side effects.

like any mature adult, i’m going to blame the existence of something for my lack of self-control, namely, social media.

before the trip, i decided not to take my laptop with me; during the trip, i checked email twice. those ten days untethered to technology were

glorious.

i had hoped rather naively to parlay that upon my return — y’know, keep extraneous checking of email/social media to a minimum, only when necessary.

alas, i wasn’t away long enough for that behavior to become habit. contrary to my flurry of activity on various online networks, i actually love/hate social media. aside from the ability to listen to music whenever i want (since i lack a functional portable music playing device), i didn’t miss the internets much.

[tangent: if after 11 months of limited internet access (yet regularly blogging) i still reverted to a life of omniconnectivity — sans smartphone — methinks i’ll have to do something drastic a la matthew 5:29-30]

but perhaps, unlike me, you didn’t expect my life or me to change drastically after a short trip — at least, not in that way. maybe you did anticipate the stint in south asia would alter me extensively.

i should’ve known better, right? after all, i’m a marketer for a short-term missions organization; of course i concede intellectually that it’s possible for one’s life to transform completely, for one to make a lasting impact, in a matter of days.

my household sensed and saw — before and while i was gone — the weight, the significance of this trip, much more clearly than i did. when the opportunity to go was first presented to me, i waffled a bit but eventually i took it.

and now, it’s taken hold of me; things

shifted.

i had sought answers to questions like:

  • law and/or grad school?
  • how/when will my career change again?

only to be given more to consider, and reminded of the question the Lord wanted me to ask him last summer:

do i pursue justice through law or intercession?

the first week back was a haze; with the help of sickness and jet lag, my body and mind moved slowly. the second week back, i still felt as though i was suspended in mid-air (like carrie ann moss’s character in the matrix) but to a lesser extent.

however, there is a lot of me that hasn’t quite checked back into here and i realized how severely i underestimated my need for additional time-off.

i’m no stranger to witnessing poverty. even though this was the first time i was exposed to human trafficking/forced prostitution, what i saw with just my eyes wasn’t as grotesque or menacing as i had imagined. i could be still be reeling or numb from it… maybe both.

either way, i didn’t need more time to recover from the shock of what i saw per se. or maybe that self-assessment is telling in and of itself and means that i indeed need more time, to figure out if i am shellshocked and need to “recover”.

i really need(ed) more time and space to let it all just sit on me. frankly, i feel (felt?) rushed, pressured (real and/or imagined) to get quickly out from under the weight of it all. i still dunno if i’m ready to draw conclusions and the line between prolonged and premature is quite thin.

as i share about the trip in the coming days, we’ll see how this all unfolds, won’t we?
glad to be unwrapping all this with you.

p.s. speaking of shifts, during the trip and since my return, curiosity/pining for mystery future spouse: mostly evaporated. but that’s a blog post for another day…

reentry’s always rough.

hello, interwebs and real-life people i know therein,

thank you for praying for me and asking for an update about my recent trip. i left february 11, 2012 (saturday afternoon) and arrived in india february 12, 2012 (sunday late night).

in the span of a week, my team visited three cities and saw lots of need and darkness accompanied by progress, hope and light. i also managed to get wee sick toward the end of the trip. we left india very early on sunday morning (1 a.m., february 20) and crossing continents this go-around gave us back the 10+ hours we had lost earlier.

i had requested february 21st as a day off; i spent it by visiting mt. vernon, george washington’s estate (thanks, groupon). the next day, the slight case of sniffles and sneezing morphed into full-on black lung and i was still quite jet-lagged. in fact, i found jet lag returning stateside worse than jet lag adjusting to india, which i didn’t even notice.

here’s a sampling of words/thoughts that have been floating while i was away and since i’ve been back.

  • post-colonialism.
  • incarnational.
  • why am i such a jerk? [i heard zooey deschanel’s voice tell me, “you gotta be kind to yourself” as i was typing that, by the way; i’d like to think that’s God being gracious.]
  • i love chai; chai chai chai.
  • “what would that look like here?” [as in, back in the u.s.]
  • i’m never eating pizza at vaatika cafe in varanasi.
  • i’m probably never visiting varanasi — well, not that part.
  • cake is not india’s forte. but again, they are champs at chai. and fresh lime soda.
  • i like salwars. the sari will have to happen next time.
  • indian chinese food is actually pretty legit.

there’s a boatload of work projects and i suck at catch-up. there’s more extracurricular homework i also hafta do, too — much of it follow-up to my stint in south asia. so despite what the lack of original posts would suggest, i will share more clearly what came of the short-term trip.

i did share with twenty or so people, including my team leader, a week ago and it took a good hour to do so. i know there’s a litany of writing projects i’ve started in my wake that you might as well call me schubert but i am committed to elaborating about the trip.

due to confidentiality stuff and sensitive nature of the work we witnessed, i’ll have to filter what i share here, online — the only truly legitimate excuse for the delay in sharing. i will disclose that since i’ve been back, i’ve been reluctant to process/debrief the trip on my own fully, deliberately, thoroughly because of the “what’s next” that God would reveal.

there is a reason why good lawyers ask for things in writing and why i am procrastinating on blogging about the trip:

writing about it makes it real.

putting it out here on the interwebs keeps me

accountable.

[sigh] stay tuned.