A good start

I’ve been living in Scotland for a weeks now and here’s how things are going so far...

My flatmates are great, really friendly and relaxed. After three years of living by myself I’m sure it’s them who are more likely to have a problem with me but I think I’m doing OK. My room is much bigger than my bedroom in Bedford was, and with a really nice view. It took me a couple of days to get things as I like it in my room and now that everything has its place I feel more at home. ‘Neat freak’ doesn’t really begin to describe it. The only disturbance to this domestic bliss has come from some of our neighbours who came home in the middle of night the other week and continued the loud party/fight that they’d clearly spent all night having elsewhere. As I read somewhere the other day, the only trouble with loving your neighbours is that they live so close.

King’s Church is one of the most welcoming churches I’ve ever been to, incredibly so. I felt this the first time we met. So many people have said so many nice things about me joining them and I’ve been invited out for meals/drinks/laser quest. I helped out at a Kids’ Club and was asked to preach the other Sunday. This was at short notice but God was good and I got something together that was (mostly) coherent and (hopefully) helpful, and felt I connected with lots of people as I preached. Along with preaching my main task here will leading the student work , a huge challenge as they have an amazing bunch of students and a great team... and I have virtually no experience of student work. Yet another way in which God can grow me.

My work for King’s is voluntary and part-time so I’ll need to find ways to earn income. Again God has been so brilliant at providing what I need. I have a couple of writing assignments for Youthworkand Closer to God which I will be paid for, and next week I begin a four-week course that will train me to teach English. In the meantime I am being supported by the overwhelming generosity of the people at Brickhill who gave me a staggering good-bye gift.

Living in Scotland
I experienced pretty much all the weather Scotland has to offer in my first week here: I arrived to find the city filled with fog, then a few days later I walked into the city centre and got soaked with rain, and covered in snow on the way back. As I trudged up the hill to my flat that night, I decided to grab some food from a takeaway. I went in to a small shop and the man behind the counter looked at me and then shouted, ‘Chips! This man wants chips!’ He was right. We’ve also had some days of really nice sunshine too.

I've eaten pizza topped with haggis (above), it was a bit rich but otherwise OK.

You can hardly turn anywhere without something distant and wonderful being in your view, I hope I don’t get used to that. The recent snow made the hills look even more dramatic (below is the view from my room).

The tap water here tastes so good!

As if getting used to Edinburgh wasn’t hard enough, because Debbie is in Glasgow I find myself trying to learn the layout of two new cities at once. After living for so long in a town I knew so well this is a big change but I have guides, maps, and GPS on my phone, so it should just be a matter of time and experience. Not knowing where I am a lot of the time can be tiring, all the more so when you don’t really know most of the people you’re with either, and when they’re talking about places, people and things you haven’t got a clue about it can all get a bit frustrating but that’s life in a new place, I guess. Having said all that, although this doesn’t feel like home yet there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now: being so much nearer to Debbie is brilliant and I know that all of this is part of God’s plan for us right now.