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When Christmas Looks Different

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In my head, it wasn't supposed to happen like this.

Honestly, when I imagined my first Christmas away from my family, my mind assumed that it would be because I was married and spending it with my husband's family.

Instead, I am half a world away from my parents, still single and restricted by US tax code (it's a long story) from returning to the States until February.

Like I said, it wasn't supposed to happen like this.

After a bit of wrestling with myself I can finally say, I am not entirely ok with the fact that I won't be heading to an airport soon.

My personal version of denial has been going into Christmas overdrive. I did put a 6  foot pre-lit tree in the dormer window in my room. I've been overly (or perhaps just Americanly) enthusiastic about Christmas events. I bought, wrapped and labeled presents from my parents (they did pay); shipping costs a fortune folks, but I did want something under the tree.

It's not all glum. I am excited about experiencing my…

I Had A Dream

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Culture, Citizenship & Hiraeth (Part 2)

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Now we come to hiraeth. It's a Welsh word. You may have seen it on Pinterest with a definition. Or an attempt at a definition. Because actually it has no direct translation into English.

Hiraeth. (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

This week, in the face of much heartache happening among my friends and family in America, I am homesick for the US. But that is not hiraeth. Hiraeth is something so much more. It's knowing that I belong somewhere and wanting to be there but being unable to go because I am not quite sure where there even is. But I yearn, I long, I need to go there.

It is inherent in human nature; we all have it because we were all designed for this home. And this world just can't quite cut it. Somewhere in the past, in the history of humanity we had a home and we can't figure out how to go back to it. But oh, how we want to.

Hiraeth.

Culture, Citizenship & Hiraeth (Part 1)

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This weekend I started reading a book for work. The topic: culture.

Funny enough, the woman who wrote it is a fellow American Southerner who has lived in multiple cultures - I have to say that she beats me on that count by quite a lot.

As I read the book, I realised a few things.

First, I don't quite fit any culture anymore. If you divide the world into two types of cultures (this author uses climate which is one accepted way of doing it), I come from one type of culture (hot climate) and have moved to another (cold climate). I've still got those Southern roots, but I've also assimilated some into my British home (I'm definitely still learning).

My friends here in Britain think that my Southern drawl is sweet and laugh when I bring out my "jumper" (American English: sweater) when they think it is still summer. My American friends think I'm crazy when I use British English words but find it neat that Afternoon Tea is a real thing.

I'm not quite one ye…

Honor, Glory & Acknowledgements

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There it sat in its little (expensive) green binding. Done. The final part of a year long master's course. Few people will ever read it. The people who grade it. The people who review those grades. That's basically it.
Of the people who read it, few will notice the end of the acknowledgements section. "Finally, and most importantly, I owe my gratitude to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for setting me on this journey in the first place and for always providing me with exactly what I needed when I needed it." I thanked my supervisor; I thanked my friends. I thanked my family. But those are the words that ended my acknowledgements for my master’s dissertation. And they were not enough. But how does one sum up, a year’s worth, no a lifetime, of gratitude in a single sentence? How does one say thank you for putting me where I am? For direction? For provision? For the right people? The right church? The best family? For peace? For the right Scripture, the right song when I …