Yes, folks…in case anyone was curious, there IS Grapetiser/Peartiser/Appletiser in Japan! I never thought I’d get to taste that yummy stuff again.
I don’t plan on this blog becoming a journal where I explain every eensy detail of my day, but perhaps other people can shed light on whether certain things that happen have some deeper meaning. (Or maybe I’m just always looking for a reason when some things just are.)
The plane rides went smoothly for the most part. Until the extremely time efficient Narita Airport people decided that my luggage had been on the conveyor belt too long (Immigration didn’t take THAT long) and toted my bags away. I found them, thank goodness. And if that’s all that happened I call that a good trip.
The one thing that I was disappointed in – and please don’t judge this weird complaint – was the fact that in neither plane ride did I make a new friend. If you’ve ever flown in a plane with me you probably know that I’d pick sitting next to a stranger who looks a little talkative over sitting next to someone I know. People on planes are on their way to some destination for some various reason and that alone is a story they can tell me, but they also have other stories to tell about their lives. I’ve also enjoyed having nice airplane neighbors because they can share advice or teach me how to get along better at my destination.
But on my way to Japan, a place where I don’t know the language or what it’s like or the sites I should see, there wasn’t anyone to encourage me. Maybe it is selfish but I was looking forward to someone helping me out with whatever questions I could think of. I don’t know if that’s a sign of the loneliness that I should expect or the reliance on myself and my connection with God, but I do feel a bit more alone here. In fact everything about this trip has felt much different than SA.
I feel more calm and content here, less excited about being somewhere new, and more like I’m on a mission without a particular end. It’s not that I’m unexcited, but I feel all the sadness that a year away from my family and friends and the difficulty that starting something new will bring and the struggle with communication that will happen… I don’t usually focus on the negative, but this time I am very realistically able to consider everything that this year is going to take. My attitude is still thankful for this opportunity, and I KNOW with everything I have that I am exactly where God has placed me. I pray He knows my surprisingly low level of ADHD-like excitement isn’t a lack of gratitude but just a realistic understanding of how much strength I will have to draw from Him.
I think each teacher at the school has a unique purpose in being here which is planned out by God. It seems my purpose may be less in my teaching but more in my evangelizing. Brad said it best-“If you aren’t doing that [telling others about Christ], then I have no idea why you even went.” That sounds harsh but it was said with love. He is right. Why would I separate people I love from myself? I honestly feel like God is telling me to be a missionary here in Japan, even moreso than in SA. These trips are almost becoming incomparable because of all the differences in experiences and feelings they create in me…
But at least they both have Grapetiser.