#VivaLondon Update – End of September Edition
I promised I’d follow up our last post with a more uplifting one, so here it is! The last thing we’d want is to give the impression that we’re struggling or not enjoying ourselves out here in England. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there is a sense that we’re being put through a refining fire spiritually – we have nothing but joy regarding that and our overall situation here.
Anyway, I think this will be a spattering of randomness, but hopefully will get you all caught up on what’s happened thus far. Just ignore my complete inability to transition from one thought to the next…
First things first, our living situation.
As many of you know, about a week out from our flight to the UK, we lost our flat that we had almost completely secured, leaving us in search of a place to stay for the duration of our time here. While we were assured we wouldn’t be homeless, the options were looking grim. Nonetheless, by the grace of God and a series of fortunate events, we were able to secure a flat, sight unseen, in West Watford, just a ten minute walk to the town center. As we arrived (9 hours later than we’d expected), our landlord met us at the door near midnight, gave us our keys, and we stayed our first night in Watford. We couldn’t be more pleased with our flat. It’s way more space than we expected (or needed) and is being renovated while we’re here – so everyday the flat just gets better and better.
Adjusting to life in the UK
I can’t say that we’ve had a difficult time adjusting to life here. It’s been mostly really positive – anything we miss from home (i.e. FOOD) has been replaced by other things that we really like. We’ve found that our grocery bill is lower – and we get more and healthier options for our money – and our eating out budget has decreased as well. (Also, the grocery stores deliver here – where you at Wal-Mart?!) We spent more money than we’d like getting things for the home to make us feel a bit more settled, but on the whole, I think we’ll be spending a bit less to live here overall than we did in Texas. Go figure.
Yvette posted about ice bags – seriously cool. Guys, there’s ice here. Relax.
Baron has adjusted fantastically. He definitely misses his best friend Atticus – but is enjoying being around new friends Eli, Josiah, and Violet. Overall, he’s been great adjusting to us walking more and being in community with new people. We did make the mistake of getting him a cookie at the church cafe the first time we went…and now he basically requires one every time we go to the church. Oh well.
We’ve been hanging around Nathan and Meredith Jones and their family, as well as the church staff, quite a lot over the last month. It’s been such an honor and a privilege to be around this group of people – they inspire us and encourage us every day. Seriously, we can’t say enough about how awesome they all are. I’m sure there will be a ton more to share on that later.
Speaking of that staff – it’s truly amazing how much a small staff of people can accomplish in their community. We’ve been fortunate to be included in weekly staff meetings and are getting to see the behind the scenes of a deeply spiritual and thriving community. Everything about the way they serve, the way they pray, and the way they encourage is spectacular. And the rate at which we went from being outsiders to full-on involved has been stretching and incredible. They have so much going on, I’m not sure how they keep up with it all. Hopefully the little part we’ve played in helping with design elements and branding is supporting them in some way.
We bought a car!
While our intention was to use public transportation for everything, we’ve found that where we’re at, it makes sense for us to have a cheap vehicle to get us certain places – especially as it gets colder here. So we looked on Gumtree (basically Craigslist back in the States) and found a cheap/old Honda Civic that we were able to pay cash for. While insuring it was a beating, and I got a parking ticket before I could get a permit, it’s been a great addition. And even though I did get in the passenger seat yesterday as I was leaving the house – I’m really getting the hang of driving on the right side of the car and the left side of the road. I won’t lie though, I hold my breath at every roundabout. I should say though, before I forget, a special thanks has to go out to Living Church, Jeremy Enlow, and a few others for helping us with the car purchase. That was a great help and we hope to pay it forward very soon.
Made it to a Premier League match!
I know many of you won’t care about this, but because some of you do, I thought I’d mention it. I got to attend a Premier League match, Watford FC v. Swansea City, at Vicarage Road Stadium here in Watford. This is seriously one of the more amazing sporting experiences of my life. The crowds for these matches rival (and in some ways beat), though smaller, those that we have for the NFL in the States. Complete devotion to their local club – it’s incredible.
So technically we’re in London, but we’re about 30 minutes to an hour from the city center – so the sightseeing missions haven’t happened a ton yet. We did get to visit the London Eye and walk around Westminster Abbey and Parliament the first weekend we were here, and we ventured into Camdentown with Rodney and Voni Johnston while they were visiting last week. Both of those experiences were great, and we’re hoping for many more while we’re here. Keep an eye on our Instagrams and Facebooks and such for pictures of all that.
We’re having an amazing time and are so blessed by the experiences we’re having. For every roadblock we’ve hit along the way, there was someone to help and guide us through. Our whole situation here has been divinely ordained, and we’re seeing fruit in a lot of different areas. Whether we’re here for the long haul or not remains to be seen, but we are undoubtedly being inspired and equipped to do great things.
We love you all and can’t wait to see and hear from you!