Why I Need to Pinch Myself


Four days ago I said goodbye to Minnesota and all I hold dear (namely my dog Audrey) and stepped on a plan headed to Bristol, England. With one purple suitcase bulging at the seams and my boyfriend’s backpack carefully packed with reading material around my shoulders, there was nothing else I could do but leave.  And fly away I did.

Of course, Audrey isn’t the only one I love across the Atlantic. As the second oldest of nine children (yep, all natural), the aunt of a beautiful one month old baby niece, the girlfriend of a stubborn boyfriend, and a friend to a few wonderful girls, wandering away for a year was no easy decision. But God called me to Bristol and to Bristol I went!

Fortunately, I do have a purpose for being in a city so new and even strange to me. For more than a year now I’ve been plotting this escape to England to study my masters in English literature at where else than the gorgeous and Idon’tknowhowIgotin Bristol University. With the chance to study my masters in an historic city among rolling green hills and cobblestone paths, how could I go anywhere else? I simply couldn’t.

You might want to know that actually getting to Bristol was not so simple. Up until only a couple of months ago, this dream of mine seemed it would remain just that. God kept his promise, though.

Just this yearBristol formed a relationship with the U.S.. Department of Education, which meant I could receive federal loans after all. Going into further student debt had been something I tried to avoid. My older sister Maria and I once discussed that I might be “a scholar by the week, scoundrel by the weekend!” to bring in some sort of scandalous income, but after further thoughts, a year at Bristol seemed worth the loans and interest. And I have tingles under my skin and dimples on my cheeks telling me it is.

I hesitated over the idea of blogging about this experience. I’m an introvert and a fairly private person about most things. And being accustomed to sharing my clothes, my room, my toys, my books, etc. for  my entire life (with eight siblings it’s inevitable, you know), I didn’t want to share Bristol. On the plane ride over I had the delicious impulse to keep this year all to myself; to keep this experience  a delicious secret that only I knew.  Despite having a major in communications and minor in English writing, however, when it comes to filling out my journal, I am the worst. I have the best intentions and have a collection of the prettiest journals, but most of them are three quarters empty at best. So! In an effort to really record my experiences, I thought a blog would force me into accountability. This blog will be a journal of sorts to me, but it’ll be primarily focused on the wonder and beauty of Bristol.

Now without further ado, I want to tell you my five favorite moments thus far:

#1 Discovering that my rich neighbors (there’s always a Hummer and BMW parked inside their stone fence) have two Scottish Terriers.  Don’t worry, Audrey, they’re not nearly as cute as you!

#2 Manor Hall’s fall play this year is Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” which happens to be one of my favorite books. Crossing my fingers I might snag a part.

#3 Lost on my way to the International Student Centre, I asked a random dude for help. We started talking a bit and when he learned I was from Minnesota, asked if I knew John Piper. Long story short, I’ve found a church in Bristol.

#4 BBC Bristol is the largest BBC headquarters outside of London and it’s just down the road. Cheers to internship opportunities!

#5 On my way to an orientation lecture for new MA students today a little lady was standing on Woodhaven Road passing out powdered doughnuts and coffee.  How could this not make someone’s day?

Cheers,

Em

“If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”

-Psalm 139: 9-10


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