Now the whole earth had one language and the same words….Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other….
A 175˚(~180˚) Flip
Entering adulthood is a thrilling experience, much more is living through this new phase. At once, I thought I had it figured out what I plan for the rest of my life, but at another instance, events unfold in ways I do not expect.
I spent the past month ‘coming back’ to a place I grew up. I was adjusting through a period of reverse culture shock, as I moved across ~9350 miles between the two locations. A month later, to my excitement, I got the opportunity to return to where I originally flew back from. This is a place where I had some of my formative years taken place, but not where I grew up. Formative years and growth seem to have extended or become more complicated whenever I move across distances.
Certainly, expectations do not always meet experiences. When that happens, it takes time to get pass the stress of readjustment, physically and mentally. Unexpectedly, I am reliving another reverse culture shock. This time, with the intensity of uncertain career path and sudden relocation. My body is so confused with the sleep-wake cycle and prolonged fatigue from a 40-hour traveling. My mind is looking for a reference point to bridge the expectation-reality gap.
Families and friends move on at different places, and the relationship is not the same as having them around. The smells and sounds in the air, and even the warmth or coolness around have changed. The food I was so used to a month or two ago is not the same now, so are my daily routines of doing activities and taking a rest. The social rules and cultural way of thinking were once familiar but not so meanwhile. It is not a completely individual process but a unique experience internally. There are memories and thoughts that I cannot share freely as they are understood. At work, there is so-called professionalism as a standard code of conduct, but it does not translate well into personal life.
Above all, God has never been distant, and is even actively involved in every single event of my life.
Orchestrated Coincidences, Who’s the Director?
Very easily, I could have focused the spotlight on my conflicts and personal experiences, and lose sight of God Himself in my life. Perhaps, I have transitioned into adulthood after college. Thereon, I would not have learned the ropes to becoming a grown-up apart from the events and people along the way. Not a single incident if displaced from its time and place would have the best influence in my life.
It would not have been possible to have a place to stay right after graduation due to the leasing conditions and the absence of ‘home’ in a distant country. What more, the moving was so smooth that I did not have to worry about transporting my house items. My roommate was a perfect match without any prior contact. The long period of job searching was very bumpy but it helped me to learn about myself better, and it built in me a finer character. The brief trip across the oceans helped me to connect the dots of families and friends.
Despite not knowing how things work together to this present time, and what are the unknowns in the future, God had never been absent or indifferent. There is always this peace whenever we’re walking together. On my end, I could be tired or slacking, but He is ever faithful to walking me through whatever unknowns ahead.
I could only say, when I’m left with only disarrayed thoughts in my worn out mind and body, I can feel His presence so real and refreshing inside of me. What reminds me next, is the recall that He is again directing me the way. I know, I am regaining my balance and returning to my normal self. I believe the same worth of experiences can be experienced by whoever who would give it a try. And it is always a beautiful chapter that concludes, one after another.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” — Romans 8:28
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Beyond Cultural Identity: Reflections on Multiculturalism (1)
1. Adler, P. (2002). Beyond cultural identity: Reflections on multiculturalism. Retrieved from http://www.mediate.com/articles/adler3.cfm