It all comes down to one…

Wow – in just a little over 12 hours, I will be boarding a plane for Hong Kong.  I still can’t believe that I am going.  I have spent today battling tears and anxiety.  Am I really ready?  Am I really the person for this?  What in the world made me think I could spend 16 months away from my boyfriend, my dog, my dear friends, my family!?  Yet, in the same thought, I know that I AM prepared, I AM ready, and like it or not, I AM going. So, for the final day on my countdown, one prayer:

 “Lord, I am sitting here, overwhelmed, scared, excited.  I know that You have been guiding me and my heart for a long time.  You have been working in my heart and my mind, and look where You have brought me!  I am so amazed to know that such a powerful God has been guiding me all these years.  I am so thankful for such an amazing support group – my family, my church, my friends.  These are all people that I know You have put into my life – and what a blessing they are at a time like this!

As the moment is quickly approaching to step out (or fly out, as it is), I am asking for faith to trust You.  I ask for strength to do the work that is needed.  And for the grace to understand what it means to work WITH, not work FOR.  For patience – both for me as well as for those I am working with – as we deal with the barriers of language and different cultures.  For my family – that they may have peace of heart and mind, knowing that I am taken care of.  For the pain of seperation.  It won’t be easy, being away from those I love: my family, Kris, and all those friends who are so dear to my heart.  Keep our communication clear and constant.

And Lord, tomorrow, as I am traveling, please be with the pilots, the work crews, the equipment, the others on the plane – guide us all safely to our destinations, and may our luggage arrive when and wherever we do.

Thank You for Your blessings abundant, Your peace and joy over something new!  Graciously, Your child.”

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Things that come in 2s

Breaking from the countdown tradition, I’m using a little variation on the number we all know and love as “2.”  Today’s list, things that come in 2s:

-Shots – today I had to get two slightly painful shots – one in each arm…owwww

-Parents freaking out over me leaving

-Bedrooms in my new flat

-Languages that I will be attempting to learn (Cantonese as well as the language of the Filipino women I will be working with)

-Number of times I’ve freaked out today (so far)

-Boxes stock full of great supplies for the women in the Bethane House Center, generously donated by some amazing people in my church

-Days I will be traveling!!  (ehh)

And then there were 3

Three things I am going to miss about being in the States…haha…right, like there are only three!! 

3. Babies!  I know, there are babies all over the world, and probably millions in Hong Kong (in a land of 8 million people – surely there are some babies, right?).  But not the babies that I already know and love – like Asher.  I will miss his first birthday, starting to walk, talking.  When I get back, he won’t know who Aunt Elizabeth is anymore.  And other dear friends whose children are growing up so fast!  And friends are having babies that I am going to miss out on.  I am so sad to be missing out on these important milestones.

2. Easy access to coffee.  I am about to step into the land of tea.  So for this coffee-addict, it is going to be quite an adjustment.

1. Holidays with my family.  This will be my first Christmas away from my family.  I know that people do this all the time, but it is going to be so hard. Traditions that make the season so special – Christmas Eve in Mariana, a fabulous brunch after opening presents, my brother’s birthday celebration Christmas night!  And Thanksgiving – its my favorite holiday of the year, and to not be able to spend it in my own kitchen, with my boyfriend, or even in a country that celebrates the holiday, won’t be easy.  Last year Kris and I made Thanksgiving dinner all on our own for the very first time and it was amazing! 

4 more to go…

The first four things I am going to do when I finally arrive in Hong Kong (Two days of traveling?  BLEH!)

4. Sleep off my jet lag!!  I arrive at 7am Saturday morning and start work Wednesday morning.  I am sure I will be glad for the time to adjust to the new sleep schedule.

3. Find the local store/market and gather supplies.  I will arrive with a jar of peanut butter and a sleeve of crackers, but I can’t imagine, even rationed carefully, that they will last long.  And I am so excited to jump into a new world of food!

2. Community mapping!  Oh yay (other Minterns and US2s – we all know how fun this can be!)  It is so important, to feel apart of a community, to know your community.  So  I will spend some time just wandering around, figuring out where things are, walk my route to work a few times to become familiar with it, meet some of the neighbors, learn where the hospital/clinic is, and get just a general idea of the layout of my area.

1. Find an internet cafe or how to get access in my flat so I can let everyone know that I arrived safely.  I will certainly try to post, though it may be short to start out with.

And then there were 5

That is, 5 things I am tired of saying/explaining.  Not that I fault people for not already knowing the answers, (I am still learning myself) – it is merely the repetion that is getting to me.  So, please, still ask questions, but if they are one of these, refer to the answers below:

5. “Um, actually, Hong Kong is in China, not Japan. No, really.”

4. “No secret codes necessary in your emails – Hong Kong isn’t governed by China, they’re autonomous because of their recent release from British rule 10 years ago.  So religion is free.  No need to fear of being persecuted.”

3. “Yes, Kris and I are staying together.  No, I won’t be bringing home a Chinese boyfriend.  Yes, Kris is going to come visit.  Sometime late spring.  Yes, of course he is sad too.”

2. “No, I won’t be coming home in the 16 months (‘Why not?’).  It is too expensive – you want to fly me home?”

1. “I can barely imagine what next week is going to be like, how in the world am I supposed to know what I will be doing after this program. (That’s 3 years people!!)”

6 Days till lift off

6 Things I am looking forward to about living in Hong Kong:

6. Living on my own for the very first time (I have a 2 bedroom apartment close to work!)

5. The opportunity to travel in Asia! (Kerr – we’re on!!)

4. Making a fool of myself trying to learn a new language 🙂

3. Eating and learning to cook Asian food! Yummmm

2. Visitors in Hong Kong (my family, Kris, Stacy, Jan, Alice…any other takers??)

1. Of course, getting to meet so many new, fascinating people – collecting stories and wisdom along the way!!

Let the Countdown begin!

Wow – so ONE WEEK from today (Thursday) I ship out for Hong Kong!  So each day till the end, I am doing a twist on the countdown – each day I will have a numbered list with various things having to do with leaving, arriving or traveling.  So today, or what is left of it at least, will have 7 quotes about traveling.  Enjoy!

7. “If you love the life you live, you will live a life of love.” ~Unknown

6. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Confucius

5. “The important thing isn’t the house.  Its the ability to make it. You carry that in your brains and in your hands, wherever you go…Its one thing to carry your life wherever you go.  Another thing to always go looking for it somewhere else.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver Animal Dreams

4. “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~Lao Tzu

3. “Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.” ~Regina Nadelson

2. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” ~James Michener

1. “I am the unmissionary, as Adah would say, beginning every day on my knees asking to be converted.” ~Barbara Kingsolver  The Poisonwood Bible