both-and

September 22, 2011

I had a few desires for my trip home. Big and small, they have been accomplished. Mexican food, candy (skittles, twizzlers, candy corn), bought a guitar (I’ll be passing this one on to my grandchildren!), sold my car, got a haircut from a lady I just met, went to the beach twice, read and saw The Help (movies come out later in the UK, so catching up on a few was a goal), and spent precious quality time with family and a few very key friends.

One of those friends is my dear friend Andrea. We’ve been friends since fourth grade. What a pleasure and honor to know her! We talked a lot about abundance in the few days we were together. How just because someone else writes a novel (even if it’s about exactly the same thing), has a good relationship, or does anything else well, doesn’t mean that someone else having something excludes you from the very same (or even better). We would all need to give up if so!

It depends on how you view God. Either He is an either-or kind of God or a both-and kind of God. I constantly have to shift my thinking. It’s not–If I get that, I can’t have this. It’s–I will work on this now, and later, I’ll have both as He sees fit, at a time when I can appreciate them both.

Andrea and I went on an adventure Monday morning. I hopped on the back of her Vespa and we made our way to the PTA Thrift Store in Carrboro. We took home LOADS. She’s holding a crock in the photo, and I a basket for her eggs I encouraged her to purchase. I got a Bible and a saint to hang in my room. These were great finds that perfectly illustrate the idea of abundance. The note on the left is one I found in the Bible (I love trying to figure it out – it seems so poetic). The image on the far right is the back of the Saint.

We also fit the two of us and everything we bought on Andrea’s Vespa despite my insistence that we go get the car instead. Abundant indeed.

UK / US

September 7, 2011

I am having an incredible time in the US! A few people have asked about the differences I’ve noticed.

It was a bit of a shock to write United Kingdom as my country of residence on my landing card.

Americans don’t respect lines (queues) as much as people in the UK. When I landed in Philly, I got cut in line twice. I was absolutely shocked! I had just come off a plane sitting by a British guy who apologised profusely for the one bathroom trip he had to make (I had the aisle seat).

Americans have a much bigger country. We (proud to be American still!) take up more space because we have it. UKers are used to not having a lot of space and maximise it (hence, their really organised queues).

I also noticed that American customer service is even more friendlier than I remember it. In UK, you are bothering someone if you want to pay them for something. A lot of people attribute this to the fact that we give tips in America, but there are many more shopping conveniences not explained by tips. In UK, a lot of places don’t really take cards because all of the ATMs are free, no matter what bank you’re a part of, and there’s usually a fee if the transaction is under £5. Here in US, they’ll take a card for less than $1. I am shocked every time this works. I am also still getting used to have tax added after I pay for something. In UK, it’s already there, so if something says it’s £1, it’s £1 when you pay for it.

This trip, I am also missing my friends in Edinburgh a lot more than I did at Christmas. A year is long enough for someone like me to develop deep friendships. Still, I very much feel that there’s nothing like being around people who have known me 10 years on average (some even longer!). It has been refreshing! And, the food has been SO GOOD!

So, the verdict. Notice that I didn’t title this post “US vs. UK.” There are positive/negatives to both. I’ll always be thankful for this time of living between two countries. And, I miss Edinburgh like crazy (those feelings started after only 4 days of being here!), so I hope I’ll live in UK a LOT longer.