Tag Archives: Settling-In

In Case You Didn’t Know, We Miss You

There are a lot of emotions that come with moving half way across the world.  We have experienced excitement, nervousness, frustration, joy, confusion, and most recently, sadness.  I suppose sadness isn’t really the appropriate word.  We feel melancholy.  Very, very melancholy.

You see, our one year anniversary of moving here occured about a month ago.  Since that time, it has been like a switch was flipped.  The miss home like crazy switch.  Throughout our time here, we have missed things like food and driving, large grocery stores, and customer service, but those aren’t the things we are missing right now.  Those are all great things, but right now we miss people.  Friends from church, Talbot, work, Oklahoma, and Colorado consume our conversations.  God has blessed us with so many amazing friends and mentors and it has been hard to be so far away from all of them.  We miss dinner dates with our friends the Van Schoicks, brunch sunday at Grace, family night with the Klinks, praying with our small group, and so many other people and experiences.

I miss shopping with Ashley (even though we never had any money to spend!), my Esther Bible study girls, starbucks runs with Dani on breaks we weren’t supposed to take, Talbot Wives prayer groups and ALL of the amazing friends I met there, eating hot dogs and burgers on the patio with the Polks, and coffee dates with my mentor, Teri.  There are so many more people we could mention that have impacted and blessed our lives, but this is a blog, not a book (though I know some of my posts could make one think I don’t know the difference).

At the end of the day, Chick-Fil-A and real milk shakes just don’t fill the void that we feel right now.  When you miss people, everything else just kind of fades in comparison.  And when those people are your family, the comparison is even more stark.  I woke up this morning and read a facebook messge from Ben’s sister, and I just started crying.  The message was nothing more than a simple question about something, but I was just overwhelmed with sadness.

I miss my mom’s amazing chocolate fudge and the way she makes every holiday and every visit so special.  I miss my dad and all his crazy childhood stories and the constant sound of a bass that accompanies him.  I miss my brother who is always bursting with energy and drumming his fingers on every surface.  I miss his beautiful new wife Stephanie who always seeks to serve others and her love for Zach just touches my heart.  I miss Ben’s mom and her fits of giggles when she is with her sisters and the way she dotes on her beloved Oscar (her dachshund).  I miss Ben’s dad and his wonderful smile that blesses your heart because it is so sincere in its love.  I miss Ben’s sister and the way she is always itching to go on walks and just spend quality time with people.  I miss her husband Alex and his witty comments and excitement over amazing books we all equally love.  I wish I could wrap my arms around each of them right now.

It isn’t that we miss America all that much right now, beause we love it here.  We just miss connecting with people that have meant so much to us.  It feels like we are living over here in this kind of pretend world because we haven’t really gotten to share it with anyone from home (minus Cassie of course).  We have come to realize that if you can’t share your world with people, it just lacks the fullness that it would otherwise have.  This exeperience isn’t just something for me and Ben, it is something we want to share with those we love (and even those we barely know would be ok at this point!).  We want to build precious memories with friends from home even now.  We don’t want to wait two years to continue to do that.

I don’t mean for any of this to make anyone feel guilty or sad for us, but along with the exciting and new things that we encounter here, I also want to document the difficult times we face.  Right now is one of those times.  We love people.  We have spent the last six years of our marriage meeting incredible people and building the kind of friendships that just warm your soul.  You don’t leave those people and not feel the loss.  Our hearts are a little heavy right now, but just know that to all of our friends and family out there scattered across the US, we think of you all the time. We love you.  We cherish you. We miss you.  xox

 

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Melancholy Moment

Our suitcase is still in the floor of our bedroom only half way unpacked, and our laundry pile is spilling out of the closet it is so full.  On our counters we have American dollars, euros from Paris, pounds from London and enough coinage to begin our own coin collection.  The only thing that indicates that we actually live here and aren’t just checking out tomorrow, is that we finally have groceries…and by groceries I mean 6 boxes of cereal and five jars of nutella.  What can we say, there was a sale.  Despite having been back for four days, we find ourselves oddly unsettled.  Especially me.

