Stuff has begun to happen since I last blogged, so here I am again.
I'm continually told that August is still slow because "everyone is away on holiday," but that starting in September, which is right around the corner, I will become extremely busy.
I think I'm finally getting over the jet lag, at last. My first few days didn't have anything scheduled in them, which was brilliant, because switching over to an 8 hour time difference was very whacked and lopsided at first. I meant to "stay up all night" on the flight to England, but I didn't mean to do it again; sometimes I just don't notice how the time flies at night and then - hey is the sun coming up out my window? Today (Friday) I woke up after a night of vivid dreaming and I felt awful. It was an early migraine. I hate migraines, but when I'm changing time zones, it's a good sign: it means the adjustment is finally taking place, not to mention I had what I needed to nip it in the bud, so it wouldn't (& didn't) bloom.
*sigh of relief*
On Wednesday, Sara and I had to meet a lady named Pat at 8:15 in a frequently used room of the church to set up for a funeral reception. We only needed 2 tables with 8 chairs per table, so we were done with everything in about 30 minutes. Then we came back at about ... 10:30 to oversee everyone's arrival and make sure everyone was happy. Then we cleared the remains into the kitchen, washed dishes (they have a dishwasher that only takes 10 minutes per cycle!!! WOOT!!!) and put everything else away except for a few things that'd be used the next day. As for the earlier step of overseeing the reception itself, a congregation member Sara nor I had ever seen before (and Sara had been here for a month prior to my arrival) was quite bossy with us for being a complete stranger, though we agreed that his "suggestion" (I'm being polite) of offering to wait on the more elderly people regarding hot drinks (even though the whole thing was a buffet) created a good vibe for us. I found out that I like being a semi-waitress and it comes quite naturally. Later on I'd talked to Sara about how friendly & warm everyone was; I was prepared - from my minimal research of life in England - that they'd all be much more uptight than I've discovered them to be. Sara let me know that what I'd read applies to people who live a "proper British" lifestyle, and on top of these people being more down to earth, they're also part of our Seventh-Day Adventist family. The lovely gentleman, Dennis, who picked me up from the airport made the excellent point that in the Seventh-Day Adventist church, "everywhere you go, you're family."
On Thursday, we got up at the same time to set up for the next funeral reception, which was triple the size and took much longer. But our call time to return wasn't as early so we still had a fairly good breather in between. Sara had another commitment in the afternoon, so by the time people began to arrive from the service, she had to leave, so it was mostly up to me, although Pat had introduced me to a couple who would liaise with me throughout. Again, although I had to stay on my toes, it went very well and I loved taking care of everybody, repeating answers to several people asking me the same questions, etc. When they were all finally gone, I changed out of my nice black & white stuff into jeans & a t-shirt to tackle the mountain of dirty dishes and trash. Oddly enough, I was looking forward to it, because I stick in my earphones and get lost in my thoughts and a playlist while I scrubbed the cups & saucers to kingdom come. It's actually therapeutic, though I used to hate doing dishes years ago. Think about it: you're processing your thoughts and trying to figure things out or just let stuff come to the surface, listening to a playlist of your own making and with your physical eyes you're seeing coffee & tea stains come off dishes; you get to see what your effort does, rather than wrestling with feeling pointless; a coffee smear is no match for the scrubber side of a soapy sponge wielded by a melancholy young woman. Life's mysteries can't be solved in a day, but after the 1 hour & 24 minutes of my playlist, I'd had some new epiphanies and finished all the dishes. I moved on to another playlist in my iPod to get all the chairs stacked & moved and most of the dishes put away. And then Sara got back just in time for us to tackle the tables together. At that point we called it a day! I can't remember if it was 7:00 or 7:30, but I think it was 7:30 because we were finally able to kick up our feet in the flat close to 8:00 and I realized that I'd spent approximately 10 out of the 12 hours I'd been awake on my feet.
Btw, I figure that the 3 people who said this to me would get a chuckle out of me passing it on: they were very keen on me knowing that funerals don't happen constantly in Watford. :-) I responded that I understood, life just happens this way, sometimes.
To conclude, there was a mini-crisis in that our walk-in shower decided to not drain properly (hopefully the unmentionable yuckiness I removed from it will help our dilemma) leaked into the rest of our bathroom and part of the carpet in the itty bitty hallway outside the bathroom door. Almost as soon as I was finished showering, Deanna(sp?) & Dejan were calling to stop showering if possible because the water was leaking to the floor below, which included their bedroom! I'd already quit and we got the water pushed back towards the drain. A few hours ago it stopped dripping into the hallway downstairs, which was the last holdout; it stopped leaking into D&D's room much sooner.
Tonight I went to some of a Friday night gettogether for the youth but was picked up early for my first song service practice. The practice was for something called Parallel service. Time-wise and schematic-wise it is a church service held parallel to the family service at Stanborough Park Church. It's designed for people who haven't been to church in awhile or who don't go to church often; it's more active and less traditional, but I'd say it looks like about the same amount of heart, effort & planning goes into it as into the other church service...
I'm really loving the church family here as I continue getting to know them. They're warm, sweet, funny, caring, and all of it feels incredibly genuine. They seem to be happy with me and I feel very blessed by this experience so far, since I'll confess that Saturday night - a little more than 24 hours after arriving - I broke down in tears in my bedroom because I felt so overwhelmed. But I spent time with God (it felt like a reaction of survival) and did not go to sleep still crying. Each day has been better than the one before as I make Stanborough Park Church more and more my new home.
Happy Sabbath & Goodnight.