I realize I need to post more updates about what we’re up to and how things are going, so this is less of a processing post and more of a status update:
January and February were incredibly busy for us as we visited churches, looked for a location for the school, met with pastors, finished the final round in immigration for our teammates, and tried to get our finances into some sort of order. We finally got into a groove with homeschooling, which was a big relief, but felt like we were all exhausted from our move, from being sick all winter, from our busyness, etc. So we took the only opportunity we had to go on vacation.
And since “beach, cheap, and warm” were on the top of our list, we hit the island of Malta. I can’t say that I loved Malta as it was not warm. It was warm in comparison to Scotland, but not warm enough to go without two light jackets and an umbrella. We had one day where we peeled off the layers of clothing and got “hot”. But the rest were spent with me trying to suck it up and brave the freezing wind. But having said that, the kids had a fabulous time; they did see some pretty incredible things such as: the amazing island of Gozo, the underground cavern where the Apostle Paul supposedly lived for three months, the huge fortress that surrounds Valletta, and just how beautiful the Mediterranean ocean is. And even though Mark had to work each evening, I think he really enjoyed the uniqueness of Malta. He quickly picked up the Maltese accent and found the Maltese people to be really helpful and kind. So minus the weather and the British food, I can’t complain.
I will say though that as we flew into Edinburgh and as the kids excitedly watched out the window, they loudly exclaimed “it’s our city!!” And truthfully, I felt as excited as they were as I truly like where we are. There’s a great amount of peace in being here, and that’s really encouraging.
So this past week has been filled with laundry, getting our US tax paperwork submitted to the tax company, catching up on email and voicemail, and praying through some things.
As I’ve mentioned, due to the cost of living in Edinburgh and a rule that states that families with multiple children have to live in housing with the same number of bedrooms, we have not been able to move within the city of Edinburgh. It takes me one hour + ten minutes to one hour + 20 minutes to get into the city by bus, which I don’t mind doing once a week. But it’s not practical for doing every day. I have delayed driving here, because it’s so different than in the US. Driving in the city of Edinburgh just feels crazy to me. But I need to do if we’re going to continue to stay in our current house. So this weekend, I’ll be getting behind the wheel; prayers would be appreciated.
We’re also considering the chance to enroll the boys in a Christian school part time. We still have to figure out the cost and how to get them there as it’s about a 45 minute drive (again, stressing the need for me to drive), but if it’s affordable, we think it would be really good for them and for me. I have gone from a working mom to being with her kids 24/7 and still working from home. And from having the blessing of my family to watch our kids at any time to not having a babysitter. We’ve had one date night since we moved over 6 months ago; that’s not cool. My mental state has not been cool either as I need some peace and quiet on a regular basis. So part-time schooling seems ideal really. We’re trusting that God will make it clear if it’s a yes or no.
Lastly, I’m preparing to start meeting a whole new group of pastors that we’ve not had contact with yet, and I would love prayer for this as well. I need a bit more confidence as it feels a bit intimidating. I also have an interview with the board that rents out the space that we’d like to use for our classroom. I’m not super nervous about that; just want to get it done so that we can move forward as we need to nail down a location. We also have so much coming up through April, May, and June that it’s vital that we get our priorities and schedules into a smoothly working system. It’s easy to get burned out and tired, and yet that’s not God’s best. Mark and I realizing that our time with God is of utmost importance, then time with each other, followed by quality time with each of the children, and then relationship building with the churches and people here. On a side note, our kids are making friends with the neighborhood kids. We had a boy visit the house last night; I have no idea where he lives or who is parents are. But I’ve talked with him, and we hope to meet his family and be a good presence in his life. We also have a family coming to ours to meet us and play with the kids next week, which is so good and so wild to me as connections are made in such a different way than we’ve ever done before, but we’re really looking forward to it.
So in conclusion, just this morning, our Ezra asked when we were going back to America. Mark and I both looked at him and Mark just simply said, “this is our home now.” I told him we would go back to visit Chan and Pop, but it’ll be a year or so before we do that. He looked at us both and then just said “okay, so I can go back and stay at Chan and Pop’s house for a bit?” We told him yes just to visit, and he was totally okay. I’m amazed at God’s grace on my children as I know the last year has been hard. But overall, they’ve been so adaptable.
I’m seeing how huge thankfulness is for us and how far it goes in helping us to adjust. I think the last year has revealed every flaw in our parenting, in our personalities, in our marriage, in our coping mechanisms, etc., and yet God just graciously loves us and teaches us. I’ve had some very low, down on my face moments, and He’s so good in getting us back up. So I’m thankful. We’re thankful.