Hello all 🙂 I feel a bit guilty for not posting an update sooner. Please forgive me! Thank you for your patience. Before I returned home, I had some vague notions that my life might be a bit boring once I returned to the States, but that has certainly not been the case. Things haven’t slowed down!
My Parents’ Visit
My parents’ visit was so lovely. They enjoyed Derry just as much as I thought they would. We had great weather for much of the time (I yearn for those cool breezes!) They also scheduled our time in Northern Ireland so that they would be able to go to Cornerstone twice. So, they got to meet all of my friends. They agree with me that the Northern Irish are some of the friendliest and warmest people in the world.
Driving was the only difficulty. Praise God, we got a nice ride. The only automatic car available at the rental place was a Mercedes! However, the roads were quite narrow in many of the locations we visited, so we all felt a little tense. My job was to manage the SatNav (GPS) and warn my Dad if he was drifting toward the curb. Being on the opposite side of the road, his tendency was to stay away from the center line.
We went to the North Antrim Coast near Giant’s Causeway, and explored a new castle ruin that I had yet to experience. We went down to County Fermanagh and toured the Marble Arch Caves. We explored Donegal and visited beaches and ruins, castles and mountains. It was a splendid time.
Finally, the last day in Derry dawned. I felt so very loved. Pastor Brian called me up on the stage and prayed for me, and the church gave me a card and a sweet memento of Derry, a little plaque with the words “I
We then jetted off to England, touring Bath, Stratford and London. The former was such a sweet town, brimming with hints of Jane Austen, who lived there and set a couple of her novels there. The first evening we arrived, I ran up to the top of the hills and got a breathtaking view of the city. Then, I preceded to run down into the town and get lost. Ha! It was at least a good way to familiarize myself with the city layout!
In London, we had several new experiences beyond what I had done in January. We got to take a Thames river cruise and visit Hampton Court, the home of King Henry VIII. Also, we were able to visit the Churchill War Rooms, where the underground British World War II operations took place. What a neat experience! We also got to see Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born. He was related to the Duke of Marlborough, who owns the grand estate. After all the Churchill exposure, I find it amusing that a life-size cardboard cut-out of Churchill eyes me through the glass of my office door at my new internship. (My boss is a huge Churchill fan!)
After London, Momma returned home and Daddy and I flew off to Berlin for a three day tour. It was great fun! One highlight was doing a Third Reich-themed bike tour through the city. We also enjoyed munching on fresh German rye bread and cheese. Finally, taking the train to Potsdam to see the grandiose Schloss Sanssouci was an amazing experience. Sanssouci is a huge Arcadian palace complex built by Frederick the Great of Prussia. On the day we went, the weather was just perfect and the grounds were so lovely. It was such a great trip, and it was wonderful to have Daddy as a guide. I have to congratulate him – his German was quite fabulous and he received several compliments from Berlin natives.
I really want to express my heartfelt gratitude for all your prayers and encouragement. My time abroad was the best year of my life and so many of you helped it become that. I have to give a special shout-out to Pastor Richard Parke of McLean Bible Church for helping me to connect to Cornerstone City Church. My experience there and the friends I developed within the Cornerstone community really defined my experience abroad.
My Life Now
I am interning full-time at the Media Research Center (MRC), an organization that aims to identify and expose liberal media bias through video and written journalism. I work in the Culture Department, where I research news related to entertainment, family values, LGBT issues, religious freedom and race relations and then write articles on the bias I find. The job keeps me on my toes, but I really love it. A great perk is that I am able to bike to work, as the building is only 3 miles from my home. Also, there are some other great interns whom I have befriended, and we enjoy spending our lunch breaks together. If you would like to keep up with my writing, please visit this site.
During my evenings and weekends, I’ve really enjoyed catching up with my family members and friends. It is good to be back, but I definitely do miss Northern Ireland. And, of course, I’ve retained some of the lingo and the customs. I’ve definitely said, “Excuse me, could you point me in the direction of the toilet?”Someone asks if I want a fry…you mean chip? I think. I still have trouble with driving. However, I’m loving the water fountains! (There aren’t many when you travel abroad.) It’s an adjustment being back home, but life is good right now, Praise the Lord.