So here we are, after a busy year teaching in South Korea. The time just flies by, especially at the end of the year: finishing up (push-push), finals (cram-cram), year-end parties/amusement park/goodbyes, correcting/grades/year-end report cards, get-on-a-plane-for-12-hours-and -land-in-SanFrancisco... whew!!
We get here a little dazed, and in distinct disbelief that we are actually clear around the world again. Well, there's Trader Joe's and In-N-Out Burger... yep, we must be in California!
Even though exhausted, it really is a wonderful place to come home to. The sunshine and the clear blue sky, the mountains and ocean fringed with redwood groves and Starbuck's. It's a veritable paradise, and a little like Disneyland with the upscale town centers fringed by luxury home developments ringed with enforced green belt open-space. Every shopper hurrying through the landscaped parking lots, every BMW gleaming on the highways, every commuter corridor a picture of American living bliss.
It all tugs at my heart -- it's home, after all -- but it's so unlike the rest of the world. The rest of the world, Asia at least, seems to want to be like us so badly. What they need is the hope of the gospel, but what we seem to export is a shiny image of manufactured success. I wonder how much western Christians think of the rest of the world. What we all need is the hope -- the reality of the living God!
We are doing well: our son Jonah is succeeding in school and loves the adventure of living abroad as well as all of his far-flung friends. For Scott, building a high school program in Korea from the ground up is quite fulfilling, not to mention the privilege of teaching and leading these amazing and whole-hearted kids. It is precious to see them give their hearts to God, light filling their eyes, while later the hard questions come along, with the holy honor of helping them forge their hard-won answers.
Dionne is well and content in her home life in Korea, and a schooling program. She has enrolled full time in online classes with Oregon State University -- the goal being to improve her qualifications in education, and possibly going on to do an MA in school administration.
Living between cultures is like living in two worlds: customs, places, expectations, communication, all are so different. Building a life in a new culture is like building a new self; the inward essentials are the same, but all of the outward non-essentials must be re-tooled, re-formed, from appearance to language to habits to expectations...