Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So Long Snohomish!

Two large duffel bags, two backpacks, two front packs, two personal items, and one rolling suitcase.  It's weird to see your life packed up in 9 bags. Our once jammed room feels empty, and all that we own sits downstairs in the dining room. I feel surprisingly peaceful with bouts of overwhelmed and excited. I feel similarly to when I got married, planning for months and then realizing that there is nothing left to do but jump. Here is our plan of action for our departure day, Saturday, September 3rd and Sunday, September 4th:

2:00 PM: Arrive at Sea-Tac Airport with our families
4:30 PM: Depart on an Icelandair flight for Reykjavik, Iceland.
10:45 PM: Arrive in Iceland, 6:45 AM local time on Sunday
8:00 AM: Depart for Glasgow, Scotland
1:40 PM: Arrive in Glasgow, collect our 9 bags of luggage and go through customs
3:00 PM: Board the train to Leuchers, Scotland
6:00 PM: Arrive in Leuchers and get a taxi to St Andrews
6:30 PM: Arrive at our new home in St Andrews

Total travel time: Ideally 16 hours, 15 minutes

That just exhausted me. I am sure we will go straight to bed upon arriving in St Andrews! I find it appropriate to wrap up our last blog from Snohomish with some photos of the wonderful people we're leaving behind. The amount of love we have felt from them is amazing, and we are excited to see them on Skype!

 Thanks for reading and please pray for safe travels!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flying Underwear and Tiny Rooms

I've been waking up several times a night with vivid visions of myself carrying two backpacks, wheeling a 50 lb suitcase and struggling to walk through airports, train stations, and bus depots. I even imagine myself falling dramatically with underwear flying everywhere. I expressed my concern about moving all of my belongings across the world and Garrick responded typically, "It will be fine." In some ways, I am happy this is my biggest concern. I haven't even begun to worry about being isolated, anxious, or even lost in a new place. (I think it's pretty hard to get lost in St Andrews, considering it's smaller than my hometown of Snohomish.) Lately, I can't really see past September 3rd, driving to SeaTac with our heavy luggage in the trunk.

Missing my family and friends is a given. This week, however, I've been surprisingly sad over something else: our room. After college Garrick and I moved out of our tiny, mold-infested apartment into an even tinier room in the basement of the church parsonage. Somehow, we managed to squeeze hundreds of books, a chair, a bed, a dresser, and two grown adults into this room. Recently, we moved in with Garrick's family. Again, we made one room our home. This room is across the 3 foot landing from his mom and step dad and right next door to his college aged brother. I've complained quite a bit about our living situation over the past year: "I want my own house. I want my own stuff."

Life is simple in one room. It's easily cleaned. It's contained. I will fondly remember our room. Would I live in one room again? Not a chance! But I can say without hesitation that our little room has had a large influence on my life. I learned that life is not about possessions. Because if it is, I am failing miserably. I also learned how to shower quickly, shut doors quietly, and wash my dishes right after I cook. And most importantly, I know I can live in a 14 X 16 box. My friends and family often worry that Garrick and I won't be used to such small living quarters in Scotland. But in two weeks, I'll walk up to our little flat on Langlands Road and it won't feel so little.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Travel Pro

I like to act like I’m a traveling big-shot. I’m confident that I’m no Anthony Bourdain, but I view myself as a less nerdy version of Rick Steves. I have been to Europe twice, you know. The first time I backpacked through the Old World I jumped a plane a week after high school graduation and in six weeks visited England, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Czech Republic. I stayed in hostels, rode trains and practiced my French. Despite my American confidence and supposed travelling acumen, I also cried at a pay phone at the Gare de l’Est in Paris, got scammed $100 on a cup and ball street game in Stockholm and lost my travel partner in Geneva. I was determined to learn from my youthful errors and conquer Europe the next time around, hopefully without crying in a public place.
My next opportunity for adventure came at my honeymoon. I convinced my anxious and, honestly, sheltered bride to go on a trans-Atlantic dream trip with me. “It will be easy,” I said. “I’ve already been to all the places we’re going to go.” We saw lots of London, visited family in St. Ives and lay on the beautiful Basque beaches in France. Once again, despite my familiarity with our destinations, I managed to blow it like Michael Scott in a staff meeting. I ordered sardine pizza, got stuck in the hotel bathtub and, much to Andrea’s chagrin, did not know how to translate ibuprofen en Fran├žais.
This time, I’m not too worried about having a “perfect” trip. I’ve wanted to live in a different country since high school and I thought about it every time I turned onto HWY 9 south heading home after baseball practice. After I convinced Andrea to join me at St. Andrews, I thought the trip would be a breeze and that preparing for it would be even easier. But as the day approaches, I feel more and more like I reluctantly signed up for a sky diving lesson. I know that even if I jump, I’ll land safely, but the hardest moment isn’t the choice to sign up for sky diving in the first place, but the choice to jump. I know I’m going to jump; I am anxious to see how I respond to the wind in my face.      

Friday, August 5, 2011

Anxiety, Goodbyes, and "Garrick, can I PLEASE bring this?"

It's Friday morning, August 5th, 2011, exactly 29 days until we board an Icelandic Airline flight and fly to our next adventure. I have 4 days of work left, Garrick has about a week.  We know it will be windy, breathtakingly beautiful, older than anything we've seen, and green, green, green. Garrick knows he is trading sleep for late nights, MLB 2K11 for textbooks, and baseball for cricket. I know I am trading comfort for new experiences, one bedroom for my own flat, and my Honda Accord for a bicycle. It's accurate to assume then, that we know little of what we are about to embark on. One thing is certain: we're excited!

About two years ago, Garrick applied to the University of St Andrews for the first time and got accepted our senior year of college. We weren't ready financially or mentally, so he deferred his acceptance until 2011. For the last year we have saved, planned, fought, cycled, laughed, sold all our belongings, and finally are prepared to move across the world. In order to move to the UK, all funding for the next year needs accounted for, we need visas, and we need a place to live. All three of these requirements are now complete. It's funny, actually that after spending hours on our visa applications, they simply placed a little sticker onto one of the pages in our passports. I was actually disappointed. On a happy note, a perk of moving to a place where the pound is worth almost double the American dollar is that I've convinced my thrifty husband that all shopping must be done before we leave. That said, I have expanded my wardrobe little by little over that past few months, all with Garrick's approval. :)

In closing, the next 4 weeks will be spent hugging our nephews, conversing with our families, and taking in all the people that we love. I sat and listened to my Grandpa play "The Old Rugged Cross" on the piano last night and felt thankful. Thankful for such wonderful gift he and my grandma are to me. The cliche saying becomes more and more true, "You don't know what you have until you lose it." Garrick and I are grateful for the relationships that we've had over the past few years with those at Life Community Church, Bruner Orthodontics, and Bellevue Baseball Club. To our friends and families, thank you for your initial surprise and now support of our move. Anyone and everyone has a free place to stay in St Andrews, Scotland, just remember your jacket!