Finding Home

Home – the place one lives permanently as a member of a family.

The past few months I’ve been extremely homesick. There- I said it. I am not one to focus on the negative things going on in life, but this homesickness has been so intense, it felt like a battle everyday.

At first I didn’t share too much of this, as people asked “How are you?” (Or in British words “You Alright?”) and I would respond with “Yes, I’m great, how are you?” -because honestly, I am great. I have so much to be thankful for, and live a very blessed life… but even our lives full of blessings come with struggle and pain. Without struggle and pain- we don’t have the chance to experience breakthrough.

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July 18th 2016 – The day we officially moved into our new home

When we first moved into this little flat over a year ago, we bought two mugs (one for me, and one for Shanen)… and every morning for the last year I’ve had my coffee from this mug. I knew when I bought it, that my home was here with my husband. I was in my newlywed state of bliss when I got this mug, and we started to make this little flat our home… but as this last season has been rough in feeling a deep homesickness, this little mug would encourage me with the truth I saw in it that day I bought it.

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This homesickness went on for months. I love social media for it’s ability to keep me up to date on what’s going on in my friend’s and families lives. But there is a side to it that is very hard for me, and was almost feeding my homesickness. On warm sunny days, people posting pictures of my beloved Folly Beach, or Forth of July BBQ’s with friends… even when they would complain about the heat (as I always did when I lived in South Carolina) – I would still want to be there, because this is the first year of my entire life that I have not been in weather over 90 degrees- I was really craving that sunshine on my skin. But most of all, I was really missing my family. Some days I was looking up weekend flights to America just to hug my mamas, see my brothers, and fly back to England.

I started noticing things in my life that was triggering this homesickness, and as I finished my summer this year I purposefully stopped doing these things, or watching those American tv shows- but at the same time I also let the American within me rise up, and fully realized how much it is part of who I am; I am going to embrace it; I am going to love this part of me, and be proud to be an American. I may not agree with a lot of my countries decisions, but my roots are from that beautiful land, and it will always be a home to me.

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One of my happy places – Folly Beach, SC

The last month as the seasons turned to fall, I’ve become much happier. I LOVE England in the Fall! It is so beautiful, and the weather is what I always dreamed of autumn weather to be as a child in those hot South Carolina summers. But I learned in this last season not to let my external circumstances (like missing a proper summer with beaches and sunshine, or the beautiful colors of Autumn) effect my internal emotions and feelings. It is true, they do play a big part- but instead of dwelling in it, I had to be the one to rise up and learn from it.

One night recently I took Kutta outside for his late evening potty, and looked up to see the stars were out (this is quite rare here). I was so happy to see them I ran back up the stairs and into our flat to quickly grab my yoga mat, and took it out in the back garden to lay beneath them. In that moment I just let myself cry- feeling the tears running off either side of my face as I looked up a familiar sky. Having many nights in my life laying beneath these same beautiful stars; every constellation still there- still shining down on us, bringing beauty to the night.
God met me in that moment, with His beautiful peace and comfort as He spoke into my heart. For me, home is bigger than where I grew up. Home is more than America; and more than England.

Home is Earth.

This big beautiful world is home- and wherever I go I will experience homesickness. If I go to America, I will surly miss life in England (I usually get homesick for our flat in England after 2 weeks in America).. And there have been several times in my life I’ve been homesick for India (those who know me, know my love for this country, and even though I’ve only been there for a total of 8 months- It has become another home to my heart).

I can’t help but to wonder how many more homes I will have in the days to come.

I’ve learned it’s okay to be homesick… and most importantly, God will meet us where-ever we are, and what ever season we are in. This week, He surprised me with something beautiful, that truly “Blessed my heart” as we say in the south…

A saw with my own eyes- a Palmetto tree in England.

