One of the hardest parts about living in a foreign country is the language. Of course this seems pretty obvious, but it is a LOT more difficult than I imagined. It’s not just that I can’t talk to people or communicate. The difficult part is being reduced to an infant when trying to communicate what you are feeling. I so badly want to express myself. I wish there were ways for me to effectively pass along what I really want to say. But when I meet people for the first time in this country, I have the perception that the first thing they know about me is, “oh, his language is choppy”. I really don’t like that that is the first thing that people might know about me. First impressions are important, and it’s frustrating knowing how mine are shaped here.

Of course, that just might be my perception. The fact is, I HAVE come a LONG way with the language. When I look back over the past ten months I’m pretty amazed how far I’ve come. I remember really struggling with Spanish in high school. I don’t think language learning is my forte. But considering I’ve never really become anything close to fluent in any other language (besides English), I’m quite encouraged.

Sometimes I make the unfortunate mistake of comparing myself to others- especially single (non-married) people. They have made better progress with language learning for a variety of reasons, but I think the main reason is simply that they have more time to study and hang out with native speakers. Over time that makes a BIG difference, and I’ve seen it happen here. But it’s just not fair to compare apples to oranges. Married people have a totally different set of priorities.

One thing I’m looking forward to is moving to our next location in a few months. I have a vision of sitting in front of my house (or our neighbors house) and just shooting the breeze for a while. I look forward to spending time with locals in our next neighborhood. That is the practice I need coupled with the chance for a local friend. My heart and my language will really race along then.

It was so wonderful having Kim’s parents visit us here in country. I think the most exciting part for me was when they first came out the terminal doors, fatigued and tired, yet smiling nonetheless. It meant so much that they would travel so far just to be with us. I know how long and grueling of a trip it is to fly halfway around the world. It’s definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

But they did it. They made it safely here. Our time in Mtown was a little rushed. We only had five days or so to show them as much of our life here as possible. We built into our schedule down-time, but for whatever reason it always seemed we were busy doing something.

Bali was very different. It was incredibly relaxing and slow. Our resort/condo was in the middle of nowhere. Well, to be exact, it was in the middle of a bunch of villages, in the middle of the jungle, just a ten minute walk from the empty beach. Needless to say, it was VERY quiet at our place. There were only 7 or 8 other cottages and so we became very acquainted with the staff. Talk about personalized service!

Because it was so empty, quiet, and isolated we had plenty of time to slow down, talk and make it more fun for each other. In this case, the lack of options was really quite refreshing. Sometimes choices overwhelm me. Last time we were in Bali Kim and I stayed in a different town. We never ate at the same restaurant twice and had plenty of activities to choose from. I think after this vacation I’ve concluded that I like fewer options and less to do than more. That is the point of a vacation, right? To get away. And get away we did.

We’re back home now. It seems more dull to us than before. But we have a computer full of good pictures, and lots of great memories to carry us until we see them again.

My birthday is coming up and I have a few modest wishes. I don’t really want to go anywhere, or throw a huge party. Afterall, I’m living overseas and I’m kind of limited in what I can do. But living within my means, it would be great if I could sleep overnight at a really nice hotel, take a hot bath, watch American movies on HBO in the hotel room, and watch CNN or Fox. Then, I’d like to wake up the next morning, have a really good breakfast (sausage, eggs, coffee), and then hang out at the Starbucks for a few hours and read. I don’t ever get to do these things and that’s why they seem so special to me. But I’ve been living overseas for over six months now and my idea of ‘fun’ has drastically changed. Right now, whatever seems least stressful, relaxing, and reminds me of home sounds the best.


So I have this new motorbike now and it is awesome! It’s a Honda SupraX 125 for those who care. We’ve been living in this city for about four months now and have been relying on public transportation ever since day one. By now we’ve pretty much figured out the mini bus routes to the places we like to go. But even then we’ve been limited by where we can go and what we can do. It’s really great having our own transportation. It opens up our life and the possibilities in many new ways.

But besides all that, it’s just really fun to drive. Driving a motorbike is so much more of a sensory experience than a car. You can feel the wind on your face as you accelerate. You can lean to the left and right and the bike responds. Balance plays a part of it. It’s just a whole lot of fun. And here in Asia there are other perks too, like always going to the front of the line at stop lights. That never ceases to amuse me. Parking is easy too. Half the time you can pull over alongside the road, buy something from a street vendor, and not even leave your seat. Awesome.

There are more motorbikes on the street than cars so people expect you. They look out for you. And if you’re not sure, all you have to do is wave your hand a little to the left or right to signal your intentions. That or a tap to the horn perhaps. There’s a whole unwritten motorbike ‘language’ that I’m just starting to pick up on. Kim is getting her license tomorrow. I’m a little nervous about her driving honestly, but she wants so take a month or so and just learn from me before she tries herself. It’s a great resource for the two of us, but a little scary too. Please pray for our safety!