There are some things that happen in our lives that are absolutely, unexplainable to those who have never lived outside of the US. Often the answer to the big “why” question is, “because we live in China.” And trust me, “Why?” is asked a lot. Please don’t misunderstand. We love Korea and China, but these countries are not America. Every place, every person has quirks. It is those quirks that can often drive you crazy and at the same time create an intimate bond between us and another person or place.

Last week, as I got out of the shower. I heard a strange noise in the bathroom. I tried the faucet, thinking we had just lost our water, but that wasn’t the problem. Then I noticed smoke coming from the outlet that our hot water heater was plugged into. I quickly grabbed the plug and yanked it out. Flames shot toward me. I had saved the hot water heater, but an electrical fire was building inside our wall. I did the smartest thing I could think to do. I opened the door and screamed, “David! There’s a fire in the wall! We need an extinguisher.”

David saw the flames and immediately cut the power to the bathroom. The wires are embedded in concrete so the fire quickly died out. You might think this is just a fluke. No. In our old place, we had to remove the lightbulb from the motion-sensor light outside our front door. Every time someone walked by and the light came on, a fire would start in the wall. One thing is certain, if this country ever switches to a building material other than concrete, they will have to improve their wiring standards.

The love-hate relationship with local construction seems to be an on-going battle for us. We have so much condensation on the inside of our windows that we have to keep towels on the sills to absorb the moisture. Everyday someone has to wring out the towels so the water doesn’t spill over onto the floors. Trust me, it is a lot of water. We ask the locals how to solve this problem and no one seems to know the answer. The condensation is so great that it drips through the ceiling into the main bathroom. Maybe, it is just ingenuity. Where else can you use the toilet and take a shower at the same time?

We will probably never understand why the construction workers at the new Gina’s went through all the effort to stain our new wainscoting and then decided to paint the top of it. Or why, when we ordered the lighting for the interior, didn’t they just tell us (at the time) that those lights were no longer available. Why do builders insist on using screws that are too small to actually attach two pieces together? Why does an ancient wall last for hundreds and hundreds of years but every modern item purchased here has a three year lifespan?

The questions could go on and on. How is that the average person can purchase and insert an IV, but they don’t know how to swallow tylenol, nor can they purchase otc pills? How does the average woman learn to chop vegetables better and faster than most who have attended cooking school in the West? How do so many of my friends know so much about the healing qualities of herbs and foods while we in the “developed” world rely on ready made medicine to solve our problems?

For better or for worse, quirkiness and all, we love our life here. No place is perfect, but there is amazing joy to be found when you are in the place that has been planned and chosen for you by the Master Designer of your life. I hope all of you experience the joy that comes from living the life He has planned for you.

~ Regina

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