11/4: Guy Fawkes night! – UK’s sort of version of 4th of July. It doesn’t quite compare to July 4th in America, but there were fireworks that I got to enjoy in Glasgow with some friends.
11/5: Actually, yesterday was the day before Guy Fawkes night, but today was the real deal. That just meant 2 nights of fireworks and friends!
11/10: Spent the afternoon at Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and couldn’t stop sitting & staring at the display Christ of Saint John of the Cross (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_of_Saint_John_of_the_Cross) It’s pretty rad that all the museums in Scotland are free!
11/12: Volunteered at the amazing charity organization Mary’s Meals in the afternoon. Check it out! Seriously. (https://www.marysmeals.org.uk) I’m super glad my mum told me about it from a book (“The Shed That Fed A Million Children”) she found at the library back home. It’s funny that I’m the one living near where the organization is based, but she’s the one that found out about it & told me to volunteer. I’m glad I did.
11/14: I had a lovely afternoon and evening out on a day trip with my host family. We explored the Transport Musuem and had the most delicious dinner at an Indian tapas restaurant.
11/16: There’s so much to do in Glasgow! Today, I went to the Botanical Gardens with two wonderful woman from Greenview who I’m glad I got to know.
11/17: As my time left in Scotland began to diminish, I was eager to see as much of this country as possible. After spending some time on tourist websites, I decided the Isle of Skye, a Scottish island off the west coast, was a must see. That morning, I woke up at 6am to go there for a few days. The bus ride up was spectacular. It took 5.5 hours, but flew by because of the alluring sights. I arrived in the main town of Portree and spent the day in that area. That night, I stayed in a youth hostel which was quite pleasant.
11/18: Rain, rain, rain. I spent another day in Portree sitting in a cafe, reading and writing. Although I was slightly disappointed, I didn’t mind getting some alone time to refresh myself personally and spiritually. That evening, I had a wonderful dinner with the family (The Wilsons) of a reverend from a local church after contacting the church to let them know about my Skye visit. I’m so thankful for their kindness and generosity. I very much appreciated the company after spending the previous couple days pretty isolated. That evening (and the next), I was grateful to stay with a family (The Macdonalds) from another church in Portree. This provision was such a blessing and made my trip to Skye much more enjoyable.
11/19: Finally a nice day and I took advantage of it well. I started my day by going to The Old Man of Storr, a stunning, atmospheric rock formation area. Then, I went to Dunvegan and did the ‘2 churches walk’. After accomplishing those sights, I went back to Portree for another dinner with the Wilsons. It was Helen’s birthday, lovely to be there to celebrate with her & her family! I got everything packed up in my rucksack to leave the next morning.
11/20: The bus ride back from Skye took a long 7 hours, but eventually I was back in Glasgow. I can’t believe the trip worked out. It was unforgettable.
11/21: The Kenny family from Greenview took me to the hilarious pantomime show of Sleeping Beauty. As they said, I couldn’t leave Glasgow without seeing a Glaswegian pantomime. I spent that night and the few following nights at a Bed & Breakfast that my lovely friend from Greenview, Jacqui Maccleod, owns. I felt so posh! I’m happy I continued getting closer to Jacqui during my stay.
11/22: Two Greenview girls got baptized today! I loved being there for that. It was an exciting and powerful morning. Congrats Alison & Elizabeth, every blessing to you two for this amazing step of faith you took.
11/23: Happy Thanksgiving? I ate pizza.
11/29: This day was my last Sunday at Greenview and it came so fast. Too fast. After shedding tears and spending precious time with all those dear people all day, I gave a little farewell & thank you speech after the evening service. As I’ve already expressed to everyone at Greenview, thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you for being part of why my time with Greenview was a couple of the best months of my life. Thank you also for the generous gift, I can’t wait to read Prayer by Tim Keller on my flight to Peru. I’ll miss you all and will cherish my memories from my time there forever.
12/1: Finally got to meet up with Lottie since she was home in Dunbar in between her UK and overseas placements. We met in Edinburgh for the day and it was fantastic! The city was decked out with Christmas decorations, attractions, and music which put me in the Christmas spirit. I’m so glad I got to catch up with this dear friend before I go to Peru.
12/3: I went to Tilsley one last time to spend an afternoon with everyone there and say goodbye. That whole week was so tough saying goodbye to different people each day.
