18 June 2006

Frequently Asked Questions; Infrequently Explained Answers

Much like a recent college grad, I've found myself faced with a simliar set of questions these days. I have a hunch many readers want to know the same things. Casual conversations elicit shorter responses, or as much as I can get in edgewise, but I here you can read unabridged explanations. Conversational questions tend to be a little more blunt, as you will see. That's just part of the culture.

Q: When are you going home?

A: Well, I'm not quite sure yet; there seems to be a hang-up at the travel agent's office. That's just as frustrating to you as it is to me; I'm not trying to be difficult with this apparent ambivolence. Last I heard was July 1 or 2. But you know honestly, considering the wild fluctuations in schedule that I've come to accept as part of life in Taiwan, I wouldn't be too surprised if I didn't fly home until Christmas.

Q: When are you coming back?

A: To Taiwan? Um, well, I won't be coming back for another semes--

Q: You're not coming back?!

A: Unfortunately not.

Q: Ever?

A: It's not outside the realm of possibility for me to visit again sometime in the future but I'm not in the position of making any promises here.

Q: Don't you like Taiwan?

A: Of course I like Taiwan.

Q: What (on earth) will you do in America?

A: Well, I'll teach 3rd grade at an elementary school.

Q: What will you teach there?

A: What will I--third graders! Oh, you mean--every subject. Except, probably, music, health and computer.

Q: Are you trained to do that?

A: You'd think that because I'm a foreigner trying to make a bit of cash with my native tongue in Taiwan, I'm just a bum but yes, actually, I have a bachelor's degree in education. (Sometimes "when will you earn a graduate degree?" is the next question after this one. For my purposes here I consider it irrelevant.)

Plus I'm not just a foreigner trying to make a bit of cash by the way, I actually care for these kids because they are sought by Jesus like precious lost sheep, just like any person in creation. It is the desire of my heart to bring the Gospel message to the children I teach.

Q: Where will you live in America?

A: I'll live in St. Louis, Missouri, a city right along the Mississippi River. I've never been there before.

Q: Why do you want to move there?

A: Well I got a job with a Christian school there that appears to have a mission focus. I'm excited to do what I was trained to do and also to explore the dimensions of the great commission right in the good old USA.

Serendipitously, my Handsome Accomplice will be in the same town, going to the Lutheran Seminary and studying to become a pastor.

Q: When are you going to get married?

A: I'm not that kind of Lutheran. Your guess is as good as mine.

Q: So which do you like better, Taiwan or America?

A: (diplomatic answer may vary)