Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Five Weeks In

We have been in America for about five weeks now.  It's been good.  It's been hard.  It's been sad.  It's been wonderful.  It's been all of those things and more.
We are living in a place of exceptional beauty.  We drive down a street and see Mt. Hood reaching towards the sky with its snow covered peak. We look North East and see Mt. St. Helen's-also snow covered but a different shape because of the explosion around 30 years ago.  We drive around and across the Columbia River and see clear water flowing. and boats sailing.  It's extraordinary.
People have been kind and generous.  We are staying in the home of a church member who has moved away.  They left some furniture and supplies and other people left some of theirs. Some other Portland friends gave us their sofa and love seat and coffee table and now we have a lovely living room.  We even have a car!  That has helped us to not have to make quick decisions about where to live and what kind of car to buy.  We are thankful.
Paul has started work here.  It's good to hear him preach and teach again.  We'll be headed up to the mountains in a few weeks for a church retreat to form vision and work on community. I can't wait.

Elisabeth has been doing a lot of this.


She misses the easy access to transportation that she had in China-bikes, subways, taxis. She also misses her friends. She has made some friends in our church.  Three of the people from her Third Culture Kid re-entry seminar at Multnomah live in the Vancouver area so she has had plenty of social interaction.  She went to the county fair and had her most American experience ever- monster trucks!
  She is heading down to California later this week to help a friend from her international school in Shenyang settle down at UC Berkeley.  Then she will come back and leave a week later on the BOLT bus for Canada to see some other new friends.  A few weeks later, we will take her to Seattle Pacific to start college.  

We got about 100 pictures of our little guy last week.  This one is from the airport right before we left.

The tears started flowing soon after this as we got on the plane.

We are thrilled to see him doing the same things as he did with us...books are big with him!  He is doing very well but I miss him every minute of every day.

As for me, I've been taking these words pretty seriously.  

The start of the journey also coincided with my decision to curtail my use of the internet, which can have an insidious, corrosive effect.  Too much internet usage fragments the brain, and dissipates concentration so that after a while, ones ability to spend long, focused hours immersed in a single subject becomes blunted.  Information comes pre-digested in small pieces, one grazes on endless ready-meals and snack of the mind, and the result is mental malnutrition. Susan Hill Howard's End is on the Landing

I have a new "devotional" book called At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur.  I start each day with this unique book- a compilation of Bible reading, poetry and literature.  It's been refreshing and feeds my soul in a unique way.  
One of my goals for this new stage of my life is "more books, more knitting."  It's a joy to have access to a library again and to used bookstores.  The Goodwills here are really good and have stacks of really good used books.  Our branch library also has used books for sale every day.  It's wonderful.

In knitting, I am working on a pair of socks for me and a shawl for Elisabeth.  The socks are a broken seed stitch pattern and the shawl is this.

Woodland Shawlette by Classic Elite Yarns.

I've started and ripped it out three times...I hope I've got it now!

I started to job process before we left China and had my first interview the Monday after we got here.  I had another interview last week.   Both interviews went well and I'll have to make a hard decision at some point if I am offered both jobs.  Both are the kind of ESL that I like to teach but one is much farther away...but potentially more hours.  The other is a great atmosphere but only four hours a week...but it's in the morning so I might be able to teach at the other place in the afternoon....if they have classes then...plus it's a lot of commuting because both jobs are in Portland!  So many decisions.
In the meantime, I have been hired to teach in a three week program at Portland State for a group of Japanese students.  It's one class on American Culture and one class on spoken English.

So...that's about it in a nutshell!

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