Thursday, May 19, 2005

Off to India

Well, tomorrow I'm off to India for an adventure! I am excited about the opportunities that are in front of me. Never would I have imagined that I would be able to go there so soon - or to be going there to learn language. Now, I am no linguist, but it is fun to be able to communicate to people in their mother tongue. All of my friends here (Indians) are excited that I will be coming back with a little bit more understanding of the language (Tamil) and of their culture! I'm excited to be able to share that part of their life.

The Father has truly given me wonderful experiences and adventures that I would have never expected. I am constantly reminded that the Lord's purposes always prevail. No matter what kind of crazy road your life takes, or the twists and turns you don't understand, the Lord's purposes are behind it all. Sometimes that is the only thing we have to hang on to. I am truly thankful for everything He has given me.

The Motosikal

Since arriving here, I have had the privilege of sharing the road with motorbikes - a small version of a motorcycle (halfway between motorcycle and a scooter). Motorbikes make the whole concept of staying in your own lane irrelevant. However, they do offer some on the road entertainment. A few of us here have a game we like to play called "Name Your Favorite Item Carried on a Motorbike." These items range from whole families (up to 6 people with a baby in the basket on the front), dozens and dozens of eggs, propane bottles, to long poles or even lumber. Normally, larger items are held by the passenger on the bike, however, there are exceptions to even that. Some of my favorites include Mattress Moto - a motorbike with two people and a full-size mattress and Styrofoam Moto - I actually wanted to help this guy as he was trying to hold on to two huge pieces of Styrofoam board. Recently, as I was finishing up a run, I came upon an intersection to see Mee Goreng on a Moto (mee goreng means fried noodles in Bahasah Malaysia). Yes, the man had a full plate of noodles with chopsticks in front of him on his motobike as he was driving down the road! Needless to say the end of the run was interrupted by my laughter!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Newest Adventure on the Island

Road trip time again! This time, though, was not so far away from home. Sometimes the neatest places are right under your nose, or around the Island!! Julia and I were finally able to take a day to explore what our Island has to offer. In such a place of tourism, people can basically choose which side of the Island they want to see - the "pretty" places, or real life. We recently got to see both as we decided to drive the Island loop - taking roads all around the Island.

Beginning with a mid-morning drive toward a popular tourist trap called Batu Ferringhi we preceded near to a fishing village for a breakfast of tosai (Indian bread served with different curries) and Julia's favorite roti Milo (an Indian bread with sweet chocolate Milo inside). With our stomachs happy we went to explore the many trails of the Penang Spice Garden - it was the best smelling hike I've ever been on. After cooling down with a nutmeg drink, we drove on and found out that the views of the Island are very diverse. Away from city life one can see beautiful placid jungle covered mountains, fresh fruit farms (with some of the most tasty treats), traditional kampungs (rural village areas) that give a glimpse of history, and even the supposed "most smelly place on earth" (where we opted to keep the windows up and air on recirculate). We ended up on the thriving industrial end of the island but even then we could look out to the ocean to see other jungle covered islands - a glimpse of what our Island used to be.

So now I've been from top to bottom, from most fragrant to the smelliest, from the dirtiest to cleanest, and all around in between. My explorations certainly aren't done, but I do have a good start.


I feel as though life right now is a whirlwind of activity. Within one week I went from nearing the limit of my threshold of frustration to doing a 180 and turning in a newer, clearer direction. I also went from teaching English at a language institute and learning the local language, to now an opportunity to learn Tamil (a South Indian language) the best way - by immersion, in South India. I don't know how my brain will adapt, but then again my head is spinning with emotion and trying to figure out what else I need to do before I leave for what many of my friends here (Indians) consider the Mother Country (India). The opportunity I have lying open in front of me truly dumbfounds me. Have you ever gotten to the place with God that your prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling? Well, I was there - for a while - and in 24 hours the Lord opened up the flood gates. Things began falling into place and the Lord allowed me to see a couple extra steps ahead, giving me a glimpse of what he has in store for the future work here. It is in the unexpected that we truly recognize the power of the Lord and run back to kick ourself because of unbelief. Yes, I speak from years of experience. True the older and wiser can look down and say "she's got so much more to learn" but the Lord teaches different people different things at different stages in their lives.