So the thing about England is… it’s not America. Some of you may say...”Well duh, it’s England.” But here’s the deal friends, my American ways have shown bright these past two weeks and I’m realizing full and well that even if we speak the same language, it’s a whole new world. I’ve about used up all my “sorry I’m not from around here” cards and soon my social mishaps won’t be as forgivable – ha! That being said, I wouldn’t take back the hilariously uncomfortable moments my American tendencies have put me in thus far. It's been two weeks of learning, adjusting and celebrating British culture to the fullest. Here are some highlights:
Jessica, Hazel and I (fellow US interns) arrived in London almost two weeks ago and were greeted by Suzanne and Christa (current eMiUK long-term volunteers). It was an early morning arrival so of course our first stop off the motorway was for tea and biscuits to re-energize us for the hour drive ahead of us. We arrived at our home in Oxford and was greeted by our housemate, David, who is a long-time eMi-er currently support raising to work in the India office come January. Our first priority upon arrival was tea and biscuits accompanied by great conversation with the whole crew. We spent the rest of the day settling in and exploring the neighborhood (AKA trying to keep ourselves awake because well... jetlag.)
We spent the next two days in Colchester at the home of Mike & Marietta Woods (eMiUK directors) for an extended orientation. Our orientation schedule showed as follows:
8:30: Presentation with Mike
9:30: Tea time
10:30: Presentation with Suzanne
11:00: Tea time
13:00: Office training
14:00: Tea time
and so on... you get the idea. Pure brilliance, I tell you.
My favorite bit of orientation was "A meal with Marietta". The interns were in charge of planning and preparing dinner for eight with Marietta as our guide, showing us efficiency and effectiveness in the grocery shop as well as tips and tricks in the British kitchen. Hazel -- star chef. Jessica and I -- could use some help. Marietta would say..."Please tell me you know how to do this..". When we shook our heads no, she would follow up with, "Oh my, you are going to starve." HA. Thanks for keepin' it real, Marietta. (For the record, this week we've managed four real meals and haven't blown up the kitchen yet so I think we'll make it through.) I look forward to enjoying more of Marietta's sass, laughs, and great wisdom over tea and biscuits in my time here! Our week back in Oxford has been spent in the office preparing for the upcoming project trip and exploring all this sweet little city has to offer. However mostly, it's been filled with hourly pauses to sit down and enjoy some tea and biscuits. Because let's be real, how else would we make it through the day?
Amidst the adventure and whimsy of it all, this has without a doubt been two weeks of choosing trust and assurance in God's greater plan. Expectations I didn't even know I had are proving to play out differently than expected which leaves me comparing and unsatisfied. I have to take a daily reality check saying.. "What's my intention behind being here... For me and my pleasure? Or for what God has in store and has so graciously chosen me to be a part of?" Daily I choose the latter which time and time again proves to fill me with a far deeper joy than any self-created pleasure that I was originally seeking. This week, I ask for prayers of contentment. Contentment in each and every moment. Content in Him, the greatest adventurer of them all.
We'll finish off with big news -- our project team leaves for Uganda TOMORROW! There are fifteen of us total - 7 eMi staff/interns, 8 volunteers from the UK, US and Canada. The past week and half in the office has been filled with research and preparation surrounding the trip and I can say with great confidence that I am PUMPED for the work ahead. Please take a look (http://www.emiuk.org/projectprofiles/11021.php) to get further project details. I'll for sure give you the whole scoop upon my arrival home. Until then, I ask for prayer for...
Our project team, that we will build a rich community that is life-giving to all.
Our hearts, that they hold fast to our Lord and seek Him fully as we complete the task at hand.
Our faith, that it will not be shaken by the unknown but instead, strengthened and refined. The people we interact with, that they will see the hope of Christ and the joy of living in Him. Safety, as we travel to and from our perspective homes.
Thank you again for your ungoing support! I leave you with this collection of terms and phrases that I'm learning are essential to gaining the Queen's approval as a local. I expect you all to be practicing so when you visit, you'll be prepared.
I’m from America. You’re from the states.
Car Trunk Car Boot
Car Hood Car Bonnet
Yield Give Way
Movie Theater Cinema
Saran Wrap Cling Film
Shopping Cart Trolley
French Fries Chips
Potato Chips Crisps
Trash Can Rubbish Bin
To Get in Line To Queue
Elementary School Primary School
Middle School/Junior High Secondary School
High School Secondary School
Underwear Pants (best to not mix this one up..)
Thrift Shop Charity Shop
Gas Station Petrol Station
Knick knacks Bits and Bobs
Parking lot Car park