I finally got my visa on the 5th of October and I flew out on the morning of the 7th. I touchlanded at Heathrow airport and was one of the very few blessed people to have someone waiting for me at the airport as I arrived. The lovely “Lottertjie” as she has been dubbed by Kimmy Bailey.
A real treat to have someone be there for me not only as I touched foreign soil, but even before in all of the practical ways because of countless questions that Lotter answered and how she helped me plan for my trip – this is a shoutout to you – THANK YOU.
I honestly have been overwhelmed by a kind of gap in processing that one has when they move from a certain place. An awkward and terrifying in between of knowing full well what you said goodbye to,yet being in complete blindness about what awaits. All the while your normal brain and heart have come with you and all that they really know is that they are now alone and very unsure of what lies ahead.
These passed three weeks have been filled with missing home, regretting this decision, doubting this passion, intensely doubting my capability and the weightiness of financial burdens and fear of not knowing how I will be able to pay them off, all the while maintaining studying, working and being human. Basically a mess of fears and failures. A real dream worth fighting for. Insert: sarcasm.
That sad little point has led me to this one: its a dream I have to still keeping fighting for. I have to fight for motivation to work as hard as I can, endurance to not crumble as I miss home and strength to keep fighting for perspective. That is something that I could never have known would be so hard on the other side of the dream, on the other side of the world – so far away from family and friends (and Bryn, lets be real – that’s been a type of missing I didn’t realize existed).
Now I must explain this more clearly: The difficulty is slowly proving how worthy this dream is to me. I was really hoping for a break this side of the dream – but God is renewing my strength and mind each day and I’m praying in a way that I never used to find useful but can now only rely on. Instead of praying for my circumstances – this week at Wycliffe Hall in our fellowship groups we looked at how Paul prayed and what he prayed for – I have discovered the beauty of praying for strength. This life will never be free from circumstance – the only truth that can free me from it is Jesus and this is not because he takes the pain away or magically makes money and time appear; but rather that He comforts and can change us to enable to see better and to respond to the chaos of life better.
I’m not there yet – but my perspective is shifting and my heart is following suit. My days have not been ravaged in pain and sadness or homesickness either. They are momentary, and although deep and painful in the moment – I am getting through them and they are sandwiched by beautiful and amazing moments. Slowly but surely the difficult moments are becoming less prominent.
The fact that I have Tam and Dave this side of the world has also meant that I have a safe space in a South African family that I love so much – this has helped those tough moments hugely!
The key to a change in perspective has also been gratitude. Reflecting on how I got here has been so important. I often think back to the afternoon that I got an email saying that someone had pledged £5000 towards my studies. UNREAL. Over and over again I am reminding myself of that miracle – so again a massive thank you to the Anonymous donor who has enabled me to be typing this from the library in Oxford.
To every other amount – be it £1000 or the R10 to buy a raffle ticket – flip: I am SO grateful.
I have arrived with no laptop and have subsequently been quite traumatised, however miracles keep unfolding: The first weekend I arrived I earned £100 and a beautiful generous friend is giving me £200 – and I can now officially get a laptop! What the heck!
I am a live in au-pair for the most amazing family and in exchange for taking care of their children I am getting free accommodation (my room has its own bathroom with a BATH – big deal guys!) and free food and utilities. I have since also received a temporary part-time job at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies affiliated with Oxford University – this I am starting on Wednesday – but YAY them loans have a way of being paid for! It is only for a month but the hope of a sustainable job is out there!
My first essay is due this Friday, 3rd November and it is based on Blaise Pascal’s Pen-sees (Thoughts). My classes have been incredible and Alister McGrath is one of my Christian Faith and Science lecturers – which is kind of terrifying! I am so nervous and overwhelmed by how much I don’t know, but I’m excited to learn. One thing that I am learning that reconciles all disciplines or angles of looking at theology is that the core of Christianity is based on relationship – the question of who He is is of utmost importance – not the what or the how; the deeply, truly relational question of WHO.
This post is really just a catch-up and THANK YOU post!!!