Tuesday, November 20, 2012

we sing them in our sleep, we remember the words

At Central Park, Kaohsiung
 It's Thanksgiving week. When did that happen?

Sometimes when I am doing a mundane task, such as driving on the highway or washing vegetables, I get random flashbacks that seem to have nothing to do with anything that is happening at the moment. Tonight I got a flashback to a few years ago when, about this time of year, I would excitedly load up a schoolmate's car and make the long 8.5 hour trek north back home to spend the Thanksgiving holidays. Those road trips, set in vehicles packed with luggage and hungry college students eager to get away, became the tradition. It was at that point in planning times of departure and maneuvering bulky items into trunks in tetris-like fashion, I knew it was Thanksgiving.

Last year and this year Thanksgiving seems almost like an anomaly. It's not exactly a holiday celebrated in Taiwan, and so the fact that we get Thanksgiving break from school seems odd when the rest of the country bustles on -- in fact, B has classes and an exam to study for all this week. Last year I spent the day at home doing laundry and watching Tangled on TV. And we did have a marvelous potluck dinner with some of the other single ladies. This year will probably be much the same (dinner will be with a slightly different crowd). But we are having a Friendsgiving next week for B's friends from school (after their exam)! And we are hosting! Fun times will be had.

Who knew three years ago that I would be here today, cooking meals in a kitchen with the limited gas supply contained in a tank; strolling amongst the scooters and grandmas along the open-air markets, buying fresh produce from weathered uncles and wrinkled matriarchs who speak a language I do not understand. In spite of the challenges, I am still thankful to be here.

So here is my thankfulness list.

1. For people God placed in my life who have shown me how to do basic things in this foreign country like pay the phone bill or go to the market.

2. For being able to work at a school that strives to be a giving community through events such as Christmas projects (this year we are working with Taiwan Sunshine, an organization that seeks to link Christian families with Taiwanese families of special-needs children).

3. For good food:

滷味 in Kenting during our recent staff retreat!
4. And good friends!

5. For opportunities to meet and converse with Taiwanese college students

6. For the community that I can be a part of and the  eagerness I see to help and support each other during times of need. I am humbled to work alongside such people.

7. For warm blankets when it's cold at night.

8. For hot water, especially after being without it for a few days when our gas supply ran out and we tried to sort out some confusion as to how to get it refilled.

9. For good books and the luxury of having time to read them.

10. For a piano in the bedroom and good music at my fingertips.

11. For my niece -- I can't wait to meet her!!! I am already in love <3 <3 <3

12. For my family.

13. For my patient, hardworking, smart husband.

14. For all my students. They make life interesting.

15. For the internet, that keeps me connected to loved ones far away.

16. For new friends.

17. For the ways God speaks.

18. For our apartment, even with its flaws.

19. For churches with a mission and a vision.

20. For enough.