11.11.2014

goodbye for now

So I've been home for about a week now, and it's been fabulous being back with my family again. Though I have to admit, it was pretty surreal how one moment I was in England, and then in the space of a few hours I was back in Oklahoma. Of course, I was eager to see my family, but I couldn't believe my time in England was over. I was certainly in no hurry for it to be over. This trip was one I had dreamed of for years, and then actually planned, schemed, and organized for eight months. And all too soon, those eighty-seven days flew by like a whirlwind and here I am back on Oklahoma soil.

I am still in awe. I was in England. I lived in England for three whole months. My trip was everything I expected it to be, but it was also so much more than I could have imagined. What turned out to be the highlight of my trip was the unexpected part: the traveling adventures were fantastic, but nothing compared to spending three months in the same house with seven crazy, splendiferous, weird, more-than-just-a-little-insane, hilarious, loud, spontaneous, Jesus-loving, prayer-focused, all-or-nothing people.

God totally knew what He was doing when He let me spend three months with these guys. I could never have dreamed how the Lord would use them to work and minister in my life, or even just how close I would get to them in a mere three months. (Leaving was rough, guys. We won't even talk about how much I cried.) They let me shimmy right into their family (and eat all their food heh heh), prayed with me through some challenging moments, and showed me what it looks like to fully follow the Lord without knowing what the future holds. And the adventures we had... Oh, the adventures!

We took many, many walks in the park and laughed so, so much. They demonstrated to me the stunning virtues of puns and ugly selfies, and taught me how to avoid taking myself too seriously. There were countless outbursts of Disney songs, during which I marveled at how they knew every.single.word. We danced spontaneously in the kitchen and had nerf gun wars and worked around the house and cooked together and had coffee at least three times a day (and they taught me how to make americanos, lattes, and flat whites). Breakfast was a fend-for-yourself meal, but lunches and dinners were spent together, all cocooned around the table, me usually squeezing in that one spot between the wall and the kitchen counter. I practically did dishes all day every day (really the only reason I was there) and made them naughty American food like chicken-fried steak and oreo bon bons. We would start laughing for no reason at all and played wild card games and made music and randomly launched into five-part renditions of our favourite songs. We had birthday parties and family outings and moments where we all just wanted to sit together and read, and nights where we stayed up 'til all hours watching movies and tv shows. They taught me British lingo and how to survive crossing the street and the ways of public transportation and why I shouldn't wave to strangers in the UK. They teased me over my utter American-ness and my redneck tendencies (but I'm happy to say I teased them right back), and I came home with about four new nicknames. We played badminton in the back garden and had photoshoots and made so many quick grocery store runs and drove through the countryside and pretty much had a delightfully uproarious time.

We started each day with a prayer time and had so many deep conversations about nearly everything (we couldn't really have serious debates since we agreed on most topics...). Church was a quiet, close time in their home with another family, everyone piled in the living room singing our hearts out and studying the Word. We had weekly Bible studies and days where we sat down and launched into huge discussions about popular controversial topics. They demonstrated to me a life of waiting for the Lord's calling, serving Him through whatever you do, and relying fully on the Lord's strength. We would stop and pray at random times; they would pray for me and my family, and I for them. It just amazes me how focused on Jesus this family is. In Britain, where the most popular emotion toward God is indifference, the light of Jesus that does exist there shines brighter than I've seen before. I was refreshed and encouraged and challenged to understand exactly what I believe and how to stand up for it. Every day I was urged to draw closer to the Lord and surrender my whole life to Him, not holding anything back and being bold to live my faith.

I did so much traveling with these two^^ and we had more fun than should be allowed. We explored and discovered and WENT TO LONDON and tried new foods and found out-of-the-way places that became our favourites. We walked our feet off and saw the most amazing sights together and ordered coffee behind the Phantom of the Opera after the show in the West End. We raced up a ridiculous flight of stairs in Edinburgh and experienced the overwhelming glory that is the Liverpool Cathedral. We got stuck in train stations for a couple hours, dancing the Cupid Shuffle to keep warm and singing hymns to pass the time. We saw Les Miserables live together and got up at five in the morning to catch a train and collapsed on the grass in Hyde Park one sunshiney afternoon so tired and happy. We had so many lively discussions and banters and times when we burst out singing "The Circle of Life." We played a lot of music together and got caught in the rain numerous times and ate tiramisu in our Edinburgh hotel while cracking up over The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We tried out so many new coffee shops and had late-night hot chocolate in our hotel rooms and explored every corner of Prince Humperdinck's castle. Let's just say they were fantastic traveling buddies.

All in all, these past three months hold some of the best memories of my life. Sad to say, this chapter of my England travels is closed, but definitely not for forever. And now I get to begin a new adventure! But it's a good thing these crazy kids have already invited me back because there's no way I'm staying away for too long. So until then, my weird and wonderful half-British-half-Kiwi family... goodbye for now!!

(BONUS: A video I really love but just realized I forgot to share. Whoops.)

18 comments:

  1. I thought this was an "I'm quitting blogging!" post and I almost cried.
    I'm so glad you got to go on an amazing adventure and hang with Jess!!
    blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you're back to blogging, Jess! I've missed you. :)

      Delete
  2. These pictures make me happy. I love this family so much! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time with them and God used them to encourage you so much! And that video is beautiful :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. OK SHUDDUP THIS IS DISGUSTING WHY WOULD YOU WRITE A POST LIKE THAT. WHAT THE EVEN HECK, JAMES. I'm crying (on the inside, coz you know that my eyes don't actually know how to produce tears) coz this makes me so sad and happy and sad and happy and ugh. oh james. three months of wow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW WHAT WAS I EVEN THINKING JAMES I AM A DESPICABLE HUMAN BEING. now I'm going to go off to a corner and cry and consider what I have done.

      Delete
  4. Awwwwww I love this post so much!! :D
    ~Evie

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely pics :)

    http://sbr-fashion-fashion.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful. And I love both your hoodies...

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh my goodness. such lovely stories and people. i just discovered your blog about the time you announced that you were going to england and since then i've fallen in love with your world, photos and videos. what a beautiful soul you are, so inspiring and creative, and most importantly, living for Him.
    congratulations on your trip and this new chapter in your life. i wish you many more awesome adventures ahead :D

    abigail
    sweetergetsthejourneyblog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh yes and i forgot to mention this wonderful gem of a video. that three part harmony... chills!!!!! wow. you guys are awesome.

      Delete
  8. Just so you know- The first four words of your post are squashed up against the side of your second picture. Which is a very nice picture, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh, thanks for telling me! I was trying out a new format but I guess it needs more work. :)

      Delete
  9. I've been reading your blog for a long time and I just loved following your travels through England with Jess.(all your pictures are just gorgeous!) Anyway, this was a really lovely post (love the pictures) and that. video. You guys are really, really amazing singers!
    God Bless,
    Nuala

    ReplyDelete
  10. Petie, you guys have amazing voices!! Did you ever do voice lessons or do you just sing as a hobby? I was interested to know what exercises/techniques you use.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank ya thank ya! I've never taken lessons, but I've been singing for as long as I can remember! whenever I'm a good girl, I try to do some warm-up exercises and such, when I know I'm going to be singing for a while. shamefully, I don't really do any exercises on a normal basis, though I know I should... :P sorry I'm not much help! but when I do remember to do some exercises, I just look some up on youtube. there are tons of exercises on there!

      Delete
    2. Sweet! Thanks:) my sisters and I sing a lot too: les mis, frozen, anything really!! :-D It's so much fun, isn't it!!

      Delete

Your comments are the sugar to my iced tea. Which means they make my day.