Wednesday, September 9, 2020

One Big Family



As someone not yet in their twenties, moving half way across the world is challenging. It comes with so many new experiences and encounters.


Something that was very new for me was having to live alone, something I have never done my whole entire life. There are many moments where I have gotten super homesick and felt very scared. It was a big change for me, since I am such a family-oriented type of person. Being so far from them limits me from finding comfort in the people that have kept me safe my whole life; but……….


Luckily, this year I was blessed with such amazing coworkers. Meeting new people and learning how to work with them was one thing that made me so nervous but as time went by I realized that teaching with them was so fun. Though we are all different ages, in different stages of life and have different backgrounds we make one big family. 


Not only are they my family, but they also have opened up their own families to me. On weekends when we have time to rest we still meet up to have brunch or just go on fun trips. Usually when you have time off you’d want to spend it by yourself right? Well, my coworkers use this time to take me on adventures and show me new places in Taiwan so that I can better enjoy my stay while being here.


I remember one day I started crying because I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job at work, they noticed and were quick to comfort by saying words of affirmation, giving me encouragement, and bringing me my favorite snacks to help me feel better.

While teaching, they push me to not give up when I am having a bad day. They show me grace when I fail to complete a task and have patience with me in difficult situations. They give me feedback after my lessons and help me grow as a teacher by giving me advice on areas that I can improve on. They have also helped me by teaching me useful words in Chinese and quiz me to see how much I’ve improved in this new language.


When I am feeling homesick they take me out on trips, when I am hungry they bring me food, when I am sick they care for me, when I am having a hard day they comfort me, and when I am scared they keep me company. They are my family in Hualien and are there for me when I need them. My coworkers have shown me the same love my family in New York has shown me, and I am so grateful for that. 


These are the people I see every single day and spend so many hours with, I’ve used this opportunity to get close with them and have a friendship that I will cherish forever. My prayer is that one day we can all rejoice in the greatness of Jesus’ love! I am happy I get to call them my family.



"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,just as you are doing."- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Juliana (also called Julie) Pinilla is nineteen years old. From New York City, she just graduated from high school and is currently taking a gap year by serving in Taiwan. Growing up in a family with six siblings and being the third oldest, she has loved taking care and teaching her younger siblings. Her dream was to one day become a teacher and now she is pursuing that dream by teaching English in Hualien, Taiwan. You can find her either journaling & reading a book inside a coffee shop or spending time with Brownie, the school dog. She hopes to show the love of Christ through her actions and words to everyone she meets.