Monday, 2 May 2011

In which I try to demonstrate the awesomeness of my time back home! Part 1: Easter weekend

…Yesterday I woke up to the sound of birds and the countryside, with my best friend lying next to me. Today I woke up to the sounds of cars and children. Two different worlds… 
I arrived back in Nancy at around 11 last night shattered and feeling slightly surreal. Home was so familiar and I slotted back into life there with surprising ease. I thought it would have been a bit strange, but it just felt like I had never left. Coming back to Nancy felt like coming back to a dream...a very familiar dream. The next three months are not going to be like the first three. I came back to my room and my things; to children who greeted me with so much love and affection, and to a job I am now at ease with. I dreaded coming back, but now I think it's going to be just fine.

So, the aim of this post is to sum up some of the stuff that happened while I was back home as I got a bit too busy to write... [WARNING: this will be long!]

I left on Friday 22nd April (not Saturday, as I'd told people) in order to surprise my family. The trip went so well...
Here is something I wrote while I was waiting for the Eurostar in Paris...

Vendredi, 22 Avril.
I’m sat in Gare du Nord right now, exactly 3 months since I was sat waiting for my train at Charles de Gaulle on the edge of my big adventure. And now I’ve been here for 3 months, I’m going for a little holiday back home. I feel unbelievably different, and yet still wholly, completely the person I was then too. Just more…confident.  I have learned so much since I have been here. I have learned how to put myself second and look after children, not worrying about how I feel. Although this is still very hard… I have learned to be completely independent and yet rely on God for everything. Life is so completely blessed when you allow God to take over your life. You just stop worrying. Life is wonderful when you know Jesus.I have met so many wonderful people. I have so many new friends, friends I could never imagine my life without now, and three adorable children to look after. Yet I’ve met them all since the last time I saw my family. And I am so excited to see them. It almost feels unreal, like a dream…a dream that is soon to come true!

The journey so far has been incredibly blessed. The random ticket allocation seated me next to a lovely French girl from my church on the TGV to Paris, and we talked the whole way :D Then Mandy met me at Gare de L’Est and we had lunch together. She is the best! I am feeling that the worst bit will be London. But I’m trusting in God that he will look after me with all my luggage! I can’t wait to see Lizzie at Bath!

Actually, my journey continued so well. I met some lovely people on the Eurostar, and then hiked across London with another girl who was headed for Paddington. When I arrived at Bath in the early evening sunshine, I met Lizzie and it was just amazing to see her. However, she confessed that she had parked her car right up Widcome Hill...she wasn't joking either. We had a hilarious struggle up the hill with my heavy cases and drove the familiar route home. It felt so amazing to be back in the west-country after 3 months of urban living! When we got back to mine, Lizzie parked round the corner and I crept up the drive. Seeing the front door was open and hearing Mum in the kitchen, I ran in and surprised her! It was so amazing, the look on her face was priceless! And it was fantastic to see her! Alice was also there, and we went and had drinks in the summer house while we waited for Dad to get home. He was suitably surprised as he parked the car and I ran up to meet him. Although we all remarked on how normal it all felt! We spent such a lovely evening together with a nice meal and catching up on all that's been happening. It was also amazing to sleep in my bed again with the windows open and wake up to the sun streaming in. 
Unfortunately, lie-ins were not on the agenda for my week back home. My body clock has most definitely re-tuned itself to my new way of life, but this meant more time to enjoy what I've come to appreciate as one of the best parts of the day!

Saturday was such a nice day. It started with bacon and eggs (something very scarce in France) before going out for coffee with Mum and Dad. We later went for lunch at The Mill in the sunshine which was lovely, and great to see my lovely old colleagues etc! Afterwards, I headed over to Erin's to pick her up as she had just got back from Guildford for the week and we went over to Lizzie's. A very happy re-union! Lizzie decided it would be a great idea to cycle to Steeple Ashton (a village not too far away with a nice pub) so we headed off on a selection of Francis household bikes! It was all going great until we hit the hill going in to the village and we arrived at the pub red-faced and out-of-breath!! So ladylike! We had a great catch-up in the pub garden and, as it always does with these girls, it felt like old times! The sign of a good friendship, we can just pick up where we left off. After cycling back to her house, we had a glass of wine in the garden and chatted to Lizzie's mum and 'grand-mere' before leaving for evenings with our families. 
I had a great dinner with Mum, Dad and Alice, and then afterwards, they took me to Clanger Wood which was completely covered in bluebells. It was so beautiful!!

 Sunday - Easter Day!
Another really warm and sunny day! Alice and I went to church at Maranatha in the morning and it was so great to be back, celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection! Afterwards, we went for the traditional Easter Day lunch with the grandparents in Shaftsbury which was lovely as always! It felt extra special to be catching up with the family after I'd been away - it really makes you appreciate them so much more!
We had a great lunch, an Easter Egg treasure hunt, and fun in the park: most people enjoyed the children's play equipment! All in all, just a really nice day!

Easter bunny

To be continued...

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