Monday, August 31, 2009

A quick and fairly boring update

When we moved out of our home in Tianjin, we felt like we packed and packed and packed and there were still more stuff. This week, we moved into our new place in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and we unpacked and unpacked and unpacked and still there were more. Conclusion: we have too much stuff. This week has been filled with chores, buying household items, signing up for phone line and internet, fixing the air conditioner, installing shades, etc. All the while, helping Lizzy work through a stomach bug, getting Hayden ready to start preschool for the first time ever, job interviews for Jason, and me trying to stay sane through it all. It's hard to complain because we've been blessed with so much, but transition is rough. Jason and I feel it as we are adjusting to the changes, but we are sensing the children struggling with all the changes as well. The result is we are all a bit more grumpy than we'd like to be.

Some praises this week:

Lizzy's stomach bug has gone away after a trip to the doctors - praise God for universal healthcare in Taiwan!
Jason got a job offer! Not too many hours, but a good start!
Fairly smooth transition into our new apartment.

Please pray for:

Apparently there's a confirmed case of H1N1 virus at Lizzy's school - pray for health for both the children in their new schools.
Continue to pray we settle in and learn the ropes of living here.
We will try to visit a church this Sunday. Pray we find a church family here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally a Local

I spent about seven years (college and seminary) in America as first an International student, and then an "alien" spouse. (why oh why do they use that word to describe non natives?) Then we relocated to China for five and a half years as definite foreigners. Finally, we've moved to a place where I was born, spent the majority of my growing up years, and where my parents/relatives still reside - Taiwan. When I went out to buy some bubble tea the other day, the bubble tea maker looked me up and down and said, "you're not from around here, are you?" I stared the poor girl back down and stated firmly and indignantly: I am a LOCAL. (wo jiu shi ben di ren) Desperate to finally feel like I belong somewhere, hoping my words consciously spoken in the most colloquial Mandarin accent will help convince this innocent stranger that I really am born and raised in Taiwan.

I looked up the definition of a "Third Culture Kid" on the internet and found this:

Third-culture kids are those who have spent some of their growing up years in a foreign country and experience a sense of not belonging to their passport country when they return to it.

I am a TCK through and through. Although I didn't spend my growing up years in a foreign country, I might as well have since I grew up in a community of expats and was educated in an American school system. I had American teachers and classmates from America, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, India, etc. I've lived in four different countries and speak three languages. I have never been able to adequately answer the question "where are you from?" I have lived with a messed up cultural identity from a very young age. Now I have returned to my "passport country", and am just bracing myself for the kind of cultural impact that will have on myself and my equally global family.

Sorry bubble tea lady, I didn't mean to be rude, I just want to finally be a local again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why we recycle...and only want two kids

Between the two of us, Jason is the bigger treehugger. I'm always a bit uncomfortable when he talks about recycling and how he induces paranoia in our daughter when it comes to leaving lights on in the house. Mainly because I fear being labeled a crazy liberal environmentalist. But our reasons for recycling are really a response to our Christian faith. First, God gave us a beautiful earth and He wanted us to be responsible stewards. Second, God promises to renew this earth; contrary to some current Christian beliefs that God will eradicate every part of our existing world at the end, we believe the efforts we make to preserve our earth today is not in vain. God will not eradicate everything, but renew what is existing for His glory. Therefore, it is for this future hope that we choose to take action to take care of this earth. Third, our lifestyle and the way we live affects others. Especially in our global village, our actions no longer have isolated consequences. I know global climate change is a controversial topic (although becoming less and less disputed), but this is our take on it: Even if it's all a hoax, then what harm have we caused by trying to recycle more, cut back on carbon emissions, creating cleaner air, and developing new sustainable energy resources? However, if it IS true, then our generation stands to be responsible for the disastrous effects climate change will have our children, and our children's children's world. And the effects of climate change will have the most devastating consequences for those most vulnerable in our world, the poor. As worshippers of a God whose heart for the poor is evident throughout Scriptures, we cannot afford to be nonchalant about our actions and its effect on the earth and her climate.

Having said all that, we could do so much more than the little bit of recycling that we do. Jason would love to trade in our car for a Prius (but that's expensive). We could stand to travel less. We could invest more of our finances in alternative energy companies. We pray God continues to convict us in these matters so we are moved to change more than we have.

Related to this issue of preserving our earth: overpopulation is a problem for our earth. And when people ask why we only want two kids, our answer is we don't want to contribute to overpopulation. Most people just laugh at us it sounds so ludicrous, and we laugh back. But in all seriousness we decided on two even before we had the kids and realized two is all we can handle anyway. Having lived in overpopulated China, we've seen firsthand the social problems that arise when there are "tai duo ren le." (too many people)

Family size is a very personal decision and this is the one of the reasons we've limited the growth of our family. But I certainly am not passing judgment on any large families as we personally know of some amazingly beautiful large families.

To sum up: go green!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Talk around the dinner table

Food is one of my greatest passions. You know how most people go out to dinner with friends and family, and they just enjoy the conversation along with the food? Well, I enjoy the food along with the conversation. And planning meals out and looking forward to the food takes up a large percentage of my thoughts.

Recently, let's say in the past six and a half years, something(one) has spoiled my fun around the dinner table. Yes, the addition of the responsibility of feeding two little ones. No longer can Jason and I enjoy our food in peace - one or both of the children are usually complaining about something I've made. It makes me so mad and fits of rage are a frequent occurrence around our dinner table. (I'm not proud of it, but just telling it like it is.)

At lunch today, I had another bout of lecturing about how the kids need to be more thankful than they are for their food. In a huff I said to Jason, "these kids really spoil my appetite!"

Few moments later, with quivering lips, Lizzy says to me, "Mommy, if you didn't have children, you wouldn't have anyone to love."

Can you tell I have a sensitive one?