Today I was reading Nina's post on things she misses in America and it got me thinking about some things I've been missing too. I can tell you right away what tops my "missing" list:
1. Car. As in, my little Toyota Corolla. I miss the ease and accessibility of jumping in my car and zooming off to wherever I have to go. But on the flip side, I absolutely love the convenience of public transportation. After church today, Pookie and I took a little trip via taxi to the Siam Paragon and thoroughly enjoyed an authentic Mexican meal (thank you Sunrise Taco!) and topped it off with a stop at Starbucks. Once we were done there, we rode the sky train -- a train that runs above the road -- to Mo Chit where we got off and took a taxi home. Sooo simple and we weren't stuck in the endless traffic that is known as Bangkok:).
2. Pennsylvania food. Yes, I miss sweet lebanon bologna, swiss cheese, pork and sauerkraut, Philly cheese steak, hot dogs, baked beans and more. Seriously. The other day at lunch time, someone's meal smelled like baked beans and my excitement level jumped at the thought of enjoying some... until I realized it was a basil and beef dish:). But on the flip side, I've been able to enjoy lots of Thai food (and other regional cuisine) since coming to Thailand. I always laugh whenever we order food off the street and I hear the price: 25 baht. That works out to be about 75 cents and the meal is very filling and satisfying. I went to a Thai restaurant in the States in December 2007 and ordered a very simple meal: chicken fried rice. Here in Thailand the price is 60 cents. At that restaurant? $7.00!
3. Church service. I am so thankful for my church and my pastor and try to listen to as many messages as I can on the internet. It's a pleasure for me to listen to my pastor preach in English and to understand illustrations and "Americanisms" used during the message. But on the flip side, there is such an incredible feeling in participating in a service that is done in another language. It's given me a very tiny insight to what heaven will be like hearing people from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people praise the Lord! Another thing is the Thai church service is actually translated for us by my co-worker Berm. We sit off to the side in what is called the "farong section" and Berm sits right in the middle of us all so we can hear the message. Very nice!
4. Fellowship. There are about 250 people at my church, so that leaves plenty of room for fellowship, parties, get-togethers, showers, events, spending time with friends, etc. Here in Thailand, there are about 10 or so people that I get to interact with on a daily basis in English. Let me tell ya, that's a bit small:). But on the flip side, there are pretty much no secrets on our team. The good, the bad, and the ugly all come out when you sleep, eat, work, and breathe together 24/7. We're pretty much one big family here and yes that also means that there are tears along with the laughter. But I love this team so much and am extremely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to come work here in Thailand for a year!
5. English. A few months ago, we were at the airport picking someone up and while we were waiting for the person to arrive, I went to the restroom. As I was washing my hands, I heard several conversations in English going on and I just wanted to stop and speak to each person:). Also two weeks ago I was sitting in the mall waiting for one of our team members to get done with something and as I was waiting, a man walked by and said, "hello. How are you doing?" After a brief 15-minute conversation, the man (who was from New Zealand) continued on his way but it made my evening to talk with a perfect stranger in English. But on the flip side, I do realize that English really is a global language and I can "get by" with my limited Thai and their limited English.
Although I miss many things from home (and I didn't even get into the nephews and nieces!), I know I'm right where God wants me to be. And I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.
Besides, how many people can say, "let's go to another country this week?" and just go? That's what we're going to do this week:).