After five weeks off from work, I find myself utterly exhausted at the end of the day.  Truth be told, I could really start wrapping up the day around 3:00pm.  Getting to bed at a decent hour and then waking up at a undecent hour just doesn’t feel quite right.  Normally we come back from holiday (british term for vacation…trying to embrace it) and I am ready for my routine, but not this time.  The last five weeks were some of the most memorable weeks of my life and I just can’t seem to get them out of my mind.  And it is because of those memories that I am having a hard time not feeling melancholy.

We ended our holiday and I have to tell you, the reality check was harder to swallow this time than ever before.  I chalk it up to two things.  First of all, I love to be on vacation.  Who doesn’t?  The thing is most people feel like they eventually want to head home and get back into their daily routines.  That is definitely how Ben is.  I think I would have even described myself that way, until now.  I love being on vacation, tiring as it may be.  Mostly that is because I love eating out and seeing new places and not having to do anything but getting to do whatever you want.  Isn’t that the life?  I think so too.  Though I do miss my bed.  I always miss my bed.

The second reason this return home has been so much harder is we left a lot behind.  We spent a lot of time with people that we absolutely love and adore (Ben would use far more masculine terms here…but I am writing and I get to use sappy words like adore) and saying goodbye is just a difficult thing to do.  God has blessed us with such amazing friends, mentors, and of course, family.  This leads to my current melancholy state.  I miss my family.

Ben and I have lived away from our families for the last six years (not including the three years prior to that where we were in college) and for the first time, this is really, really hard.  I am not saying I haven’t missed them before, but this is different.  Knowing there is a huge expanse of water and then a huge expanse of land between us, just makes it more difficult.  This realization hit hard this visit.  We watched Ben’s little sister get married in June and then just a few weeks later in July, my little brother got married.  They are beautiful and wonderful memories for me, but they were also bittersweet.

I knew that just at the beginning of their marriages, I would have to say goodbye.  I don’t get to go to coffee with Rachel and Stephanie and hear all about their honeymoons and well, you know…SEX!!  I don’t get to go to dinner at their place for the first time and watch them learn to cook together, or hang out late talking about how job searches are going, and how wonderful being married really is.  I am sad I can’t be there for all of that.  Our siblings are finally graduated from college, looking for jobs, and married, and I can’t be there to connect with them.  I know there is the phone, and Skype, but it just isn’t the same.  I want smiles and hugs and you just don’t get the full effect unless you are in person.

I know this has been a rather depressing blog entry, but this is where I am at right now.  Before I can get excited and write about all that has taken place the last five weeks, I need to grieve the absence of those I love most.  Ok, so that is a little much, but I am sure you get the point.

Zach, Stephanie, Rachel, and Alex, I hope you know how much we absolutely love you guys.  We had such an amazing time celebrating one of the happiest days of your lives with you guys.  You mean the world to us and we just can’t wait to live closer and really be a part of your lives.  Not like Everybody Loves Raymond close, but closer than this!  We hope you know how proud we are of you, and how excited we are to walk through life alongside you all.  We are always here for you and know that despite the distance, you are never too far from our thoughts.


Identity Crisis

I have realized since starting work here that I had an identity at my last job.  My coworkers knew my personality, my likes, my dislikes, and my strengths and weaknesses.  Since my last job was my first one, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to transition into a new job.  I hear myself saying all the time, “In my last job we used to…at my last job my coworkers…in my last role I…”  I know this must drive my new coworkers crazy, it drives me crazy for goodness sake!  But I can’t seem to stop.  It is like word vomit, it just keeps coming up.  Gross, sorry about that.

Anyhow.  In my last job (see there I go again!), I had a pretty firm identity.  I knew the role I played, and I played it pretty well.  I took pride in two areas of my identity; my birthday planning abilities and my baking.  You already know my love of all things birthday, but what you might not know is that I was absolutely obsessed with baking.  Since my sweet tooth is never satisfied, I took every opportunity to bake brownies, cakes, or my personal favorite, chocolate chip cookies. 

