China / My Two Cents

26 Lessons in My 26th Year

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The age of 25 was packed with many painful goodbyes and thankful hellos, old friends and new.
Days in 2013 were beyond difficult with 2014 thankfully being the exact opposite.
Since landing Stateside it’s been so zen-so restorative.
It’s like the year of Sabbath.
Here are my 26 lessons from my 26th year:
  1. suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” IMG_20131217_225256
  2. There are a few kids in Shanghai who’ve unwillingly picked up a Southern twang of English. Y’all’re welcome. IMG_0873
  3. Don’t miss a tree for all of the forests.
  4. It’s mind blowing how much we don’t make in America. Does anyone around here know how to make shoes?! Cheapest American-made black flats I’ve found are $130 (not including shipping). Geez!
  5. If you move from Asia back to a land with ovens, you will quickly gain five pounds. They will all be happy 🙂 pounds.
  6.  Canadians are awesome. (How did I go through life this long without them?!)

  7.  If able, bike your city. It’ll open it up in whole new ways.
  8. Columbia, South Carolina’s freaking hilly!!!
  9.  It’s impossible to go through one Christmas season without unwillingly hearing “Christmas Shoes” (even in Thailand).
  10.  No one grows and cooks eggplant like the Chinese. Amazing!
  11.  Comparison is the thief of all joy.
  12. At some point I will brave the miserable cold to see the Northern Lights.
  13. Of all the ChEnglishy phrases that enter your vocabulary, saying “Shenme” (basically what or huh in Chinese) is the hardest habit to kick upon leaving China.
  14.  If marriage isn’t on the horizon by age 26, you’ll regularly be asked if ‘you ever want to get married?’ and sometimes ‘do you think that singleness is your calling?’ (Shenme the hell???)
  15. Koh Ya Noi Thailand is an under-touristed gem. Similar in beauty to the climbing mecca of Krabi Beach–just a little slower & a lot more quiet. Probably what Heaven will be like. IMG_20131215_132728
  16. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” IMG_20131220_223133
  17. I fail at most long-distance, Skype-dependent relationships.  Very very thankful for my friends who consistently pursue. 304
  18.  In China, “maybe” means a myriad of things including ‘probably not’. If I rewrote the Chinese Bible, a verse would read “Let your yes be your yes, your no be your no, and your maybe be your maybe.”
  19. There’s nothing quiet like worshipping and working life out with the church international. IMG_20131209_223703
  20. If you victoriously exclaim “Hot Dawg!” in the Hong Kong Visa office once your Chinese Visa is finally approved after a day and a half of re-entry and deportation uncertainty, your Canadian counterpart will be completely thrown off, not knowing she should probably just categorize you as the reddest of rednecks. IMG_0017
  21. If you’ve been lugging it around for three years, it’s probably time to give up the Banjo already.  This guy was teaching me how to play a bit until he and his bandmate discovered I had VPN/open internet access on my computer. It was all YouTube NBA, mostly Kobe Bryant, highlight videos from there.  They loved the banjo though -so I left it with them. If there’s an Asian bluegrass upspring around Shanghai, I’m taking full credit. IMG_20131210_150603
  22. Life in the section of the Western world from which I hale is rather sedentary. I can get through a whole day accomplishing a lot but not actually using my legs to get anywhere!
  23. Hens are easily spoiled. If they get accustomed to quality consistent veggie scraps, they’ll start waking up the whole neighborhood if you haven’t brought them any.
  24. The majority of South Carolina’s farmers are pretty old. Will we steward & support new and beginning farmers to fill their shoes?
  25. I really enjoy Bud Light Lime but admittingly have trouble respecting men who do.
  26.  I know God still loves me even if I don’t have clean air to breathe, an oven, kale, drinkable water from the tap, solid WiFi, good healthcare, a culture that disapproves of scam, Brussels sprouts, freedom of speech, a gym, bud light lime, baked goods, ocean access, or Thanksgivings with my Grandmother. But they sure are real good reminders.

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