Tuesday, April 9

Dear Year-Ago Me

Dear Year-Ago Me,

Hey there, it's me...well you...but the 'you' that has officially survived living in a new country for a full year. Here are just a few quick answers to some trivial things before I move on with this letter:

No, you're not done with language school yet (sorry..) Slow and steady wins the race! 
No, your child does not have permanent bruises on his cheeks from being pinched so much. He's actually pretty good at dodging them now. 

Yes, you live in your own house now. The paint colors you picked worked out great (you go girl). And you actually just put all the suitcases away and out of sight. Oh...and you ended up having a flood in your house not long after moving in. No biggy. 
It's still pretty hot in this country. And you still sweat...your body didn't adjust to the weather that completely.

OK, now let's move on...

I know you felt alone when you first got here. You didn't know your way around and it felt like a huge mountain was before you. I remember when you woke up every morning wanting to go back to America, only 6 months after moving here. You felt empty and useless. You couldn't even buy minutes for your cellphone without the Mr.'s help. You would literally cry at the thought of having to bargain with a becak driver to take you to language school. Some days, you wanted to intentionally hit people with Little Man's stroller who were standing in your way and not moving. Actually...I think you did do that a couple of times. 

As much as you doubted all the people who told you it would "get better", I'm here to tell you....

It did.

You know your way around the city, for the most part, and you can tell becak and taxi drivers how to get there if they don't know the place you're talking about. You're also not scared when they take those sketchy back roads because you've more than likely already taken that sketchy road once before.

For the most part, you can say what you want to say, even if you have to use a lot of words you already know to say just one word you don't know yet.

You've made quite a few language mistakes...but you're also able to laugh about them. You may or may not have made the following mistakes ( did, you definitely did):

You thought that a girl was coming to your door asking to be a house helper (because you knew the word for 'help' but not much else). In actuality, she was requesting that you donate money to help the orphans. Don't worry, you most certainly gave money once you knew what was going on. At least you were right about the word "help"...
You walked into a pharmacy and said "I'm stealing bandaids." You meant to say "I'm looking for bandaids." So FYI, that's why they were following you around the store.
You told Little Man's babysitter that he is drinking "donkey milk" when you meant to say "soy milk".

For whatever reason, you still confuse the words for "red", "mad", "cheap" and "young" which are "merah", "marah", "murah", "mudah" (gosh..what's so confusing about that??) So, there have probably been times that you've said...
"You still look cheap"  
"That makes me so red" 
"Can you make the price younger?" 
"She's the one with mad hair."

Tomayto, tomahto....

You still bump people with the stroller and/or shopping cart when they're in the way. But you realized that that's what people do when someone else is blocking just push past them.

Things are always crowded...especially traffic.

You do have a purpose here. Obviously, the Good News needs to be heard here and you can actually share it in another language! You are also a wife and mother and those two jobs are important no matter where you are. You have some responsibilities now with the new business that your team has recently started. Then, there are some neighborhood girls that like to come visit with you and Little Man each week. You are actually a little overwhelmed at times with all that you've got going on.

You wrote this in your journal then, and I'm reminding you of it now. 

April 9, 2012
"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you...Then he opened there minds to understand the Scriptures..." (Luke 24: 44, 45)
I can receive encouragement from these verses. First, in that, it was the Father who spoke the words to me about one day serving overseas. It was He who brought me to this place. Secondly, He is able to open my mind and able to help me understand--not only the scriptures--but also my doubts and fears. That's only if I seek Him... and it's my prayer that I do.
"When our confidence is in Him, discouragement gets crowded out." 

Don't put your confidence in where you live, how well you speak the language, or how successful you are as a mother and wife. You're always going to be a learner.

Your confidence can't be found in your ability to bargain for a good price, to have an organized planner, or to cook a decent meal when you have to substitute half the ingredients. You're going to experience failure with all-of-the-above more than you want to admit.

Your circumstances will always change but the Father is always the same. He's the same today as He was yesterday and He'll be that way tomorrow. "Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy" (Psalm 61:1-3).
Take heart. He's brought you this far. And surely He'll be with you always, wherever you go.

P.S. For a brief moment, Twinkies were endangered and people were buying them like it was milk and bread during a snow storm. People are so crazy.

P.P.S. I'm not saying that you acted the same way when you found Dr. Pepper at a local super market ...but I'm not prepared to deny it either.

Linking up at
The Domestic Fringe


  1. What a great idea I will have to do this in my journal! And yes, I was one of those crazy people filling my freezer with Twinkies ;)

    1. Thanks for your comment! And no judgement from me about the Twinkies :-) I was tempted to throw the first stone until I remembered how I hoarded Dr. Peppers for the brief moment they were on the shelf.

      I just payed a visit to your blog and I'm already loving what I'm reading!

  • Really? You hit people with strollers there?

    Great perspective. Glad you made it a year!

  • I's more of a persuading 'bump' to get them to move an inch. Unless I see Doritos, in which case, er'body betta get out da way!

  • I love your blog! I love it so much! But, I really liked this post. I laughed a lot reading it, and I thought...."oh, alicia." and I remembered after Fort Worth you saying you were thinking about being overseas, and then that day on campus that you wrote your dream on the white door. Where someone else had writte "that gold's gym will stop calling me," you wrote. "To teach english overseas." and look at you now. I need more of your blog, it's got the "good" things in it. Lots of them.

    love ya

    1. Thanks MLAR, it's most certainly a compliment when YOU like my writing. I remember each of those memories very well. And I'll raise you one: both of us winning a medal for our essays at academic olympics. What would MCHS had done without us and our writing skillz?


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