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My first reaction, was to hug it. Of course it was growing in a greenhouse, but when I turned around and saw it there, my heart was filled with so much joy- and hugging that tree felt like reaching out and touching a part of South Carolina.
*For those who don’t know, Palmetto trees grow everywhere in Charleston, and they are South Carolina’s state tree. It’s even on our flag…

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So all this to say, I am truly happy to be right where I am. Here in England- for where there is rain, there are always rainbows. I don’t believe the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ (as the saying goes) because I know life here is amazing in so many  ways, and it fits me and Shanen very well. I know one day, our American season will come- along with many other seasons, but I don’t want to rush the season I am in…

I want to enjoy it- and grow my roots here even deeper.

I have the whole world to explore and my whole life ahead of me. I am truly thankful for this season that has taught me how to find the truth in homesickness, and to be okay with experiencing it.

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where there is rain, look for rainbows

 

This morning I woke up to sunshine, and out my kitchen window was a beautiful rainbow. The sign of God’s promise. I remember in 2014 when God first told me I would move to the UK, and at that time, there was no possible way…
Yet here I am. Looking out my kitchen window, remembering how excited my heart was at the possibility of one day living in England.

I am home.

A Journey to Wales

Last weekend I took a trip to Wales with some friends from church. This trip was planned for another friend who was getting married in South Wales at the Celtic Manor. Sadly my husband couldn’t take off work, so I had to say goodbye to him and Kuttabear for 3 days while I took the little road trip south.

We made the best of the journey, taking the side roads through the country side, enjoying the beautiful views and stopping at two small villages along the way…

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In one of the villages was this beautiful church (pictured above). I just love old churches, and being able to go inside. The stillness and peace within there was incredible- and the architecture was breathtaking.

After arriving to the hotel, I quickly freshened up and went out to dinner with some friends from church. They had found this lovely Italian restaurant called Yew Tree,  about 20 minutes from where we were staying.

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YEW TREE Italian restaurant pictured on right, across from a beautiful old church

It was so delightful to find they did gluten free options! I ordered salmon (I just love fish) and it was an amazing meal. They even changed the crust on top to a gluten free crust.

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the view from our table at Yew Tree

I don’t sleep very well in the summertime here in England. Being and American, and use to cool air conditioned air in the summer nights, my body finds it hard to cope as it’s slowly getting use to sleeping without it. Also, the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning so the light tends to wake me up, even with my dark sleep mask. All that to say- I hadn’t been getting enough sleep lately…

But that night, I got back to the hotel, turned the AC on as cool as it would go, got out my sleep mask and lavender oil,  and settled in for a much needed good nights sleep.

It was heavenly.

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I bring my own food a lot when I travel – to save money, but also so I can feed my body well. So I brought Quinoa, seeds, and a banana with me to make breakfast in my hotel room.

How did I make Quinoa without a stove? This little trick was amazing…

Using the in room kettle, I boiled water, and poured 1 parts dry quinoa with 2 parts boiling water into my thermos. Left it for 30 minutes while I had my coffee and got ready…
and 30 minutes later, voila- you have cooked quinoa! I then topped it with the sliced banana, and my blend of pumpkin/sunflower seeds.

I finished getting ready, wearing my new dress that I found (literally last minute) at a charity shop (thrift store).

I ran in, 10 minutes before they closed on the day before this trip, needed a dress for the wedding. There was this little dark red dress (one of my fav colors to wear) hanging right near the entrance, original tags still attached (so never even worn)- and only £4!

I dressed it up with black tights and a waist belt I already had at home. I just love it when I find amazing bargains!

The wedding was so beautiful. The church, the people, the food… it was one of my favorite weddings I’ve experienced by far.
What made this wedding so unique, is the families and friends. The groom was Egyptian, the Bride was Bulgarian, and their friends were from all around the world.

There was so much culture and love there.

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delicious, gluten free bread
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Starter of Smoked Salmon

I didn’t get to take photos of the rest of the food, because I ate it all as soon at it came out. There was a 3 course meal at 5, and another buffet meal at 9, followed by dancing all through the night! It was quite an incredible day!

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Bulgarian wedding tradition of bread, salt, and honey

Despite the weather being a bit gloomy, it was actually a very beautiful day temperature wise- which I know blessed the couple very much!

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