That's exactly what I've been doing ... this and that! As I mentioned in my previous post, part of the reason why I haven't been blogging is because I fell out of the habit. I guess you could say I needed the break. A lot of changes have been happening around here, and in order for me to adjust, something had to go! Usually when I take a little break from blogging, I at least check my google reader and keep up with other people's blogs, but I wasn't even doing that! I didn't even have the energy to write a post explaining that I was taking a little break, partially because this particular blog break was unplanned. One day passed without a post, then another, and before I knew it almost a whole month had passed! During my "absence" though, I realized how much I missed blogging. It's therapeutic, really. It's nice to be connected to so many people around the world -- to be able to write my innermost (okay, maybe not innermost) secrets and receive prayer and encouragement. So I'm back, and I hope to be back to posting about once or twice a week. I know, famous last words.
So, where to start? A couple weeks ago, Ian and I took a weekend trip to 花蓮 (Hualien). Here are a few interesting pictures from our little excursion:
We ordered a salad, and this was what they brought us!
The English name of this store (not a sex shop) was "Sexuality".
This is a lingerie store called "Wal-mart". I guess these people aren't too concerned with copy writes.
A view of the beautiful Hualien coast.
A cute little alley in Hualien.
A view of the Veteran's Shrine.
That was a fun weekend! We also took a little weekend trip to 烏來 (Wulai) recently, but I spent all of my time soaking in hot springs (Taiwan is a great place for hot springs), thus the lack of pictures.
Besides taking little trips here and there, I have also been quite busy at work. I realized the other day how lucky I am to be doing a career that I love so much. Recently, I have had the opportunity to teach IELTS and TOEFL preparation classes in addition to my regular conversation classes. I don't mind the extra work because I love getting to know as many students as I can, and I appreciate the opportunities to improve my teaching skills.
My Chinese speaking ability is slowly but surely improving. I still have serious problems with motivation, though. You know what my problem is? I love too many things! I love reading, teaching, hanging out with friends, and so many other things. There just isn't enough time in the day to do them all! I know I'm a grown-up now, and that I have to do things I don't like such as study Chinese and exercise. What happened to the days when I could eat whatever I wanted and still be thin? I also just recently acquired all of the seasons of Frasier, and have been spending disproportionate amounts of time watching it.
God is good about reminding me about what my priorities should be though. I have been volunteering at The Spring with OMF every Friday, and working with the homeless people that go there has really opened my eyes. I HAVE to speak Chinese with them, because most of them can't speak any English. They're the real reason why I'm here, so I have to be diligent in my studies. God is great though, and I know He can find ways to use me in spite of my poor language skills. One interesting thing that happened at the Spring is that I met three Taiwanese social work students (I also studied to be a social worker). They aren't Christians, but they volunteer at the Spring to do research. They're sweet people, and they are constantly watching these homeless men and women give their testimonies. The other day one of them told me that he had prayed for God to give him a sign if He was real. According to this young student, God had not done that. How it broke my heart to hear that, because I too know what it feels like to have doubts over God's "silence". In fact, I told him this, and I also shared with him the various ways that God usually reveals himself. They did allow me to pray with them and ask God to make Himself known to them if He was indeed real. I had no problem praying this prayer, because I have faith that God WILL do just that (I believe that He already has, but maybe not in the spectacular way that this student wanted). We're meeting for coffee next week, and I'm excited to answer more of their questions and get to know them more as friends and fellow social workers.
I've struggled with a few things quite a bit lately, and God has taught me a few things. Many of you know that I tried to stop taking my antidepressant, Lexapro (which I take for an anxiety/panic/insomnia problem, not depression). I gave up coffee, I exercised, I prayed -- I did everything right! But the panic, anxiety, and insomnia returned, and I don't know why. At one point I got on my knees and asked God why He, in His infinite power and wisdom, doesn't take this problem away from me. I believe that He could simply heal me if He wanted to, so why doesn't He? I don't know. God gave me peace about going back on my medication though, so this shall have to be enough for me now. He did tell me one thing though ... that there's something for me to learn from this "silence". Maybe trust, maybe patience. I don't know. Please don't tell me that I must be experiencing this because I'm not praying enough or there's some sin in my life. I've heard it all before, and I'm not interested in hearing it again unless you have a medical degree. Besides, this is different than worry. I'm not worrying about anything, there's just this awful, panicky feeling that won't go away unless I take a little white pill -- along with my mother and quite a few other women in my family. Even when I was a child, I ALWAYS had trouble sleeping. I remember my whole family being asleep and me just staring at my ceiling for hours. Since I've been back on my medication though, my life is normal again and less worrisome. Hurray!
This post is getting long, and I have quite a few things yet to be done. I just wanted to let you all know where I'm at, and that I appreciate all of your encouragement and prayers. It's great to be back!