This is me, in honesty and vulnerability, as I type, process, publish this. Hopefully by the end of the writing, I have come to a conclusion, revelation, resolution of a better outlook than I started.
Well, missionary life started when I got married. Probably started when I started to date, but I didn’t think that far. Everything was still in honeymoon stage, isn’t it? The dating for 5 years were honeymoon, engagement and preparation were honeymoon (even though just after we got engaged, we ran into visa issues). The missionary life started when we decided to move to USA to serve together, the point when I realised “Oh no, I’m thousands of miles away from my home, my family and not sure when I’ll see them and not sure if we have the money to fly back”. Then it continued when we left with a baby (now toddler) in hand to a country 3 hours away from my home country. Nearer but still it will take us at least $700 to fly back and forth. Not too many $700 to spend often enough.
We have been in Chiang Mai since November 2014, so many ups and downs as I’ve also reflected in the posts about the 6-month mark. So I may repeat myself, because those are the things that are still lingering in my heart. Maybe I need a deeper revelation of those ‘issues’ to see where they are coming from.
Many times I question how can some missionary mums be always so happy and contented and excited about their lives in a foreign country and with kids in tow. Their Facebook statues and photos are always ‘finding the positive in Everything’. Although, yes, my Facebook and instagram photos are all of happy and cute Judah, but 2/3 of my days are in frustration, door-banging, screaming and going crazy.
True confession, I love to hear people’s real struggles and share together in each other’s real struggles. I like to talk about my own real struggles, too, when given the time to speak and be listened to, to have my feelings, thoughts, struggles validated and encouraged to continue the journey we are embarking on.
I always finding things that are different and not as on par as my home country. You see, Singapore is SO developed, the transport system is awesome, a million shopping malls. Even though some may say Singapore is an expensive place to live in, but there are so many free things to do too such as waterparks, parks, libraries. Food places such as kopitiam and hawker centres are easily accessible too. In Chiang Mai, we have 4 major shopping malls, 1 waterpark that is to be open soon, no or limited access libraries facilities. Thai food is considered cheap and good to tourists but I feel like it’s so stressful for us to find local food, partly due to parking problems, weather, dining with a child etc. In Singapore, we can just walk to the block round the corner to find children playgrounds, but in Chiang Mai, we have to drive round the corner or to the main park with a modest playground. Though if you have a yard in your house, then public playground would not be a necessity. Sadly our house and the area is a concrete jungle, so no grass for Judah to run around. (in fact, he had to resort to playing with dirt on the side road).
This last trip that we went to Singapore and came back, the moment I got into our car in Chiang Mai, I started weeping and being so homesick. I missed my mum playing with Judah, I missed having help to take care of Judah. I felt like I have ‘robbed’ my family of their time with Judah by choosing “to be a missionary”.
Interestingly, while I was being homesick that very day I came back, a Thai friend popped over to collect the items he had asked us to buy from Singapore. After couple of minutes of talking, I was all calm and collected, I think I do have some interests and desire to be ‘back home’ in Chiang Mai.
I am probably the worst kind of missionary God had chosen. I get homesick each time I leave my home country, whether as a single married woman or as a mum with a child. I often get so frustrated with everything that is going on in this country/city that I am in. It’s true, ask my husband that.
So, this is my true confession and judge me not.
I, am too, truly blessed to have a roof over my head and place to store our things, and space to establish some kind of routine and environment to raise my child. And I, too, am seeing this city progressing like Singapore (Haha! I’m kidding!). There are progress happening in the city for sure. Most of all, we want to see the Lord move so mightily in the city of Chiang Mai and the country of Thailand.