Sunday, December 10, 2006


Been thinking about how I always have "interesting episodes" involving elderly people. Aside from the first one, which I try to laugh at myself w/, the others are ones I really want to record down before I forget about them.

1. Most recently, while in HK, I spot a nice tote that I think would work really well for bible study. I walk a little ways away to show mom, when this old lady stops me and asks,
"Where did you get that bag?" I point her to the general direction.
"Are you wanting that bag? Can I have it?"
"Yes [when I really meant "back off!!!"], I'm keeping it."

Hahahah, sorry lady, go hunt for your own stuff. Also made me think, "Are my tastes really old-lady style?" Hahaha. For example, I like to look at stuff from Anthropologie, or vintage stores (though not necessarily buy from there), but my friends prefer Puma, or sporty-inspired stores. Go figure. Or maybe I can comfort myself by thinking, "She was probably thinking of getting that for her granddaughter." Let's hope this is the case, hahaha. Should mention also that there was a sale during that particular weekend, so the HKers were crazier than their usual selves!

2. Met a teacher at the City Hall cafe Maxim, for the first time. Only saw pictures and heard of her, but never met her in person. She was so warm and funny, showed me pictures of her family and grandkids, and told me her daughter-in-law (was it? some family member) is the president or something at Fossil. That was pretty cool. And when we said goodbye, she gave me (or I guess we gave each other) the European kiss.

3. Back in October, we're celebrating a friend's birthday by going to the Italian restaurant Mona Lisa, in San Francisco. Waiting for the restroom when the old lady behind me asks if I'm Japanese. Turns out she is Italian, but her son-in-law is Japanese, and she is so proud of having multi-cultural grandkids (also half-Brazilian half-Italian ones). She just starts talking a lot about how Italians follow the mom's side when it comes to cooking traditions (I really wish I remembered more about our perfect conversation about the different clans). Their table was celebrating a birthday as well. Before she leaves, I thank and hug her as if we've been old friends, hahaha.

4. At j-supermarket, I'm going through the checkout when the Japanese old lady behind me asks me, "Nandeska? [then thankfully in English] What is it?"
"It's milk tea. It's really good. And what is that?" [I point at the plant that she's buying]
"Oh....that is uh....root."

Well, that wasn't too bad, was it? So see, interesting encounters w/ people occur every day. Just have to keep your eyes open, and be ready for it whenever it happens. The ability to laugh at self is also very useful as well. That means that you are comfortable w/ yourself and won't be surprised at others' jokes at you when it happens, bc you already know the weird things that make up "you".

I'm trying to bunch all the old-people-encounters I've had this year, so they can be in one place. Ha ha ha . What I learned is to trust in God every day. Prep for the day by praying before going out. Then God blesses every interaction we have, and we've more awareness that it is actually God working, and not us laboring at air for something. Of course there are ups and downs, but God never fails and His mercy has never depended on our human level of faithfulness. That is good news.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hong Kong Revisited

Sounds like a book, don't it? Well, maybe I'll write one, if I've time to shape my thoughts into words. Give me n number of years, hahahaha...

Well, just returned from my trip to HK. I think the strongest feelings I got were: 1) No more fear interacting with the locals, and 2) No more sadness about not being a local.

Sound complicated? Well, here's a breakdown of 1): as I've been telling a million different people already, HKers are so much nicer now! They're friendlier and more courteous, especially people in sales and restaurants. So that is a wonderful thing on all accounts. Other nice things: cleaner in general, automatic faucets in restrooms ("just like France," my confident cousin Sylvia would say), pier is still beautiful, the peak is breathtaking... I'm sure I'll think of some more things to say.

2) Not meant to be negative, but positive. The sense of lostness that I felt so strongly six years ago is gone now. Don't know why. I guess back then, I hadn't come to grips that HK is no longer my home, but the U.S. is now my home. Now, I've let go of all that. In other words, when in HK, do as the HKers do and have fun! Enjoy the local atmosphere and conveniences. Back home in the U.S.: back to my own identity, free to be the rest of myself beside the HK part. Being truly global is one of my dreams (and possibly future goal in life)--to develop an inner calm and be comfortable in virtually any environment.

I think these thoughts are more significant in comparison to the little stuff I did every day, interesting as those were. You can be happy in any geographical area, provided that you have a reason to live and a goal you can work toward, and have a close relationship with God.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

no trespassing

Passage: Acts 16:6-10
Verse: When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:10)

"No Trespassing!"

You're holding a tourist map, all geared up and ready to go. You've made up your mind to revisit that tourist attraction spot, and on the way there, you keep imagining how beautiful the scene will be. In the end, however, you either take a wrong turn, or is it the map's fault?--so when you get there, what stands in front of you is this surprisingly huge mountain.

You just stand there, and in addition to feeling so disappointed, you also don't know what to do. At this moment, God presents a challenge to you: "Do you want to know what lies behind the mountain? Do you have the courage to climb it and take a look?"

"OK," you say, "why should I turn back now?" Finally, you take the winding path and reach behind the mountain. In front of you lies an unimaginably picturesque view. You stand at the top of the mountain with the vastness in front of you, and you're too excited and happy for words!

Somehow, one way or another, we've always fashioned life maps for ourselves, whether for short-term use or for the long haul. You've had it all planned out, and you're striving for this goal you've set for yourself. Apostle Paul did exactly this. For many years, he spread the gospel in Asia and had a heart for the churches there. He had planned to return there to strengthen his fellow believers. Moreover, he was already getting old and thought Asia was his last stop. However, God challenged him to go to Europe to evangelize. Turns out that God's Kingdom spanned a map that was much much larger. From the pioneering work of Paul, plus the hard work done by countless missionaries, today the gospel has reached almost all the corners of the earth.

When you get rejected by your dream college [ed. or receive any "unanswered" prayer, for that matter], instead of asking yourself if you've worked hard enough, or question whether God has been fair, please remember you can only see a very blurry picture. God, however, has the complete blueprint of your life in His hands. Are you willing to let Him guide you to what lies ahead?

Meditate: The Lord is my best thought. Awake or asleep, may He be my guide.

[The above was one devotion I just did while in Hong Kong. Translation by me, =D.]