Cousins & Anniversaries - England 2018

This time a week and few days ago, I was in England, surrounded by my little cousins, two aunts and an uncle, and my grandparents who I hadn't seen in three years. While there, I got to go around London a little bit (normal stuff, like seeing the Queen ;-)), spend time with my cousins, and read a poem at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary. It was a weekend filled with memories that will last me for a long time, and already miss everyone who is still over there. 

I got to London on Friday afternoon and was greeted by my grandparents, full on Love, Actually beginning and everything. I was reunited with my Michigan cousin and aunt for the first time in four years, and saw my England aunt and uncle for the first time in three years along with their two boys. I also met my babiest cousin for the first time, which was certainly a highlight of my time in England. That night, my cousin Melody and I finally caught up after not talking all that much for four years. She's only a year younger than me, and we're both graduating this year, and it was weird for us to not talk since starting high school. So we finally caught each other up on some of the things we'd both missed. Then I fell asleep, because even though jet lag doesn't get to me that much, I do have a tendency to just black out after being awake for longer than 24 hours. 

Saturday was my first full day, and arguably my favorite. Last time I was in England, during the summer of 2015, I went to the Newbold church and instantly loved it. It's taken me a while to realize that while I'm a church person, I'm not a church person person, if that makes any sense at all. Being at the Newbold church doesn't make me think of all the church-y people, but rather makes me focus on why I like church in the first place. While there, I went to the Sabbath school for 2 year olds and loved the fact that they have bubbles (bubbles). I sang In Christ Alone while helping my older baby cousin with a word search. Later in the day, I drank coffee while sitting on the couch with all three of them. I also attempted to read them the story of Esther for the first (of 6) times. 

Sunday was my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary party. I read a poem that made my Nanna cry (happy tears, happy tears), and had a couple conversations about poetry with people I'd only met seconds before. I was woken up that morning by the sound of tiny feet pattering into the room, and tried to read the story of Esther another four times (I was unsuccessful each time. Have I mentioned yet that these children chose this story every time?). I twirled the youngest two around a room and talked about wishes with the oldest ("I wish that every day could be the best day always."). I talked to my aunt about the many things we have in common, and she helped clear up some stuff from my own head. By now the middle baby cousin had stolen my stuffed moose, so I took the pink unicorn and slept with that instead. We traded back once I had to leave. 

On Monday I returned to London. Three years ago I promised myself that I would one day climb to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral. I have another post going up next month where I'll go into more detail about the experience, but I'll just say now that I loved it. My fear of heights and tight spaces was definitely tested, but I'm very proud of myself and thankful for my aunt who carried my coat for me. Back at her house, I finally succeeded in finishing the story of Esther and high fives were had by all. 

This trip was only a paragraph in the great story of my life, and I can already tell that the chapter will be much harder to leave. In two-three years, I will be at Newbold, living in England full time for the school year. I'll get more experiences like this, like reading stories to my cousins and talking to them about wishes. I'll get to watch them grow up a little bit. I'll climb the stairs of St. Paul's Cathedral a couple more times, and sing my favorite hymns in churches. I honestly can't wait for those months, and I know they will be hard to leave. That's the thing about trips like this- you get a glimpse into what your life has the possibility of looking like. If in two-three years my life looks even a tiny bit like this, I will count myself very lucky. 

Me and the baby cousins on the Saturday afternoon. I've realized that if I have coffee in my hand and cousins on my side I'm a pretty happy Claira. 

Me and the baby cousins on the Saturday afternoon. I've realized that if I have coffee in my hand and cousins on my side I'm a pretty happy Claira.