10.28.2014

i'm almost gone...

Remember the day I posted that maniacal video announcing to the world I was coming to England for three months? Yeah, so do I. And do you know what? I have less than a week left on British soil.

HOW EVEN.

It is incomprehensible that I've been here for three whole months and now it's time for me to go home already. For this being the longest I've been away from home, it sure doesn't feel like that long. It would take more than one post to describe everything I have learned from my time in England, so instead of dumping it all in one go, I'll scatter it throughout posts in the future. But I will say this... looking back over my time in England and several months (possibly even a year) before, the ways God has been working are undeniable. He had a plan and a purpose for me coming here, and just recently I've started to understand why and how. It's really been incredible, guys. I see now how He has been preparing my heart for some big changes, and how He has gently been urging me to put more and more trust in Him. I am in awe of His sovereignty more every day.

Before I came, several people back home marveled at why on earth I was coming for such a long time. Occasionally, even I wondered if three months was too long, but I had such a peace about my whole trip that I chose not to worry about it and rest in Jesus. And now that I'm at the end of it, I wouldn't have changed a bit of my plans for anything. Three months was barely long enough! I have grown to love Jess and each member of her family so much, and after living here I can't help but think of them as a kind of second family to me. God has used them in incredible ways. They have challenged and strengthened me, prayed with me during some difficult moments, obliterated any vanity my heart may have held (heh heh), and every day turned my focus more and more on Jesus. What more could I have asked for?

Okay now, enough of the sentiment and la de dah de dah. To commemorate my last week in England, I have something special for you lovely people... I sorted through allllllll my England pictures (no small feat, let me tell you) and selected my top ten favourites. Yes. I know. Only ten. The agony of picking and choosing. But these are the pictures that carry the most memories, the ones I will treasure the most, the snapshots that so perfectly sum up my time here in the best of ways. So without further ado and in no particular order... 

1. The "Before I Die..." wall in London
We found this wall of scribblings by accident on our way to Borough Market on a gorgeously sunny London morning. People from probably all over the world scrawled their hopes and dreams onto that wall - everything from wanting to "try curry" to "help my son get his life back together" - and I couldn't help but wonder how many of them saw their aspirations fulfilled. And hey, going to London was something I definitely wanted to do before I die, so the irony is certainly there.    

2. Street performers in Manchester 
The day after I arrived, Jess took me into Manchester where I tried my first pasty and vanilla slice and bubble tea and pretty much walked around in stupefaction. But the highlight was when we caught sight of these lively fellows. Their joy was infectious, and I could have watched them for hours.

3. Ze epic selfie
This was taken on my second weekend in England during a day outing to Bury for Beth's birthday, crowded in a little room by a parking garage waiting for our elevator. It was our second family outing, and it was dawning on me just how much I loved these new friends of mine. The best thing about this picture is it was completely impromptu. Jess whipped out the camera, yelled "SELFIE EVERYONE" and this happened. So much happy and crazy and love wrapped up in one spontaneous shot.

4. The Lake District
Does this need a caption? The beauty and wildness of the Lake District took my breath away. This place had an entirely different feel from any other place in England. Quiet. Calm. Tucked away from the busyness of the world. If I could live in England, I would go for the Lakes... if London didn't exist, that is.

5. St. Paul's Cathedral 
I think Jess, Damien, and I all agree St. Paul's was one of our top favourite London sites, but what we loved most about it were the massive wooden doors (on my computer alone, I have fifteen different portraits we took in front of them). We were still on our AHHH WE'RE IN LONDON high (which I don't think ever quite wore off), St. Paul's was stunning, and the beauty surrounding us was just too much. It was really hard for us to take any "normal" pictures in London; all we wanted to do was scream and wave and look excited and just yes.

6. Westminster Abbey
I dedicated an entire post to how much going to Westminster meant to me, so I won't rehash all that now. I remember taking this picture... I had just finished my tour and was standing in the hallways beside the inner courtyard, looking up at the two towers. My head was spinning and I was kinda weak in the knees, but I managed to hit the shutter button. I wasn't going to miss that shot for the world. 

