Take a left…then an immediate right

Happy four months old to meeeeee!!!


Look at all the things I’m learning and doing! When I say “good listener” I mean like, when there’s a lot of context and they don’t have their mouth covered by a surgical mask. Just so, we’re clear.


How can two weeks possibly go by so fast! How can so much happen and yet I can also feel like there’s nothing to talk about?

First off – I got to sing in a friend’s wedding! She had been dating this great guy at our school for a while and within about a month she got engaged and married! (They don’t mess around here). The entire school was in an uproar, making decorations, planning the music, gathering tables and chairs, you name it, we can do it! I won’t say that I’m completely knowledgable in the wedding culture of South East Asia buuuuuuut I think there’s the possibility of me getting pretty close by the time I head home.

Why yes, I did help in the creation of this beautiful backdrop? Oh you want one? I’ll need tons of silk fabric, 5 hours, and two other people who can tell me what to do. 
I don’t know why, but it’s trendy to smile like this. She told me “good job!” after I took this picture and managed to keep my teeth covered. So I’m learning! 

Then the next weekend I got to attend another wedding, this time a Buddhist reception, with a different friend from school. She then took me to her house afterward and we hung out with her daughter. Did I mention this was all on my lunch break? And that it was on a Friday afternoon? I didn’t sing, but they definitely wanted me to. (Note to self…learn new songs in local language to sing when asked on command.)


(By the way have you ever had to wear a long pencil skirt and ride on the back of a motorbike side-saddle to get down the bumpiest dirt road of your life without falling off or losing your shoes? All y’all ladies living in South East Asia just gave me a huge ‘amen’. We can talk about how scary things become normal later.)

I fixed a clock, put up paintings, and got a new roommate!


I said goodbye to my old language teacher at my local center and started with a new teacher, which is an exciting change – but sad to say goodbye!

What do you mean you didn’t learn about the English Reformation? Oh! You’re still in preschool. Sorry. Wrong lesson plan.

I started tutoring middle school history – which is good because I feel like this is the do-over I didn’t even know I wanted. I mean, I’m genuinely interested in the Magna Carta the time around, so…I feel like I’m growing.

I think in my last blog I mentioned something about being ready for plans to change, but I don’t think I could have predicted how fast life can change in one week, talk about some quick and serious turns (new roommates, new responsibilities, new teachers!) It’s like there’s a GPS somewhere shouting to take immediate turns that take you in completely new directions, except I don’t really hear it, it just happens. They say that’s how it works around here. And I’d say that I’ll get used to it, but if the only thing to get used to is constant change is it possible to get used to that?

I’ll go with probably. And I think there are a few things that I can still count on as a definite possibility in my time here. 1) Ants will still constantly be invading my house and 2) There will be plenty of opportunities to sing at weddings.



Heights and Depths

I bet you have a really good story about a time in your life when your plans have changed. I would bet that you have several exciting stories that ensued from changed plans, maybe some that turned out good, some that were annoying, and some that were downright infuriating. The story of my birth is a great example of how plans can go array, involving a super chill doctor, a fiftieth wedding anniversary, and a hastily changed flight. Since that story isn’t super relevant to my life in South East Asia, I’ll spoil the end – I was not born on a plane! We did it guys!

You know what they say about ‘best laid plans’.

This is what “not knowing what the future holds” looks like.

I should have known, really, that the best laid plans for this Christmas were going to change. The short story is, it was going to be two of us, but (happy change!) another friend joined along! I had to turn in my visa paperwork on Thursday to pick it up on Friday, but I couldn’t turn it until Friday and then wouldn’t pick it up till Wednesday. Hotels and guesthouses were booked as we went. Our trip to the capital turned into a trip to the countryside. Traveling with known friends turned into traveling with strangers and making friends along the way.

Old friends and new!

Here’s the thing about best laid plans- how do you know that they’re actually what’s best? How can plans be quantified as best? Convenience? Safety? Traveling with people you know? Picking up your passport on time so you can continue to live overseas with the promise of returning home without being deported or incarcerated? I’m just spitballing here.

Rows and rows and rows of gold.


We ended up exploring new cities and saw the glorious mountain ranges that South East Asia can offer, and even the deep caves that were carved by a flowing river going straight through the mountain. Gazing at the mountains and the stars and the trees I was in awe. How can a place this beautiful actually exist? It was like I was reading a novel, only to look up and find out that fiction had become fact. G. K. Chesterson has an exceptional book called “Orthodoxy” that perfectly describes my feelings.

“Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.”― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy


Even surrounded by beauty I was anxious about my passport and the change of my perfect plans. I was worried my inconvenience had ruined the trip for my fellow companions. I wasn’t sure if we would make it back in time for work, or to pick up my passport, or to catch the next bus. And yes, even going into the cave, and, admittedly, I was a little anxious about flooding and mountains collapsing and darkness and death…But as we rode through the river and the darkness, our headlamps barely illuminating the cavernous ceiling, I was constantly reminded and amazed by Psalm 139.

“If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

In the heights of the mountains.



In the depths of the darkest caves.



If you need cave navigation help – I know a guy.

In a bus surrounded by people. (no such thing as a full bus!)

The ladies in this picture hopped on the bus to sell chicken. Peeps in SEA know how to hustle! The plastic chairs on the bottom right were used to fill the aisles with people.

With new friends nearby.



And family far away.




He is there.

Christmas of 2018 and New Years 2019 was one for the books and one I’ll never forget. I have goals and dreams and hopes for the new year and, sure, even plans. But, I think if the beginning of 2019 has taught me anything it’s that the best laid plans often go array.

This is what “well the plans changed but I think I love it” looks like.

But I hope that when our plans continue to change in 2019, that we end up with new friends and magnificent adventures in caves and mountains. And…that we still manage to get our passports back as well!