Tuesday, February 9, 2010


The following is a letter written to a friend in response to the question: HOW are you? They go on to explain that they understand how shallow a question that can really be. This is my response, as best I can express it given my current experiences.

How am I indeed.

There is a lot of truth in your expectation: a month in a new place does have its tolls.

I need to make a distinction though that some friends of mine brought to mind several months ago. The passage of time for one perspective is not the same as the same amount of time for another. Let me explain (and that was not their wording... trust me).

If you go at an experience with the perspective that you are leaving soon anyways, you will experience it differently than if you view yourself as in it for the long run. So in some ways, do you see yourself as a resident, or a tourist in your own experience?

A month in a new place - as a resident (at least a resident of your experience) does have its tolls. Otherwise, there are backpackers that have gone for longer stretches of time who may have been wonderfully impacted, but would not have been changed in quite the same ways.

I would like to say that I am holding up well. I am rolling with the punches, and taking this experience one step at a time: and that is a true statement.

However, when you ask me how I am... I have to admit that this isn’t exactly what I expected. In some ways that is a good thing. It is a far better thing to be surprised, and caused to grow because of it than to have everything happen just the way you planned it.

There are things I miss, as you would expect. Some things I didn’t expect, and things I did.

At the end of it all though, the only thing that I can really say about my situation is that I am content with the stage I am at, and also very glad that it is not the stage that I am confined to till the end of my days. I say that with the utmost optimism. I would be horribly heartbroken if I ended up confined to this life.

I love language learning and culture acquisition, but there are times when I definitely struggle with being patient with juggling at least three major battles on the daily. They don't always fit together on the same boat.


To respond to your letter: I think I understand why you write letters the way you do. I think it is for the same reason that I am here.

We are both “in transition” and trying to figure out what that means.

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