It has been a while since I have journaled on our journey of life in SE Asia. As we settled into life as expatriates, routines began to emerge. Since 2016, one of our routines was summer visits to the States, then back to life in SE Asia. Well…this summer brought a new turn in events…a curve ball thrown into our routine. In light of this, I would say, it is a good time to share again about our journey. I would also say that at this point, this journey, since 2014, has been learning to live life “Not Normal” or living life in a “New Normal”.
At this point in our journey we have extended our “summer” visit into the beautiful fall season, and are now headed into the holidays as well. This has been an extended and unexpected time in the States for us. It has come with its challenges AND its blessings. I want to share a couple things that I am in the midst of learning and re-learning as we maneuver through this season.
First, it’s been learning to live in a paused state of life. Paused in the sense that there are projects and vision put on a low simmer, waiting for the time when we can we return to Asia. And it certainly is a paused state of life because I am living without roots. My home (apartment) is in Asia, so I float from living space to living space while in the States…basically living out of suitcases and a storage unit. As I think of “roots” I first think about being rooted in a solid substance like a plant in soil. Then my mind changes as I remember that there are some beautiful ivy plants in my apartment in SE Asia that are “rooted” in water. They are not in the solid substance of dirt. They are in a liquid, not solid. AND they survive and thrive in that condition. So it makes me stop and realize…maybe my current state of life is not rooted in a solid substance like dirt BUT my life is rooted in a life-giving substance that brings beauty and causes me to thrive.
The second lesson I would share is the art of “re-framing” or seeing the beauty that surrounds me. I could get caught up in all that is wrong. I could get depressed by the barriers that seem to loom in our path. I could focus on the frustrations of not being able to plan ahead (oh my!!!). And if I chose any of these options, I would miss the beauty of this journey. I am so aware that this is a special place in time. I will not pass this way again. In some respects, I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I do what is before me today. Today, I can see the beauty of the changing season. Today, I can take the time to see, touch, and be in the company of my sons and many friends that I have in the States. Today, I can enjoy a fire in the fireplace at Cracker Barrel (a favorite eating spot for us). Today, I can enjoy the scenery that is in this part of the journey and be thankful. So why not enjoy the journey? Why not make delicious lemonade out of the lemons? And in the midst of this, I am developing new skills, greater flexibility, and keeping those brain cells firing because of the frequent adjustments that I have to engage in.
So…this expat life and this journey in SE Asia…is it still worth it? I would say YES! Is it always comfortable? I would say NO! Is it necessary? Again I would say YES!
Please take some time to enjoy the pictures of our journey in the last month or 2 as we have enjoyed the journey and made lemonade.
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.