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Friday, February 6, 2015

Leaving Home to be Home (Moving to the US)

It was this day two months ago when I first arrived in the US. The 21-hour flight from one part of the earth to its exact opposite side felt a little crazy. I had certainly shown the na├»ve side of me by making surprising comments like, “It’s 7 PM and it’s still bright out!” and the Canadian guy beside me said, “of course it is!”
I was now in a totally different world; though, a few things were already familiar to me – like airports, security checks, cars and of course, my husband who drove for about three hours to pick me up. I started forgetting my body pains and that it was very cold when I saw him (big beard and all) waving and taking pictures of me at the waiting area. I had seen his big beard by pictures before which he said was a protest I couldn’t move to the US to be with him right after our wedding a year and a half ago. To see and experience the beard was special and it was radical and cool in a way. I wasn’t sure I wanted it to stay though, so it had to go. 

The moment I set foot on our house, I knew that a new chapter of my life has officially begun which is also true for him. I am experiencing culture shock of course and there have been days when a hundred bits of new information, new experience and new people all blend in together and create one overwhelming feeling inside. There’s a lot to take in.

I observed how efficient the American system is and how people here are still trying to make it even more efficient – you pump your own gas; there’s a vendo machine for everything (DVDs for rent, laundromat card); your doctor’s prescription gets digitally routed to a pharmacy so you won’t have to buy medicines there with one hand-written by your doctor (possibly with bad penmanship as I was used to in the Philippines); it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to get from one place to another because a GPS will do just that for you; you ride on good roads in a very systematic highway system, you can buy anything online or have anything delivered by mail and before I forget, there are good bathrooms everywhere (flush, toilet papers and all). Because of these things, there are times I think that life is relatively easier here and there’s not much to complain about. However, I prove myself wrong whenever I hear someone get upset or angry because someone or something failed or is slower and less effective than expected. Somehow, it makes me think that the human desires are endless and unless one decides to just be content, he or she will never be content. I began to wonder how easy, happy and satisfying life might be for anyone anywhere in the world if he or she is more gracious, more understanding, more flexible, less critical and doesn’t rely on the system per se to make him or her happy.
It is easier said than done though and I am bound to make the same mistake – which is why, I try my best to rely on a much more trustworthy system – God’s Word and its role in my life. I have been going through different surprising changes and challenges every day – a part of which spring from the false expectations of people back home that setting foot on American soil automatically gave me a million dollars. Anyhow, I feel joyful and at peace and even closer to God in this place 10,000 miles away from what I used to call home because God’s Word is real in my life. Two days ago, I was very upset and felt alone yet Psalms 34 encouraged me more than Chinese food ever could. “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalms 34:10). God’s grace has allowed me to see the brightest side of it all – sharing life with my husband which has been fulfilling in many ways. At church last Sunday, I was asked which is better for me, the Philippines or the US and from the bottom of my heart I said wherever God takes me - that is the better place. 
(August 7, 2014)

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