Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Small but Significant Differences

These are some small, humorous differences that I noted between American culture and the culture of East Asia, as I saw it during the short trip

•At home, water is served with ice; there ice must be requested
•There you get a moist, warm wash cloth to wipe your hands before meals; at home, just a napkin
•There most meals are served family style unless you are eating fast food (which I would not recommend)
•There fruit is one of the main snacks and sold on the street and in convenience stores like we sell potato chips (I prefer potato chips)
•There diet drinks are difficult to come by and people seldom drink sodas
•There commodes are holes in the ground, some holes are much better than others though!
•Mattresses are hard and box springs are absent
•Kids wear split pants and use the restroom whenever and wherever they get the notion, including the floor in the airport, so watch where you step and take your shoes off when you go inside
•People there are incredibly friendly and hospitable, willing to interact on campus and at the park, places that Americans usually prefer to keep to themselves and their families
•Karaoke rooms are rented like bowling lanes in america
•A big Mac value meal cost 2 dollars instead of 6 (but the cokes are much smaller)
•An ice shake (bing sha) is combo of a shaved ice and a milk shake and somehow taste better than either one

What did you do in East Asia?

After "How was your trip?" this is the inquiry that we hear the most upon returning from the Green City of Lights. Don't misunderstand...I do LOVE the question and I am always thrilled that people are interested in our adventures. However, my reply is usually sub par. So, in an effort to produce a more thoughtful and eloquent response, I have typed up an answer to this ever popular question.

We traveled to east Asia last week to visit friends and to learn about their culture and beliefs. While there, we learned that, unlike Americans, the people there think very little about god, religion, or death. They believe that when they die, that is all there is. Therefore, life has little purpose other than to be a part of and support institutions that are present and will outlast them, like the government, education, and the economy. The culture clearly demonstrates the truth that what you believe about God influences EVERYTHING else in life.

We shared with the people a different belief system, one that we believe is true based on the bible and our own experiences with Christ, not based on pride in ourselves or our own culture.

We told them that there is ONE God who created heaven and earth. He desires to have a relationship with us, but that relationship was broken long ago by sin, sin that is in each of us.

God sent his son, Jesus to defeat sin and give us the opportunity to be brought back into relationship with Him.

We told the people that God sent Jesus for all mankind, not just Americans, or people who grow up hearing about Him.

We gave them an opportunity to respond to this good news, and one night we saw 3 local people come to faith in Christ.

They will now be encouraged by the body of Christ that is there, be baptized, and continue to be changed by the spirit of Christ that now resides within them!

This is the power of the cross, that Christ became sin for us (and by us I mean believers from every tribe, nation, and tongue)!

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Day of Summer

It's official! School is out and I am a stay-at-home wife (at least for a few months).

It seems that all around, celebration is occurring. In fact, I hear the ice cream man now, taking his first trip of the year down our street. While I am tempted to run out to greet him, I'm on a diet...sort of. This diet includes 30 minutes of exercise which is later rewarded and reversed by a night-time ritual of food network and dessert. Sorry ice cream man, perhaps you would have better luck if you returned around 9 pm.

One of the highlights of the spring and summer thus far has been walking out to the garden each evening to see what vegetables have, unlike myself, thrived in the blazing heat. I was given permission to water and pick, but I have been reprimanded for being "over-zealous" with my picking. Who can blame me though? If you saw a red tomato hanging on a vine, free for the picking and you had been paying $3 a pound for them at the store, you would probably be over-zealous too...just saying!

So, I have slowed down the picking a bit, reminding myself that they will still be there tomorrow, and if I leave them, they will be even better than today.

Here is a preview of the summer's bounty with much more to come. There is more than enough for two people, so if you are interested in some fresh veggies, just let us know. We'll even let you pick them yourself...just stay away from those that aren't ready :-)

Toodles for now


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthday Week

It's birthday week here at the Water's household and, unfortunately, also a week filled with work for Adam. However, we have had the privilege of a few celebrations:

1) When Adam returned from work on Sunday, we went on a birthday date to Surin and enjoyed YUMMY sushi and Thai food. After dinner we sat on our neighbor's deck and devoured chocolate cake and ice cream.

Note the delicious ganache as it runs down the side of the cake and excuse the pipe cleaners that are being used to hold up the numbers!

2) Monday morning my gift to Adam was me rising early on my day off to join him for a bike ride across the western part of the county--32.3 miles to be exact.

3) Monday evening, family and friends met us for a SURPRISE birthday celebration (I do believe Adam was surprised!)

4) The birthday festivities will continue this weekend as we head south and celebrate yet another milestone...the end of school!