Chinese New Year & 2014 via my phone

恭喜发财 Happy Chinese New Year!

I’ve decided to ring in the ‘Year of the Horse’ by doing a recap of 2014, so far – according to my phone.

This is how it happened:
“Hi, I’d like the panini pesto and a bottle of water.”
“What’s your name?”
“Hannah”
“Hannah??”
“Yes, HANNAH” (Just picture Squints from The Sandlot over-enunciating, “FOR-EV-ER”. That’s pretty much how it was)

…a few minutes later, “Hot panini pesto for Hyena”

Meh - close enough...

Meh – close enough…

We were eating at Burger King at the airport in Manila and every table was occupied. There was a guy sitting next to us eating lunch and reading his kindle, when this family of 3 plopped down and joined him without saying a word. I found it humourous to watch him try to become as small as humanly possible in his little corner.

This would never fly in the US. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to even breathe on freeways in America, let alone walk and sell on them.

Drive through store on the freeway...and I'm pretty sure he's giving me the stink eye.

I think he’s giving me the stink eye.

I've been traveling for 15 hours and Manila bus stations are wicked hot.

I call this: ‘I’ve been traveling for 15 hours & Manila bus stations are wicked hot – and Daisy is pensive’.

2014-01-18_11-30-20_600

It rains a lot in this country. This is the result of two back-to-back typhoons.

You know how McDonalds is unique to each country? Germany – beer; Mexico – jalapeño sauce; England – brown sauce? Well, the Philippines does rice…and ube ice-cream. Ube is a purple yam that is eaten as a snack by itself and in desserts. How else are you going to make your kids eat their veg?

Ube is a purple yam, which is used here for snacks and desserts…even at McDonalds. Ube McDip, anyone?

Ube McDip, anyone?

Not shown is my reaction to waking up at 3 this morning to find a mouse in my bed with me… I’m still a little traumatised.

The Year of the Horse is looking bright so far. How are you ringin’ in the New Year?

Advertisements

i am from… celebrating heritage

005

Sololá, Guatemala – circa ’93

I am from a brew of freshly roasted coffee.
From the smell of tea tree oil and the jasmine outside.
Cilantro home-grown and limón freshly squeezed.
From a triangular dining room table that seats fifteen people.
A house worn in with well-loved nooks and too many books.
I am from jacaranda trees in bloom and a rainy season that brings everything to life.

I am from failing at pictures, because we’re a small village.
From sleeping in the mountains to watch shooting stars.
From belly laughs, midnight feasts, and happy half-birthdays.
Odious matching dresses with my mom and sister (only kidding – they were lovely).
From mom’s pancakes every Saturday morning.
I am from grammar fiends and a shared love for music and literature.

I wasn't lying about the matching dresses.

I wasn’t lying about the dresses. That is produce on my dress, people. Produce. I know you’re jealous.

I am from fields upon fields in Illinois and Ohio.
From sweet tea and pulled pork in the deep sultry South.
From English truffles and pudding; and maybe a duke.
From volcanoes and cold in luscious Guatemala.
From heaven on earth in southern México.
I am from anywhere and everywhere in between…

I am from tacos al pastor, mole negro, and fresh conchas from the panadería.
From competitive game-players; a life without screens.
From seeing the world from a very young age.
From outrageous road trip traditions; people who enjoy traveling together.
From music to sports; and books too, of course.
I am from a childhood of scraped up knees and playing ‘lost kids’.

001

I am from seventeen years spent in Latin America.
Fresh sushi in California to the snows of Colorado.
From the tropics of Asia to no home at all.
From awaiting my flight to the next far off place.
From an adopted family wherever I bed.
I am from life on the move and ecstatic reunions.

I am from regrets and mistakes made endlessly.
From exceedingly broken to truly redeemed.
From days I can’t face the world, to learning to trust.
From a family that supports and encourages when life gets hard.
From friends that become family when mine is far off.
I am from a Father who Loves unconditionally.

003

(Inspiration for this post came from She Loves Magazine.)

on discovering duck dynasty was not a remake of ducktales

It’s about that time again. Time for a little deactivation date with my Facebook account.

I’d be lying if I said my intentions were entirely noble. I would love to be able to say that I’m deleting my Facebook so that:

-I can spend more time with God.
-I can better love other people.

Although these usually play a role in my thought process, the truth of the matter is:

Social media feeds my hate plant of discontent.

There’s a process to getting to where I am today. A journey, I should say. This is what it was like for me.

Once upon a time, I was part of a wide circle of friends. I had deep relationships. I understood the culture I lived in–mostly. I thrived and I felt independent and secure.

But soon after nestling into my seat on a plane bound for Seoul, I became rid of all earthly things to which I could be identified–college student, massage-therapist, nanny, US resident, driver. I was then transplanted in a new environment, which spoke a language I didn’t know, and given a new set of things with which to identify myself, effective immediately–missionary volunteer, teacher, expatriate.

Once past the honeymoon season of transplantation, which some people skip entirely, you typically go straight into shock season. This usually includes late night conversations, which you might still be jet-lagged for, it all depends on how long your honeymoon stage lasted. These conversations are typically one-sided and go something like this,

“What the *bleep* am I doing here? I suck at ____ (pick your poison). God, You clearly made a mistake.”

After you’re finished telling God how to do His job, albeit you may still have doubts, you roll up your sleeves and decide you’re going to make the best of it; so you get to work. You build relationships, you start to learn language, and most importantly–you learn how to laugh at your mistakes.

Then, you reach the coveted “mountain top” stage of transplantation. You get high – figuratively, of course. It’s exhilarating. This is what you were destined for. Your ministry is booming. People are getting healed, there’s a mad dash of people running to pools of water, wanting to take the plunge…life is going darn-tootin’ well.

The mountain-top days are short-lived when the flaming arrows of doom burn down the sails on your ship, and you, my friend, are stuck in the middle of the ocean. It’s stinking hot and you are not going anywhere anytime soon. Finally, the sun begins to set and you sense relief coming, when out of the blue, a storm breaks. All the while, you’re trying to sew new sails and not sink your ship.

Your ministry might teeter back and forth between the ‘mountain days’ and the ‘storm from hell – boat’s about to sink’ stage, until you finally land in the plateau stage. Life has calmed down considerably, enough to the point of maybe feeling slightly mundane. ‘Lull Land’ is where discontentment really takes root. At least for me.

c3a5d0b0579a41579db008eb161d1206

All of a sudden, life isn’t exotic enough – when compared with others. You question if it was all worth it. Friends from “home” seem to have moved on without you. You don’t feel needed like you once thought and you now have no clue what anyone is talking about pretty much on a daily basis. I thought Duck Dynasty was something like DuckTales and I was stoked about that possibility – until someone finally let me in on what it was. Disappointment on disappointment! I haven’t heard of most of the movies people are seeing in cinema and I still have no idea what the heck the fox says, and you know what? I don’t really care.

——————————

So I am deleting Facebook. Again. And I will probably keep deleting it every few months as long as it continues to be a source of pain, stress, or as long as it is something I attempt to find security in. It’s not that I don’t love or miss people. I surely do. It’s hard for me to be here when I’m constantly reminded of a former life that isn’t waiting for me.

You should go love on a missionary today. More than likely, they aren’t in a ‘mountain-top’ season right now and holidays in general are pretty hard on those living overseas!