Thank you, from the bottom of my heart that my parents gave me.
Thank you, from the innermost part of my core and from my instincts that my teachers told me follow.
Thank you, brother, from my spine and skeleton and bones.
Thank you, sister, from my running legs that you showed me how to use.
Thank you, friend, from my hands and arms.
Thank you, from my breathing lungs.
Thank you, from my joints and many injuries, from my sensitive nerves, from my ears and my cloud eyes.
Thank you. So much.
Not certain if my memory of Phongsaly is real or fake.
Because the ends and starts of the conversations I observed in Moutern seemed similar enough that I think I might be misremembering the whole thing.
In my memory, discussions followed a schematic: a greeting and introduction (delivered in a particular fashion and with particular physical posturing), then the conversation proper (when the back-forth of the speakers’ exchange falls into a repetitive pattern where one person speaks while the other listens and performs reactive acknowledgement), and finally the winding down of the speaking (when sentences are short and staccato until one party chooses silence).
The beginnings and ends, with their apparently more defined behavioral rules, seemed to resemble each other because of those rules — likely because I couldn’t understand a single word being spoken.
Continue reading “Descriptions to Moutern”
I bought 8 pairs of chopsticks for like 3 bucks at the market kinda near the Temple and kinda far from the Mosque. Stored them loosely in my back pocket and thought for a second that, while I had my back turned when paying for my entrance ticket, the beggars would swipe them from me if I didn’t placate them with cash.
This thought was foolish, I admit. Here in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, the rules had changed on me, and I was taken off-guard. People spoke dialects that I didn’t understand, and Mongolian was on signs and in the streets. People consumed dairy products here?
In a land of jade, Inner Mongolia was crystallized amber.
Continue reading “Hohhot, Inner Mongolia in Parcels”
I am lucky enough to have a fellow ELCA global missionary friend who is in a year-long program called, Young Adults In Global Mission (YAGM), and is living in the largest and arguably most historical township in South Africa. She resides in Central Jabavu in the South West Township called Soweto, also known as the home of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Continue reading “Soweto: Scratching the Surface of A Rich Township”
Within the span of two months, I’ve transformed into a local.
The only differences are the shock of blonde hair, physical stature and skin tone, and the curious habit of speaking in English interspersed with mispronounced Mandarin.
Alright, so maybe I’m not a local. But I like to think that I’ve adapted relatively well! At any rate, I’ve experienced quite a bit since my wide-eyed arrival.
Here are 10 lessons learned in the mega-city of Shanghai:
Continue reading “10 Key Lessons Learned in Shanghai”
Forget everything you thought you knew about alphabets, syntax, or grammar in general.
Then proceed to turn your brain upside down in a desperate attempt to make sense of what remains. Try pressing F5 to refresh if 中文 fails to load properly.
Continue reading “Mandarin for Beginners”
Coming from a small town, being on display is nothing new to me.
It seems that everyone else is secure in who they are to the outside world. They know their place, where they are, and what it means to be South African. I’m still discovering what it means to be American, and yet I’m not just on display, but I’m also a window into the USA.
Continue reading “Middle School Nostalgia as a Foreigner”