Ziphen Central

Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

Reflections on 3 Years in Georgia

Chattahoochee River

Has it been three years already? Yep, three years ago today, I started my new job at Truth For The World, in a new state and hundreds of miles away from home. The week before that I spent in Texas packing my earthly belongings into the back of my pickup, and the weeks before that I was busy taking finals, graduating, and taking a road trip clear across Texas with my parents and friend. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t slowed down since!

A lot has happened in the past three years. There have been both victories and disappointments. Times when I felt very stressed out, and times when I have been at peace. Friends have been lost, and friends gained. It’s been a time of growth, and although I haven’t accomplished everything my ambitious and naïve mind had planned before I started life on my own, all in all it’s been good. (keep reading)

Posted on 26 May 2015 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Life updates

Living the Dream

Samaras

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost two years since I graduated from college, packed my earthly belongings in the back of my pickup (at least the essential ones), and was transplanted in the faraway state of Georgia. This new life has had its ups and downs, and I certainly haven’t accomplished everything I would like do have done by this point, but overall it’s been pretty great.

One thing most people don’t know is that living in Gwinnett County, Georgia was a dream of mine. I’m one who often daydreams, and before I even sent in my résumé for a job that didn’t even exist yet, I was dreaming about how cool it would be to live in this area. I was looking up potential places to live, and the nearest places to hike. I was enchanted by the thought of living somewhere where Korean is a major language, where there are numerous pine trees even in the city, and where there was a loving congregation of the Lord’s people. I thought about all the things I would do if I had a place of my own, and the new friends I would make. I loved the thought of having a job that would align with my degree, but yet be entirely dedicated to the Lord’s work. And although I certainly haven’t taken much advantage of it, one of the major selling points was knowing that the mountains were less than two hours away!

Whenever I dream of possibilities, I get excited, so it was no surprise that I thought nothing of jumping in the car and making a weekend trip down to Georgia just for an interview. And great was my joy when I was offered the job, and had two job offers to choose from! After much deliberation (I am the one who had full intentions of returning to Texas after college) I turned down the other job offer, accepted this one, and spent a full week (!) at home after graduation before pursuing my dream.

The reason I’m recounting this now is because I need a reminder. Even the most thrilling life becomes humdrum after a while, and I’ve felt down and without motivation more times than I’d like to admit. So maybe I need to renew my outlook on life, reminding myself how special my current situation truly is! There is no need to long for things that are not mine, or feel burdened by responsibilities.

God has put me in a place full of opportunities, and I’m living the dream! It’s time to take advantage of it and fully enjoy where I am in life, and I encourage you to do the same. There’s no harm in dreaming of future possibilities, but don’t do it so much that you lose sight of where you are right here, right now.

Posted on 5 May 2014 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Life updates,wisdom

Bucket List

A while back, I made a list of things I would like to do or accomplish before I kick the bucket. I don’t know how long ago this list was made, but today I happened upon it again, and was pleased to find that I could cross some things off. Here are the things I have done:

  • Go to Europe
  • Make deviled eggs
  • Learn to cook other things besides dessert and breakfast

Evidently this list predates my time at university, since I did all three of these during that time. And what about the rest of the list, you ask? Here it is, with a few additions I just made:

  • Make peanut butter
  • Play a harpsichord
  • Buy land
  • Translate the Bible into Nahuatl
  • Have a pet firebelly newt
  • Spend more than a week in Mexico
  • Go back to Texas (apparently a more recent addition)
  • Publish one or more books of poetry
  • Record another album of music (you can hear the first one here)
  • Attend an international Esperanto congress
  • Visit the Kennedy Space Center
  • Ride in a blimp

So there you go! I accomplished the first three in my first twenty years of existence, so if I continue at that rate, I should be done by the time I hit 100. An exciting life, eh? What sort of things are on your bucket list? Leave a comment!

Posted on 9 February 2013 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Life updates,miscellany,travel

A New Language Mission: Nahuatl

When I decided to move to Georgia, I knew I wasn’t just moving to another culturally homogeneous southern city. I had been there, and seen all the Koreans and their many Hangul signs along the roads. I fancied myself as moving to a mini Korea, where I could immerse myself in their culture and learn a lot along the way.

I was right, but I also far underestimated the linguistic diversity of this Atlanta suburb. Let me tell you about this place where I live.

When you turn off the main highway through town to get to my apartment complex, you’ll see a shopping center with business names in Korean, Spanish, Chinese, and English. When I walk to work every day, I hear Spanish, and go past signs in Chinese and Korean. But this is only scratching the surface! Go into some of the apartments of the Mexicans who live here, and a whole new linguistic world is revealed. Many of them speak Nahuatl, and others speak Mixtec, Otomi, and various other indigenous Native American languages. Yes, if I was looking for Multilingual U.S.A., I have found it!

But one language at a time, here. When I first got to Georgia, I started learning Korean. Not by talking to the people, but just getting the basics down first, studying on my own. I hadn’t gotten very far when I moved to this apartment, and since I will be returning to Mexico in November, I decided to put Korean on hold for now, and really focus on Nahuatl. My goal is this: to reach a conversational level in Nahuatl by the end of November. I currently speak it very haltingly, and when I hear it, I can only understand a little. “Four months is plenty for a mission of this size,” I thought, for I began this mission a month ago. I thought about asking around to see if anyone knew of anyone who spoke Nahuatl, but I wasn’t very optimistic. “Nahuatl in Georgia? That’s absurd!”

But very soon I found out I was mistaken, and I have just returned from my next door neighbours’ apartment where nearly everyone speaks Nahuatl, with much encouragement, and a promise that I can come by any time and practice!

As you can imagine, I am elated. Just think of the consequences of this fact:

  • I have a very good chance of reaching my mission if I take advantage of the proximity of native speakers to practice with
  • I have a chance to use my interest in the language to build relationships and shine Christ’s light
  • Because I live in a place where Nahuatl is spoken, I can actually add this language to those that I use on a daily basis, and not just whenever I go to Mexico (once or twice a year).

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am really busy right now with preaching, teaching, and website building, but I know I will make time for what’s important to me, and if I’m motivated enough, I can be conversational in Nahuatl by November. ¡Ma tiyakaj!

Posted on 1 September 2012 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Language Missions,Life updates,Nahuatl

So Much to Blog About, So Little Time

Too busy to blog–that sounds like the story of my life! But in this case it’s not just busyness that has caused this lack of blogtime, but exciting things going on in life. Between working with the church here, moving to an apartment, creating a website for a town in my home county back in Texas, traveling, studying a Native American language, and cooking, there just hasn’t been much time left to go around!

But life is good. I’m busy, but it’s a good kind of busy–not the stressful, deadline-filled busyness I was accustomed to at university. I’m getting to preach and teach, I’ve begun life truly on my own, and I’m learning to establish good habits and routines.

That’s all for now, but I think I’ll make a list of blogstuffs right now to write about later, maybe during this holiday that’s coming up. See you then!

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Life updates

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