As an YAV serving internationally, one of the expectations is that you do not go home during your year of service (with a few exceptions). First of all, jetting off back to the States is really not conducive to simple living, especially the way these ticket prices are set up! But even more so, as we also make a dedication to cross-cultural mission we make the decision to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and new community we have chosen to call our home.
That being said, I’m kind of a fan of bending rules (within reason). Luckily for me, Scotland and England are the same country *controversial* So after the festive winter holidays had subsided, I decided to take the time to go back to the old stomping grounds, spend time with some family and get a few touristy bits in there as Isabella and Olivia had never been to London before.
On Friday, we took the city by storm and wondered around seeing some sights. One of my childhood buds David met us on our adventures. I haven’t seen him since we left London in ’03. Our mums went to nursing school together back in the day, and we’re about 6 months apart in age. It was so great to catch up, chat about our various politics and the paths on which we find ourselves as adulthood is beginning to take shape. We ended our day with a service at a sung Eucharist service Westminster Abbey celebrating Epiphany.
Saturday was kind of a tourist bust and we kind of ended up wandering around London while missing fun things to do as we didn’t really plan ahead as well as we could have.
We did however go to Harrods #fortheculture I touched a chinchilla jacket. FAM it was so soft. It was like a jacket made out of soft baby bottoms. Oh my goodness…
Sunday was church. My cousin Ntami is on the praise team at Jesus House in London. It’s I believe the largest Redeemed Christian Church of God (a Nigerian Pentecostal denomination) in the UK. It was cool to share this worshiping experience with Isabella and Olivia. To our luck there was an incredible female saxophone player, Funmi Sax playing for the LAWD. Listen, you don’t hear a sax in church every Sunday… The service was a wonderful one, and again, wonderful to share the experience with my new sisters.
Monday was a wee bit of an adventure. The London Underground is one of the many wonders of this world. However, last week there was a planned strike by 2 of the unions which closed most of the tube stations in zone 1 (central London). We spent most of our morning trying to figure out how to get Isabella and Olivia into town (the family we spent time with lives just north of London). I sent them off to Camden Town and I made my way to West London, Northolt, where I grew up to visit my old primary school and catch up with an old friend and her mum.
Man, the world really seems so large when you’re young. This place that was so familiar almost felt like I was walking around in a doll’s universe. All the spaces and distances seemed a lot smaller than I had last remembered them.
All in, it was a solid trip. I haven’t been to London since I was in high school (lol forever ago). It was good to see old sights and people who are home to me.
When we got back to Glasgow I was absolutely shattered. It didn’t feel like a restful trip as we were kind of running about the entire weekend. I was also at the tail end of a pretty nasty ear infection/flu situation and just general tiredness from the weeks past. Originally I was going to plan the trip meticulously and have a mapped out, fully-illustrated itinerary for the girls. That didn’t happen for many reasons, namely me being tired af. One thing that is becoming more apparent to me is that I’ve got to chill out. I really do give myself a hard time when things don’t pan out the way I was expecting.
The title of this blog were words spoken to me by my site coordinator. We have like 4 weeks of holiday that we gotta take (which is a lot of freakin’ time fam). Today in church we talked (Christopher is super into asking the congregation questions during his sermon *gasp*) a little bit about feeling “down” and the importance of being able to take time away for renewal and reflection. In the word ‘holiday’ we see the words ‘holy’ and ‘day.’ That is a day or period that is holy. A sacred period set aside by God. Now in looking back at my trip, I feel so relaxed and lighter, if that makes sense. It makes me really excited for future trips planned and unplanned around Scotland and the UK over the course of this year.