Sunday, December 15, 2013

Living Life in South Asia

Well, I haven't blogged in a while, but I've started multiple blog posts so I got the idea from my friend Kate's latest post (that is now several weeks old, but was new when I started typing this) to combine the various posts I've been working on. Here's a little update on my life lately, enjoy!

1) Home

This Nathan Fillion GIF perfectly shows what happens when I try to answer any question about where my "home" is. 

I'm from Mississippi but I lived in Kentucky for the past four years. Louisville, KY is the first place I where really lived on my own (The dorms at MC don't really count.), but MS is where I was born and raised. Both have a special place in my heart, but if I'm back in the U.S. after my time here, I will most likely move back to Louisville. Who knows what will happen during these two years though. Thoughts about what's next can wait at least until the end of July aka halfway through my term. I hold plans very loosely, and I honestly don't know what's next. Thankfully I serve a sovereign God who does know. 

2) Language Learning & Harry Potter: A Lesson in Patience

Some days during language learning I feel like Ron when he was trying to learn how to properly say his spells. To quote the book (because the movies are good but the books are better), "You’re saying it wrong," Harry heard Hermione snap. "It’s Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long." I feel for you Ron. I really do.

I like languages. I find them fascinating, and I know basic greetings in multiple languages. But learning a new language is hard, especially learning a new language in a way you've never tried before. We're using a method of language learning called the "Growing Participator Approach," also known as "GPA." You can find out more about it here:
The main thing you need to know about how this method is different for me is that it's an oral approach to language learning. It requires a lot of listening. Never in my life have I struggled so much to hear whether a "d" or "r" sound was said. Our language helper told us the other day that we're her funniest students she's had…I'm glad we can make her laugh with our ridiculousness.

Language learning and the general process of adapting to a new country is a very humbling experience. In many ways it's like becoming a toddler again at age 26.

3) Exercise and a 10k

I've been trying to figure out the best way to exercise here. I miss going to the gym for free at SBTS. That was really nice to have. I also miss all the wonderful parks Louisville has. It's just not pleasant to exercise outside here, which saddens me because I love being outside, but breathing in the dirt and pollution does not work well for my lungs. Some friends of mine have started a weekly exercise class to teach national ladies how to exercise with a wholistic health approach. We teach the ladies exercises and then share a story at the end of class. There are just a few ladies who come, but it's fun.

These same friends are the ones who convinced me to do a 10k. I've done 5ks and a couple of half-marathons (not well, but I did finish) in the States, but this 10k was unlike any race I've done in the states. In typical South Asian fashion, it was chaotic.

The race was scheduled to start at 10p.m. (for those concerned about safety, we had a ride with some friends) so we got there early to pick up our race bibs and timing chips. There was only one place to pick up the 10k packets with only a couple of guys working the table. The line hardly moved for the 30-45min we were standing in it due to the way lines tend to work here where people tend to push their way to the front. Finally they gave up on their check-in procedure and said that if you just wanted a bib and timing chip you could form another line. You would just have to remember your number to get results. We were fine with that since we all had our own timing devices anyway.

Once we had our race bibs we made our way to the starting line and joined the massive crowd of people. It was about 10 min until the race was supposed to begin. As the time approached 10 they announced that they would be starting the race a little late because of the chaos of check-in (my version of what they said). Finally around 10:20 (or was it 10:30?) we started the race. I immediately lost my friends in the crowd, but we had set a meeting point for after the race so I wasn't concerned. I had my music, so I was good to go. I am an introvert after all.

The course was actually a 5k loop that we had to run twice. It was definitely the most crowded race I've run. The street got pretty narrow in some areas, and since I was running a pace that kept me back with the walk-runners it could get frustrating and gross trying squeeze between sweaty people. At one point I got shoved by one of the leaders lapping me…thankfully I kept my balance. After I finished I met up with my friends and managed to shove my way through a crowd of sweaty people to claim my finisher's medal. Thankfully we had a ride home, and collapsed in bed after quick showers around 2a.m.

I'm really proud of myself for being able to run the whole thing. Sure my pace was almost a 12 minute mile, but I finished. I have knee issues so I was trying really hard not to push myself too hard. I've learned my lesson the hard way too many times. I did wake up feeling pretty stiff (downside of a night race), and sure, my knee hurt some but not nearly as bad as it has in the past. I'm glad I decided to do the race simply for the fun experience with friends…and I admit that I do like a challenge. There's just something about running through the finish line of a race that I love.

Oh, and fun fact…this race was sponsored by Target which is such a tease because there are no Target stores here, just offices. We talked to several of the Target workers and told them that they need to bring Target to this city. :)

4) Future Blog Posts…

I definitely have more I could write about, but this post has already gotten longer than most people are willing to read so I'm stopping. What would you like to hear about in future posts about my life here in South Asia (that I'm willing to write about on a public blog)? Food, cooking, transportation, shopping, holidays? Those are some topics I considered talking about. I might do a series on different foods I try. Let me know what you would like to hear about!


  1. Before I even started reading, I thought, "gee, this format seems familiar." Haha.

    Re: future posts—I'd love to see some of your photos of any of the categories you mentioned (food, transportation, shopping, etc.), if you take any.

  2. "If you take any." Ha! Of course there will be pictures! :) I think I'm going to start a series about the different foods I try here. I'll do one on transportation sometime soon, but I need a few more good pictures for it.


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