Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

IMG_6121
Bangkok skyline

It was incredible coming back five years later to the country that had such an impact on me growing up.

I was raised to have a curious mind, to explore the beauty of language, to love cultures different than my own.

It was in this city that I found Jesus as my best friend, where I learned that family is one of the most important things you can have, where I became convinced that Thai food is undeniably the tastiest food on the planet.

I knew such a huge part of me was wrapped up in this land of traffic thicker than the humidity and blatant stares and friendlier smiles. I remember days when all I wanted was to leave. But you can never run from who you are. Missions runs through my veins and I knew I’d come back. I’d always come back.

This time it felt strangely like…home.

Home is one of those words I always stumbled over.

What is home?

I had moved so many times early in my life and I rebelled mentally about settling in the unexotic Midwest. And it wasn’t until I’d been back to Thailand twice, Kenya, Costa Rica, and finally Greece to realize that this little Midwest city that could hardly be called a city wasn’t such a bad place to come back to.

I fell in love with the smallness, the simplicity, the coffee shops, the culture. Even after my two closest friends moved several states away, I was content.

And for the first time I knew how it felt to be planted – my roots grew a little deeper. Suddenly I realized I had two beautiful places to call mine.

Friends come and go and home isn’t always where all the friends are. My people span too many continents for that.

All at once I realized that home was less about my surroundings and more about my heart. It was about the coffee shop I visited two afternoons a week, where the Americanos are strong and the baristas know my name. It was about my favorite streets and downtown memories and old houses full of character and charm and stories to tell. It was about the library brimming with the worlds and adventures that filled my childhood summers. It was about family and shady trails and quiet creeks.

It was when I became content to call my little Midwest “home” that Bangkok suddenly felt like home as well.

IMG_6142IMG_6217somtambusDSC_0480IMG_6777IMG_6298IMG_6243IMG_6396 IMG_6374 IMG_6423IMG_6418 IMG_6509 IMG_6539 IMG_6525 IMG_6512 IMG_6544IMG_6631 IMG_6635 IMG_6685 IMG_6751 IMG_6750 IMG_6748IMG_6736IMG_6786 DSC_0223er

Now I’m packing my suitcases and moving back to Southeast Asia, though a new part for me – a little smaller, a little more beachy, a little less familiar.

I’m less sure than ever about what the future holds and far more excited than I ever hoped to be.

New country, new people, new adventures to be had and memories to be made.

I am so looking forward to adding Indonesia to the places I call home.

IMG_6092

Advertisements
Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

Coming Home

lizzy

I spent my Thanksgiving holiday on ski slopes and in Winter Park, Colorado with some of my favorite people. It’s a tradition of ours, to escape to the mountains once a year. For those of us whose family spans the globe, we are each others’ family.

Here come the lonely and misunderstood, the chameleon-like. Few have one place to call home, one culture to claim as their own. This is our diversity and our common ground — the pangs of cross-cultural living.

As for me, my heart has leaked trails through those mountains and across African plains, through Thai villages and Latin American cities. I’ve bled wonder in ancient Grecian ruins and spilled love into eyes when language failed us, where small brown hands cupped my face and whispered beautiful in foreign tongue.

My heart will never feel whole on this earth. Home is a strange concept to me, only an innuendo in the company of those I love dearly.

Yet I no longer revolt at returning to this Mid-west city where my family has settled for over a decade. Where the cafes and farmers markets have become a part of me and familiar smiles slip my coffee across the counter. Where church is somewhere I feel alive and there will always be a soul to sing with, a song to dance to.

Friends have come and gone and perhaps this will always be a place of passing through, but for now my roots sink a little deeper here.

For once, I don’t mind.

Coming Home

The Beauty of Smallness

Kenya 146erc

I was thinking the other day about how wonderful it is to feel small in the face of something good or beautiful. There are times smallness is an alarming feeling – a feeling of inadequacy and weakness and fear – but in the presence of the beauty of a magnificent landscape or the incredible goodness and strength of the Father Himself, smallness is a liberating and secure feeling.

There is nowhere I feel so loved and awed and humbled as when I experience my God in His Greatness.

This is probably the most significant thing I have discovered in my travels: how very small I am in relation to the world and its history and Creator. Time and space exceed my comprehension.

It’s a humbling feeling to know there is so much more than this tiny span of time and space that I claim in my sojourn here.

People who don’t believe in God, who claim to be their own…how very small their universe must be. To think this is all there is, that there is no greater purpose to their life, no greater Mind to trust in.

Trust is a scary thing but when the One in whom we trust is perfect in Wisdom and so inherently good, there is no safer place to rest, no sweeter release. I’ll gladly let go of my limited understanding and the need to act out of what I know if I can hold to One who is far greater –  He who directs all circumstances into a beautiful story, not void of pain and hardship, but more glorious and meaningful then I could ever dream up.

How trivial my problems and concerns seem in light of the span of this small space between beginning and eternity, of the awesome goodness of the Creator.

Smallness is humbling; it’s being vulnerable and trusting. Smallness is knowing release and deep soul peace.

The Beauty of Smallness

Why I’ll Never Belong and What I Plan to Do About It

DSC_0203er

I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a poetry blog and that everything I write doesn’t have to flow with perfect meter and prose. Life rarely does anyway and I’m learning to be real.

Honesty is hard and I tend to leave out the uncomfortable parts so bear with me.

I’ve been thinking too much lately. It seems like the more I think the less I know.

But for the moment, here’s what I do know:

I’m not afraid of silence, but of not having the words to fill someone else’s need. I am enough for myself but will I fall short for you? I can listen to your story, hold your heartaches, but are my stories enough to make you feel less alone?

So many times I’ve been told I’m different. (*mentally inserts the word too before different*)

I’ve been jokingly teased about being too quiet, too skinny, too healthy, too disciplined. I’ve felt guilty for seeking to be the best self I can be. I’ve been ashamed to talk about the things I hold most dear because I might make someone feel bad.

I’ve let my fear of being seen as less than sincere keep me from saying the things my heart whispers. I’ve tiptoed around strong opinions, hurtful gossip, and shallow conversations.

I have nothing to contribute to discussions about popular shows. I’m not a movie critic. I don’t know actors and celebrities and hipster bands. I haven’t even read every book of my favorite author.

I study Greek vocabulary and psychology and vegan cookbooks in my free time. I prefer to rise before the sun. I’ll take a book over a TV show any day. If I watch anything, it’ll be a documentary.

My mind tells me that I’ll never belong anywhere, that I’m too different. That no other nineteen-year-old has pieces of her heart in five continents and holds no interest in dating and would rather just learn to write poetry in another language and read nonfiction and do yoga.

But last year I met my best friend who moved from Spain long enough ago to not fully belong there anymore yet still not long enough to regrow roots here, who loves talking to strangers, who dreams about Broadway and musicals and cities she’s never been to and I realize that people can be so different and still fundamentally so the same.

We tend to alienate ourselves from people because of our differences instead of looking for all the places we intersect. (Well…I do anyway.)

All of us are looking for the same things. Every soul wants to be seen, to be known deeply, to love and be loved, to make a difference. Deep down we all have the same desires, the same disappointments, the same hopes. It runs through our veins no matter our history, the place we call home, or the things we strive for.

So I guess what I’m suggesting is perhaps loneliness is a prison we have chained ourselves into and learning vulnerability and honesty is the key that unlocks the shackles.

I’m seeking to live more authentically and I invite you to join me. 🙂

dew

Currently reading Daring Greatly and hoping to shed some light on this issue of vulnerability that I have wrestled with for so long.

Why I’ll Never Belong and What I Plan to Do About It