Monthly Archives: March 2013

Things I Don’t Always Remember to Miss

I was thinking this morning about how long I’ve lived in Scotland. Twelve years.

Sometimes I actually forget what it was like to live in the USA. Sometimes – not always.

Especially when I reflect on the way I do things now.  Things that I’ve become so accustomed to that it seems like I’ve always done it this way.

Let me elaborate on what I mean:

Washing our clothes in the front-loading washing machine in the kitchen.  In Scotland, washing machines live in the kitchen.  The utility room around the corner, which is unheated, contains the refrigerator.  This is not the norm, but all three homes I’ve lived in here have been like this.

Speaking of laundry, we do not have an electric clothes dryer. Many people do, I think, but we don’t. Instead, the clean, wet clothes get hung up on radiators and on the drying rack, that, for us, stands in the upstairs hallway.  Needless to say, doing laundry is a much more time-consuming affair than it ever was in America.  No nice warm, soft clothes fresh out of the dryer, but unless I really think about it, I don’t remember to miss it.

Washing dishes by hand is normal to me.  I’ve even come to think of dishwashers as luxury items that waste loads of water and electricity.  Again, many people here have them, but we never have.  And, we wash the dishes in a single sink, instead of the common double sinks for washing and rinsing, that are found in most homes in America.

Then there’s the heat, or more specifically, the lack of it.  We have radiators (as mentioned) that are turned on and off by a central timer.  We have always lived in old homes which haven’t been brought up to modern insulating standards.  As a family of five who usually have other people coming over, we need a lot of space, which is more difficult to find here.  Homes are more compact.  Compact homes are warm and cozy.  Older, roomier homes are drafty, damp, and COLD.  I’m not complaining!  Just being factual.  Trying to keep the house warm means bigger utility bills, so to keep the bill manageable, the heat has to be regulated.  I don’t always think about it, as I’m accustomed to living this way.  Until it’s not quite Springtime and Winter seems like it will never end.  That’s when I start peeking at the local temperatures where I’ve lived in the past and remember what it was like to have nice warm days occasionally.

Convenience, or more precisely, the lack of it.  By American standards, of course.  Fast food.  Drive-thru everything. Taking your car everywhere.

As missionaries, we hardly ever have fast food.  My idea of “fast food” is frozen pizza from the local grocery store.

Castle and Fountain

And it is convenient – it’s only a five minute walk from our home.

Until recently, we didn’t have a car, so we walked and took buses everywhere.  A great deal of the time, we still do.  I don’t think anything of walking five minutes to the bus stop, riding the bus for thirty minutes, and then walking another 10 minutes to get where I’m going.  It’s become “just what we do.”

Until we have an American friend come to see us, and then suddenly I’m seeing everything the way I imagine they are.  That’s when an element of fun and novelty returns for awhile, and I remember how cool it is to live in a historic, capital city with a castle in the middle of it.

Do I miss America?  Sure, I do.  Sometimes more than others, because I don’t always remember to miss it.

Do what you like vs. Like what you do

Coffee MugI really had intended to write something every week.  And then I got news at work that I may not have a job for much longer.  The organisation I work for is going through a restructuring process. (Is that code for “you’re fired”?)

I admit that I over-reacted at first.  I was pretty angry and felt really betrayed.  I’ve worked so hard at what I do, way above what’s required in my contract.  I regularly put in 10-12 hour days in order to do the best job possible and bless the organisation.  I believe in what they do!  Helping homeless and vulnerable people is essential and definitely God-ordained.

Now, eight and a half years down the road, I could be out of work, forced into a more stressful job post, or find myself demoted with a salary cut.  Not really choices I wanted to have to make.  I’ve had my mind set, for quite some time, on being ‘rescued’ from my job.  I used to stay at home with my children, and would really love to be set free to participate in things I love and feel called to – like caring relationships, helping my life-partner, homemaking, and being available to my children.  I’ve been saying for eight years that I didn’t move to Scotland to do what I’m currently doing; I came to be a missionary.

I’m realising now that my attitude isn’t what it should be.  Who am I to tell God how to do things?  He can deal with me as He chooses, not as I think He should.  I need to be content in EVERY circumstance, and do everything I do as serving the Lord.

Whatever I do, I do my best.  I know that Jesus is who I really work for, whether at home or elsewhere.  He is who I answer to.  I want my life to be lived as an act of worship to God, and a sulky attitude has no place in that.

So, I asked my current boss to consider me for the more demanding position that is being created, and I am also job-hunting.  But I’m dreaming, too.  What if I could replace my income doing something else?  Something different?  Something that utilises my talents and interests and not just my learned abilities.  That would be amazing!