Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Precious

Could I go all grandma on you for a minute while I reflect on life when we first came in 1999? I want to do this, not to garner pity or to make us look like great adventurers, but so that you can understand how vastly different life here is now.

When we first came, we lived for 3 months in a foreign student dormitory as it was illegal for students to live off campus. This dorm room was just that - one room, with a small bathroom which the housekeeping girls wanted to hose down every day (they called it "cleaning." We quickly learned how to say, "We don't need that, thank you."). We rode our $8 bikes around our campus and a bit beyond. It was exciting to go down to "Modern Plaza" where we could get cream of chicken soup and Diet Coke. Those were luxury items back then. Phone calls to the States cost 50c a minute. When we moved into an apartment off campus that November, they hadn't installed land lines yet. We had to wait in line for the phone at the bottom of our building and pay three mao per minute to call our friends on campus. We lived for someone coming from the States who could bring us all the supplies we couldn't get here.

I think about these things, and it makes me even more grateful for the amazing access we have to things now. We can call our family practically for free. We have cell phones. We'll have (by the end of this week, hopefully!) a car. I can get a diet Coke if I walk across the street. But best of all is this recent discovery of Book Depository. On this website, we can order books that are generally cheaper than Amazon and which ship for free, straight to our door here in Asia. I can't tell you how much this cuts down on what we bring back from the States!

I feel like that sounds shallow. I'm finding joy in these material things? Yes, yes I am. But I'm grateful that I've been able to be in a position where I didn't have them. I think it's given me a greater appreciation of them now. It's like the saying, "You don't really appreciate food unless you've known hunger." I'm glad God allowed us the experience of not having certain things because now when we do have them, they are more precious.

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