A German backpacker friend once told me a story of her German friend in Bali. “She was an average person,” she began. “She was really quiet, didn’t do well in school, didn’t get on with her family, nothing was going well for her in Germany.”
I listened on as she told me how everything changed for this friend when they spent 6 months in Bali together. “She became a different person! She spoke fluent Bahasa, she lived with her Indonesian boyfriend and his family, and she has a great job! It was like she found her place in this world – this place where she thrived. Germany was not that place, but Bali was for her.”
“I need to find my place in this world,” she concluded with a sigh.
I never forgot this story, and have always thought about what she said. I started thinking, do I have to find my place in this world, too? I thought about all the cities I’ve lived in – Penang, Beijing, Manchester, KL, London, Singapore.
Beijing and KL were the two cities I remember ever saying, “The pace of life really suits me!” and “I can imagine myself living there!” But that was close to 5 years ago, perhaps at a time when I was younger, raring for adventure and wanting to be a cosmopolitan Asian.
For a lot of people, it’s about finding where they fit in. It’s painful not knowing if you’ll be permanent or temporary in a place. I’ve always just taken each day as it came, each year as it passed, not knowing if I would stay or go. Only in hindsight was I always able to say, that was good. I really enjoyed my time there. Or that sucked. I never want to be in that place again.
So I haven’t quite figured out on a global scale where in the world I fit in. It’s definitely in Asia – not very helpful but at least it’s not the other 4 continents. What I have figured out, is where I fit in the daily MRT rush in Singapore. It’s in the bendy bits, where the two train carriages are linked. The aircon is in full swing and nobody is there!
This is definitely a subject I’ve thought about a lot. On one hand I feel as though I should be able to find contentment within myself – if I can’t be happy in one place, why should another place be any different? On the flip side, after living in London for a short time, I realized it was the one place where I felt I could live forever. Whether or not that is “home” is a different matter altogether because there is nothing like the open plains and high desert that feel more like home. Perhaps being the products of globalization has allowed us to have this predicament… or perhaps each person is naturally tied to a place.
It’s always an interesting subject to consider! Thanks for posting!
Thanks Margaret, I guess the grass is green wherever you go. Wan Phing
Dearie! Dont know how but I stumble upon your blog! I didnt realise that you are still blogging :) Just how everything seems to shift towards the faster pace of life, people prefer using twitter/facebook but I really love the fact that there are still people who takes time to blog and to write their reflections and sharing their hearts with the world :) Keep blogging, W Phing. You have an exceptional gift of writing/journalism and I believe you will continue to glorify God through your gift :) Missing you here, miss your contagious laughs :)
And as a comment to your wonderfully written blog about ‘finding your place in this world’ I would say, where the will of God is, there you will find home. There is no coincidence in His perfect plan and purpose and once we realised it, things that happened in our lives will not be a series of accidents but a series of purposes of God being outworked in our lives. ‘Fear not, for I will be with you always’ is His promise to those who seek to walk in His will. You are in His perfect will, keep seeking Him, never be contented, never be settled, God has more for you :) and His perfect plan is still being outworked in you and through you :) keep going dear! You are an amazing woman of God! I believe with all of my heart that you have been called to the great things of God! :)
Take care for now!
Love and huggies!!
Cheng Lu x x x x
Thanks Cheng Lu, you’re such an encouragement. There is definitely a purpose for me here :)