Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.  
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the airport...

I wrote this post a week ahead of time because I figured that I would be way to emotional to even think about blogging today.  So I'm off on my trip, actually flying over the Atlantic as you read this.  Hopefully sleeping or getting sleepy.  I've planned to try the infamous "Jet Lag Diet" in hopes of an easier transition into my new time zone.  It works to shake up your body's internal clock by alternating between days of feasting and fasting.  And caffeine only during the hours of 3 to 5PM.  I'll let you know if it works.  

Anyway I did want to let any readers out there know that it could be a while before I post again.  When I get to Bristol, I'll have to figure out my Internet connection plus I'll be traveling a good bit during the first week and a half that I'm there.  First I'm off for a weekend in Birmingham (pronounced Ber-ming-um not BUR-ming-ham like the city in Alabama) to meet other Rotary scholars placed in the English Isles.  After that up the coast of Devon for a field excursion with my archaeological program.  I promise to take lots of photos and update the blog when I'm able.  

Just hoping for no turbulence, Margaret

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Busy packing...

This is probably the last live post for a while (although I do have several scheduled post while I'm in the middle of traveling) and I totally apologize for it being really short.  I honestly still have so much to do and so little time.  On the agenda today packing, finishing my Rotary presentation, eating pancakes, more packing, and organizing paperwork.  So I feel like I should really get to work.  I told you this would be short.  

Before I sign off I do want to bring everyone's attention to my new sticker declaring me an ex-pat blogger.  I know I'm a few days early, but I'm ready to declare myself as an American abroad.  Woohoo!  If you'd like to read about transplants from everywhere living everywhere, check out www.expat-blogs.com.  So exciting!  

Just, Margaret 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"For a New Beginning"

We read this blessing at a family gathering today.  Its from To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue.  As I'm sure you gather from the title its all about the newness, awakening to a new self, to new adventures.  Honestly, I've been feeling kinda weird the last few days.  My excitement is wrapped up in the uncertainty of all that I will experience and thoughts of missing out on family life.  On the cusp of this journey, hearing these words really helped me to gain a little perspective and some peace.   

Just, Margaret

In out-of-the-way places of the heart, 
Where your thoughts never think to wander, 
This beginning has been quietly forming, 
Waiting until you were ready to emerge. 

For a long time it has watched your desire, 
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you, 
Noticing how you willed yourself on, 
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.  

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered, 
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, 
Wondered would you always live like this.  

Then the delight, when your courage kindled, 
And out you stepped onto new ground, 
Your eyes young again with energy and dream, 
A path of plenitude opening before you.  

Through your destination is not yet clear 
You can trust the promise of this opening; 
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning 
That is at one with your life's desire.  

Awaken your spirit to adventure; 
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; 
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, 
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.  

Friday, September 19, 2008

That sweet sensitive dog

Yesterday I began in earnest packing up my life to move to the UK.  I brought my luggage into the den and began sorting clothing into pile for my carry on and my checked bag.  I want to be prepared just in case a problem occurred with my luggage on the way over.  So last night before we all went to bed my mom just pulled the suit cases over out of the line of traffic so we could work some more in the morning.  

This morning I woke up to my mom bringing Tootie into my room to cuddle before I really got up.  She normally wouldn't be allowed in our beds (especially mine because it is really tall and could hurt if she jumped or fell off), but last night I said something about wanting her to sleep with me.  I guess this was sort of a consolation prize.  Well when my mom put her down she also told me that in the middle of the night Tootie had got up from her pillow that she sleeps on beside my parents bed.  This was kinda unusual and my dad got up to see where she went.  He found her in the den growling at my suitcases.  

I figured she would miss me.  I guess you could say we hung out all summer together and I do always give her a little more food than I'm actually supposed to.  3/8 of a cup twice a day is just mean!  Okay she is a miniature dauscaund, but still. SMILE.  I just didn't realize it would be so traumatic for her that she would apparently have this horrible aversion to my suitcases that woke her up in the middle of the night.  After I'm gone for a while I know she'll be fine, get into another routine, but its like a child this not understanding.  And it definitely doesn't make it easier to leave.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Language barrier

Okay so I'm traveling to a country where I will not have to use a "second language"  so to speak, but I have been warned on numerous occasions that British English is going to be very different from American English.  Just a couple of nights ago I received yet another English to American dictionary.  To top it off this morning I misread the definition in my word a day email.  The word was lout and instead of reading an awkward brutish person, I read an awkward "British" person.  I think that I must have been thinking about being an awkward British person myself.  (SMILE) So you can say that this whole language barrier issue has been on my mind.  In an effort to prevent my total humiliation at not understanding anything that is spoken, I decided to spend some time with that new dictionary and thought I'd share with you a few of my favorite entries.  Hope they make you smile as much as I did.

rubber cement = cow gum (I'm not really sure that I want to know that word's origin.)
popsicle = iced lolly  
wash cloth = face flannel
to call (from sleep) = knock up (My personal fav because the English so doesn't mean the same thing in America.)

