“The test of all happiness is gratitude.”
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
“Give thanks in all circumstances.”
–The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians
It’s been quite the month…many things have gone as planned, many things have not. Overall, it would be a lie to say that there is shortage of things to be thankful; and as I recount for you all of you the highlights of the last month, I am forever grateful for all the experiences, good & bad, that keep drawing us farther along in this thing called life. I’ve learned that even learning to be grateful for the BAD is key.
I’m gonna break this update down in 3 fun, visual pieces: missional, personal, communal.
the missional piece.
You just had a look at one of Aroma’s newer ministries that I’ve been leading this year. We just had our first successful month of classes this school year! Thanks to some incredible Christian teachers in the public junior high schools, we’ve been given an opportunity to go in and do English classes for the students, and at the same time hang out with and reach out to a group of kids who would otherwise have no time outside of class and homework to interact with foreigners. It’s also been a unique bridging opportunity between the local church and the students.
the personal piece.
I moved! And I didn’t just move; I officially have my own apartment. It’s small, but it fits both me and whoever I feel like having over. Living by myself feels different than I thought it would, but I definitely think it was time to finally get my own place, especially after almost 10 years of both negative and positive roommate experiences. Having my own place has seemed to usher me into the next step of adulthood. And not to mention financial responsibility.
I also switched schools. Long story short, there were some good times at Chinese Culture University, but at the end of the day (more specifically the end of a rather non-academically stimulating semester) their Chinese program was not for me and my language goals, so I won’t be continuing my studies at that specific Language Center. I’ll be researching my other options and making a decision at the end of the year. Meanwhile, I will keep studying on my own.
However, it was definitely an experience being in the classroom as a STUDENT again. (Quite a humbling one after being the teacher for 5 years, I might add!) Good times were still had. In the pictures below you can see that I got to enjoy quite the diverse set of classmates; students in my class were from Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, and Germany.
the communal piece.
I had 3 different Thanksgiving dinners this year! One was with a smaller group of friends in our lovely neighborhood of Ximending on Thursday night, one was a special event for our regular Friday night Coffee Talk crew, and the other was hosted by a friend who does a big turkey day meal every year.
We also said goodbye to a friend who succeeded in getting an immigration visa back to the States. Tai has been a part of our Aroma community for a while. A small group of us also took trip to a railroad town called Shifen to hang out with him one last time.
There you have it, another brief and visual monthly update! There’s a lot of be thankful for; alas, there’s always a lot to be thankful for. For more information on ways to support me, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, keep reading my blog!