It is my first full day at home as a permanent resident, and not a guest. It feels weird…to be walking up and down stairs, having a kitchen with proper pots, pans and propane and also sharing this home with three more ladies – my mom and my sisters. After five years of living by myself in a small studio room, this is definitely an adjustment. I teared up a little when my mom said to me this afternoon, “This place is also your home. Don’t act like you’re visiting.” So Mom and I spent the whole day building a nest, which means lots of cleaning and shuffling things around. My sisters were overjoyed when they came home and realized they just escaped from an enormous task of helping me and mom. They always joke around that if Mom and I team up, they do not want to be in the house…because it means there are a lot of chores to do. :P
The drive back yesterday was 10-hour-long, even longer than the usual bus ride! Mom and I left Chiang-Mai at six o’clock before the sunrise. Initially, I was a wee bit scared because our car had a tiny heat problem, and it could not be fixed in time of my departure. But the mechanic who took care of “Grandma” (that’s how I call the car) said that as long as we drove slowly and did not try to accelerate the engine, we should be fine. The last order he gave us was, “And store a lot of bottles of water. You may need them along the way.”
Knowing too well that the car might overheat any time while I was driving, I prayed fervently before and during the ride. At one moment, I heard a still small voice whispered, “Do not be afraid. I am going with you.” In the dark, I drove…with increased trust and confidence…knowing that whatever happened, God would be with me and help me through difficult circumstances. He had used this experience to emphasize the theme of wholehearted trust and reliance on God that I have received since the beginning of this year. I have learned to not expect that all my problems will be solved for the sake of convenience. Instead, God has taught me to fully expect His presence in both easy and tough times; and to cling to His promise, “Do not be afraid for I am with you.”
Thankfully, the engine did not overheat and we did not need those stored water bottles at all! The drive up and down the mountain during the first five hours was pleasant. The early winter morning air was crisp and clean. We enjoyed the rolling hills and lush green fields along each side of the road. The most wonderful thing was the sunrise – the fiery orange ball that slowly glided up the sky and caused arrays of colors to streak through the mist. It was phenomenal.
Unfortunately, the latter half of the ride home was not so enjoyable. As we put more kilometers away from Chiang – Mai, half of me wished we could turn the car around. I started to experience some culture shock with continual change in environment; brown flat land, scorching heat, central dialect, industrial districts, pollution and, the worst of all, Bangkok traffic jam. At five o’clock in the evening, I was so ready to jump out of the car and stretched. When mom parked Grandma in front of our house, I breathed a prayer of thanks and almost ran to the door.
With all that said, I must admit – it is good to be back home, not because of the conveniences of a house (although it is definitely a part of it) but because of the interaction I get with my family – swapping stories, telling jokes, discussing plans and eating dinner together. Though you may have gone away from home for a couple of years, and many things may have changed; one thing is always the same – love. In 10 or 20 years from now, I am certain that I can always come home and be accepted the way I am today.
On a different note, I am still waiting INTENTLY for my visa to New Zealand. This week and next week will be a nerve-racking time for me as I am expecting a call from the embassy. This is the 2nd week of the application process. And from their website, it usually takes about two to three weeks to know the results. So it can be anytime now or another week. If I could have my way, I would love to get the visa tomorrow, book the plane ticket and leave the country by January 30…because school will start on February 7. Yet the possibility is slim. And I am trusting in God’s plan and timing. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with some people who either live or have gone to New Zealand before I moved down to Bangkok though. So now… I kind of have some ideas of what to expect and what to do. And let me just say – feeling excited is an understatement! :D
Anyway, I am going to call it a night; and go watch the Hobbit’s behind-the-scene. Tomorrow is a day of cleaning, unpacking and doing laundry. But I hope to sneak in some grocery shopping and brownie making (I just learned how to make some gooey, fudgy brownie…and I am stoked to try it!).
So…with no further adieu, good night. Thank you for reading! :D