Which Side of the Road? (And Other Questions)


In the brief time I spent in Asia recently, I asked and answered a number of interesting questions.  I also picked up a few weird facts about my hopeful-future-adopted-home.  Here are some of my random favorites. :-)  Guesses, comments, and questions welcome!

Driving – which side of the road?  Yes.

Housing – which is better – mud brick or cement?  Well, mud brick is cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but mud brick attracts more scorpions than cement.  Definitely a toss-up.

Did you feel that?  No, I’m not sure I did.  What was I supposed to feel?  Oh, I think we had an earthquake.  Well, could you tell me next time so that I know what to feel for?!  (Apparently minor earthquakes are a common occurrence…)

What sort of security are we on today?  Yippee!  We’re allowed to walk a block!!!

Green or black? (multiple times a day!) Definitely black.  Preferably with sugar and milk.

Where are the cell phones?  In the kitchen.

Some people are serious about Scrabble.  I mean serious.  But they were also kind, as they showed me where to place one (1!) tile for 50 points.  My vocabulary is definitely going to increase!

Options for “night life:” eat, talk, play a game, go out for Korean food, watch a movie (Jimmy Stewart, anyone?!), read, or go to bed.  Everything except the Korean food was at home.  Can’t go to bed before the nightly team check-in, though. :-)

Home-cooked food brought to one of the potlucks I attended included chili, sweet and sour chicken, fresh local cheese, fresh bread, and a traditional salad (plus lots of other things).

Dessert was usually fresh fruit with cream-in-a-box (like milk-in-a-box).  “Chocolate” refers to any sweet candy, so the real Hershey’s I took with me as a gift was quite a hit.

Culturally speaking, the hardest thing for me on this brief trip was remembering NOT to make eye contact with national men when speaking with or being introduced to them.

The first call to prayer is very early in the morning.  I was told the timing is dependent on lighting – when the unaided eye can tell the difference between a black thread and a white thread in natural light.

Listening to Chris Tomlin’s God of the City is a very different experience in a land where only 0.05% of the population are Disciples of Jesus.

I was told multiple times that the language I’ll be learning is “about the same difficulty as Spanish.”  That is, speaking the language is about as difficult as learning to speak Spanish.  Reading and writing is an entirely different story.  (I’m such a visual learner I’m not sure how this is going to work for me… kind of worried.  But it’s near the bottom of the “worry” list.)

Haze doesn’t mean the same thing there that it does here.  Here, a hazy sky means a humid day.  There, a hazy sky means a dust storm – usually one that lasts all day.

Nerdier Facts: I currently live within a hundred feet of sea level.  The elevation there is about 6,000 ft – surrounded by mountains.  I’ll be living within five degrees north latitude of my current home.  The temperature variation is about the same as here – winter months the average low is 20˙F and the average high is 40˙F, and summer months the average low is about 60˙F and the average high between 90˙ and 100˙F.  The only difference is the lack of three things: humidity, central air, and central heat.

Fellowship gatherings happen the same day of the week as the majority religion gathering, which means that Saturday and Sunday are no longer the days of the week to anticipate.

When it’s all said and done, I know I belong there.  It was incredible to be there, to meet the team, make friends, get a picture of life.  I can’t wait to get back!

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