My friend, JettyBetty, offered up an interview challenge on her blog. Since I have never responded to one of these calls, I thought I’d take her up on it. Here are the questions she gave me along with my answers.

1. What is the biggest challenge for you by living in Japan? Biggest joy?

I would have to say the biggest is the language barrier, because many other challenges spawn from it. It is through the language barrier that I often feel isolated and unable to communicate my wants or feelings. It is also what causes me to feel useless many times, which is a challenge to overcome.
The biggest joy is the pride that comes from knowing that I am doing this. I stepped out of my comfort zone to do something that I was totally unsure of, but felt that God was drawing me to. That’s not to boast– since I have been here I have struggled over and over with doubt and disappointment– but I know I would have regretted it forever had I not come.

2. You mention Bailey McBride several times as someone you admire. How has he impacted your life? Do you have any other “mentors” you would like to mention?

Bailey has played a huge role in my life. Little did I know what I was getting into with the honors program at OC (and how many people can amen that?)! I have said before that Bailey was much more than a teacher– he was a role model, an elder, a cheerleader, a counselor, and above all, a friend. He has held me up and prayed over me during some of the hardest times in my life when I was too weak to do it myself. I have million examples I could share, but there’s not world enough or time. :) If only he would start a match-making service! ;)
As for other mentors, there are lots! I would say my parents and grandparents. Although our choices and life directions have been very different, their examples of Christian service and unconditional love have profoundly impacted my life. So many other people I could name. Bob and Donna Carpenter for their generosity of their time, experience, and love. Robin Dutton for faithfulness and joy throughout trials. I could mention each of my friends, but I’ll limit to just one– Amber Foster for her unstoppable passion willingness to sacrifice to serve those she’s been called to.
This list could go on forever! :) What a great cloud of witnesses I have been blessed with!

3. What songs have you downloaded off lately?

My last 10 were: “The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercies)” by Jars of Clay, “Foolish Games,” “Hands,” and “You Were Meant For Me” by Jewel, “Homesick” by Mercyme, “Who Am I?” by Casting Crowns, “Elevation” by U2, “Kiss Me” and “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer, and “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant. I usually download either Christian music or songs I want to sing at karaoke that I need to practice. :) I’m also a sucker for love songs. I am trying to limit myself since I recently found out that it is technically illegal for me to be buying music from them (if you search hard enough there is a disclaimer on the website that says you must be in the United States to buy their music. However, I am sure they have the technology to know that I am doing it from Japan yet they have done nothing to stop me. What can I say, I am rebelling on this one).

4. You say “some of the time I do things I say I won’t”. What have you done lately that you thought you never, ever would?

I never would have thought that I would be such a brat about language learning. Since this was my chosen field of study in college, I know the things that would help me most in learning Japanese. However, I am being a very very bad student and doing many things wrong (out of timidity and just plain laziness!). I never thought I would be so tempted to waste such a great opportunity to learn a foreign language– especially one I am immersed in! But as much as I’d like to, I’m not giving up! Gambatteru! (I’m trying my best!)

5. What do miss most about living in the US??

Superficially– Mexican food, Walmart, reasonable prices, indoor climate control, and people holding the door open for me
Deeper– People. Understanding church and feeling involved in worship. Being able to communicate with few barriers. The cultural ideas of fairness and justice.

This was fun! Thank you Betty for taking the time to ask questions so well tailored to my experience and blog! :) If anyone else wants to ask your favorite sojochick a question, please feel free to comment.