Coming home to Taiwan, where we have no place of our own to stay, has meant coming as guests. We even have a room in the guest house of Tainan Theological College to use while here. Being here as guests means something more, and something less, than being here as part of the community. We get invited to more meals, but we’ve no way to invite people “over” for anything but the simplest of snacks. A few days ago when 3 people showed up, we didn’t even have enough cups for everyone to have tea!
But, we’ve been “included” in many things. The first morning after our arrival we were present at college staff prayers and breakfast. That evening I was included in the student and faculty meal that usually follows college worship. The next day I was handed a black robe and asked to stand with the faculty and June’s graduating class for their group photo. On the next Tuesday I sat with the faculty at an “out of season” graduation ceremony. A few days later I was invited to lunch with members of the staff of the college president’s office for their “pre lunar new year’s meal.”
Of course, a lot of this comes at a cost. I’m eating too much.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.