Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm Back Home!!!

Never did update this blog to show that I had made the great transition in moving from Kenya to the much unknown Wenzhou, China. And time is sometimes lost on me ‘cause that little event took place more than a year ago. And since that time I think China, unexpectedly, has grown quite a bit on me (this from someone who had specifically sworn off China – among other areas – earlier in his life).

I guess it was coming back to Kenya that really brought the point home. Personally, of all the people that ever had the chance to travel, I always felt that I am the least adequately suited. A true introvert, I’m more inclined to sit back and just blend into the environment (…but my depth is usually revealed in one-to-one conversations). With my predisposition towards been laid back, it takes me a while to get used to a place, and when I find that little slice of comfort, I never really want to move out of more than just that mere zone. So I don’t tend to search out that new experience (“it” in most cases finds me) and the benefits of being in a totally different locale are wasted on me.

Another thing about finding that comfort zone – even in another country – is that once I’m whisked out of it, even if it means returning home, I am just left out-of-sorts. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of making my ‘home-away-from-home’ in countries that rank on a scale much bigger than Kenya – USA (Central PA) and China (Wenzhou). The resulting reverse culture shock is murder. I love my country, and I know it’s still a fledgling democracy (45 years), but we should be progressing much faster than we have in recent years. The rhetoric from politicians wouldn’t worry me so much, if I didn’t have the nagging impression that all this political tomfoolery is killing the public goodwill. That public goodwill is more powerful than all the well-meaning money people will ever sink into Kenya.

Anyway, political musings aside, home is where the heart is. And nothing connects me more to this place than friends and family. Some things change, some remain the same, but they’re always here for me. There’s nothing quite like being back home. A special shout-out goes to my soul-mate, who’s known me even before the day I was born – My Twin Brother. My polar opposite, he grounds me in Kenyan reality, and he is a useful guide for any trip back home.

(Some people are probably chiding me for not saying something wonderful here about my mother…but that is a longer undertaking deserving more than just a one liner or an afterthought).

Of course, having travelled makes me a different creature; eclectic actually. The beautiful woods of Grantham, PA (under the guidance of Dr. Foster) brought out a love for greenery I felt was only unique to my late father, and my time in Wenzhou is teaching me all about the joy of blending simplicity and tradition with great development and expansion. And as always, it’s great to walk with ordinary people and witness humility and kindness personified. Every friend picked up along the way is a lifelong treasure (…at least until the next big fight :)

Finding greatness in the seemingly ordinary makes life worth living for me. I’m hoping through this evolution that I’m picking up more good than bad; that I’m learning to be gentler and humble, and that at the end of it all I’ll be able to share it with others (“Opening up” just like my Father always wanted me to).

But till this holiday end in the next 2 weeks, I’m just glad to be home.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Shame

One of the reasons for my introversion is a strong sense of shame that I hav always had. Sometimes shame concerning where I come from, or shame for the things that I don't have or merely a shame concerning the things I haven't achieved (...or feel I should have achieved by now).

It is self-propagating: it leads to a whole load of fear, and I'm sure that other than sheer laziness, it is the main thing preventing me from fulfilling my potential. What's the reason for all the shame? Haven't I led a good life? Didn't my parents bless me with their best even when times were hard? Can't I count myself among some some of the luckiest people in this world, with all the things I've seen, places I've been and all the opportunities I've been granted?

Ideally, I should. My shame is simply a symptom of an inherent 'thanklessness'. I could have the world at my feet, but if I find no contentment within myself I would be but a lost cause.

So Lord, I ask you, beg you, to teach me contentment. Help me to find joy within my daily toil, and furthermore, help me to appreciate the toils and labour of others. Help me to learn how 'to do more with less' instead of achieving less whilst wasting so much. And, lastly, teach me to be able to move on with things no matter where I find them. Ideally, it would be great to have all the pieces of the puzzle solved before moving on, but alas, this is not a perfect life...we sometimes have to set off when most things appear uncertain.

But I'm sure that with a lot of determination and self-discipline (and a lot of help from above) all things are possible. Please wean me from my resistance to that first step.

I have a lot to do; my destiny awaits. There simply isn't any room to be cowered by an overbearing sense of shame & guilt, so I will move on as is. I have nothing to be ashamed of. If I can acknowledge my faults, pick myself up and confess them to my Father, & if He with all His majesty can put all those things aside, who am I to hold on to them?