Milestones #1

I struggle to figure out what to write on this blog. Working at a church means that I am very restricted in what I can share online (or at all). I will have to check the church’s archives of permission forms to see whether I can post photos of the kids I work with. Many of the things that I navigate every day have to do with church politics, which I know plenty about from home and definitely know I can’t share online.

Even so, you’d think I’d be able to blog about “big events” that occur or reflections on my experiences. There haven’t been many “big events” so far, at least not ones that can hold their own as individual blog posts, and things that I’ve reflected on in my personal writing and journaling feel too unrefined and personal to share with the internet at this point. So this blog has been largely silent.

So what I’m going to do for today is share some milestones that I’ve passed so far (some of this content will be reused and recycled from my latest newsletter #sustainability).

August 22, 2019

  • Unpacked my two suitcases and backpack
  • Looked through my flat’s kitchen cupboards (all except the one that I was warned not to open because the door would come off and hit me in the head)
  • Figured out which keys open which doors and gates
  • Used my converter to plug in my phone
  • Slept for 13 hours

Later in the first two weeks

  • Learned how to read the symbols on the oven and washing machine (they’re not the same!)
  • Figured out which grocery stores are cheaper but still have good quality
  • Figured out which grocery stores are so fancy that they don’t carry cream cheese
  • Learned that if you put money on your bus pass (Oyster card) but don’t use it in the next three days or so, it takes the money back off
  • Went out for drinks with some gals from the church who are in their 20s and involved in youth group stuff (Freddie, Frances, and Liv)

September 12-15, 2019 

  • Bought a moka pot from the grocery store and made my first cup of coffee, finally getting to use the coffee grounds they’d given us at Churchwide Assembly before I left the States but after I’d left home
  • Someone from the choir showed up at my house with an electric keyboard that I get to borrow for the year. I get to play piano to de-stress now.

September 25-30, 2019

My power converter + laptop charger combo started making the WORST NOISE so I navigated an Argos for the first time. This was very foreign to me: you walk in, place your order on a standalone iPad-type situation, get in line, pay at the counter, get in line again, and wait for them to bring your order out from the warehouse in the back.

Early October 2019

  • Realized that I would be miserable this autumn without an umbrella
  • Investigated the mysterious forbidden cupboard in my kitchen, half hoping there was a microwave inside. Found a large empty sugar canister and a small teapot. The door did not hit me in the face but there were a couple of close calls. No microwave.
  • Attended a poetry open-mic night which was extremely fulfilling and suuuuper good for my soul

Mid-October 2019

  • Cried in a department store because I hadn’t been to a department store since I got here and it reminded me of home. Especially the Disney merchandise.
  • My app told me to take the 12 bus and I said “uh, no thanks, that’s not as good as the 63” and took the 63 instead. Didn’t get lost.
  • Burst into tears and very dramatically fell on the floor at home when I found out that PLU’s basing their whole Christmas concert on my favorite choral piece and I don’t get to attend

Late October 2019

  • Went up into London for some sightseeing, met up with Kait from PLU, got bubble tea which I’d been craving for two months
  • Went up into London a different time with Nicki from my cohort to get Taco Bell for the first time since getting here. It’s similar enough to American Taco Bell for it to be really good comfort food, even if they don’t have Baja Blast here (I just found out that Mtn Dew is illegal here).
  • Had our first YAGM-only retreat where I actually processed some things that I’d been metaphorically carrying around with me for two months.
  • Bought a USB wall plug for my phone cord so I don’t have to carry around my converter everywhere just to charge my phone.

Beginning of November 2019

  • It’s cold. I started wearing a long puffy coat and a hat and gloves every time I leave the house. Midwest friends, don’t @ me. I’m always cold.
  • Finally settled on a couple of favorite coffee shops and I know which coffee shops to go to for different needs (one near the church to work in, one near my flat to work in, one that’s open later than the others, one that has bigger drinks).
  • The baristas at my two favorite shops recognize me.
  • Attended the second monthly poetry open-mic; people recognize me even though I haven’t had the guts to actually read any poetry at one yet. Maybe next month.