We go to Devon

There’s many things I’d like to write about–experiencing the Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral underneath the golden domes, laughing till I cried at “The 39 Steps” on West End (surely laughter can cure all), stealing away with Madison and Genevieve to explore Exeter–but writing, like any passion, takes time and commitment, and lately, I haven’t had much of either. With classes starting up on Monday, intimidating new reading lists, phone calls to make,  and a string of golden day trips to introduce my friend, Maddy, to England, hours slip out of grasp and I begin feeling uprooted from Bristol and far from home.

Perhaps that is why I was struck deeply by the view of Plymouth’s Sound tonight. Maddy and I left Bristol bright and early to spend the weekend along England’s coastline in Devon, and after checking into our room, we didn’t feel like doing much of anything. But we decided to stroll down to The Hoe. We didn’t speak at all as we drank in the view. The beauty of England was in full glory as the sun slowly fell into the sea and the vivid green hills turned dark. The clouds stretched over the water and hills, ever morphing into intangible outlines.  If a view can be sublime, this certainly was.

We walked closer to the shoreline, rain soaking our hair and dripping down our skin, till we walked into a little restaurant not even a stone throw from the water. After a glass of wine and pint of cider, we began to feel warm and turned our attention again to the view. After hearing mixed reviews of Plymouth from my British friends, I stepped off the train with lowered expectations, but the view of the water, rocky cliffs, and rising green hills, quickly changed this city into the most beautiful place in England. At least for me. I felt as if I’d suddenly fallen down a rabbit hole of some sort. Could this be so close to Bristol and yet feel so utterly removed? The night didn’t need to get better, but it did. Maddy and I visited with a friendly ‘Plymouthian’ woman who insisted who go out on the town tomorrow, ‘You pair go out and have a right laugh down at The Barbican.’ I needed to pinch myself when she left the restaurant and her Scottish boyfriend walked over to say goodbye to us and said, ‘I love the sea and I love her very much.’

It made me miss Brady more than words, but at that moment, I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Exploring Cornwall in the morning.

More soon,

E.

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Back in Bristol

After over twenty hours of travel time (Minneapolis-Newark-Brussels-BRISTOL!) and zero winks of sleep, I’m back in the lands of pounds and pence, rolling green hills, driving on the wrong side of the road, battered sausages and endless walking. I’m home in Bristol feeling slightly exhausted and lightheaded, but nestled safely in Clifton  nonetheless.

The journey back easily counts as one of the most interesting. Brady, needing to get his Subaru repainted after it was egged by bored fifteen-year-olds, had me follow him to the body shop in his roommate’s car. I followed him to the shop in Bloomington, and I hopped into the passenger seat and he took over the wheel. So far so good. We were on our merry way when less than a mile from the airport, Roller’s car began stalling.

“Brady! What’s wrong?” I was flying Lufthansa for the first time and needed some extra time at the airport.

“We’re out of gas.”

Fortunately, God allowed us to be right next to the Radission  Hotel, and just as we walked into the lobby, an airport shuttle was approaching. Needless to say, it was the most romantic send-off of my young life (do you catch my use of irony?).

Best bit of being home::this guy

Though I felt ready to return to Bristol and into the usual rhythm of my life here, leaving home is never easy. Especially when a girl has a little Scottie named Audrey and a handsome boyfriend who cooks her dinner and organizes her suitcase. I’m very thankful I was able to spend almost a month in Minnesota, and even though it wasn’t a white Christmas (there’s a first time for everything), I loved being home around the tree with Maria, Luke, Joey, Gina, Drewby, Jackson, Nani, Gigi and baby Sophie all the same.

Big Joe asleep with the little girls

A scattered and incomplete list of highlights from being home include: making gingerbread houses with my girls (“Hope, why does yours look like a cardboard box?”), squeezing in a few dates with Mr. Johnson, TJMAXX (need I say more?  Yes, I did have my share of Becky Bloomwood moments), the luxury of driving on the rightside of the road and not walking absolutely everywhere, long walks with Audrey around Fargo and Minneapolis (goodness, I miss that one), Moxie Java coffee compliments of my girl Amee, conversations with Bridgette and Natalie (‘Emwee, what you do-do?’), study dates at the cosy Hilton (thank you, Momo), the Johnson residence, and Ikea; baking in a proper kitchen (with ingredients already stocked!), a New Year’s Eve kiss…I’m very grateful.

And now, to excite myself about returning to Bristol, a list of reasons why it’s good to be ‘home:’

-Cream Tea (this alone actually does it!)

-Bright green grass to mess up my new Puma running shoes

-My sweet fellow MA friends

-Returning to my favorite coffee shops

-A new term with new classes and new reading lists

-Ralph Pite (my Johnny Depp-esque professor for Victorian fiction)

-Chips and cider

-Upcoming trips around the UK and Europe with Maddy, Jess, Brady, Lisi Bumba and Maria

-My baby French press missed me.

-Cabot Circus (even if it’s just to window shop)

-Beginning a new year in a different country

-Handing in the essays which consumed most of my time at home!

And now to hibernate like a baby polar bear (at least until eight am when I must get to the library or die!).

Cheers,

EM

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