I am not trying to be cocky or anything, but I made pretty amazing chocolate chip cookies.  Seriously.  You can ask anyone that used to work with me.  I would bring them in and unless they were hidden (which I did have to resort to at times) they would be gone by 10:00am.  That rule about no sweets until you’ve finished your lunch was thrown right out the window when I brought in cookies.  It took me several years, but thanks to Ben’s constant taste testing and my friend Laura’s great advice, I was able to perfect my chocolate chip cookies. 

I took great pride in my baking abilities and naturally I assumed that I would take up that role in my new job.  Everyone brings in store-bought treats all the time.  I am constantly being tempted by donuts, cookies, muffins, or biscotti.  I also wanted to contribute to the bringing in of sweet treats and since I love to bake, I thought I would bring in these amazing brownies that I learned how to make from my friend Hannah.  I spent about ten quid (British slang for pound like buck is to dollar) on all the ingredients which is A LOT to spend on brownies, but I wanted to make sure that they were really tasty as this was my first contribution. 

I baked my brownies the night before we were having a fat Friday (a day when the whole team orders pizza and eats lunch together) and brought them in for dessert.  They are extremely rich and therefore the smell of chocolate wafted in the air all morning.  It was heavenly.  Lunch came and went and to my great shock, my brownies went untouched.  I was beginning to feel extremely self-conscious about my brownies when my boss finally ate one.  I thought this would begin the feeding frenzy and that everyone was just being their usual reserved British selves, but to my great embarrassment, not another brownie was touched that day (by anyone other than me that is). 

At the end of the day, I looked at my plate full of brownies and with my deflated pride, I began to pack them up to take them home.  I arrived home to Ben’s questioning look at my downcast face and plate full of brownies.  I was crushed.  No one even tried them.  They might have been awful, but they couldn’t even know that since they didn’t try them. 

This occurred about a month ago.  Obviously, this has stuck with me as I am still lamenting my uneaten brownies.  I just can’t figure out exactly what happened that day.  Do they not like homemade food?  Do they not like brownies?  Were they scared of the new girls cooking?  I haven’t been brave enough to bring something else in.  I couldn’t handle that kind of rejection again.  I handled job rejections better than this. 

In the meantime, I feel a bit lost.  If I am not the baker, than what am I?  I liked being the baker.  Next time I start a job, I am going to go in on the first day with a cheat sheet for all my new coworkers that details “This is who I am…”  I feel like I am 16 again, trying to figure out who I am and how I fit into the world.  Will Smith says it best in the movie Hitch, “”You,” is a very fluid concept right now.”


Finding a Job in the UK

As I am finally starting to get settled into my new job, I thought I would take the opportunity to write about looking for jobs in the UK.  We have had a couple people ask about what the process was and how I went about finding a job so hopefully this will help anyone who needs it, and enlighten anyone else who cares to read it. 

To begin with, as the wife of a student I was given a dependent visa.  I am not sure of how these differ (if they do) but in my case I was given a visa with no restrictions when it came to working.  This has been extremely helpful as I think it is much harder to find jobs if you have to obtain a work visa.  I didn’t specifically apply for a work visa, but thankfully as a dependent I was given one.  As Ben can work no more than 6 hours on his visa, we were very happy that I didn’t have any work restrictions!

In regards to actually looking for a job, I knew that it would have been extremely difficult and unlikely that I would get a job before I arrived in Cambridge.  Had I been a teacher or a nurse I think I could have looked for something before coming (as I have several friends who obtained jobs in these careers before they arrived) but my experience was in HR.  I also knew that I couldn’t begin working until I applied for a National Insurance number which I couldn’t apply for that until I arrived in the country. 

