Laundry Rant

Well it’s late april and I feel a bit afloat really.

I am fairly settled into our new place, and I cannot really over stress how much I adore this little town we have moved to!  But if I don’t find something official and scheduled and social to do in the afternoons – than – well – I am not sure what will happen.  But it probably won’t be happiness.

I feel dreadful confessing my boredom – especially as [insert nickname for my husband I haven’t thought of yet] feels a bit wretched at the idea of me being anything but generally delighted (isn’t he a gem!!) but it’s not like I resent him in any way for seriously upgrading my life!  This is just a time of adjustment.  Homesickness and culture shock are both kicking in a bit – and I do crave the tangible comfort of recognizing people in my regular coffee shop or having a friend in town.

Whew- that last one stings.

But – I am becoming stronger in an area of my character that has always been so weak.  How to live and get things done without a strong vision.  I used to just sit there and drown myself in TV or books (my mom said that I used stories the way other people turn to alcohol and drugs – to be fair, I love stories for fun too… I guess the comparison holds.)

But I am getting steadily better and better at pulling myself out of bed, getting dressed, and out of the house earlier and earlier.  I am getting better at setting myself tasks to accomplish – like I set tasks, and accomplish at least half of them.

Can I take a sec and rant a wee bit about the main culture british thing that is driving me up the wall at the moment???  Thank you – you are too kind.

The washer/dryer combo.   I HATE it.  It means nothing is ever “tumble dry low” re: everything must be ironed, nothing is ever dry – and oh yeah – there is no LINT trap.  Lint, something I never paid attention to.  It is everywhere.

And it makes doing laundry this HUGE affair.  You have to wash it (oh yeah – in the middle of the night because the electricity prices are variable throughout the day, and so you have to time these things to be “off-peak”) and then in the morning, you check to see if the level of damp is acceptable.  If it isn’t I then have to decide if I need to wait until that evening to put it on the drying cycle in the middle of the night, or just run it during “peak” hours.

THen I have to pull it all out – and lay it flat to finish drying, then iron it, then lint roll it.

Seriously people.  TUMBLE. DRYER.

I do not enjoy laundry here.

I could round out this post – but I am done.
Peace.

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It’s a Paradoxical Kingdom

The day after I decide that I actually am LIVING in this beauty of a city as opposed to “staying” or “visiting” or “am stuck in” — I get an email telling me that my visa has been approved, and I book a flight for the UK and my husband to leave five days later.

 

My head is spinning, and my heart doesn’t know which direction to long for.  

This scenario brings to mind the idea of the lifestyle the Christian should have, according to Paul.  And Christ, come to think of it.

This whole balance of being “in” and not “of” this world – to work and live like we will be here forever, that all our actions will have consequences, and that we are not our own – but at the SAME time to also live as though our groom is coming for us the next day – or at any moment.

It’s a paradoxical way of life – something that absolutely delights my silly little mind, but kinda totally freaks out my heart!

I have been in Hong Kong since the 14th of December, and am leaving on the eve of the 8th, just short of being here for four months.

I will just say that I could not have keep the mindset of “just passing through” for that long and keep my soul in it’s happy state of growing.  I couldn’t just say “I’m on a break from life” for that long.  Life doesn’t actually take breaks.  It still happens.  Resting is PART of life. 

And I know there are seasons of rest that are needed, and that we can be blessed with – but I was not resting.  Know why?  Because half of my heart was in ENGLAND.  And that half of my heart was cold, and stressed, and having to work hard.  I couldn’t rest and relish in my easy breezy life while my man was away.  I couldn’t rest knowing that I didn’t know when I would see him again.  I couldn’t rest knowing that when I could finally see him – I would have to continue this “forced relaxation” as I wouldn’t be permitted to have a job or volunteer.

And I was tentative to join up with life here — how can I partake in a life I know to be transitory?  

Well I managed it – I don’t know if it was by God’s grace (I’m not exactly sure how that is defined and don’t want to just throw around words like that without being specific about their meaning) but I made friends through introductions.  And I LIKED these friends!

Suddenly I wasn’t just waiting, not belonging, and not partaking – I was partaking, and beginning to belong.  And I grew in that time.

I think I will still be finding out just “how” I grew… but I can tell – I am stronger, I am more me – and I get the strangest sense that I am, dare I say, cooler than I was a month ago.

I remember wondering if I would understand the gospel in a new and different, and I suspected in a more rich way after I fell deeply in love with a man.  And I have.

So most of the time when Paul or Jesus discusses the ideas of a second coming, they use the analogy of a marriage.  (actually maybe Paul doesn’t – I am not an actual scholar, please don’t cite anything I say without looking it up yourself!) The idea of a groom coming for his bride, after going ahead to prepare the way for her.

I am LITERALLY (yes, literally) about to experience this exact scenario.

I’ve never been naturally empathetic – I have to really think long and hard about those things which come to other people naturally – and I have to say, I am SO excited to get a chance to live this one out first hand.  I never found the analogy moving, or revelatory in any way, but I am “getting” it now.  I feel the tension.  I want so badly to be reunited with my husband (I happen to really like the guy) and I know that I will being going to another beautiful place, a place he has actually found and “prepared” for us to live in together.  But I also feel the tension of leaving this place I have just fallen in love with.  The people I was finding comfort and understanding with.  People I want to build great things with, to dream dreams bigger than all of us, and to make them happen.  

