Ending up in Asia

The best surprise of my trip to Taiwan so far has been meeting up with a (Caucasian) friend from college who recently married a Taiwanese guy and is now living in Taiwan. We haven’t kept in touch since college, so I had no idea how wonderful reconnecting with her would be!

canstockphoto19302573On New Year’s Day, my friend Kelly, her husband, another friend from college, and I ended up sitting and talking in a restaurant for SEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT! That’s definitely a personal record. Long after our food had been eaten and our table cleared, we sipped green tea from our dainty tea cups, chatting in the empty restaurant until a waiter finally kicked us out around 9pm. Then we went out to find more food.

To me, this marathon of a conversation was more exciting than all the fireworks, museum exhibits, high-speed elevators, and high-speed trains I’ve experienced here.

During some bathroom breaks, my friend and I got caught in the hallway chatting in hushed voices. And I was surprised to find myself on the exact same page with someone––especially someone from back home.

Basically, we had both ended up in Asia. And we both saw it as a long-term thing.

I used to have this fear that I was going to end up settling down in “white surburbia.”

Comfortable and sheltered from all the darkness and suffering in the world. I imagined falling into a life of comfort and ease and conveniently forgetting about all the needs out there. I am incredibly thankful for all that my parents provided for me growing up, but I just felt like life was supposed to be about more than finding success for myself and my small family unit.

It had to be about something more.

This past year, as I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, I felt desperate to find a deeper purpose than becoming financially independent or meeting someone I wanted to marry. Various ideas crossed my mind (like moving into inner city Baltimore and getting involved in something gritty and important), but I longed to feel called to something. Books I read about “calling” essentially told me that I should use my common sense, leaving me with the sense that my desire for a personal communication from God about my future was unreasonable.

Now all that has changed.

So I may be sacrificing a lot in deciding to stay here.

I may be sacrificing nearness to my family, career connections back home, and the comforts of living in a culture in which you emphatically belong. I may be sacrificing being understood by those I love most. But I no longer fear ending up comfortable and complacent. I no longer feel like I have to make a calling for myself. I know I am right where I am supposed to be.

I don’t know the details of my future yet, but I do know that it is going to be an adventure and that God is going to lead the way. And that is all I ever wanted.



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Elizabeth is an American living in South Korea who believes in destiny, miracles, and living life intentionally. She holds to simple faith in a complex world, values the beauty of the everyday, and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is always learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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