10 November 2016

Does the Journey Seem Long?

It's been a long time since I've had a home base that felt like home. 

This year alone I've been to 17 states ('lived' in 4 of them) and 6 countries (lived in 2), with 4 more to go before I return 'home'--i.e. the place where all of my other clothes live. 

My family and friends (and most people I meet) think my life is glamorous. Perhaps they imagine me merely floating from place to place, much like a Mary Poppins, leaving a place once I've fulfilled my purpose in being there. But I assure you there is very little glamour in living out of a carry-on sized suitcase for 6 months straight. Or of spending countless hours on various modes of transport. Or of constantly being unemployed, unattached, untethered--always a stranger answering the same set of questions dozens of times a day. And certainly not in working 50+hrs a week in exchange for room and board because one has nowhere else to go.

Don't get me wrong. I don't regret any of it, or wish any of it away (except the mooching off of loved ones--I always hate that). It is a life I get to create, full of random events, unique opportunities, and adventures in gorgeous new places. 

But when I look around me and see so many I love moving forward in life, it's hard not to feel that despite my constant moving, I've actually just been spinning my wheels without budging an inch. 

And while I've always tried hard to live my own life without comparison, this idea has been a difficult one to shake off. I don't know what it means, just how it feels. And it's starting to feel like a very long journey indeed; perhaps because the end destination is as yet unknown.

28 June 2016

Back in the saddle

After 9 months of unemployment, soul searching and hundreds of job applications, I finally have a job--and I'm REALLY excited about it! I'm a facilitator for two World Learning youth programs this summer. I moved out to Vermont last week, and I'll be here until the end of July. Then I'll be traveling with a group of students to Louisville for a couple weeks, and ending with a week in D.C. It will be a long, exhausting journey, but hopefully one filled with some inspirational experiences and undoubtedly some growing experiences.

After that I'm going back to England, and as usual I have NO idea what comes next. But I'm relieved to be a contributing member of society once again, so I'm going to enjoy the next couple months and see where they lead!

17 November 2015

London

Because you should always save the best for last. 

Westminster Cathedral--so glad I didn't miss this gem!
Bob pretending to be excited to watch Wicked, which he subsequently hated.
My mom and I loved it, of course. #crazyman
Mom loved Covent Garden. #missionaccomplished
The entertainment had a lot to do with it.
Tower of London
Look who we found! So happy Sarah was able to come
down and spend one last day with me. #notreadytosaygoodbye









Mom still loving those selfies.
Literally on the edge of our seats waiting for the show to start!!!
What show you ask? 
Matilda!!! The best show in London.
This set. Merely the icing on the cake of a spectacular show.
Seriously, if you can only see one show in London, don't miss out on Matilda.
Mom and I walked to Buckingham Palace after the show
before heading back to our flat. #wheninlondon
The perfect end to a perfectly memorable day, and an unforgettable European road trip.

16 November 2015

Goodbye Birmingham

Mom and Bob were pretty much done by the time we made it to Lichfield, so the only thing they ended up seeing in Birmingham was the university. Not gonna lie, that was a little disappointing seeing as how it is my home (even if it will no longer be where I live). But such is life. And at least campus put on an especially spectacular display for our visit!
Chloe met us and went around campus with us.
Bob was pretty impressed with Old Joe.
#ourclocktoweriscoolerthanyours
The library, soon to be the Old Library... a place I avoided at all costs because it is the least conducive interior to studying and learning that I've ever experienced at a university. Which is probably why they are building a new library (far left).
The Arts building covered in ivy,
with the Muirhead Tower (my building) on the far left.
Old Joe is really going to miss me.
A gorgeous campus + autumn + splendid sunset = actual magic
I rest my case. #rainbowmagic
After showing them campus, we took the bus into town where we ate dinner at the new Grand Central Birmingham (aka New Street train station). From there we headed over to the chapel in Harborne where we arrived just as Institute was finishing. This was the hard part--all the goodbyes. I did pretty well at holding myself together, at least until I got home and cried myself to sleep that night. And the night after that. And several nights since. #allthefeels

Mark--we went to Nottingham, FSY and Edinburgh together; Joe (our Institute teacher)--a friend and mentor who always helps me stay optimistic and focus on the eternal perspective; Matt--I initially came to know him as Sarah's BF, but he soon became a trusted and loyal friend in his own right; Jon--a dear friend who became like a brother to me... for better or worse, and with everything that entails. I will miss them all.
#QueenChloe
Djeni--one of the sweetest and toughest women I will ever meet.
Kynna--kind to her core, she couldn't do or say a mean thing if her life depended on it.
Vanessa and Chloe--the younger sisters I never had
JMace. #brotherfromanothermother
Markus Parkus--my right-hand man in keeping YSA Gospel Doctrine en point. 
I didn't get a picture with everyone, but I'm so grateful to the Birmingham YSA who allowed me to become one of them, and to all of the incredible friends I've made across the country in my time living in the UK. I have changed for the better because of each and every one of you, and I'm so very grateful I can call you my friends.

The next day I took mom on the grand tour of Lichfield, which is another of my favourite places in England. It was a low-key day, and I loved being able to show her around this town that has become my second home in the UK. It was a really wonderful day that I will treasure.

15 November 2015

Chorley

From Scotland we drove south to Chorley, where the LDS Preston Temple is located. We stayed over in temple accommodation so we could perform sealings for several family names the next morning. It was a really great experience to do those names with my mom in Preston, as they were on her side of the family, mostly from the Peak District about an hour south--which is where we headed next.

Preston Temple, Chorley


It was really bright. Or Bob was glaring at me for his own reasons. haha



I really am going to miss this place.
In honour of my brother who began his mission here. #justforyoudude
Blackburn
I've wanted to visit here since before I moved to the UK, for obvious reasons. I know it's nothing special, and even a bit grim to most Brits, but how can I not love a city that was clearly named after me? There was also that time when my brother served here for 9 months of his mission, which won the city even more brownie points in my mind. The perks of being in charge of navigation is that you can make any detour you want, so to Blackburn we went! 

There was a lot of construction around the city, so it was difficult to stop, but we managed to pull in to take a quick peek at the cathedral.
 


The brightest and most modernised Anglican cathedral I've ever been in. 
Those trees. #iloveautumn
Peak District
I've posted so many pictures of this area before, so I'll just post a couple from this drive-by. I had really hoped we would spend some time here, as it is still my favourite place in England so far. But alas, I wasn't the driver. So we just drove through it, stopping only in Wirksworth to visit St. Mary's where generations of my mother's ancestors were christened, married and buried. But at least she got to see it. And now she knows to allow some time for a proper visit the next time she goes to the UK.


I'm not sure I'm allowed to publicise what happened here, but it was my favourite 'Bob moment' of our entire month-long trip. My mom and I laughed for at least 15 minutes until we were both crying and couldn't breathe. And you better believe it's a story I will tell many years from now if I'm allowed to speak at Bob's funeral.
#emergencypottybreak #driveway #whatcouldpossiblygowrong
Riber Hall, Matlock
From the Peak District we headed down to Lichfield, where we stayed for a few days with the Maces, my British family.