Follow by Email

Sunday, August 9, 2015

One Last Day in America

It's the day before we're traveling to Europe once again. The feelings are so vastly different than they used to be when we'd leave the US for Sweden after a vacation. For starters, this hasn't been a vacation in the traditional sense of the word. We've been back in the US for 6 months. The longest stretch of time we've spent here in 17 years. We've been living in my smultronställe, to use a Swedish euphemism which literally means wild strawberry place but metaphorically speaking, is one's dream spot. We've had an endless stream of sunshine and it's amazing what all that vitamin D has done to my psyche! The most obvious change for me is that I no longer have parents to bid farewell which was always the most heart-wrenching part of saying good-bye in the past. So I don't feel the same kinds of anxiety that I used to feel when leaving the US. I've had a good dose of all that I longed for when not living here and of course, our assignment in London is for an interim ministry position which means the time-line is shorter rather than longer before we will return "home." And of course, we are now heading to a brand new place so our curiosity is piqued and we are ready for a new adventure!

This sabbatical time has meant a great deal to us. We created our dream house, took time to unwind from ministry, played lots of golf, visited Doug's family, caught up with friends who have come to see us, talked on the phone with US friends a lot, nurtured a closer relationship with my cousin and his wife, enjoyed water aerobics, indulged in many of our favorite foods, grilled almost every day, took Tanner for rides in the golf cart (which he loved btw), drove our car and watched a lot of TV! It's been a lifestyle that has been unlike any other season in our lives. And we've been grateful for it but we are ready for this new and welcome challenge that the American International Church in London will bring to our lives.

So we leave tomorrow! Many have asked about Tanner and traveling to England. England does have strict rules concerning the importation of animals but you can avoid quarantine if you have the right paperwork, which we do. Tanner is also equipped with his own passport and because he's registered in the European Union, bringing him in will be much easier.
It says: European Union Sweden, Passport for pet
But flying a dog into Heathrow is a royal pain in the behind so we're taking a different route and bringing him in by sea! We will fly from LAX to Amsterdam where some dear Dutch friends who were present at Immanuel when we first moved there will pick us up. We will stay overnight with them. We will take Tanner to a Dutch vet on Wednesday morning to get de-wormed. They will put the correct stamps in his little passport and he'll be good to enter England. Wednesday night we'll board a ferry which will take us to Harwich, England overnight. We'll get off the ferry early Thursday morning, pick up a car and drive to our home in London! We should be there by noon GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). London is 8 hours ahead of LA so none of us are looking forward to that jet lag again. But settling into our new place will be awesome. And that will the last time we will drive a car for awhile. And Tanner will have to learn to walk on the left!

We look forward to using public transportation, taking Tanner to Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill, visiting the local pub, going to the theater, learning to look the other way when crossing the street, drinking English tea, working on a proper British accent (something I've long wanted to master), wandering around one of the most fantastic cities in the world, knowing the language, most of the time, riding red double decker busses, and running into the royal family. Most of all, I am super excited to re-connect with so many in this church with whom I have enjoyed a connection, working with the associate pastor, a fantastic and talented young woman whom we have known through the International church association, and being back in the fellowship of an International church. It's in our blood. There's no denying that.

So while we feel like we're leaving our home here which we love, returning to Europe definitely feels like a bit of a homecoming as well. Because we became Swedish citizens a couple of years ago, we can live and work anywhere in the European Union without a visa or entrance papers.
All the passports we'll be traveling with!
We feel very lucky to have this aspect of the world opened up to us. It just seems that Europe will always figure into our lives in one way or another and that is why the title of this blog will now become Back (and Forth) Across the Pond. Cheers to our new journey!