Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Shoot Me" ~ Have I been catapulted?

Because that's what it feels like. It feels like I was quickly tossed from one country to another and I am just catching my breath, just long enough to verbalize it.

One moment I was meeting Jane for coffee at least once a week, drinking my daily afternoon cup of tea, grading school papers in the conservatory, walking my dog around the dam on a daily basis, eating delicious, English bacon, talking on my mobile instead of my cell phone, meeting with our small group fortnightly, making zucchini bread for the Sanctuary Cafe' that everyone raved about, and was often having Nigel over for tea, which is known as dinner here.

We were visiting European countries as often as time & finances would allow, buying souvenirs to remember our travels, spending pounds instead of dollars, walking into the village to buy fresh meats, baked goods, and go to the post office, preparing a typical, English roast on Sundays, eating Digestives, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to capture all of the excitement and wonder of this amazing adventure, and all that has changed.

(my dear friends Emma & Jane~ I miss you so very much)

It changed gradually, at first, and then as quick as a wink. Everything we had to do to make it happen is almost too much to write about, though I'd like to try over time. I don't want to forget it all or make light of it. It was absolutely, unequivocally a grand adventure. There were times when we missed home so much that we couldn't wait to move back. And that's because the adventure here is no less grand than there. It's just different.

My first thought about what I would write in this post was a lighthearted, weekly "Shoot Me" post that focused on some aspect of me with my amazing kids, my precious husband, dear friends, or a silly or fun moment in my life. As I started choosing photos out of the over 10, 000 here on my computer, my thoughts and words started to morph into something so deep and personal.

A transatlantic move is nothing to sneeze at. It's huge! It took literally hundreds of decisions & choices to make it work. And dare I not thank our Heavenly Father for giving us the grace to accomplish it. He gets the glory for it all.

From the moment we stepped onto the plane to make the 8 hour journey, to trying to connect in Chicago to ultimately land in Kalamazoo which never happened, by the way, it's been one thing after the other. We have gone from not being able to connect due to poor weather conditions to getting into 2 rental cars in order to lug our 14 suitcases back to the hotel in BC. Keep in mind that it had been awhile since we had driven in American cars on the opposite side of the highway. We then had a 3 week stay at the hotel while our home was being worked on for us to be able to move in.

Then all of the painting, re-carpeting, and refinishing the wood floors began. Trust me, if that hadn't been done, we would have died from the fumes here. The wild colors on the walls would have caused bad dreams. You get the idea.

And then there is the whole getting reacquainted with our friends and church family here, reconnecting with family in 2 other states, and starting all new utilities back up in a new home, not to mention buying all new groceries to fill the refrigerator & cupboards.

(all of our children from the small group we were in~ we miss you all)

(Our dearest friends from England & the parents of those many children above)

(My South African friend, Liesl, that is one of the first friends I made)

(On the last night in our home in Lymm, we actually had to use a teapot to make broccoli. That's what happens when everything, and I mean everything, is being packed up to go.)

(We sat in these papered chairs to eat our last dinner in the lovely home we rented.)

When packing our suitcases, a couple of them had to be packed with a little of everyone's stuff in it for the hotel stay in England the night before our plane left. That's one of the details we had to think about and plan for. The other ones were packed for each person. All kinds of homeschool books and materials also had to be packed so that school wasn't an afterthought. I, for one, don't want to be working on school in July. I love my summers off!

The fellows packing the truck packed it within an inch of it's life. My friend, Annette, likes to use that funny phrase. I thought I could insert it here. They kept doing their geometry to figure out just how to pack everything into the perfect crevice.

After all of the packing was done, we went to our friend's 40th birthday party. We must have all looked exhausted, but we could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel at that point. We needed that party as much as anyone else. We needed to just relax and unwind and say a few more goodbyes.

(Gabby, Jack, Harry, & Austin)

These are some of Austin's friends. They talked to him the entire night and expressed how much he would be missed. They were really sweet. As we walked down the street to head to our hotel, they walked behind calling, "Austin, Austin... bye Austin." It was sweet. (Oh, you have to use your best British accent when reading that line.)

Nigel, the birthday fella, and his mom & dad.

OK, I'm catching my breath finally and sharing some thoughts about our move and it feels great. We have been extremely busy just trying to keep up with life and our transition that we haven't had enough time to say to our friends back in the U.K. that we love them and miss them dearly. We haven't been able say that they are precious to us and that they live in a beautiful place with so much to see and do. And we haven't been able to say to our friends and family here in America that we love you, we've missed you, and we are happy to be home.

If you've read all of this, thanks for listening. I hope to write a lot more in the future about how life changed and made us better people for having trusted God and taken the plunge to move across the planet. It feels that way anyway. Some people shake their heads and say, "I don't know how you did it." I don't want any pat on the back, but I do want to recognize how incredible the journey has been. It's easy to just move on and act as if it didn't happen. It was a real, and wonderful, and hard, and amazing experience all at the same time.

We wouldn't change it for a moment.

Carin over at "Forever in Blue Jeans" is hosting this weekly blog carnival that encourages Moms to finally be in the picture. I might have overdone it a little by writing such a long post, but I think it works. Go check her out and read other posts like this, though probably not nearly as long. :-)


McCrakensx4 said...

That is the coolest thing hubby and I were just talking tonight about how we would love to live overseas before we die! Great pictures and great memories!

thelumberjackswife said...

Europe sounds so exciting to me! But, you are right! What a huge move! So many changes! Thanks for sharing!

~KATE~ said...

Whew! That's long but I feel so happy for you while reading it. ^^,

Churchmates, small group, friends, family --- all are wonderful people... as well as the fellows packing the truck. ^_^

I hope that you would have more adventures in the future and continuously be blessed and be a blessing!

Here's my Thursday Shoot. \(^^)/

fullertribe said...

It's so fun to read about all of the wonderful things that were open to you and your family all because you listen to God and did what he asked. I love reading how each of you were blessed in different ways. I'm hoping so much that once you have time to settle that we can spend sometime together. I've missed you and your family very much in the past two years and I'm so happy that you are back.

Joyce said...

I feel a little twist in my heart reading this. I know you know what I am talking about.

This was wonderfully said...I'm glad you're writing about it. The transition, the moving forward-looking continues for a while...maybe it will always be there for me.

We are enjoying the present too, doing new things here and re-connecting with family which brings blessings and stresses both : )...but part of our heart remains in England.

Hugs to you today...'huge' is an understatement in describing the experience. As our friends love to say, 'Well Done Carol'

Darcie said...

I am so glad you are getting your thoughts, pictures, memories down on your blog. It was quite a journey that I only can begin to imagine. We have moved quite a bit, but not overseas. Loved reading and seeing just a piece of what the journey was like.

Catherine Anne said...

Any change is hard. Prayers to you and this change. Wonderful photos filled with love. Also thank you for prayers and thoughts.

Marice said...

changes are inevitable :) but i know this will be for better :) have fun while treasuring all the wonderful memories!

sorry for the late visit!

u may view mine here

He & Me + 3 said...

You have definitely been on a journey and found joy in it all...perfect blog title. I loved reading about it all.
You are so blessed. Loved all the pictures. Your circle of friends is amazing.
Glad you are back in the states and I hope that one day we will find time to meet up.

Jenn said...

England has a special place in my heart too.. I was blessed to live there only seven months! I hope your heart settles and that you are blessed by your new home.

Erin said...

Wow! That is an awesome post. Superman would like us to move overseas (maybe in 18 months), but we're struggling with what to do with our menagerie. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey. I loved each and every part!

Denise said...

Carol, this was a beautiful post, full of love and memories - thanks for taking the time to share them.