Dear family and friends,
I don’t like to do posts on Sabbath, but today feels different, as if this post was meant to be written at this time.
Just reflecting on my last few hours in the US, from the time I woke up early on Sunday morning and waiting for Steve to pick mom and me up for the ride to the airport. I don’t remember many words being exchanged. Maybe we were all tired. Maybe there wasn’t much left to be said. I just remember the silence. At the terminal we sat together waiting for them to open the gate and to call out that my flight for Cincinnati was boarding passengers. I couldn’t help think that when I got on the plane, I would never see anyone from my life in the US again. I knew I wouldn’t see mom again, or my sisters, or my church family. Its a long list of people to whom I was saying ’goodbye.’
I am looking back at nearly nine years worth of memories. Though we stay in contact through Facebook, it isn’t the same as being able to see each other face-to-face. There is the funny quote that says, “I <3 my computer. All my friends are in it.” Well, it is through my computer that I can communicate with you, but it is in my heart where I carry you, and there is no baggage limit on friends. From classroom to classroom and touristy site to touristy site, from restaurant to kitchen and every other place I have walked, you have been in my heart and on my mind. There are times when I have wished you could see what I see, hear what I hear, taste the same food I was eating. We have been together over a lot of miles, through a lot of storms, times of dryness and times of flooding, and times of peace and quiet.
This past April I changed jobs and towns. I moved from a classroom full of students to a cubicle where I sit and work one-on-one with Chinese students of all ages. After spending four years in places like Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani, Sri Maha Phot, and Kaeng Khoi, I come full circle, again living in Chiang Mai. I have been reacquainted with the familiar, and found new places to explore, as well. But the coolness factor is that some of my Chinese students think I am doing well in learning how to pronounce the names of their hometowns, like Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Foshan, Dalian, and others. I have never really explored the Chinese language, but they seem to want me to learn more about it. Maybe I am being groomed for a teaching assignment in China. I do know that I need to learn more about Chinese geography so I can learn where my students are in this world. And maybe one day I will meet them face to face.
“There are many different worlds
and many different suns
but we have just one world
but we live in different ones”
The Dire Straights song, “Brothers in Arms,” comes to mind right now. The rest of the song I don’t remember as well, but those lines have stayed with me ever since I first read the lyrics. Things come to mind now that show me how true these things are. From outdoor markets where fish, fruit and vegetables are sold, to the small town malls of towns trying to catch up to the 21st century West, from quiet gardens where kings and queens once walked to city parks named after serving monarchs… guys, we have explored a lot of different worlds together. We have traveled through a lot of time and space together.
Thank you for allowing me to share the past and the present with you, and I look forward to sharing the future with you, as well. Thank you for being a part of my journey. And I hope that one day, in a better time and place, that we will meet again, kick our shoes off, pop open a cold one, and can enjoy a good rest that should come at the end of such trips as ours.
I love you guys. Happy Sabbath.