Posted in London

Cheers

So it’s been a long while since I made a blog post…I know.  Life happens.

I’ve been in London now for 4.5 weeks and I’ve experienced so much and had so many emotions.  There are times that I absolutely love what I’m doing and I love being here and there are times that I really wish I was just at home where things are familiar.  It’s an adjustment to live in the city among people who don’t know me.  In a small town, people tend to at least recognize you, but it’s humbling to be in a city where no one knows you.  To be alone in a crowd where no one is directly concerned with your life is a humbling experience, because you realize that life isn’t all about you.

Okay I’ll talk about the weather since that’s what all the Brits are talking about anyway.  The weather has been wonderfully warm while I’ve been here.  The Brits are all complaining about how hot it is and don’t misunderstand I haven’t enjoyed the sticky feeling all the time, but I prefer the warm to the first week.  My first week here was chilly and I actually bought a coat, which now hangs on the back of my room door unused.

Overall, what I’ve learned so far is that even when I get sad and miss home, I am not alone.  I can call out to God and he will always answer.  I don’t have to wait to have internet or figure out the time difference to talk to him; He’s always there.

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Posted in London

Searching for Sunsets

I’m collecting sunsets.  Not literally of course.  I’m just searching for good places to see the sunset because for me that is a way that I know God loves me.  He shows me his love when he paints the sky with colors.  Let me list a few of my favorite sunsets.

1. The evening I was all alone for the weekend.  I was lonely and lacking confidence and feeling very inadequate.  God showed me how much he loves me and that he was there at that moment by giving me a gorgeous sunset.  I started in one place and had to walk to another in order to see it well.

2. With friends on the hill behind the library.  We didn’t talk.  We just enjoyed it in our own separate ways.

3. From the top of  a hill/mini-mountain where I go to school.  After climbing up the hill, I enjoyed the sunset on top of a rock.  It was far from any cars and roads so there was only the sounds of wind and birds.

4. From a rooftop in Dublin.  It wasn’t ideal because everyone else was drinking (I was having an orange and passionfruit soda because I don’t drink) but for a few moments I tuned them out and enjoyed the colors over the city.

5. From the London Eye. I have wanted to go up in the Eye for a long time and to combine it with a sunset was ideal.  I love London and heights and the colors made it more beautiful.

There are more sunsets in my past but these are the five that come immediately to mind.  I go searching for sunset watching spots.  I actually have one in mind for this week.  It’s dark now and sunrises are not as spectacular to me so it’s off to sleep for this girl.  Cheers!

 

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Posted in London

Not a City Girl

 

 

I don’t think I am wired to be a city girl.  I guess that’s why it’s a blessing that I live a bit out of London, but it still has it’s own system of buses, noises, and business.  Everything and everyone here is just so busy.  The buses sigh “go, go, go” as they pull into a stop.  The people briskly walk down the sidewalk and ignore the walk signs, risking it to get to their destination a few seconds earlier.  The Tube is packed because it moves faster than the buses, but the buses are also packed with people who want to move faster than walking.  The cars zip and weave in and out of each other, causing mini heart attacks to someone used to things a bit slower.  Even in the parks there are people moving fast and the sounds of the hubbub invade.

I just want to slow down…

Breathe a bit…

Escape from the noise…

Watch the stars…

Listen to the birds…

Walk slowly…

Take it all in…

That’s why I am meant to live in the country.

Posted in London

Church

When I set out for the summer, I knew I wanted to attend church on Sundays as much as possible.  I asked my host what churches were in the area and did some googling.  This morning I attended Restore Community Church, which is typically held in the local school.  It’s about a five minute walk from my homestay, but when I got there I thought it was odd that there weren’t very many cars in the lot.  There was a lady at the entrance talking to people in cars and then the cars would leave.  I took a deep breath, sometimes approaching strangers is a scary thing for me, and asked her if there was church.  Turns out this Sunday they were having their service in several different locations.  The church had split up into areas and were having small groups in order to build community.  Perfect.  I like the foundation of the idea because it is very important to have Christian friends who can support you during the week.  I also like the way she put it, “we’re gonna pack up and fellowship and take Jesus with us.”

When I got to the community center (I rode with this lady and her daughter), I was greeted by another lady and taken in to the main room and introduced to more people.  It was  nice time.  Their focus was on building community while also inviting people who might not normally come to a church service.  The preacher did not give a sermon, in fact I didn’t meet him until I was eating lunch. We played some games and a couple of the ladies gave a devotional/testimony.  I really liked what the lady was telling us.  She made a metaphor with the game snakes and ladders and then told us about some of her snakes and ladders during her life.  When she told the snakes though she always related it back to how God had used that hard time to bring about something good.  That’s how we get around hard situations, by finding where God is working in them.

