Plus Belle La Vie

A More Beautiful Life

Month: September 2015

Seeing Things Clearly

Before I left the United States, I went to the eye doctor so he could prescribe me prescription lenses so that I could actually see things at a distance (i.e. Billboards, Road Signs, Speed limit signs, etc.). On Wednesday, September 23, I received a package in the mail with my brand new glasses. I was so excited to finally see the board and the beautiful hills in the distance clearly. Once I put them on I felt joy, I didn’t have to squint. I could experience things like everyone else could. No longer did I have to say, Sorry, I do not know what it says.”
I mention this not only because I want you to rejoice with me, but to tell you that I am starting to see the world more clearly. Every day I am slapped in the face with culture, differences, and uncertainty.
I wake up at 06:30 and it is freezing, absolutely cold. This is something I am not used to living in the hot climate of Florida. I do not want to get out of my not very warm bed and go down stairs to do my quiet time, but I do it. I roll out of bed put on my slippers and head down the stairs and start my day. When you are living in a community, it is hard to find time to myself, so that 30 – 45 minutes in the morning just to breathe my own air and be with God is so nice, it makes living in a cold climate easier.
There is no privacy living together. We cook together, have classes together, clean together, and overall are ALWAYS TOGETHER. The first 2 weeks it was fun. Don’t get me wrong it still is, but it is also hard. With this you learn about yourself and you learn about how you cope with others.
Today, I not only saw the world around me clearly, but I saw relationships clearly as well. The British have a strong sarcastic sense of humor, which isn’t bad, but for someone who is going through some culture shock it can be slightly offensive. I have been offended a few times this week by things that normally wouldn’t hurt me. I even took my British roommate, Hannah, for a walk to address some of my concerns, by the love of Christ she was understanding and receptive of my concerns.
World Horizons as a whole is very diverse in regards to culture, I live with British people, a French guy, a Mexican girl, A Texan, a guy from Alabama, and a Chinese woman. But it is not just that, I have classes with Koreans, Germans, Brazilians, and so many other cultures. I enjoy learning about all of our differences, but it can be overwhelming.
Luckily, though our classes consist of how to integrate in a culture, and today we discussed culture shock. I thought I was doing good until I looked at the range and realized that I was in the DISTRESS stage, which is when little things upset me or make me cry, that noting is like my home and makes me miss it that much more.
These challenges are making me to turn to God as my comfort and strengthen me during these endeavors without my comforts of home.
I miss my home, my family, my friends, my memories, etc.
Then again, I adore this place, these people, this community, these eye opening lessons, these experiences that are just full of Gods love, and the sun in between the rain.
Continue to keep me in your prayers

 

Most Embarrassing Moment Thus Far

2015-09-18 15.37.47

Every Friday and Sunday, Wil, a fellow Gapper from Alabama, and I go to our assigned church. This past Sunday and Friday were our 1st times.
On Sunday, we had a great experience with a church called Emanuel and Bethansia, which is a Welsh and English speaking combined church. Sunday’s the congregation is mostly filled with people older that 50 and on Fridays there is a Children’s Church kind of affair where the kids do various activities and have to opportunity to learn some bible stories.
Well, yesterday was mine and Wils first time going, we were dropped off by our leaders and left wondering “where do we meet with the pastor and his family?” As we watch them drive off to go tour a chapel, Wil and I realize that we have no idea what we are doing or where we are supposed to meet.
So we try the front door, LOCKED.
We try a side door, LOCKED.
We try the other side door, LOCKED.
With that we see that their is a building attached to the church so I decide that we should check it out.
We walk to the front of the door and it is slightly ajar. So I think, “Oh they left the door open for us so that we would know where to go.”
I open the door and am the first person to step inside, I regret my decision as soon as it happens. I see stairs, the washer machines, a couch. Then I see a older man sitting on said couch staring at me like “who the heck are you?” I feel Wil try to push me inside more, as I attempt to retreat.
The only thing that comes out of my mouth… “Is this the church?” I knew it wasn’t but I didn’t know what else to do.
He looks at me like “heck no.” And says “this is my house. the church is next door.”
I smile and push wil out the door.
I am trying to rationalize this but all I am doing is laughing.
I had just walked into a mans house in a country that I am not even close to familiar with, what can possibly be more embarrassing than that.

Later, that evening when everyone was back at our house after their out reaches, I tell them the story.
Everyone dies. The Americans laugh, the Mexican girl is hysterical, the British people practically fall on the floor, and the French guy just stares at me like “Oh my gosh, who would do that.”

So needless to say, this is one of the many mistakes I have made since being here. More stories to come.

 

Lakeland to Llanelli

On Sunday morning I woke up with the knowledge that it was time. Oddly enough there was a certain peace about the whole situation, I had no fear about getting on the plane and leaving my country. I didn’t even shed a single tear the entire time.

My mother, father, sister, and best friend are the ones that took me to the airport and stood watching me ’till I went through the security line and was completely out of their vision.

After I got on the plane then landed in D.C. I was waiting in the lobby area and met a Welsh gentleman along with a gentleman from London. They spoke with me about different English and Welsh things. It was very insightful and got me exited for my new adventure. The Englishman helped me with my luggage. I had warned him that it was heavy and when he picked it up he almost dropped it.

After the 7 and a half hour plane ride was over, I landed in Heathrow – London and attempted to find my “coach”, which is basically a greyhound bus. While waiting in the lobby area for my bus to arrive I met a Welsh lady and her daughter, Catrin. They were so kind by entertaining me with conversation and welcoming me to the UK. As we were talking we discovered that we were taking the same coach and decided to sit by each other as we traveled, me to Swansea and them to Cardiff.
While we were on the coach my stomach started to growl and I was just utterly exhausted from traveling, they gave me 2 cereal bars and bid me farewell as they got off. God truly blessed me during this transition by giving me kind people to talk to and interact with.

By the time I arrived in Swansea, I was exhausted and just wanted to arrive and settle into my new room. I was also tired of hearing the English accent, which I once found attractive.

When I arrived here I was excited to have a warm welcome in this beautiful town. I settled into my room and with my first roommate Maritza (USA), we would later be welcomed by Hannah (England), Sabrina (Mexico), and Julie (China).

Also, I learned that i had been pronouncing this towns name wrong. I will post a Welsh person pronouncing it correctly.

Some LASTing Moments

One week ago today (Friday, August 28th, 2015), was my last day working at Burnetti P.A., which was my first job ever.
I truly enjoyed working for the organization, where I had incredible co-workers and felt as if I was doing something beneficial. I had worked in the office just shy of 5 months and I can say with all honesty that I don’t think I will ever have a job like that again.


Some mornings when I would wake up, I truthfully didn’t want to go to work. Some mornings I just wanted to sleep until noon like other teenagers, but unlike other people my age I had to earn money to go on my mission trip. I, also, woke up and went to work every work day because I enjoyed what I did. I felt as if I had helped people. In the course of 5 months I open 204 cases. Which I kept track of the old fashioned way, with tally marks.

When the day had officially ended for me and I changed my status from “Available” to “Extended Vacation” I felt sad to leave the office that I had actively participated in for 5 months. I packed up my desk anyway and headed home.

 

Another last for me this past weekend was that on Sunday it was my last day that I will worship with my church family for the time being. I have attended Heritage Baptist Church for 8 years and am truly sad to leave my advisers and friends behind. I am going to miss worshiping with this Body of people and feeling all of there encouragement and love surround me, thankfully though they will continue to encourage me from afar and pray for me as I embark on this next endeavor that God has in store for me.

 

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