We're big on milestones this week. A year ago today, we stepped off the plane onto asian soil for the first time. Suitcases in hand, only one toddler about, no apartment, friends, or words to speak. We've come a long way. I thought I'd take a few minutes today to list a few of my top loves about asian life and culture.
Honor: Coming from a society where honoring the aged is going out of vogue, it is immensely refreshing to me to see honor bestowed on the elderly here. It's not uncommon for me to notice a 15 year old walking around the mall with her grandma, holding her hand and taking care of her. I just love it. Most of the time in the states, the public interactions I notice with the elderly and youth make me cringe. Here, they make me smile. Asians know how to show honor to whom it is due.
Sparkles & Bling: Never have I seen more beautiful fabrics, more sequins and glitz than in this land. It doesn't matter if you plan to sell fruit on the side of a dusty road all day, dress like a princess in a sequined sari. Forget stocks, invest in gold. And don't just buy it, don it in long necklaces and splashy bangles. I never feel overdressed here. It's always appropriate to have a few jewels and sequins in place!
Ingenuity: Need to move an 8 foot piece of glass from one place to the next. No problem. Grab a buddy and ride through town on a motorcycle, with the glass sticking straight up. More power? Splice a line and add one along the roadside. I've never met a people more inclined to re-routing, re-wiring, re-doing than my asian friends. They can make anything work.
The Cool Factor : I love that there's really not one. You just are what you are. Want to stop and stare at something you find intriguing? Go ahead. Think it'd be great to have a picture with the random american at the mall? No problem. Throw your arm around them and smile.
Spirituality: Asians are unashamedly spiritual people. They acknowledge wholeheartedly the connections between body and soul, earthy and supernatural. They are intensely devout, spending seemingly endless resources and time on the pursuit of relationship with the spiritual realm. It's not just private, it's public. It's corporate and corporately acknowledged as important. I admire that.
No, it's not all love over here, but the love-list keeps growing, often in the most unexpected places. It's undoubtedly one of the most stretching seasons I've ever pressed through. But most good things grow out of a little pressing. Grateful for this year. Ready for another.