Random Daze in February

Wednesday 3.2.10

It’s snowing! I was so excited to see the flakes outside my window I ran down the hall and knocked on all my flat mates’ doors, “It’s snowing!” I wonder if they’re getting used to me yet. Like I discovered the first week I was here, abundant snowfall is not, contrary to the images of snow-covered English cottages in our heads, all that common during the winter months. Not to say they don’t have a long winter – it is usually marked by rain or “sludge”.

I am currently putting off reading Pope, Milton, and A.G. Dickens for my literature classes… You would think it would interesting enough to me to be reading these great authors of 18.C England, but I would rather be roaming around the open fields and secret gardens looking for ancient statues and hidden passageways. Ahh…life! The library itself boasts almost more history and artifacts for me to sink my teeth into than the literature on the pages of its books.

I should presently be starting my volunteer work with Kidz Klub Leeds, a ministry to inner city children in Leeds, UK. I heard about it through a presentation at a church I started going to. Immediately I knew I wanted to be involved. This past year I have been seeking for ways to serve in other countries, mostly for the experience and to travel, I will admit. But I know that God can use me to serve anywhere if I am willing. I have not been directly involved in ministry work like this before, yet I decided to take the opportunity as it was presented to me.

Last Saturday I had such a blast with the children! It was a remarkable experience to see God’s love displayed in children’s terms, and to see them worship and praise Him as they learned about His love for them. I was impressed with the young leaders’ passion to see God’s love made known to the younger generations. Most of workers for Kidz Klub are volunteers. It is a sacrifice, but one worth making to see God’s kingdom grow as these kids come to know Him. I already know that I will be receiving more back from them in terms of joy and satisfaction than I will be putting in.

While I get all the paperwork processed so I can join the team, and continuing my seemingly futile part-time job search in the city. Maybe God knew I needed to get my UK work Visa for this one thing: to serve in Kidz Klub. I am still trusting that He will provide me a job soon, because I cannot support myself here much longer without one. I sometimes think, “Why would God care about my situation, if I am well off enough to be studying at a university in England, but just foolish enough to move to a country without enough money for the entire term?” Well, I have taken many chances before with the Lord’s go-ahead, and He has always come through for me, usually at the last minute.

However, I am being a fool if I think I can bargain with God. For instance, saying, “Look at this work I’m doing for You, Lord.”  He doesn’t work that way. I wonder if He laughs at my foolishness sometimes!  I know that Jesus said to have “child-like faith”. Well, I feel pretty childish now.

I was filling out paperwork for Kidz Klub today and they needed my addresses of residence for the last 5 years. I realized that I have lived in at least nine different residences in that time, (the ones I lived more than one month each) since I left home at 17! The longest I’ve lived in one place was my last apartment in Columbia, and that’s because I loved my roommate and our landlords kept letting us go month-to-month after our year’s lease was up. If I had continued on the professional dancing career, I would have moved more times than that! Crazy.

One last random thing that happened today that made it a good day… I went to take a contemporary dance class at the university. I had to bite my tongue while I sat waiting for the room amongst the other girls. No one had any idea I have danced professionally, and I wasn’t going to tell them. I was certain I had more experience than the girl who was to teach the class. Funny – because I’m sure I would have enjoyed her class regardless, just getting to move is a pleasure to me now. But she had an emergency call and had to leave before class started. So I offered to teach. Why not? I am qualified to teach ballet and Pilates. I did not want to teach a dance class, especially ballet to college students, so I offered to teach a Pilates mat class – and I did, and everyone enjoyed it. I didn’t get paid or anything, but it gave me back the confidence that I am more than qualified to be teaching, and perhaps I should be teaching dance or Pilates now rather than looking for some café or pub to work in. And why am I getting an English degree if I don’t want to be an English teacher? I told myself it was because I didn’t want to be stuck teaching dance and being bitter all my life if I couldn’t perform it. Well, when it comes down to it, I will most likely be teaching SOMETHING to make a living, so I just as well teach something I enjoy…

Comments? Job offers, anyone?

Winter in Leeds…

Today marks my one week living in Leeds, England. The “harsh winter weather” lasted only the first 4 days I was here. It snowed lightly and the temperatures dropped to below freezing, but this is no Boston, that’s for sure! The ice on the streets was the worst part – I literally ice skated down the road from my flat, and then there was another couple hundred meter stretch of ice skating rink until you hit the main road which was covered in black slush, or “sludge” as they call it here. We wanted to go sledding down the hills nearby,  called “sludging”, appropriately, for when the ices melts into sludge.

Well, the weather warmed up a bit, and immediately I saw less winter clothing. A local post man has been wearing only shorts and a short-sleeve shirt all this winter, with thick socks and boots, of course. I saw him one day and commented on ‘how you must be cold’ to which he laughed and replied in his thick accent, “wore dem straight through since summer!” I knew at that point I was just egging on his mantra. Trying to get a feel for the fashion in England, I have been surprised by the number of girls in this town I have seen wearing tights and short skirts or nothing at all except long sweaters. From the back it looks like they’re wearing nothing under their coats other than boots.

I am doing consequently exactly what the British love to do – talk about the weather. They’re even proud of the fact that they talk about the weather so much. “We’re on an island, you see, so we get all sorts of weather.” Yes, but usually not any drastic changes. Their snow is like soft Nutcracker suite glitter, and their rain like faint April mist. I wondered how the British could walk everywhere in such wet weather. Now I understand. It’s like an ever present wetness in the air, not heavy American Midwest humidity, more like wafting sea mist. This is a bit of an overstatement; I don’t know how to describe the difference in the humidity better here than to show pictures of what it does to my hair. Stick straight in New Mexico, my hair was a frizz by time I got out of the taxi in Leeds. Here are some pictures inside my apartment after a brief walk outside to drop off a CV.

Also, some pictures from my 7th floor flat of the surrounding city and the snow while it was there. Now I wake up to thick fog every morning, and sometimes rainbows when it begins to clear.