part of that is using a blond haired, short-armed, English speaking girl from OKC in SE Asia.  I don’t know yet what that exactly looks like and that is OK, because God has got this, like He always has. My heart is still broken for the lost people of the world, the monks chanting is still driving me to my knees to beg that God would pierce the darkness of this place with His Light, and I am still frustrated by language.

But to this I cling:

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

God doesn’t have T-Rex arms.

by grace and with much love,

ps: I know these past two post have been similar and a little heavy.  I promise I will post a “what my life is like here post” soon.