We arrived here in late September and I took the first month or so to settle in and really acquaint myself with the city and just British life in general.  Towards the end of October I began looking for jobs.  I started by looking at jobs at the university and searching job boards.  As anyone who looks for a job does, I spent hours filling out applications and writing cover letters.  Mostly to no avail.  I will say one thing about British recruiting processes, they do not leave you in the dark.  In most cases a job will tell you how long it will be posted for (normally about two weeks), when the closing date is, when interviews will take place, and when a decision will be made.  Not only do they post this information but they actually get in contact with you if you apply.  They send you an email letting you know they received your application.  Then, if you aren’t successful, they send you an email or most likely a letter (well at least in the case of the university which is mostly where I applied).  They are very old fashioned when it comes to the whole letter writing business (though I secretly like it).  This is extremely different from what I experienced in America.  When I applied for jobs back home, I rarely heard if I didn’t receive the job.  I really like how they do things here in that regard.  It helps you to know where you stand and is just very straightforward.

From my time in the states I knew this wasn’t the best way to go about getting a job, but I wasn’t sure what else I should do since most places like you to apply online nowadays.  When we first got here I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I also applied for random retail jobs one afternoon.  I printed off my resume (or CV as they call it here), got dressed up and walked through town dropping off my CV to any store that appealed to me and said they were hiring.  This is always a little embarrassing but I did find it effective.  I was offered a job early on but unfortunately it didn’t work out for various reasons. 

So the job search continued.  I managed to get a few interviews after pouring over cover letters and applications for hours.  Even still, nothing came through.  I had several friends that encouraged me to register with a temp or recruiting agency which I dragged my feet on for a while.  Having worked alonside recruiting for the last several years, I knew that companies rarely resorted to using recruiting agencies and finding people through there is always more expensive than just hiring someone who applies for a job online.  Yet again though, I was forgetting that I was not in America.  Here in England if you want a job, the best advice I can give you is this…call a recruiting agency (or all them for that matter) and you will have a job. 

I registered with the university temp agency but they had a large supply for temps at the time.  I continued to apply online and then one day I applied to a couple of jobs that a recruiting agency had posted.  This agency contacted me and from there things moved very quickly.  They had me in for an interview within just a few days and then I had the option of temping, interviewing for temp to permnanent positions, or just going for permanent positions.  I said I was fine with all three…I just needed a job. 

I can’t tell you how diligent they were.  I received emails and calls almost daily.  Iwas first contacted by them during the last week in November and I could have lined something up earlier but we ended up going to the States for Christmas and then taking a trip to Rome in mid January, so that put everything on hold.  On my last day in Rome (which was a Wednesday) I received a call and asked if I could interview with a company that Friday for an HR job that would be temporary to permanent.  I agreed and went to the interview that Friday.  I recieved a call that night and began work the following Monday.  Within two weeks I had moved from being a temp to a permnanent employee. 

Finding a job here is very different as a lot of companies use recruiting agencies here.  I am not sure why it is so different, but now I know from experience that it is.  A couple of pieces of advice that I would give to someone who is applying for jobs in the UK would be this:

1. Do your research and know what kind of position you are looking for as well as what kind of company you want to work for.

2. Register with a recruiting agency (or multiple).

3. Tell everyone you know or meet that you are looking for a job.  Always be ready to sell yourself and your skills.  Most people are willing to help you if they know you actually need (and want) help. 

4. While you are looking for a job, research companies in your area (find a list of top companies to work for or ones that have received awards for being a great place to work) and stalk their websites for job openings.  Read as much as you can and be ready to pounce if something of interest comes up.  Be creative in how you set yourself apart and know your audience (what kind of recruiters are going to be reading and viewing your CV/cover letter/application-know when to be creative and when to keep it simple).

5. Don’t waste your time applying for every job that comes along.  Really spend time on the ones that you are interested in.  Write amazing, flawless cover letters.  I have a general cover letter that I start with, but I spend about an hour or two on every cover letter I do.  I tailor them to the job and the company. 

6. Keep going even when you feel discouraged.  Make looking for a job your full time job.  I am bad at doing this, but I was better this time around then I was last time!

Well, those are some of my thoughts on how to get a job in the UK.  It is never easy looking for a job but there are things you can do (things I should have done) that make it a lot easier.  Don’t make it harder than it has to be.  And like my friends told me, don’t worry something will come through.


