I’ll Be in Scotland Before Ye

How strange to be writing on a train again after all these years – of course I’m referring to the last lengthy train ride I took back in September 1996 when Kristie and I trekked our way across America.

Now of course this is completely different.  It’s 2001.  May.  I’m on a Virgin train, not Amtrak.  And I’m traveling north through England, not west through America.

We’re just passing through Crewe headed towards Manchester – ultimately stopping at Glasgow Central.  It’s about a 6 hour trip from Leamington.

Why am I writing now?  Well, I fell I should document this day so that I don’t forget how fabulous it is!  This is a day where I love England.  Everything is green, even the trees.  Everything is flowering (we passed by a field of yellow blossoms so bright it was as if the sun had taken up residence there).  The sun is shining brightly.  The sky is clear and blue.  And I am not cold!

What I have just described to you is NOT the England I have grown used to this past year.  And it is definitely NOT the England I have been living in.  This England is the day to the black night of the England I know.  I’ve been living in an England of grey clouds and dark skies.  Dismal, dreary, drizzly, dank, and dark.  A far cry from this world of sun and warmth we have the pleasure of today.

And my prayer is that this will perhaps last…at least through tomorrow as I spend my couple of days in Scotland.  I would like to think of Scotland with blue skies since I don’t know that I will much remember England that way.
I also need to remind myself not to forget that England CAN have days of beauty like this.  I don’t want to look back when I leave and forget that the sun sometimes DID shine and the sky sometimes WAS blue.  I don’t want to ever let the clouds and grayness rule my memories or England will forever seem a sad place which it wasn’t always.

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Now I’m in the hotel…  I’ve spent my time after arriving wandering around central Glasgow.  Very charming!  Of course now I’m settled in bed and just finished watching REM live in Koln (I have no clue where that is – I think maybe Norway or Sweden…I’ll have to look it up.)

But anyway, seeing them live on stage only brought back vivid memories of seeing them live with Jel in Seattle.  What a great time that was!  I don’t know if I could ever top that – I suppose only in that I could actually meet them.  Otherwise Seattle was about as good as it gets.

You know, with each passing day as I sort of stand still and look back on my life this far, I really could cry for joy.  It has been even better than I ever could have hoped for – I have so many wonderful memories and I’m only 27 years old!  There’s so much more to come!!  I think it’s only recently that I’ve really been able to look at my life and say “Thank you, Lord!”  God has really given me so much and has fulfilled so many of my silent dreams & desires.  It’s so much easier to focus on what I DON’T have that I sometimes forget to look at what I DO have.

Thank you Lord for blessing me in more ways that I never would have even dreamed.

Difficult Recovery

Walking through life is like walking down a road with twists and turns and intersections and you never exactly know what might be around a corner or a bend up ahead…but every step you take brings you closer to that next new thing, or experience or relationship that shapes your life and slowly helps you to develop into the person you are.  Even when it seems like you’re stuck in one place or at a complete standstill, as long as time moves on and the sun still rises and sets, you’re moving too.

I think that’s probably the hardest thing for me to remember because there have been times in my life where I’ve been sure that I’m going nowhere when in fact, every single step I’ve taken has brought me closer to where I am now…and even now I’m moving on towards that next bend in my road that I can’t even see yet, but I’ll know when I reach it.

It’s these moments in life, though, when I feel stuck – trapped, even – when I wish I could take a step back and see my life from someone else’s viewpoint…like an impartial third party.  Or better yet, like an observer from a balcony in heaven…looking down and able to see both what has past, what is currently, and what is to come.  Just to feel like I really am moving towards SOMETHING.

Of course when I look back on my life, it seems unbelievable to me…even though I’ve lived it.  If it was someone else’s life, I think I’d be jealous.  As it is with  everyone though, I think the tendency we all have is to focus on the things we don’t have rather than what we do.  I know I spend more time on how I wish I had more friends here and how tired I am of being alone all the time and why I haven’t had a date in nearly three years…  You won’t hear me mention nearly as much the tings that I’m grateful for…and believe me, I am grateful!  Grateful for the three years I got to spend in Alaska, and for the opportunities that brought me – including the introduction of one of my best friends into my life.  Grateful for my time in NYC – living and working in Manhattan.  Grateful for the transfer overseas and now having the chance to live internationally, experience another culture to the fullest, as well as have a jumping off point to the rest of Europe…Rome, Greece, France…  Grateful for a live that when I write it down on pape, does seem somewhat unreal to me – but each experience I’ve had has led to the next like a huge domino set up, and now I feel as if I’m just waiting to see what the next one to fall will be.

It does all seem like a bit much, doesn’t it?  Yes, well, it does to me too.  I wonder what it will seem like to my children (if I ever have any!)  One thing I know – if I do have kids and they grow up and forget me and leave me alone to die quietly in some old people’s home (preferably in some tropical location) I don’t think I’ll mind so much as I will have plenty of memories to keep me company.  Oh, not to mention Janelle and I have a pact to be put away together once our husbands die because then we really won’t care if anyone ever comes to see us…we can just be two old terry-cloth clad biddies sitting around in rocking chairs on our retirement home veranda laughing at jokes that no one understands but us and going on and on about the good ol’ days when we were young and gorgeous.

Today for some reason has been particularly tough.  I just want to curl up on the sofa with my cashmere throw and watch old Cary Grant films until the sun comes out (which could mean months in this God-forsaken country).  Each day I awaken to more dreary grey clouds and wonder why on earth these people choose to live here voluntarily.  I feel very much like I’m living in a black and white movie.  It’s amazing also what a toll it takes on one’s mood and perspective.  And then when it rains, you just go from feeling depressed to depressed AND damp.  Insult to injury.  Why not give me a papercut and then dump lemon juice on it?  I might actually enjoy that more.

So Janelle was here for a visit and it’s been harder since she left.  I had really forgotten what it was like to have friends around…ESPECIALLY friends who understand your crazy, American sense of humor!  You can’t even put a value on that!

Now the hardest part has been trying to bounce back from her visit which I am having an exceedingly hard time doing.  I’d give my right arm to have her back here.