“Can you promise that I will come back?”

“No. And if you do … you will not be the same.”

That quote (from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which I watched on the flight from London to New York on Wednesday) seemed to apply to me and my trip to England with my friend Kara. This post won’t be too long—over the next couple weeks I may write a post for each individual day spent in England—but I did want to put up some kind of update.

Portsmouth, twilight

Portsmouth, twilight

I’m still reeling a bit from this trip. We did it. Kara and I have been talking for years, literally years, about going to Portsmouth and London together and seeing sites from different movies and books (including mine). It finally happened, and I’m still in shock not only because of just the fact that it happened, but how it happened.

God blessed this holiday. There is no other way for me to take it or to explain it. And I’m still blown away by it because I tend to think of God more as One who helps me through the bad times, and not so much One who provides good times as well. I do recognize God’s numerous blessings in my life, but because of my anxiety and generally more pessimistic nature, I am more inclined to focus on how he has provided sustenance in the midst of adversity, rather than simply bestowing riches of whatever kind simply out of grace and love. This trip seemed to be an example of him trying to change that about me.

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The fact that Kara and I found each other at Heathrow Airport on day one (I flew from Columbus to Chicago to London, and she flew from Seattle to Iceland to London, hours apart), all flights on time and luggage intact, was in itself a miracle. The same thing happened on the way back–we got our respective flights and luggage and trips home perfectly well.

There were a few snags along the way, mostly involving in-country transportation, but they ended up being so minor as to be barely worth mentioning. Sleeping wasn’t excessively lovely for either of us most of the time, but that’s hardly anything out of the ordinary. We saw not only everything we wanted to see (except for a few graves/memorials at Westminster Abbey that we missed in spite of our searching, much to our frustration, and a few portraits and museum articles that were not actually available for public viewing), but came across unplanned things again and again that would be hard to explain, and might seem minor, but were meaningful to either or both of us.

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Me with Horatio Nelson

Even the weather was blessed, as you can see from the pictures. Portsmouth was absolutely gorgeous. London was chilly and cloudy in some cases, but nothing unexpected, and we never got rained on. ALSO a miracle.

The timing was also brilliant—initially we were sad about the trip being just a week. But we packed that week so full, and it turned out to be perfect as well. Just long enough to exhaust us and make us glad to be home, but short enough that we didn’t stop having fun. Our last day was a blast, but we were glad it was the last day.

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Venus at the British Museum

Two weird things about being back:

1. The fact that we have been planning and talking about this for so long, I don’t know what to do now, in terms of long-term goals. What’s the next dream/adventure/plan? I need to figure that out, because that’s just how I am.

2. I never talked about it before on this blog, but for ages now I’ve been wanting to marry a British man and live in the UK. That was always in the forefront of my mind when planning the trip. But God changed things, including that. I love England and I want to go back again and again, but while we were there, things in my head shifted, and I came to realize that I didn’t want what I thought I wanted. Maybe God has that for me in the more distant future, and maybe not, but I’m perfectly content to give that up. What I’m less content with, as with #1, is the “Now what?” bit. Still have to figure that out.

That’s it with the heavy stuff for now. Have some more pretty pictures.

Shakespeare at British Museum

Shakespeare at British Museum

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London View

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Portsmouth view

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