Just, Margaret

Saturday, September 13, 2008

11 days (and trying not to count)*

So I'm into the final days before I leave for my crazy adventure in archaeological studies and I would be lying to say that the nerves haven't begun to set in.  I'm trying to remain centered, but sometimes all the "what ifs" begin to overtake me.  I've always been this way at the beginning of school year, but this time so many new things abound.  I guess its not surprising that it can all feel a little overwhelming.

To keep me from going completely bonkers, my mom and I have this new little joke.  Anytime I'm beginning to think about all the amazing, but overwhelming firsts I'll have next year we joke that my new altar ego this real outdoorsy girl named Greta is going to take over.  Its pretty silly, I know.  I guess its a mom-daughter thing.

Just, Margaret

*In regards to the title of this blog, I want to clarify that I am very excited about moving to the UK, but I'm also a little sad about what I'll be leaving behind.  So my goal is not to think about how long I have left in the US, but just enjoying the time while I'm here.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hiking boots and waterproofs

Part of the orientation for my graduate program in archaeology will include a four day field trip at the beginning of the term along the coast of Devon to explore archaeological sites along the way to Exmoor National Park.  So my task today was to try on waterproof hiking boots and waterproof "over trousers."  Part of me can't believe I've actually gotten myself into a program where one of the requirements will be to play in the dirt.  Its not exactly the type of thing I'm used to.  Then again that's part of this adventure... discovering more about myself.  

I still haven't found the perfect gear, but I'm sure I will.  Next big task will be figuring how to get it all over the pond without exceeding luggage requirements.  Now that's the real challenge!

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bristol Stomp

I attended my last Rotary meeting in my sponsor district today and as part of the send off my counselor joked about the having to learn the Bristol Stomp.  So of course I came back and looked it up on YouTube.  I think the song is actually referring to Bristol, Pennsylvania, but it is still pretty cute.  

The kid's in Bristol are smart as a pistol,
When they do the Bristol Stomp!

Just, Margaret

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm voting for Obama!

I've debated whether to add a political vibe to my blog with a logo for the candidate that I support since the primaries, but I finally decided the time had come.  Mainly I figured that in about two weeks when I officially become an ex-pat I'll be asked my opinion more times than I'll be able to count.  

So there it is, I've watched both parties' national conventions and have seen the nomination of running mates and I stand firm in my belief that Obama is my candidate all the way.  I'm inspired by the possibility his presidency presents.  I'd not say that I am so naive to believe Obama has the power to totally reinvent the government wheel that our country has created in the last 200+ years, but the possibility to reclaim some international standing and the possibility to recharge the American spirit to recognize service to one's country (in whatever form it presents itself) as a privilege of citizenship.  A couple of weeks ago I ran across a quote by Barack Obama.  He said, "We are the who we have been waiting for.  We are the change we seek."  What a beautiful vision for the direction of the United States over the next four years.  I look forward to the change we can create with a leader who encourages Americans to challenge our status quo.  I look forward to the world a country of change seekers can create.

Just, Margaret 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Color Junction

I was just checking out one of the blogs I love to read and found this puzzle.  Now I'm addicted and thought I'd share the fun with whoever reads my blog.  Its at the bottom left.  Enjoy.  

What to say about myself?

I've been spending time today working on my presentation for the Rotary Clubs I'll visit in the U.K.  I totally don't know what to say.  I'm fine writing papers about history or planning a worship service, but asked to talk about myself for 15 minutes and I freak.  I'm sure that it will all come together eventually.  Right now it just feels impossible.  

Just needed to vent a little.  Now back to work.  Margaret

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just sold the futon!!!

What a great end to my day!  

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yard Sale Saturday in Warner Robins, Ga

So just to give everyone an update on the yard sale, a.k.a. boot sale for the British, went well.  I earned a little money for my upcoming adventure and best of all got rid of a lot of stuff that I don't need any more.  I only had one big item that didn't sale.  A futon that I used in my college dorm room.  If anyone in the Middle Georgia area is interested, send me a message and I'll send you a photo.  I'd like to sell it for $40, but I'm willing to negotiate.  

Just, Margaret 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Its been a rough couple of days for my friends in Louisiana.  It is so hard to watch all that is going on and know that I can't be there to help with the recovery efforts.  Thankfully Hurricane Gustav wasn't quite as devastating as it was predicted to be.  But from what I've been able to gather from the TV stations and weatherchannel.com  the storm passed directly over Baldwin, where I used to live.  I know there are several organizations that will be gathering funds and donations.  If you'd like to help, I would recommend checking out the website for the organization that I worked with.  Even though it was in the direct path of the storm UMCOR Sager Brown should begin directing some of the relief efforts by this weekend.  Here's the address http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/.  You can make a monetary contribution or get together with friends or perhaps your church to make kits.  After working at Sager Brown I can tell you that the health kits and flood buckets will be the ones that are most needed.  

And to all my friends in Louisiana, you are in my thoughts and prayers. 
Just, Margaret