My time in the UK is coming to a close. Next week this time I’ll be home. It feels strange to think that but comforting in a way as well.
Before I left, a friend sent me an e-mail encouraging me to think on how this experience would change me and to consider who I was at that moment and hold on to my cores. I knew this trip would change me and I also doubted that it would change my core self. Looking back, I don’t think it has negatively changed my core self- which I equate with my faith in God. If anything, it has made my faith in God stronger.
So now that I am T-minus 5 days before I board a plane to the United States, I want to try to articulate what I’ve learned through my experience abroad.
1. God has to be enough. In order to feel peace, I have to be at the point where if everything enjoyable and familiar were torn away, I could still be happy because I have God. At times on this trip, I felt homesick and longed for people at home (home is a broad term to cover the US by the way). I wanted the familiar but I couldn’t have it. Those experiences taught me to love and trust God more because He was the only familiar that I had.
2. I can navigate a city. I only got “lost” a couple of times, and I don’t count those as lost because I had a general sense of where I was. I should add here that I can navigate a city without a smart Phone or internet access. I relied mainly on paper maps.
3. I’m not wired to live in a city all the time. Some people are but I need the open spaces where there is stillness and quiet. Yeah it’s exciting to be in the city and there’s always something to see or do but I can’t be in the chaos all the time. I have to get out. It’s okay because I’m a small town kind of girl.
4. When I get stressed, I need alone time with music and God. Really nothing else can fill that void and ease the stress. Sleep and chocolate help as well.
5. Traveling is more enjoyable when it’s focused on people rather than places. After a while, museums and old buildings start to lose their glamour once you’ve seen several. People though are always changing.
6. Christian fellowship. I’ve missed that. I’ve had it with the church and small group I’ve attended but I miss the times at school when I have some sort of fellowship, whether it be church or Bible studies, with Christians on almost a daily basis. It has been good to stand alone with God but I like it when there are others to stand with me and God.
7. The best laid plans of mice and men. The best days I’ve had are the ones where I did very little planning. I enjoyed the things that I stumbled upon probably because I was able to enjoy their awesomeness with no build-up in my mind. Also, if I didn’t plan a ton then it was okay when things didn’t go exactly according to my plans.
I think I knew some of these things and this experience just reinforced them for me. I’m sure there are many more things I could say I’ve learned but I’ll leave the list at seven for now.