: got left behind in a London Tube station by myself, played kickball at Hampstead Heath in front of a Pemberley-type mansion, saw a Shakespeare play in the Globe Theatre, ate the best Thai food I’ve ever had, enjoyed high tea in the Pump Room of Jane Austen fame at Bath, and watched the UK/Algeria World Cup game drinking orange juice in a sports bar alongside an enthusiastic Algerian chef.
Someday I will get around to writing about this London trip outside of lists and long “Today, I went to ___ and saw/did ____” sentences. I think that’s what my journal entries for class have been reduced to, with the random profound observation sneaking in from time to time. Tourist-ing puts one in an interesting frame of mind; a sort of constant intense remember-everything observation. Sometimes I feel like I’m forcing myself to soak everything up. Right now I’m feeling the grind of that especially -I’m really starting to miss home and find myself zoning out on tours and such because I’m feeling really tired (self-discovery fact #1: i don’t like group tours). I miss my family, my little group of amazing people at CCF, and being able to walk somewhere without getting sensory overload/lost. I think this trip has been really eye-opening as far as revealing personal insecurities. Independence scares me. These things remind me that life is a journey, and sometimes we learn in spirals -the same thing over and over again but a little deeper each time. Stuff like “pay attention”, “trust God”, and “reach out” are forgotten and relearned. The best times have been little moments like walking down the street by myself on a quiet Sunday morning, just sitting in a park with my roommate and watching people go by, the “doing nothing” moments amidst all the tourist activities and intellectual classroom discussion. (Those are also the moments, oddly enough, where I feel the strongest sense of truly enjoying London for what she is.) I talked to a very nice man who helped me find the right Tube station when I got left behind (very disconcerting as well as relieving/exciting), and our conversation reminded me of the keep reaching out principle. He told me about his favorite areas of London, interesting facts about the Cockney dialect, just a native Londoner chit-chatting with a tourist. Then I asked him why he was visiting Hampstead, and he shared that he was visiting a friend in the hospital who had been diagnosed with dementia. That hit me like a brick; how do you respond to that? I just wanted directions! I’d love to say that I had a Bible conference moment and shared a Bible verse and a prayer, opening up a long conversation about faith, but I simply mumbled, “Wow, I’m sorry,” thanked him, and walked out of the station (this trip has also made me realize that I’m really bad at keeping conversations going). But it reminded me that you never know what people are going through..life’s a ministry. And my life is not about me even though right now in my very tired state I sure would like it to be. And fatigue is something, so I’m learning, that God uses to remind me that I need to slow down and take a break lest grumpy confused things happen. So good night.