Thanksgiving…a great American holiday!

It is strange to celebrate Thanksgiving in a country that doesn’t celebrate American holidays.  Now, I have come to find that a lot of British people want to be invited to American Thanksgivings (hello, who wouldn’t want to be invited to a glorious feast?) but they won’t do it themselves.  I suppose that makes sense.  It is just sad to miss out on such an amazing day…and such amazing food (yes, I am talking to you Sarah with the amazing bacon wrapped green beans)!!  It is strange that business went on as usual in town yesterday.  Ben still had German class in the morning, I sent out a few more job applications and responded to emails, but once noon came around, the holiday started in the Wilson household! 

I tuned into a Christmas music station (yes, I am one of those people who can listen to Christmas music starting in October…ok, September if I am honest), and blared it while I started making my french apple pie (thank you Vicki H for the recipe…I always LOVE it) and mashed potatoes.  Now, because I know myself, I allowed for 3 hours to make two apple pies and start my mashed potatoes (which would have to be finished at my friend Alice’s house as I had no pot big enough to boil them in, nor do I have hand mixer which I like to use).  Three hours should be enough time to get everything done, but I really cut it close yesterday!  I was short on time and decided that I would only make one pie from scratch and the other one would just have to be from a can.  Once all the baking was underway, I began peeling and cutting potatoes as quickly as possible without slicing off my fingers which I always afraid of.  Once the pies were done, I threw the peeled and cut potatoes into a large Ziploc bag with steaming hot water so that they would start the soaking process as we walked to Alice’s house.  I threw on some clothes other than the ones covered in apple and potato peelings and we set off for Alice’s. 

Alice is always a bright spot in my day, so it was fun to get to finish cooking with her.  It was a bit chaotic as we were both doing our own thing but nevertheless, it was fun!  Once we finished cooking, me, Ben, and Alice headed over to Collin and Candice’s (who are thankfully back from the states after four long weeks!) where we were celebrating Thanksgiving.  I think there was a total of 15 adults + one child gathered around their table…it was amazing!!  The food looked incredible and tasted even better!  It was a night filled with laughter and joy and LOTS of thanksgiving due to Collin’s request that everyone share what they are thankful for in one or two words.  Mine was easy, I was thankful for community.  After a year of praying for that exact thing I could not go be more thankful for anything else.  Our new friends here have made all the difference in the world in our transition over the last two months.  My coffee and reading dates with Nicki, boot shopping with Alice, catching up on Fridays with the girls, Sunday lunches at Savino’s with the Breakspears (man that hot croissant I had last week was A-mazing!), REAL fajitas and HP with the Appels, walks with Sarah and Candice, swapping clothes, vacuums, and kitchen gadgets with Katie (ok mostly it is me doing the borrowing), and so many more experiences have made our time here so wonderful.  Thank you to all our friends who have made us feel so welcome not only to Cambridge, but in your lives.  We have felt so blessed the last two months!

All of you who are not into sharing your emotions can breathe a sign of relief, I am done with the sappy stuff for now.  For being in a different country we had quite the American Thanksgiving.  Collin and Candice did great on the turkey…so delicious!  We had amazing candied yams (which I think Ben was pretty excited about!), fresh-baked bread, homemade stuffing, corn, of course my mashed potatoes, two awesome salads, and so much more!  I don’t think anyone could move afterwards but it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if your pants still fit by the end of the night.  Thankfully no one had to unbutton their pants…or at least not that I know of! 