The thing I really appreciated about the church was their willingness to outreach.  I figured out fairly quickly who were the regular church attenders and who were the guests.  The event had been advertised in the community center so people who come into the center during the week came in today as well.  The preacher was telling me that it was a good opportunity to talk to people who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable coming to church.  While I was sitting there eating lunch, I people watched and noticed that the regular attenders were very vigilant about spreading out and talking to people.   They were also very pointed about asking about questions that brought the conversation back to Jesus.  Overall, I think I liked the church, and next Sunday I’m going to go back and partake in a full service.

Posted in London

Public Transportation

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Today I feel accomplished for navigating public transportation fairly successfully.  I come from a small enough place that I’ve never used public transportation; I rely on my car, bike, and feet.    Today I made it into central London and traveled around the city with some of the group and we figured it out.  On the way home, my housemate and I had a bit of a fun trip though.

We  left the group in central London because she needed different shoes and I was getting tired. We took a bus out of central London to get to a tube station that would be free for us to use. We got to our home tube stop just fine , stopped in the grocery, then…we were taking the bus back from our tube stop to the house, missed the 9:07 bus so we had to wait for the 9:37 bus. took that and missed our stop (because it was dark and we weren’t sure of the name.  Remember it’s only day 2 of this experience). The kind bus driver was going to drive us back to the right stop but there was a passed out drunk in the back that he couldn’t wake. He had to call an ambulance so he said he couldn’t take us back. We walked and got here about 10:30 pm.

I enjoy the tube rides though because I love to people watch.  I like to watch and listen to the people and try to decide what their lives are like.  It’s exciting because I will never really know the truth so I can imagine all sorts of scenarios.

All in all, once I figure out the logistics of reading maps and bus schedules and learn the layout of the city better, I think I will be able to travel fairly easily.  It’s going to be fun and a great learning experience.

Posted in London

London.

The days are numbered.  Actually they’ve been number for about 15 days now.  I’ve been counting down to my trip to London.  I am uber excited about the idea of living abroad for such a long time, but I’m also extremely nervous about the prospect.  Today I packed.  And then I unpacked and re-packed.  I have told myself that I am not unpacking or even opening the suitcase because I cannot re-pack again.  Tomorrow my list involves cleaning my room, because I kinda tore the room apart packing and just living here for a month and a half has had its wear and tear.

Part of me is really ready to just leave and get started and part of me wishes I had a little longer to not have to be challenged.  I’m excited to experience this challenge but I’m so nervous that sometimes I’d just rather not do it.  But that’s just my fears getting ahold of me.  That’s why I’m ready to be there and allay my fears so that I can really enjoy London.

Ahh!! I’m gonna be in London in just a couple days.  It’s so surreal.  I’ve been dreaming of this city since I was there six years ago.  It’s gonna be exciting.  Stay tuned for more stories and reflections.

Posted in Bible Study, Life

Resting

Resting is something that I find difficult.  I don’t take naps during the day because there is always something to do or I might miss something exciting.  I rarely will sit still and not do something.  I take books with me everywhere so that I am not wasting precious time when I could be reading a few sentences.  It’s hard to just rest.

That could be why this time between school and my trip to London has been difficult.  I don’t have a job right now and at times I feel a bit useless.  I spend my days thinking about my trip, reading, watching movies, helping around the house, and talking to friends.  Sometimes I can go all day without ever talking to anyone except my mom.  It seems odd to me that I could be doing God’s will when I am not even around people.  The thing is though that God’s will can be for me to rest.

When I left college this semester, I was tired, emotionally, physically, and possibly even spiritually.  It wasn’t really unusual, just the normal tiredness after a full semester.  I knew though that I had an exciting summer ahead with my trip to London to serve in a charity.  I also knew that I needed to take some time to rest.  Ugh.  At times it has been hard for me to fathom not working or studying, but at other times it has been so sweet.  I have been able to read my Bible more, have long conversations with friends on the phone, and read many books.  I may not be able to see fruit of my time here at home yet, but I know that God is using this time to prepare me for something.

Rest is Biblical.  In Psalm I read:

It is useless for you to work so hard

from early morning until late at night,

anxiously working for food to eat;

for God gives rest to his loved ones.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes how both work and pleasure are useless.  He especially says that working long hours is useless and people should focus more on enjoying life.

As much as I hate sitting still and not working, I know that God gives this time to me for a reason.  I also trust that God is using this time, and I keep my eyes open for ways that I can work in God’s will.  Other than that I rest.