Tomorrow I turn 25. Being on the other side of the world, the turnage will happen 12 hours sooner than previous Birthdays. This year I smuggled U.S. organic compost into Tijuana and SC peaches into California, fell in love with farm life, made some lifelong friends, said ‘Goodbye’ on an almost monthly basis (Goodbyes don’t get easier), and moved to Shanghai.
25 lessons from my 25th year:
1. Drive cross-country at least once, preferably with a best friend or two.
2. If you date a foreigner and things are askew, it’s difficult to tell if something’s wrong or if it’s just cultural.
3. If you need some extra gas money to make it home for Christmas, part-timing it at TJMaxx ain’t a bad gig (particularly if you have slight OCD and therefore actually enjoy organizing racks of shoes).
4. Never underestimate the power of a Saturn VUE.
5. Beyond all question, the mystery of Godliness is great… -1 Timothy 3:16
6. It’s a small world after all. (The tune stating the same streams up through my window from the Chinese elementary school below on a fairly regular basis.)
7. Functioning public transportation is the jam.
8. Don’t lend Tin Roof Columbia your favorite Star Wars poster unless you’re willing for it to go missing.
9. There’s a decently large group of native Californians that enjoy and participate in Civil War reenactments.
10. Banjos don’t learn to play themselves.
11. Grad school would be worth it. Grad school wouldn’t be worth it. <- maybe ’twill be a lesson for the 26th year :).
12. Some people need Google maps to survive. I am one of them.
13. The Peoples Republic of China contains not one ounce of Bud Light Lime. Not even in the expat bars, foreign hotels, import grocery stores, or on TauBau. I’ve checked.
14. If you pray for God to soften your heart, you’ll cry more—–but it will good.
15. Asparagus seedlings require 3 years of tending to before you can harvest a crop. Such patience!
16. There’s no place like home.
17. China’s like the wild west. Anything can happen and everything’s negotiable. There are SO many rules—but so many ways around the rules. You’re not awarded for trying to do everything correctly.
18. Not sure if there’s a quicker way to authentically know others besides farming together (& maybe war-but I wouldn’t know).
19. Heading West in a covered wagon probably wouldn’t be worth the hustle and potential death (Donner party)….unless of course you were headed to San Diego! Then it’d be totally worth it.
20. Milking goats isn’t that difficult, but I’m not very good at it.
21. If you hardly make time to stretch or be quiet, yoga will be awesome for you.
22. Aphids still find their way to 31st floor apartment window gardens.
23. In some places things like love and clean air are luxuries. People are just surviving.
24. God is faithful. His mercies are new every morning. His love never fails.
25. If you’re a sucker for culture shock, move farm-fresh from Cali to Shanghai. It won’t be easy.