We chatted and let all the food settle a bit before we brought out dessert.  There was pumpkin pie…smuggled into the UK by two crazy rebels!  And of course my apple pie.  I just started eating pie about five years ago but I have to tell you, I love this recipe.  It is my favorite.  My best friend’s mom gave me the recipe in a cookbook she made for me for my wedding and I have been using it ever since.  This is always the recipe I use when cooking for others as it never fails.  Until last night.  I still don’t know what happened.  Clearly something in the ingredients here just didn’t mesh the same way, because when I cut into the pie, all I saw was liquid.  Yes, my apple pie that is supposed to be gooey, was basically an apple soup.  Gooey, not liquid!  Naturally this was my first time cooking for the group so yet again, I made a great first cooking impression!  Me and cooking here is just not going so hot.  Anyhow, of course everyone was wonderful about it and ate it anyway, but I can say it since I made it, it looked nasty.  The flavor was ok, except when you would get a taste of vinegar that apparently didn’t cook out look normal.  Nothing like a spoon full of vinegar flavored apples for dessert!  Thankfully the pumpkin pie was a hit and we got to end on a high note!

So overall Thanksgiving was wonderful here.  We had great food and wonderful conversation.  We laughed…and one person even cried…or shall I say glistened?!  I am excited to celebrate a second Thanksgiving tonight at the Tyndale House where Ben studies.  You better believe I am bringing something…apple pie from a can my friends.  We are hoping to not have repeat of last night…but who knows how the night will unfold?!


Grocery Store Blues

I love being here. Cambridge has been an amazing place to live and I have loved so much about it. Nevertheless, I still miss things from home. Aside from my withdrawals of Chick-Fil-A and sweet tea, it hasn’t been too bad…but there are days when cravings come upon me and I think to myself, “Is this what it will be like when I am pregnant?!” There are random things I miss from home but today more than anything else, I miss American grocery stores.

I miss Wal-Mart with all its guaranteed low prices and smiling elderly population at the door. I miss Albertson’s with all their neat and tidy aisles and perfectly shined produce (though I cringe at the thought of some grocer putting each apple up to his mouth, blowing hot air on it and shining it on his shirt…you don’t think that happens do you?!). I miss Costco and all their bulky glory! Who doesn’t love 72 ounces of chocolate chips, 4 dozen eggs, and two packs to ten packs of everything from peanut butter to toilet paper. It is aisle after aisle of fun. I am smiling just thinking about it! The thing about American grocery stores that you miss most though, above all else, is simply options.

The closest grocery store to my house is Sainsbury’s which is about a quarter to a half mile away. This place is fine if I am in a fix and need something quick, but I hate shopping there. First of all, it is the main grocery store that all the students use…so it is packed. All. The. Time. Half the time you go there it looks as though a tornado has hit it as all the shelves are missing half their items, and what is left has often been smashed, dropped, or relocated. Then, if you are lucky to find what you are looking for (which happens about 70% of the time) you have to wait in these chaotic lines. Once you make it to the front, you feel the pressure and the glares from those behind you to get it paid for as quickly as possible. Now, I am not one to dawdle anyway, but here I feel like a madwoman rushing to get my cash out before it is my turn. I quickly snap off my gloves, estimate as closely as possible to avoid looking through my purse for more money and have it ready to go when the clerk tells me the final cost. Then in one fell swoop, I grab my bag of groceries, my change, my receipt, my gloves and we are off. Once out the door I typically have to set everything down and put my change in my purse, stuff the receipt into some crevice of my wallet, put my gloves back on and then grab my bags to go. This makes me sweat just thinking about it. All this to say, I have resorted to online shopping.

Tesco is a quasi-Wal-Mart, or the closest thing to it in my opinion. We also have a store called ASDA that is very similar but I have become a Tesco fan. The unfortunate part is that Tesco is way too far to walk to and carry groceries back (the chance of rain makes this very disagreeable). So I order online as most people seem to do here. There is a delivery charge but it is absolutely worth it. I order about once every week and a half which is quite often but I can’t stock up too much as I have no freezer and my refrigerator is only a dorm size fridge. This is not an exaggeration.

