Today has been very busy, and very good. This is my first moment which hasn't been very relational and/or active since waking this morning. It's 10pm and I'm tired but happy and thankful for good food, great friends, and a good-crazy kind of day.
This morning Kagi and I woke up, had our breakfast, and prepared for a day in the city. We walked the 2.5 miles to the Discovery Centre (where Global Cafe is headquartered and Kagi used to live) through freezing wind and stinging snowfall. There, I helped Kagi with his weekly cleaning job. Because both of us were working quickly, we finished in about an hour and booked it down to the City Centre.
In the heart of Bradford, we met with our friend Ben who has been a very good friend to me since I first came here. He was even there the day Kagi and I met. Now Ben lives in Finland, and I am so glad we took the rare opportunity to hang out during his visit to Bradford this week. It was especially fun to hear how God has been answering prayers that we have been praying since meeting almost three years ago, and to share stories with someone whose journey of faith makes Kagi and my last few years look relatively simple. We are so encouraged by Ben and I am reminded what a blessing he has been to me. Although we have never seen him all that often it does seem that Bradford is missing something without him here.
After that meeting, we went back to the Discovery Centre for an amazing Spanish lunch prepared by our friend Juanma's parents. It was so fun to meet his family and to spend time with international students and other team members. In our multi/inter-cultural lives, Global Cafe provides a community which feels more like home to both of us... sometimes even more than we feel at home in our countries of origin. For me, it is a reminder of my beloved International Friendship Club in Maryland.
Following lunch, Shell, the leader of Global Cafe, took me with her on her trip to Costco! I blogged about strangely missing Costco way back in this post. Finding out there is one near Bradford was very exciting news for me, and I was not disappointed on my trip there today. It was really nice to hang out with Shell, first of all. She shares my love for Jesus and for cultures, and is someone I have really enjoyed getting to know over the past few years. Today I found out that her husband who is also from Southern Africa is a "meatetarian," like mine. She has offered to help me find ways to feed Kagi without going broke, which (especially after recently instituting a new budget) I am very excited about!
Costco was also much more similar to the Costco in the States than I was expecting. They have most of the same items and kept the prices about the same as they would be in USD but just made them in GBP, which makes everything about 1.6 times more expensive. Compared to importing these items myself or paying the supermarket price for these American staples which are considered luxury items here, the prices were great. I bought things like Kirkland almonds, a big tub of crunchy peanut butter, a big tub of salsa, and Costco bagels. They also have the big bags of Crasins and affordable vanilla which was a thrilling discovery even though I decided to hold off until I have a little more in the budget another time. It was laid-out and looked just like it does in the States.
As we were leaving the store at about 4, I glanced at my iPhone to see a message my dad sent me about the staff meeting I was prepared to join at 5pm via Skype. I had told Shell about it and planned to be home in plenty of time for it. However, while reading my dad's email I realized that I forgot that the daylight savings time changes earlier in the States than in England. We are only 7 hours ahead instead of the usual 8. While kicking myself for being late, I realized that, not only had I not realized the time change, I also had mis-calculated. 8am is 8 hours before 4pm, not 5pm. I was both sorry and embarrassed about this clumsy mistake. I sent an email as we headed home.
To keep this story from going on forever, I'll just say that Kagi and I ultimately got home at about 5:30 after traffic and a few other delays. We unexpectedly had a few of the guys from church come home with us, which was a lovely surprise. I figured out that I had totally missed my call and set to hanging out with them, preparing dinner, and having some great conversations.
There is more, but I guess for today I'll leave it at that!