Tomorrow I will leave Chicago (again) for a 7-week trip to Washington. While I am looking forward very much to having so much time to be with family, friends, and my French books, the constant movement of Michael's and my life is certainly wearing on me lately. Having just been gone for almost a month in Europe after a whirlwind year at UIC, this week has felt like it has happened in slow motion and also like there was never enough time. The proximity of Michael's arrival back to the States in just a few days over 3 months, paired with the amount of work that lies ahead to prepare for Master's exams next April, combined with the stresses of packing and getting all of my ducks in a row for almost 2 months away has been tiring. The variety of emotions that I am feeling is quite like the rainbow, and each one comes and goes just as quickly. This is a good year for us - for our marriage, for ourselves, and for our future - but it is a hard, and sometimes desert-like, year. Of course, we are not lacking in anything we need - love, food, and resources are abounding compared to many 20-something married couples' realities. However, emotionally and spiritually it has often been desert-like. Strangely enough, the desert usually ends up yielding abundant and beautiful life - whether through lessons or literal things that could only come with time. Well, let me correct myself = most good things come over time. But some things that for some come quickly and easily (and that are often, as a result, taken just as quickly for granted) have come slowly, but surely, for us. Time together, for example. Obviously this has been something that neither one of us has any control over, and that God has painstakingly planned out day by day. Also, independence and self-confidence for each of us has been built up and fortified this year as we have been apart. Being on either side of the ocean has forced us to become more expressive with our words, and we have both gone through very challenging and despairing moments in our own ways. So, as we near the end of this period, I am grateful for it.
Last month, we were blessed to have put away enough money this year to finally take our honeymoon - just in time for the one holiday we celebrated together so far in 2009-2010, our 1st anniversary! A fabulous trip throughout England and France was filled with rich conversations, wonderful friends, and even a wedding at a royal palace (not ours!). We met up in London, not surprisingly at the airport, and proceeded to spend our first 3 days there. During that time, we met up with (or I should say they came to US, thank you N & D!) my dear friend, Niamh, and her boyfriend, Damien, who are currently living and working in Stafford, England:
Next we headed to Lille, France, where I lived for my sophomore year of college. While we were there we visited a few of the sites and spent two great evenings with my former roommate, Claire-lise, and her boyfriend, Samuel. Wonderful food and wonderful conversation - regardless of a slight language barrier for the boys!
After a time that was much too short in Lille, we headed back to the UK to meet up with Robert & Heather Pasman, who kindly stuffed us and all of our luggage alongside theirs in their rental car out to Oxford.
The of our 1-year anniversary, we hopped back on the Eurostar and back to France - this time to Paris, where we stayed in a wonderful hotel on the Ile St. Louis. My parents met us for 3 of the 6 days we spent there, and we were blessed to only have about one and a half days of rain!
It was an amazing time together and we hope to be able to get back there sooner than later...
After Michael headed back to Iraq, I continue up north to Scotland to meet my parents and to take in some of the breathtaking scenery up there. We visited Murray Watts and Monique Sliedricht at Freswick Castle outside of Wick, and also took a few days up in the Orkney Islands. The Viking history remains evident in many of the corners of Orkney, but so does life from 5,000 years ago! It is hard to get one's head around standing in a village that is older than the Egyptian Pyramids.
What a fabulous way to spend the better part of May and the beginning of June! Now I look forward to spending the better part of the next two months doing preliminary reading for my Master's exams. A Kindle has been purchased in hopes to minimize cumbersome carry-ons in what will certainly be many back & forth journeys from Atlanta to Chicago, and I am set with two lists of French classics to choose my primary sources from over the next several weeks. I am so lucky to be able to be studying the language that I love so much, and will also look forward to another two semesters of teaching at UIC as a TA. God is good! Blessings to you during this summer season.