Sunday, July 31, 2011

I can't stop thinking!

It's been an intense week. In the course I'm taking this summer, we cover in one day roughly what one week would cover in a normal semester. I have 50+ pages of reading a day, and am beginning to feel rather googly-eyed! This next Friday, we have our mid-term exam, and the Monday after that, I have an ACT exam. So as well as staying on top of all my reading, I have to find time to squeeze in math and science revision for my ACT, and balance a job too. (I'm incredibly thankful to have this job! Thanks for your prayers about it! I officially start tomorrow.) I'm tired just contemplating everything that's coming up!!

In spite of feeling like I've been thrown in the deep end, life is good. I'm already feeling much more at home, and meeting a bunch of fun, interesting people to hang out with when I'm not studying. I've been having several little adventures...which I would write about...except that I really need to get back to my books!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Uncharted Waters

As I looked out of the plane window, noticing the American landscape rolling out beneath me, I began to panic. "What the heck am I doing? I'm British - I should stay in England! Take me back right now!" I turned my gaze firmly to the TV screen in front of me and tried to put my mind elsewhere. The feelings of fear began to subside, replaced by growing excitement as the plane landed, and I started my journey through customs and baggage and into the arms of a waiting friend. "Things are going to turn out just fine," I thought as I hugged her.

The first couple of days on campus, as much as they were exciting, were also hard. I was incredibly thankful for my friend and her mum, who fed me, took me shopping, and generally looked after me as I began my adventure in uncharted American university waters!

I'd chosen to arrive on campus a whole week early, so I had time to sort out my head (which was spinning trying to figure out everything that needed to be done) and my affairs, and look for work. However, not many people had arrived yet, and I had no room mate, so I was a little lonely. The first Sabbath was hard - going to a huge church - not knowing anyone - missing my friends at Stanborough and not having a social to go to - and I choked back the tears a couple of times during the service, although I did meet some welcoming older people, including a lady from England who actually knows my family.

Things began to get better over the next couple of days. I found a prospective job (please pray that it works out!). A few more people arrived. I bumped into an old friend who I had no idea would be starting here. I met some new friends on my hall. A bunch of people who I consider almost family (from my team in South East Asia) arrived back in the area, and we had a reunion supper together, sharing memories and catching up on all the things that had happened in our lives over the past year. I spent an afternoon with a friend's sister (who I'd heard lots about but never met until now), and she introduced me to the joys of the dollar movie theatre (people in England - be jealous!!!), and also took me bowling!

There are going to be lots of changes to get used to. Dorm life is one of them! I've been used to living independently for a long time, so living in the dorm with its curfews and regulations is going to be...interesting...! My classes begin on Monday, so things are going to start getting very hectic then. Please don't forget to pray for me!

I think I'm going to enjoy it here. I know God has me here for a reason, so I'm trusting Him to provide the energy and brain power, the friends, and the finance I need to survive and thrive at Southern!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Leaving

My room is a complete mess. Clothing, electrical items, knick knacks and paperwork are all in a jumble, further disturbing my already spinning mind. What more do I need to pack? Have I forgotten anything important? I’m trying to fit everything into two suitcases, which might sound like a generous allowance…but then, this is me we’re talking about. Me, packing for four years away. I can’t believe this is happening already. I’m leaving.

The first couple of months in England, all I wanted to do was go back to America or South East Asia; I dreamed of going to university and marked the weeks on the calendar, telling myself I didn’t have long to go. But then things just got better and better, I stopped counting down the days, and began to feel at last that this was home. Even when things were tough with my job situation, and my Mum said wistfully, “I hope you don’t feel that this has been a wasted year,” I could honestly reply, “No, it hasn’t!” Not least because of a bunch of amazing people that I never would have met if I hadn’t come here!

Now the time to leave has finally arrived, but instead of bouncing with joy and raving to get out of here, as I once envisioned, my emotions are bitter sweet. I am super excited to be going to Southern. I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones. I’m anticipating new experiences and adventures. But I’m nervous too:  Things are going to be so different. I’ve been out of formal education for a few years now, and I’m a little anxious that it might be a bumpy transition back in. The American culture is different, even if we do speak the same language (well, kind of. Numerous people have commented on the irony of me going to the US to study English.). I have to think seriously about my future and take adult responsibilities. After at last becoming contented here, change is suddenly looming on the horizon. All change, even when it’s something good, is uncomfortable at first, so I guess I’m nervous about that too.

And I’m going to miss everyone in England! I almost wish I could split myself in two (no, make that 5 or 6!) so that I could be with all the people I love around the world at once!
"All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves." - Amelia Barr
"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well, let's see what God has around the corner for me. Judging by the pattern of my previous experience, it's going to be quite a ride!