It seems like just yesterday we were sitting for hours at an airport in London, waiting for our flight back to Chicago. Instead, somehow 8 weeks have passed, and here we are sitting four hours at an airport in Chicago, waiting for our flight back to London!
Our time back in the States was a crazy whirlwind of seeing family, friends, going to a wedding, getting rid of some things we learned we didn't need and getting some things we did need. When we left last year we didn't really have a plan other than "housesit around the world" and we certainly didn't think we would be back in the States within a year. However, I'm glad it worked out that way. It was a great way to see people we were missing and gear up for the next leg of our adventure!
What is the next leg of your adventure?
I'm glad you asked! I've mentioned it on our various social media channels but I'm not sure I've officially announced on the blog yet that I have applied for a job in the UK! I am an ordained elder (aka pastor) in the United Methodist Church, and I took leave from that position to do all this traveling. In the almost six months we spent in the UK last year, we fell in love with the people, the place, and most of all, the Methodist Church in Britain. Though both are Methodist (meaning they stem from John Wesley) the denominations are not officially affiliated with each other. I like to call them cousins. (And the British one is older, and arguably wiser, haha.)
So far in this process I got permission from my Bishop to apply, completed an application, turned in 5 references, and had an interview over Skype with a connexional officer. Because I passed all of that, I have now been invited to in-person interviews in London over the course of the next week! This Wednesday at 10AM I have a psychologist exam (this is standard) and next Mon-Tues I will attend a 24 hour overnight retreat that will include many more interviews, a surprise group project (I mean, they told us about it so it's not a total surprise, but what we are doing and with whom remains a mystery), and I have to give a 5 minute presentation on a topic I was given. After that I am supposed to get results within a week!
If I am approved, I will first be eligible for appointment in September of 2020, so it's likely that we will continue traveling. However, we have not booked any housesits past October of this year, just in case the church might want me to start sooner. Or, of course, it's a possibility they won't want me at all, and then we will take time to pray and discern what our next steps will be. Right now, we truly feel God is calling us to the UK and me to the British Methodist Church specifically, so we shall see what happens!
Where are you going after London?
Another good question! We have two housesits booked - one in Bulgaria and one in Australia, with some time in between that we will fill with some random travel.
Here are our basic dates/plans (just for you mom!):
July 9-17: London, England - job interview + hang out with Steve! (We have 4 free days between my interviews so Steve has promised to take us to all the awesome/free things to do in London. Expect many movie references!)
July 17-23: Venice, Italy - fun time! (I've been to Venice twice, both when I was in my early teens. It's been on my list of places I want to go as an adult and I am so excited to go with Joel for his first time! We will likely eat lots of gelato and pasta and do lots of walking.)
July 23-August 27: Sofia, Bulgaria - housesit! (In a first for us we haven't been able to Skype chat with the homeowners yet, but they are American and have been in the States so we have been texting. We will be caring for one adorable little Pomeranian and staying in their gorgeous modern apartment near hiking and waterfalls so we are excited!)
August 28-September 2: Unknown/travel to Australia. We are thinking about taking a few days in Singapore as it will cut our travel costs to Australia and give us another place to check out!
September 3-October 5: Perth, Australia - housesit! (This is our first housesit we didn't use the website for but rather connections we made while traveling! In January/Feb we housesat for a couple who went to Australia to visit their daughter and her family, and in September the daughter and family return to England for a month, so we will be taking care of their house/pets in Australia. We will be 15 minutes from the beach!)
So there's about a week of unknown time in there but otherwise, we know where in the world we will be until October! As I type all this out it starts to feel a little overwhelming but in a good way. I am very excited about all the adventures ahead!
And now a little section I'm calling "Well, That's Embarrassing..."
Remember when we got back to the States and I went on a long rant about how we would never fly Norwegian Air again? Well, consider Chicago an island with a volcano about to explode and visualize me with egg on my face because we are flying with Norwegian Air. [Insert monkey with hands over his face emoji]
In my defense, I was pissed at NA for charging us £160 ($208) for our carry-on bags being overweight - the blog post even has a picture of the receipt. However, it turns out that the charge never came through on our credit card. Like, I have obsessively looked for it all summer and it never showed up. So, like, we didn't actually have to pay that fee? I don't know if it was all some elaborate theater or if we just got a lucky glitch but we didn't actually end up paying that fee.
And then, not only was NA the cheapest fight back to London, we also somehow got Premium seats for cheaper than the usual ones which means we get two checked bags each, two meals, and free soda/beer/wine the whole flight. I mean, how could we pass that up, right? Right? Someone validate me here!
So I take back my rant about NA. I mean, what they did that day still sucked, especially for the people who threw their belongings away, but I guess it turned out okay. And in the end, I'm cheap and not so spiteful that I'd rather pay more to fly with a different airline. Hopefully this flight with them will turn out better - you know I'll keep you posted about all the nitty gritty!
Catch you on the flipside!
With that massive brain dump I am signing off of the blog until sometime tomorrow - we'll be in London around 12pm local time and we'll be six hours ahead of CST. I'll try to keep up my schedule over the next week but I might use "job interview stress" as an excuse to miss a day here or there.
Thanks for reading!