January 2021

Drumming. The highlight of my January has been drumming. Liv and I went to church early with our dad. Now, over zoom in the summer there had been a ‘bring your own percussion instruments’ Friday. This Friday was a repeat of that, but in person. The worship leader invited me to join a four-person cajon line. It was great fun and I stayed on beat almost the entire time! Having never played a cajon before, I was a bit nervous. What better way to learn is there than doing?

What should be the real highlight, I suppose, is that I got my A level results and submitted my university application. It is certainly good to have that finished. Now begins the waiting game.

The end of this month has seen me start a job. I had been looking into several different ways that I might be able to earn some money and get some experience in my gap year. I may well go on to try some of those other things as the year wears on, but this week I got accepted as an English teacher on an online teaching platform. My first couple of lessons have been very cool. Of the people I have met so far, most people are just looking to practice their conversation skills, so effectively I am being paid to make new friends – not complaining! I think I will enjoy doing the more structured teaching sessions as well. The system is really nice and I’m having a lot of fun. I have met girls from Saudi and talked about movies and books, talked about shepherding with a civil engineer from Kuwait and about the best places to travel in India with an Indian guy.

In these last three days, as I’m writing this, a few new things have slotted into place, as it were. We now have family Arabic lessons scheduled and I have made arrangements to begin helping out at a Sudanese refugee project attached to the international church here.

I wanted to include, in this diary entry, an idea about what my days look like, or will look like once Arabic begins:

I wake up, which is a good start. I have been trying to refrain from reading until 2am in order that I can get up at a reasonable time. I tend to get up between 7:30 and 8:30. If I wake up early and am in the mood I might work out, but then almost invariably, 9-10 is spent with God with a cup of tea. I have been reading loads of the Bible because it seems to me that there is no better use for this gap year, than to really invest in knowing my Bible and spending time with my God.

Then I work for an hour most mornings on the English teaching website. Then comes piano practice and guitar practice. I work best in the morning, so I like to get all the high priority things done whilst I have energy, but the amount of mornings that I ‘accidentally’ start making bread or cake instead are quite high.

Once Arabic starts, my homework will probably be worked into this morning time too. I tend to spend my afternoons reading, going on walks with my sister, calling a friend, or helping cook dinner. I think once Arabic starts I’ll have a little less time to indulge these things, but I love Arabic, so it is a good trade off.

On Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings I take Jolly to football. Whilst I am there I tend to listen to a series of podcasts I am listening to about the Whole Council of God whilst sketching all the people I can see. However, I am running out of inspiration on what to draw, so I may need to take some prompts with me next time.

I have been very relaxed this month and have noticed myself gradually unwinding from the tension of school. I’m looking forward to life becoming more busy and full of good things, but I’m hoping to retain the gentle pace of life that I’ve been loving where there is time to linger with God, and get lost in books.

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