Sitting on my American mattress, you might not think you were in Uganda. Leaning against the cement wall, you may conclude you were in America. Staring at this American laptop, you’d not know you were away from the place you’d always known. It’d be very hard to tell, unless you looked around you.
Sitting in the sun, you’d know you weren’t in Oregon during December. Riding in the car, you’d feel the difference. Being stared at by the pedestrians, you’d know you weren’t in your homeland.
But this is where I call home today.
My feelings mix and churn me like electric mixers the milkshakes that I crave. My heart breaks in little ways, until I feel I can hear no more of this life. I read of my friends’ trials and trails, and wish I could help. I hear my friends have problems, but know with the deepest pains—I can’t change the world.
These past few months have been very difficult for me. With changes in my social life, and changes in my spiritual life, I find it very challenging to re-adjust. With changes in my every-day life, I find it hard to be meek and obey. With changes in my surroundings, seven months isn’t yet enough to help my turmoil. I eat pizza and remember Papa Murphy’s, grateful to my mom for the work, but yearning for the simplicity of take-outs. I read in Science about the stars, memorizing Orion and finding Deneb on star charts—but never able to complete the assignments for lack of the Northern sky. And I remember, these stars are the ones my best friend would see if she looked. I watch the clouds, remembering the comfort I had in the fact I saw the same clouds my family did—but that was when I was in Oregon. They’ll not see those ones. I jump for joy when handed a tootsie roll, but remember when these were a meager sample I’d pass on for a carrot. I check the weather, but not once have I seen a snowflake here. I see pictures of snow, watch Christmas movies of the cold, winter nights, and dream of a slight chill down my back. But I sit and sweat in place. Reminiscing about warm, cozy fireplace mantels with a crackling fire all ablaze, I open my eyes to the fire being all around me in form of Sun and shine. Not an Oregonian December.
Some of you have asked what I miss the most here. In the best way that I can, I have tried to express the answer to that question here. There are indeed many things different, but the differences could never be explained fully in the printed word. Never in a thousand words or a thousand libraries. The things I miss are the ones I took for granted in the States. The usual yearnings—like wanting family around for Christmas and feeling the hole left by friends no longer there—are there, too. But those are easier to relate to and understand. “Yet these three things remain: faith, hope and love.” And these I cling to.
As there is only a week ‘till Christmas, we are supposed to turn our eyes toward Him. Well…. it’s not just because it’s Christmas. He lives every day and accept our praise throughout the year. And though I may gripe on all these things, He deserves the credit for every smile I find to shine.
I believe in snow,
even though it’s hot today.
I believe in sun,
even when the clouds are gray.
And I believe in God,
though He tells me not my way.