12/4: Although that past Sunday was my last Sunday with Greenview, this day was my last time with Greenview at all. The Hub (youth group) Christmas party was a wonderful way to end my time there. It was an absolute blast learning how to Celidh dance and I’m definitely introducing it to the States when I get home. Saying goodbye to the youth were some of the hardest ones I had to do.
12/5: Off the England! I took a train from Glasgow to Leeds to visit my FirstServe friend Ella while she’s home in between placements. We’d planned this trip while still at Tilsley together so I had been anticipating it for some time. After getting to her house, I found out that my train was the last one running that day because all others were cancelled due to rain. PTL (praise the Lord) I made it. She showed me around the charming city of Leeds for the day and we spent the evening with her wonderful family for a bit and chatting away.
12/6: London baby! Ella & I hopped on a bus to journey to London for a few days. We met up with her fab friend, Priya, who goes to University in London to spend the day with her and put our stuff in her room where we’d be staying. Without wasting time, we started our London sightseeing. This day, we hit Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Big Ben/Westminster, London Eye (we didn’t spend the money to ride it, but did visit it), London Tower/Bridge, Oxford Street, and winter wonderland in Hyde Park. I thought since I get tired of NYC very quickly and easily the same might happen in London, but interestingly enough I absolutely love London and had plenty of energy left by the end of the day.
12/7: Ella & I started our day posing for a photo at Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4. We felt pretty pathetic waiting in line for it considering her or I haven’t read the books or seen the movies, whoops. To all you Harry Potter fans, I’m sorry for being a poser! I promise I plan to at least watch them sometime in my life (hopefully sooner rather than later). Then, we spent a good chunk of time at St. Paul’s Cathedral and that sure was time well spent. The inside of the cathedral was breathtaking, I could’ve stared at it all day. We climbed the spiral, narrow steps to the dome balcony for a stunning view of London. With the rest of our day, we went to the Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern museum, Abbey Road, Natural History Museum, Harrod’s, and yummy pizza at Franco Manca’s for a late dinner with Priya.
12/8: After getting completely soaked by a sudden downpour on our rush to find a bus, we made it to Oxford. It was a nice breather day from the craziness of London. Ella and I tried our best to look as if we were students rather than tourists, but I think we failed miserably. We climbed to the top of University Church of St Mary’s for a view of Oxford, took lots of photos of the Radcliffe Camera, and stopped by the Bridge of Sighs. After arriving back in London, we roamed about Covent Gardens and then packed up our stuff to get the coach back to Leeds that night.
12/9: Ella’s mum (aka Mama J) took Ella & I out for a day in York. The narrow streets called The Shambles create such a quirky town that’s so enjoyable to wander through. I loved it! Back at the Maffey home that night, I made for them an American delicacy – funnel cake.
12/10: Another goodbye and it didn’t lack tears from Ella’s end or mine. My heart is so happy that the England excursion worked out. Ella and I talked and laughed non-stop those few days which was so uplifting before I go to Peru. Spending that time still in the UK, but out of Scotland also helped buffer my emotions about leaving Scotland. The train ride home was a long one due to delays, but eventually pulled into Glasgow central station for my last time. I finished up all my packing and got done everything I needed to for Peru. Ahhhhhhh!
12/11: My flight left Glasgow around 7pm. Then, a 10 hours layover in London, a 3 hour layover in Amaterdam, and I’m currently writing this on the 12 hour flight to Lima, Peru. Thanks to the Lord, everything has gone completely smoothly so far. Thank you for all the prayers for safe travel. I can’t wait to tell you all about Peru!
This big transition has taught me how to trust God not just with the present or with my own desires, but with His plans. I am excited for Peru, but really nervous and unsure about it as well. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to just not think about it, but what I really should’ve been doing is praying about it so I can face it with confidence knowing God has brought me there so He will sustain and use me there. The language difference is the main thing I’m nervous about, but I’ve worked through that discomfort knowing that God will break through that language barrier when I’m trusting and following Him. It will still be a challenge of course, but I don’t have to feel unpurposeful or that I can’t be used because of it.
By reflecting on my gap year thus far considering it’s at the half way point, I’m just brought to awe and complete thanksgiving for how much God has blessed me during it. It was a blessing for it even to all come together and since then it’s only been better than I could’ve asked for. Because my time in Scotland was so fulfilling due to what I learned (practically and spiritually), the people I spent time with, what I got involved in, and the faith and personal maturing experience it was, I couldn’t be in a better place spiritually, mentally, and personally to go to Peru. He is provider.
Look out for a blog post next week!
Asta la vista,