7. A walk in the park 
Even with all the traveling we did and the London-ness and the overwhelming beauty I saw, I was never happier here than when I was at home with these munchkins. They're so crazy and weird and delightful and it was always just a little bit tough to leave, even when we were going somewhere as spectacular as London or the Lakes. This photo just reminds me of all the cozy evenings at home, our long walks, the Bible studies, all the dozens of coffees we made, the uncontrollable fits of laughter, the discussions and friendly debates, the singing sprees, the spontaneous dance parties, the Downton Abbey marathons, the family outings, the inside jokes, and just all the wonderful little things that make up big memories.  

8. The moment I first beheld Big Ben
I was waiting and waiting and waiting to see him, and then all the sudden I turned a corner and he was there. It was love at first sight, guys. We will be wed in the spring.

9. Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh
There's something you need to know about Edinburgh: it does not lack for spectacular views. Whether you're at the castle or on the roof of the National Museum, you can count on an impressive skyline. But Arthur's Seat, a summit overlooking the city, takes "spectacular views" to a whole new level. We hiked up there one morning - ahem, not exactly the easiest hike I've ever done - and even though we were breathless, the view up top was so worth it. We took in the sights and ate lunch on the hillside in the sunshine. Scotland, how I love thee. Plus, the whole experience gave us some really good laughs; watching an over-achiever run up the hill after we had just barely gasped our way to the top, said over-achiever offering to take a picture of us because of how "dapper" we looked (dude, don't sugarcoat it, we were DYING), how cold and windy yet exhilarating it was up there, nearly falling off the little platform thing while trying to take pictures, Damien sneaking pictures of Jess and me practically pulling each other up the inclines, and me buying two vanilla slices when we came down. Oh yeah.

10. Our last night in London
This is without question my favourite picture from London, but it could quite possibly be my favourite from England as a whole. We took this right outside Queen's Theatre in the West End after seeing Les Miserables, wrapping up our two-show afternoon. Jess and Damien were giddy from seeing (and being wowed by) Les Mis for the first time, and I was giddy from watching them watch it. A smashing way to wrap up our last evening in London, we were just so happy and shaky and gobsmacked from the whole experience. This impulsive selfie just perfectly sums up how we felt during our whole visit. And I just love the colors and the blurriness and night-lights and just ahhhhh.

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p.s. so this brilliant new design? courtesy of mah lil' sheep, of course. give her a hand for such a beautiful job.

p.p.s. we uploaded the follow-up to our q&a video! so if you care for some elaboration on certain points, click here and be enlightened.

12 comments:

  1. Eeep! I love this post.
    Let me just say, it's been so awesome to be able to follow you on your adventure through your blog posts and instagram. You so obviously have been having the time of your life :)

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  2. The new blog design is lovely!

    And all these pictures are amazing. I've loved seeing little glimpses into your trip. It's made me want- even more than I already did!- to visit England! :D

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  3. I want to travel. ^.^

    Also, these pictures are absolutely awesome and basically affirmed the fact that I WANT TO TRAVEL.

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  4. Gosh I wanna go to England!!!!!!!!!! These pictures are just amazing!!! I have very very veryyy much enjoyed your England posts and will sooo miss these posts!!

    Love ya!!! <3

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  5. Sounds like you've had an awesome time. :) So glad that you were able to go!

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  6. I lurve the new blog design. You trained your sheep well. I've never heard of a sheep who could design a blog. :-) Heehee.

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    1. she's a sneaky lil' sheep, that one. ;)

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  7. Aaaaaaaaaah! I love your new blog design! We actually have a flock of sheep, but none of them can design blogs. Where can I get one like yours? ;)

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  9. YOUR NEW DESIGN OH MAH LANTA. it's perf. and i feel like it represents petie in every shape and form.
    also, these photos are completely magical and have a very skilled ability to make me extremely jealous.

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  10. I'm not gonna lie, I might've just broken the tenth commandment here! Petie, it looks like you've had such a wonderful time with an enormous variety of experiences and learned so much - one cannot help but come out of that a changed person! I've so enjoyed my Skypes with you and the sheep. Enjoy these last days as thoroughly as you can! I look forward to seeing how God grows you and where you go in your creative ventures in the next year...thanks so much for taking the extra time to answer those questions :-) I'll be praying that the rest of your time in England is blissfully wonderful and for safe travels home :-)

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  11. P.S. That picture of the lakes is breathtaking. It makes me want to run as far as I can and then flop down and just *live* for a while.

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