So. We are in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The few days leading up to our travel date were a blur. In fact, the travel itself was a blur. During the 9-hour flight to London, we slept for 3-4 hours thanks to Ambien, then didn’t sleep again until we had gotten to our flat, traipsed a mile and a half uphill to a Morrison’s grocery-type store to buy some bedding and towels, and talked to our parents on Skype. We were completely exhausted. Before we went to sleep that first night was the first of many times last week that we bawled our eyes out in despair. Welcome to the world of jet lag.
Okay, so it wasn’t just jet lag–it was a horrific combination of jet lag, culture shock and pure terror at our situation. It hit us as soon as our flat got quiet that first night–WHAT IN THE HECK ARE WE DOING HERE!? We are so far from home. We don’t know a soul. This is such a mistake. We just want to go home.
We slept for 14 hours that Saturday night and 12 hours the next. I wish I could say that after a good night’s rest all our fears subsided, but that would be far from the truth. On our second full day in Aberdeen, I projectile-vomited my breakfast while trying to run to the bathroom. Logan and I were both so tired for the following 6 days that even getting up to get a glass of water took major effort. That’s also due to the fact that we could hardly eat anything because we both had an enormous ball of anxiety in the pits of our stomachs. It was kind of like having the flu without the fever–just the most intense anxiety and homesickeness I’ve ever felt. I should probably write a whole blog post entitled “An Ode to Saltine Crackers” because of the numerous times they have saved my life when I couldn’t eat anything else.
Luckily, I have a husband who has a lot of experience in dealing with anxiety, and he was able to assure me that what we were feeling were the normal symptoms. Actually, I’m just lucky to have Logan, period. The past week has been the hardest that we’ve exerienced together as a married couple, and it’s been good for us. I don’t want to get all sappy, but we’ve both had to learn that we are each other’s “home.” No matter how much I miss enchiladas, Hastings and elbow room in supermarkets, I have Logan and that is more than enough. I also have How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family, which are added bonuses that have kept us both sane.
We still want to go home to Texas. We still wake up every morning and go to bed every night with a little emptiness inside. But, it’s only been 9 days. Before we left the U.S., we looked to this move as a great big exciting adventure that would leave us breathless and cultured and sophisticated. As soon as we got here, reality slapped us in the face, and now we feel truly humbled. We are not the brave and adventurous travelers that we thought we were–instead, we have realized that we are…(gulp)…homebodies. Our families (and friends) are loving and warm and kind, so adjusting without them this week has been absolutely terrifying. We miss them. A lot.
Logan’s dad put it this way: when you’re in the middle of an adventure, it’s scary and gut-wrenching and even unenjoyable. It’s only when you look back on it and tell the story that you realize what an adventure it was. We are hoping that this past week has been our initiation into being official adventurers. We’ve paid our dues in tears, growling stomachs and aching leg muscles (from walking freaking everywhere), so I think the worst is over. At least jet lag is over. Funny story, though: I always thought jet lag was just being able to go to sleep at the new location’s bedtime, so as long as we stayed up til 10 pm Aberdeen time before going to bed, we would be over jet lag. FALSE! We’ve been waking up/going to sleep at the right times since we’ve been here, but this so-called “jet lag” which is probably code for “Satan’s mistress” is so much more. Don’t fret, dear readers: In lieu of more complaining, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves the next time you travel a long distance. You’re welcome.
But really, I don’t mean for this blog post to be depressing and full of complaints and whining. In all honesty, I wanted to communicate how we have truly been doing these past 9 days. One good thing that has come out of all this, aside from all that character building and whatnot, is that we have had to put our trust in God in a completely new way. All those sayings and Bible verses that seemed so cliche before have really helped us push through. I have never had to rely on the prayer and kindness of others this much–I mean never ever. We went to church yesterday (I’ll tell you more about that later) and were on the other side of where we had always been; I had always been the one praying for the newcomer or for the one suffering from loneliness and despair, but this time I was admitting that I was in pain and in need. After being in Aberdeen for 8 days, we just wanted someone to touch us, hug us, love on us. Maybe it sounds stupid, but it’s true. Just one week here has raised my maturity level drastically when it comes to ministry to others in need, because I have felt loneliness. No, I haven’t suffered great tragedy like some, and I’m lucky (and spoiled) to be taking part in an incredible opportunity that many do not have. I know this. But I’ve stepped out of my own personal comfort zone, and that has given me a perspective I’ve never had before.
Now that you know how The Arrival went, tomorrow I’ll be sure to write up some of our Aberdeen stories from this week. We’ve been doing 3,000% better these past few days, and things are looking up for sure. Keep us in your prayers!