From this blog it isn’t always clear where we are or what we’re doing. We’ve just come off of six months of “home assignment” or “interpretation assignment” in Cincinnati. It was a fairly intense period. Initially we were waiting to find out if we’d be renewed; in May I journeyed back to Taipei to swap apartments and pay taxes and check in with schools; we stayed with family, including a longer period in the same house than we’d anticipated. It all came off okay and we’re back now on a three year contract, but it’s always a bit more than I expected. The challenge of the cross-cultural life, at least for me, is this:
(1) A large amount of planning and contingency planning is necessary to exist between worlds, (2) but it also helps to be flexible and able to go with the flow.
Planning. Flexibility. These two don’t always go together. Living our life requires a mix of Type A and Type B behavior. We went home not sure which of three school districts Sam would be in. Often we will have one area squared away (say Taiwan work), and then find another area that needs more time (US work). This time apartment shopping and a move happened in under two weeks. I sort of marvel at how it all happens.
These six months were good. The kids really grew up a lot (literally: Sam grew two inches). We visited ~20 churches plus several presbyteries. We had some vacation, usually paired with either unpacking or packing. Emily did a conference paper and I started some small writing projects. We did some training in Louisville, visited harder to reach congregations in the midwest and south, and in general kept things going.
Now that we’re back we’re finding a new schedule. The twins are back at their school. Eli has the most saintly teacher impossible, a woman who is emotionally attuned to him and patient. Because of the Sunday afternoon classes in Cincinnati and the Mandarin videos we showed them they all have at least comprehension in Mandarin. My guess is they’ll get back speaking soon. We bought cable for the first time, so as I write this Sam and Eva are up watching National Geographic in Chinese. Sam’s been doing some ping-pong this week. The local park has a rink where the kids are trying roller blades and a scooter. Emily bought a washer, microwave, and coffee maker yesterday. All the pieces are coming back together. Planning. Flexibility. It is all coming along.