In the beginning, it was extremely hard to shop online here as I had no idea what to get. Slowly but surely I am catching on. I have two basic frustrations about shopping though. First off, the size or quantity of an item is far smaller here…without much difference in price. Secondly, the options are not even close to comparable of that in the states. Typically, a single item will have the name brand option and if you are lucky they will have an off brand option…and if you are really, really, lucky then there may be a third option. This week I tried to buy a pie shell for Thanksgiving. I knew this could be difficult, but was hopeful when I found something called a sweet pastry case (which looked just like a baked pie crust). I could work with this! Then the order came. If Tesco doesn’t have the item you requested they substitute it for the closest thing possible. So guess what I got? Flaked pudding rice. Huh. Flaked pudding rice, baked pastry case…not sure what the similarities are there but ok. Thankfully my friend Stacie saved me as she found me an unbaked pie shell…at the American military base (yay for friends)!

One really great thing about shopping online though, is that I purchase far less junk food. I used to grab cookies, ice-cream, cake mixes, and baked goods because I walked by them and instantly craved them. Now I don’t see them and therefore don’t purchase them as much! Yay for our waistlines! We still buy a few sweet treats, but each purchase is more intentional and thought out. The impulse buys have decreased which makes Ben (the money watcher in the family) very happy!

Though I am happy we aren’t spending needlessly on these items, there is something about getting to wander from aisle to calm aisle just gazing at all the glorious options. So as you all head out to the grocery store this week to buy everything for your Thanksgiving Day meal, smile and relish the seemingly unlimited options.


Idle Thoughts of the Unemployed

It is 12:51 and here I sit in my cozy pajama pants, Oklahoma sweatshirt and a yogurt and granola cup in my hand.  It wasn’t that long ago that I would angrily hit my alarm button and stumble to the shower where I would begin getting ready for another day at work.  It wasn’t that I hated my job, I quite enjoyed it most of the time.  It was more that I wanted free time to do as I wished.  I wanted a day where I could get up when I pleased and do well, whatever I wanted!   I could make cinnamon toast and cuddle in a blanket on the couch and waste the day reading to my heart’s content.  Or, I could get up and go for a run, scratch that, I could go for a walk…and meet friends at Starbucks where we could chat and laugh and just enjoy the blessings of friendship!  It was on these morning where I would long for the blessedness of not having a routine.  I counted down the days to England knowing that I would savor every relaxing and unplanned hour. 

I savored the unplanned hours, for about two weeks. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration as there are plenty of days that I still enjoy how flexible my days are, but there are more days now where I feel a tinge of anxiety at the thought of all that I could do in a day but not knowing where to begin.  I could study french or italian so when we travel I actually know how to converse, or I could look into cooking classes as it is one of my goals to improve my cooking while living here, or I could exercise since Ben bought us these new work out videos, or I could go out for hot chocolate with friends, or I could look for a job (this is really the most practical as it would solve the dilemma of this blog post) .  The list goes on and on.  Despite all the choices in activities I find myself doing nothing, overwhelmed by the options and gripped with anxiety about the thought of wasting my precious days here.  How is it that when you have a job you dream of the freedom of not having one, and when you don’t have a job you long for the structure of one? 

I have been applying for jobs and interviewed for a few that I thought for sure were perfect for me (which apparently I was the only one in the interview that thought I was perfect for it!), but nothing has turned up yet.  I am actually not too discouraged as I’ve only been looking for about a month, but still, the need for structure and something to get me out of bed before ten beckons to me.  I know that times like this are rare in life, when you don’t have a job or kids and so I do want to savor it.  I want to enjoy this time for all its worth.  So while I already read a bit this morning from my Bible and the novel I am currently reading, I have the afternoon to make my own.  I think I will exercise (as that is the quickest course to get me out of my pjs) and then I will apply for a few jobs we found on the University’s website.  Then I will book a cooking class!  Hmm, bread making, italian cooking, or pastries? 

I need a job, not only because we need money (as that is the primary reason I need one asap) but because I need something to do.  I need interaction.  I have never been an extremely ambitious woman and don’t really care to climb any sort of career ladder, but I do need a job.  I want something I can put my heart into and at the end of the day have something more to talk about with Ben than what flavor of yogurt I picked that morning.  Vanilla this morning.  Maybe I will be crazy and go for mixed berry tomorrow.