My life has become everything I though it wouldn't be. I'm teaching 16 hours a week, grading 100+ papers, learning almost 200 new names and faces, and doing it all on the other side of the world. Yes, you already know these things so why am I repeating them? Well, everyday it seems new to me.
Everyday it seems like a dream.
Everyday it doesn't seem like my life.
Everyday I'm still shocked by this place (in a good way).
Everyday I find something to be extremely grateful for.
When I think about what happens here, I find that every single day there is something exciting, even if it's just one small moment. That's one huge thing I've learned so far. It's part of the outlook I've decided to have here. Even if all I do is teach one class and grade papers all day, there is something in that to be remembered.
One day that moment may be making jiaozi at the home of my boss's in-laws where I'm the only one in the room who speaks English. [Yesterday]
One day it may be leading 'club' for the first time. [Today]
One day it's grading a paper that brings me to tears and ends with the student telling me that this is the first time she's shared any of this in a paper. [Tuesday]
One day it could be something as simple as getting asked to lunch by 2 students who barely speak any English at all. [Last Friday]
I'm learning about myself and watching myself change more than ever before. I got to skype with a good friend this week and she asked me what I've learned so far. As I shared, I realized how much I've learned about myself just in these first 4 months. It's crazy! I've seen some of my weaknesses and I've learned some of my strengths, some I never even knew I had. I've learned that I really can adapt to any situation here, I just have to be willing. I can stand in front of a class for 2 hours and not feel nervous at all. I'm capable of teaching in Chinese when I really have to. I am learning how to hear the Father and be bold when He calls me to be. I'm learning that obedience is the best possible way to live. His plans are so much bigger than anything we can imagine and by not being obedient, we're missing some incredible things that He has for us.
Being here has given me a whole new understanding of my faith. It's given me a new set of eyes to see things. My small group has forced me to step out of my own bubble and see things from the view of someone in a different culture, who speaks a different language, who has never heard about the Father. Summer camps did that for me, sure, but not like this. I feel like I'm learning everything again for the first time. It's such a crazy story. It really is. But it's beautiful. It's fun to hear these tough questions. These girls are asking questions that many people who have grown up in it cannot even let themselves ask. It's awesome! And I get to be a part of it? It still hasn't hit me.
Sometimes, quite often actually, I ask why I was chosen to be here. I didn't decide to uproot myself and teach English. Really? That wasn't my choice. I was called. Why me? There are so many people who would be so much more effective, who are better equipped, who can learn the language faster, who are more outgoing, who understand the Father way more than I do. BUT, I'm here. He keeps reminding me that I'm here. I am. There's a reason for it. He'll equip me when He needs to and He'll use me for whatever He wants as long as I am sensitive to His voice and obedient when He speaks.
I have the chance of a lifetime and I'm trying so hard right now to not let that slip my mind. Homesickness is still here, in a strange form. Some days, the thought of home is overwhelmingly exciting. The countdown seems forever long and the thought of returning here is kind of scary. Then, an hour later, I think of all the possibilities I have here. Students who want me to visit their hometowns, things there are to do here, food there is to eat, language I want to learn, friends I want to go see. Then my time here seems short. I kind of feel bi-polar at times because of it. [Oh no, she's going crazy.]
Tomorrow is one of those days that will remind me of how awesome my life is! I'm going to a tea park w/ my small group. Our first big outing together. We're making food, looking cute, taking pictures and just hanging out. I cannot wait! There will be plenty of pictures to come from that adventure. And while you wait for those, here are some videos of some of the cutest kids on the planet that I get to teach every week :)
Have a good weekend everyone!
Be obedient. Be bold.