Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Adventure Continues...in Asia!

the title of my blog is temporarily inaccurate and should take on the name "Asian Adventures" for about a week. 2 hours after my last final exam, i was boarding a plane to Singapore to catch up with some old friends from Sask. Aleasha and Jamie have been teaching abroad for the past 6 years and it was soooo good to see them and to meet their two adorable little kids, Jaxon and Ruby. seeing familiar faces and hearing people talk the same way i do was a much needed gift after 5 months of feeling like a freak (try saying the word "bunnyhug" to anyone outside of Sask's borders and you'll know what i mean!). we packed the maximum amount of tourist activity with a good amount of relaxation and all around fun times into my 3.5 days in Singapore. the mix of 3 cultures in Singapore is fascinating - the population is split between Chinese, Muslim and Indians. we went to Little India and Arab Street to take in a mini-version of these people's homelands. saw lots of interesting (and scary-looking!) foods to eat and gorgeous art work, hand made clothing and wares. Singapore is probably one of the cleanest cities i've ever visited. the government has completely regulated the society to the point where they have limited the number of cars that are on the streets to reduce gas emissions, have illegalized the chewing of gum (to prevent littering!) and are still allowed to cane people! it kind of made me think of a city in a bubble, being controlled by the powers above. despite all this, singapore is a bustling city with beautiful jungles within the city, friendly people and lots to see and do. spending some time with leash and jamie was a ton of fun and reminded me of how kind, generous and down-to-earth my fellow saskie's are.
and now, here i am in hong kong, continuing the journey through asia. this is my last stop before i head to cairns and sydney to complete my final travels before i head home. i'm sitting on the 32nd floor of a sky rise overlooking hong kong city, amazed at the view before me. another old friend, harmony mcmillan, is teaching at a school in hong kong as well. i spent my first day yesterday walking around with my jaw dropping at the size, activity, number of people and busyness of hong kong. i've never seen anything like it before. harm took me out for a night on the town that included some delicious chinese food from one of her favorite spots, a trip to some market stalls to check out the latest knock-off products and my first ever chinese foot and shoulder massage! good food, good shopping and good rubbing made for a good night. today i'm doing a hike on hong kong island called the "Dragon's Back Hike" which is supposed to be one of the best short hikes here. i think the biggest challenge will be finding my way through the cities public transport to the starting point of the hike. sadly, tomorrow i'll be leaving harm and her hong kong life, but i'm looking forward to seeing Cairns. i'm meeting a friend to do our PADI scuba diving certs while we're there- can't wait to see the Great Barrier Reef up close and personal! pray that the sharks will be full next week. :)
life is full and i'm loving the adventures of new places, new sights, new faces....not long til i'll be back seeing some familiar old ones in the homeland. until then, cheers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lately the country tunes have found their way to the top of my ipod playlist. And the crooning of nostalgic cowboys has made me feel a tad bit nostalgic myself. Usually the country music leads me to the bottom of a whiskey bottle and thoughts of my lil broski, a diehard country fan (one, both or neither of those statements may or may not be true), but right now life is dealing the right mix of ingredients for a little bit of sentimentality. A journey is coming to an end, bringing the emotion, expectation and thoughts that come from reflecting on the past and looking to what's next in life.

I think its rare that life affords us the opportunity, chance or means to step away from all that is familiar and look in on our little lives from a removed, outward position. When it comes down to it, we establish our circles of friends, our jobs, our family, our home, our church, our schedule and we build our lives around these things. Even become consumed by these things. And stepping away from it all for a long period of time has been the best knock in the face that I've gotten in awhile. God has given clarity through the discomfort of the unfamiliar, the longing for family and friends, the challenges of adjusting to a new country. Being broken and humbled is truly the best place to be in life. It gives an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God the room to work that we wouldn't allow Him when we try to do things on our own. What amazing revival His work brings to life! He has convicted my heart in ways that I refused to face when I was at home. He has made me crave solitude so that I may be silent before Him- be still and simply think of Him. He has shown me things about my life that need to change, people I need to love better, ways I need to give of myself, my resources, my energies. I came to Australia with the expectation of experiencing a new life and instead, God gave me vision, purpose and clarity for my old one. I feel a sense of renewal, of refreshment, of vitality to live a life worthy.

As people, we were created for relationship. With God, with people. We are relational creatures that function, react and thrive off having our lives woven together with others. It's a beautiful thing. God's shown me how much I've missed out on the joy of relationship because I let my own pride and selfishness get in the way. I've realized how much I cherish and treasure the people He's woven into my tapestry of life, and that I never want my schedule or my business to get in the way. And even moreso, He's shown me that my life source is Him. That the only way to experience true joy, real life, richness and depth out of life, is through deep and authentic relationship with our Creator. The simplicity of it is profound, and yet really living this way in everything I do is a life-time task that will never be perfected.

What a journey its been! I can't even scratch the surface in this little blog of the things I've felt, the new experiences I've had, my changed view of the world and the people in it. As the idea of home becomes nearer each day, I can't help but be thankful for such an opportunity as this. I have the feeling that God still has fresh insight and teachings for me that will continue to be revealed post-Aussie.