Saturday, May 26, 2012

England 2013

My family and I celebrated New Year's Eve, 1992 on a British Airways flight to London. I was 7 going on 8 and it was my first airplane ride. I spilled orange juice on myself - I remember this because it was written in a diary I was keeping at the time. A few weeks later, while having lunch at my new British middle school, I had apple juice spilled on me (accidently) by a girl named Hayley that the teacher described as a "trouble maker" - she was kidding, but I didn't clue into the sarcasm, so I was terrified when I was assigned a seat next to her. The juice spilling was confirmation of my fears at the time.  Later that day I was introduced to Hayley's best friend Sarah who told me I was ugly (she still denies it, but why would I imagine something like that?) Twenty years later, they remain my dearest, most beloved friends.

In the two and a half years my family lived on Windsor Road in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, Sarah, Hayley and I gathered a myriad of strange and wonderful memories, playing games of our own invention. With Sarah a game we dubbed "vomit" which involved placing a bottle cap full of orange juice in your mouth and seeing how much you could keep from spilling out (weird). Hayley and I enjoyed standing on the edge of my tub looking into the big wall to wall mirror as we "shaved" toothpaste off our face with a wet toothbrush (I don't know).

Here we are back in the 90s (from left - Hayley, who hates this picture, Sarah and myself) getting ready for a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was cast as a piece of corn (!) I was only on stage for about 3 minutes but was still required to go to early morning rehearsal to practice "waving like a piece of corn."

My family moved back to the States in 1995 and it would be another 7 years before the three of us would be reunited.  Hayley faithfully stayed in touch through letters and cards, while Sarah and I barely talked because we were lazy penpals.  But when I returned to England in 2002 as a graduation present from my parents, it was as if time had stood still and nothing had changed. And it still feels that way today. No matter how much time goes by between visits, we are still those little girls vomitting juice and shaving toothpaste off our face - in spirit, of course.

Life, naturally, has also brought a lot of change for each of us. In 2006, while I was living in England and working with an organization called Scripture Union, Sarah began dating Richard. I love this man (platonically) as much as she loves him (romantically) and love that he's in her life.The last time I saw them (as well as Hayley) was when they flew to Cleveland for my wedding to be bridesmaids. Even Richard was a bridesmaid! Just kidding. But seriously, that week was such a memory maker. Do you want to hear about it? Great. Now's not the time though.

Right now I want to tell you about how excited I am that after five long years Richard finally popped the question. Praise the Lord! That man will officially be in our lives for good. This also means a long awaited wedding. A long awaited reunion. A long awaited trip to show Tim the land that I love. It means being a bridesmaid of a friend I have loved for twenty years now (how am I even that old?!) It means walking down the aisle in the church of my old British middle school. It means so many glorious and wonderful things.

It also amounts to a whole lot of dollar signs. The wedding is set for July 13 of next year. If you know me personally, or you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that Tim and I have recently gone down to one income since (essentially) losing my job and having a baby. Finding the funds to make this trip happen isn't going to be easy. We're on a no-frills budget just to make ends meet as it is so we're having faith that our 2012 tax return will cover the cost of the flights (currently they're $1700 per person round trip) and maybe a little spending money. So the time to start saving, if we can manage it, is now.

I'm also going to do something totally crazy and unheard of: I'm going to ask if you would be willing to help us. Now I know this probably seems a little audacious and self-centered. I know lots of people could ask for money for way more important things. I know a lot of people out there are struggling. I know lots of you could use a kids-free trip to England right about now.  But for us, this isn't so much a vacation as it a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of my best friend's get married and to be a special part of such a special day. Let me assure you that I wouldn't ask for your help if I thought we'd be able to come up with the funds on our own.  This trip is deeply meaningful and I really want to be there to celebrate Sarah and Richard's wedding day. If you don't like the idea of giving money to something like this, I totally understand and please don't give. Save it for something you truly feel called to donate to like this or this or this. But if you want to bless Tim and I - as well our friends - then you can donate a little something towards our trip by clicking the PayPal "donate" button at the top of the page in the right hand sidebar.

Or just donate your prayers.
Because we need those too.

Sarah and I at the height of 90s British fashion.
We loved those puppets.
Such an awkward picture.

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