When I got the news, it was a shock.  I had not realized that I had flipped the switch from “visiting” and “this is not my home”, to “I live here” so thoroughly. 

I had accepted this way of life – this life of eternal waiting, of separation from the man I loved.

I had become comfortable with speaking, texting, watching, and listening to him instead of being WITH him.

And the idea of the immediacy of FIVE days was INTENSE.

And I had to laugh at myself – a good deal of my first reaction was – but I like it HERE!  My friends are HERE!  I have a great church and family, and so very many beautiful things, HERE!  And that is when it slapped me in the face – “This was always temporary.”

Of course!  I knew that! When had I forgotten?  

How quickly we settle into comfort.

I don’t know what the conclusion is to this particular blog – I know it is all over the place.

It’s probably a Part I of a two or three part bit.

I realized I lost my focus of a second and when reality hit, I was left dizzy.

It is hard to leave here – and I think that is a huge blessing.  I am learning to appreciate the blessing of having people to say goodbye to.  I have made friendships with people of all walks of life, and I am excited to see where it takes me next.  I pray I will see them all again.

But I am excited to see my groom, and to get really deep into the life God and my man have prepared for me in the UK, just waiting to watch and see what I will do with it!  

So, my heart is happy and sad, excited and reluctant – a container full of paradoxes which makes me feel balanced in the familiar way being in the Kingdom of God seems to imbalance you and keep you on your toes… reminding you that you are made for this world and the next, desiring that we take hold of these fleeting moments AND keep our eyes searching way ahead for the eternal.

Our feet firmly on the ground, and our heads in the clouds…

I don’t think I like that metaphor.  I’ll come up with something better later.

My Sunday Morning

Well, here I am – stuck in Hong Kong for a probable extra 7+ weeks while the British government gets their act together and I can go to the UK — Chris is already there, starts work tomorrow.

But I’m actually allright. I mean, I would always rather be WITH my husband, but seriously – this is the best situation under the circumstances.

Actually, today I have the whole house to myself, and you know what?

I love it.

I’m dancing around and lip-syncing to works I don’t even know of Bob Dylan who somehow makes me feel at home, just taking care of me.  Quiet time for my soul, rock in roll for my body, a bit of chocolate cake for my tastebuds, rich conversations with my mother for my heart, and espresso for my brain – all while being here in a proverbial strange land.

Even made a gift for my mother-in-law, and have been chipping away at all this information the lawyer needs for my visa application (not sure how to get ahold of three months of bank statements…)  

And it is well with my soul.

I feel so complete, even in this time of unknowns, a time of expense, separation, and I suppose I just want to brag on God a bit for that.

Seriously, props Jesus – this faith and following your ways really are the best.  I feel so very, very right and sure of … well, I suppose Him.  Don’t know what anything else will be or do, but without even trying to think about Jesus or leaning of some vague recollection of a conglomerate of “comforting” scriptures and “promises” I just am … good.

Happy even – it’s true!  I feel so completely at home, I’m in my comfy torn up jeans, listening to folk-rock-protest music outside blogging, and not in the least concerned.

That has got to be what is meant by knowing that God has everything in control.  Seriously not fussed.  

I know typically that if you’re not fussed  you don’t think to sit down and write about it – that kind of appears like you’re trying to convince yourself and others that that is how you feel – but as no one follows or reads this blog, I assure all my imaginary audience (and more specifically me) that this is not the case.  I am just trying to record this moment of happy peace just me, my music, and my all powerful loving God.

It is well with my soul indeed.

New Year

Thought I’d start writing again.

So much is happening, unsurprisingly it isn’t sinking in.

Chris and I have left the US and are currently in Hong Kong for Christmas and a bit of a break – which they say can be very good in making a cross-cultural move.  We move to the UK for the foreseeable future January 20, 2013.  

Perhaps I should say 20 January 2013 – which admittedly looks very balanced.

This past year has held more than I could have ever imagined – and the effect is rather that like pouring a bunch of cinnamon into water – it won’t get wet…

It’s not that I feel like I’m not in the moment, or anything like that — it is just simply more than I can understand, and I am confident that I will continue to process 2012 over the years to come and will only increase my deep gratitude to everyone who has given us so much help, support, love, and prayers.

It’s all very surreal.

The last blog I kept up with was my xanga in high school and my freshman year of ORU, and while I sit here listening to the same Zach Winters album I likely listened to then, I never would have dreamed I would be where I am seven or so years later.  Many things are the same with these two pictures of past and present me:

Blogging, similar pensive music tastes, glasses, over thinking…

And yet, here I am, in Ho Chung, Sai Kung, Hong Kong — a place I had no relationship with whatsoever, with a truly loving man, in-laws that making great efforts to spoil me rotten, on my way to immigrate to England in less than a month.

Here’s to 2013, with it’s adventures, twists and turns, challenges, solutions, and the many great friends and family we will share it with – may God continue to bless us and our loved ones by making the path to follow clear, and the grace and strength to follow it best we can.