Even though Hawaii is part of the U.S., I had to adjust to the culture here. To the people, the laid-back lifestyle, the food, even the slang.
For the past four years, I have been very comfortable. I went to a small school where I knew everyone, lived 30 minutes away from home, and could call on friends and family whenever I needed them. If I had a flat tire, I knew Dad was only a phone call away. If I needed a good meal, I could go home anytime and enjoy Mom's cooking. Life in NC was great, but I think it was time for me to leave my comfort zone for a while.
So this change has been good for me. Sometimes I miss the comforts of home. I wish I could walk around the UH campus and see familiar faces. I would love to hang out with my family on the weekends and meet with my girlfriends on Tuesday nights like I used to. But maybe God brought me to Hawaii so that I would learn to depend upon Him completely.
I have basically had to start over. I now live in a new place, I have new friends, and have a job. I feel kinda like a grown up in a way. I have enjoyed the adventure of continuing life in a brand new place. I have already had many new experiences:
-I can now cook meals other than popcorn and frozen pizza
-I am still learning to navigate the one-way roads of Honolulu...it's getting better!
-I make a little bit of money and am learning to spend it wisely
-I'm learning to speak pigeon "let's go grind, brah. nah, we going cruise." int. "let's go eat, man. no, let's hang out." (oh, and "choke" means "a lot"...in case you were wondering).
-I go to the beach at least once a week and for the first time in my life am a shade darker than transparent.
-I joined a hip hop class and enjoy making a fool of myself in a room full of coordinated strangers.
-I am more laid back and I don't care as much about physical appearance (I mean...I'm in HAWAII!)
-I have become addicted to the tv show LOST since I now live where it was filmed.
-I can read for fun and not feel guilty for not reading for school instead.
-Rice has become a part of my daily diet.
-I can now distinguish the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Korean people. (If their name starts with a "Y", they're probably from Japan. If it ends in "Kim, Kang, Park, or Joo, they're Korean. Everyone else is probably Chinese).
-And I'm pretty much a professional at using chop-sticks.
Those are all kind of silly things, but I really feel like this year of transitions has been/is going to be good for me. I'm not only learning basic life skills, but I'm being challenged spiritually. This could be the one time of my life that I have the time and freedom to do whatever I want and to truly invest in the lives of international students with no other obligations.
I am so thankful that God led me here. I hope to maybe attend seminary in the future, but I am so glad that I will have this experience under my belt. It is preparing me for ministry in a way that is real and practical. I'm learning things that I could never learn in a book.
God continues to show me that He is at work all around me...all around each of us. It's up to us to open our eyes wide enough to notice it. And not only notice that He's at work, but to step out and join Him. That's when things start to happen.
Time goes so fast. Before I know it my time in Hawaii will be done and I will be at a different stage of life. I don't want to wish the time away by thinking about the future. For now, I want to delight in the simple pleasures of life: The joy of waking up to a beautiful view, eating pineapple on a daily basis, living 5 minutes from the most beautiful beaches and mountains I've ever seen, and having a job that I love and doing a ministry that I'm passionate about.
So instead of worrying about what's next, I'm going to delight myself in today. Each moment is a precious gift.