[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap] joke (half seriously) a lot about moving to Paris in my daily life and on this blog, and I say half-seriously because I’m not so set on Paris as I am on just living abroad. My husband knows this. He knows that my heart is missions, and yes, I LOVE Paris, but I know God would have to call us there. He also knows that it’s very hard for me to stay content in Colorado. Very hard as I have the heart of a missionary/roaming gypsy. I’d love to spend a year here, a year there, a few years over there, and tour over yonder. I hope that my kids grow up with this same heart; otherwise, we’ll all be in trouble.
Anyway, so as our trip to the UK (and Paris) is very quickly approaching, I wanted to share what God’s been doing in me regarding my husband’s homeland. So this will be the first of several ongoing posts about the UK.
First off, let me clear up some misconceptions regarding the British. There are 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I have been to all 4, and they are all different. Each is beautiful in its own way, and the people of each have very distinct accents. On my flight over to get engaged to Mark, I sat next to a Scot, and I could not understand him. What was even funnier to me was that he could not understand me! We both chuckled and agreed to just happily not chat as we just simply found conversation a bit too hard. Yet that’s not the case with everyone from Scotland. My nephew’s partner is a lovely Scottish girl, and I so would love to speak like her!! I love her accent and can understand her quite well. It’s amazing how small the British Isles are in land mass (compared to the US), yet how many different accents exist in such a small area. I now can pick out (semi-accurately) where someone from the UK is from based on their accent. It’s a fun game that Mark and I play, and I’m getting decent at it. And lastly, Ireland is its own country. The southern half is not part of the UK, nor does it want to be. The accents in Ireland are very easy to understand. My father-in-law and all of his family are Irish, and they are sweet people with lovely accents.
And that leads me to geography . . . if I had a dollar for every time that someone asked my husband or me if my husband likes London, or how close to London he’s from, or how many times we’ve been to London, or how we liked living in London, I’d be wealthy. London is the largest city of the UK, but it is very south. My husband is from the English/Scottish border, which is about 8 hours by car (6 if you speed) from London. Where he’s from is very different from London. Very different, and we spent 6 months living there. We also spent a year of our lives living in a small town in the county of Shropshire (pronounced as “shrop-sure”) near the Welsh border. We were about 2 hours northwestish of London. I enjoyed both places and found them very different. It’s like how different it is to live in Colorado vs. Texas. Very different.
Lastly (last part of this post for now), we, Americans, tend to perceive the British as we see them through movies – either very posh and proper, with accents like the Queen of England or Hugh Grant, and living on giant estates OR a bit more raw, edgy, stylish with an accent like Adele and living in London. And it is true that Britain is further ahead of us when it comes to style. They see the newest styles hit the stores about a year and a half ahead of middle America. That is true. And there are posh, proper people and raw, edgier ones. But there’s also a whole spectrum of people who don’t fall into either category. I’ll write more about that later as that was more my experience. But I don’t want to dive into that right now . . .
I hope that has given a bit more understanding to any reader who hasn’t been to the UK to know more about it, and now, I can return to the heart of this post.
It’s very interesting to be married to someone who is not from your culture. It’s quite the experience to be an immigrant/foreigner, and it’s quite a different one to be living in your homeland while your spouse is the immigrant/foreigner. I lived in Mark’s country, and he’s living in mine now. We’ve both experienced it. We’ve faced the hard choice of choosing your spouse over your family, and it never gets easier. No matter which country we choose, it’s hard. And now, we’re raising children who are half British and half American, yet who will become mostly whatever it is that’s around them. I’m finding language development to be quite fascinating with my kids as there are so many words and ways to pronounce them that vary between my husband and me. So Ryder says quite the mix of both. I laugh at how he says “hand, hair, quickly, mucky, etc.” as he says them the way his dad does. Yet really I don’t want him to lose that. Mark has lost so much of his accent that it makes me sad as I don’t hear it anymore. I want my kids to know that they come from 2 cultures, and I want them to appreciate both. I want them to realize that everything that happens in this culture is not the best or the right way. I want them to have a worldview, not just an American view. I want them to know that they have a dual heritage, that their parents have sacrificed a lot to be together, and that we don’t take our families, our citizenship, our legal rights to be in either country for granted. I want them to know the depth of what all of this means. And I hope that I can explain it more clearly as I write more about it.
And I’m finding it hard to write what’s on my heart, so I’ll just say this – God’s been working in me very strongly regarding the British. A deep love for Mark’s people has been planted into my heart. I almost weep when I hear about how God is focusing on Britain right now; how He’s wooing them and sending so many pastors, evangelists, missionaries, etc. to reach them. It thrills me; it gives me a longing to go!! I so want to see Great Britain on fire as a beacon of shining light for Jesus. I so long for it.
I so long for my children to know their other family. I heard Ryder speaking on the phone to his nana and granddad last week, and it thrilled my heart as he’s old enough to converse with them now. What joy that brings to them.
My heart is constantly torn between the two places that are separated by the “pond” as they say. I dream of living part-time in England and part-time in Paris . . . I mean the US. 😉 I dream, dream, dream of being a missionary/traveling/gospel spreading family. My heart aches for it. Yet we’re here, and all I can say is Lord, please let it be someday. Lord willing, someday.
I hope this has made some sort of sense, and I hope that my boys get to read this in the future so that they understand their mama’s heart.