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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 …

The Stars

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When I lived in France, my fellow international students used to ask each other what we missed the most from home. We had one rule though: the answer couldn't be people or food. Why? Because, with out that rule, it always was. (Yes, whether we ex-pats admit it or not, generally the most missed things while abroad are family, friends, and food). So what do I miss most about America – sorry dear ones, for the time England is home – that is not family, friends or food?

The stars. Right now, what I miss most about America is the stars. Anyone who’s ever lived in both the city and the countryside knows what I’m talking about. There is a marked difference in looking up at the sky when the city lights cancel out the beauty of the stars.
I’ve been thinking a lot about stars lately. After a few late night car rides in the US, I got to spend a lot of time looking at the stars.
Do you know why God made the stars?
No? Well He tells us. Genesis 1:16-18 reads as follows:
“God made two great lights …

Homesick

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I should be working right now. It's not quite five o'clock, my usual cut off time for research if I am not done with the days tasks, but here I am writing a blog. One that is long over due. It was one I started to write weeks ago, but could not finish (as I realize is often the case).

Homesickness.

Anyone who has been away from home knows the feeling. Although, I keep in touch with friends and family at home (thank the Lord for technology!), occasionally I still find myself going through intense bouts of longing for the people and places that make up home. After all, technology cannot always make up for the fact that I'm on a different continent, in a different time zone and have an entire ocean between me and where a part of my heart will always reside.

A few weekends ago, I had one of those moments. Sometimes, it's the little things that trigger it; like going to see a movie that I would normally see with my family. (Yes, going to see Captain America: Civil War made…

{SE Travel Edition}: The City of Bath

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Do you have a place you've ever dreamed of visiting? You know the one. There is a reason. Maybe it means something to you and your family; maybe all of your friends go. It could be in your own country or in one half way around the world. Perhaps you want to journey there for the adventure or because it holds the promise of calm. Whatever the reason, the name is probably dancing in your mind right now.

For me that place (or one of them as I have many), is Bath, England. Home of all thing Austen, Jane Austen that is. The setting of the latter half of my favorite Austen novel (Persuasion) and a few Austen movie scenes. It was at the top of the England bucket list.

And right after Easter, I got to go!

So buckle your seat belts and I'll take you on a virtual tour of the city that lived up to (and far surpassed) all of my dreams!


The first stop of the trip was the beautiful and impressive Bath Abbey. The detail of the building was incredible.

And then of course the famed Roman Bath…