March 2021

The weathers of March were as inconsistent as my moods. It’s been all sunshine and blustering winds. I’ve really been excited this month, I think mainly because we decided we were going to go to the Red Sea and I constantly think it is sooner than it is. I’ve been saying it is two weeks away for at least a month now, so I’ve really gotten good value for money in anticipation. Beyond that, though, I’ve done some really novel things this month.

On one day in particular I went out to lunch with the young adults group after church, which although that had been normal last year, I hadn’t been in a while. (I’d actually been having some cool garden picnics with some friends who live locally in the preceding weeks, which has also been a highlight of March!) All that to say, I hadn’t hung out with these friends for a while, and it was a great lunch and I made two new friends, which was really nice, as well as getting to know one of the guys who I volunteer with a bit better. After that I had a little solo adventure, which are continually becoming less scary and more fun as my Arabic and age mature. By adventure, I really do just mean I walked around in the streets a lot – don’t get too jealous. Simply, I was supposed to go to a potluck at a friend’s house, and was going to go early and help set up, for lack of anywhere else to be, but they weren’t in! So I went and found a café and read. I’m laughing at myself a little as I write this, as it is really not as interesting written down as it felt at the time, but the point is: I was out all day, I was at four different social things (including church and youth group) and that feels incredibly novel post-corona. The potluck itself was great fun and I made three new friends. It was really a great day.

The more cloudy moods have also been good, because I’ve learnt a lot. I have been thinking and praying a lot about money. In light of knowing that at uni I’m going to be handling a lot of different money from lots of different places, as well as spending a lot of money (suddenly rent and food and transport costs seem very real to me) I have taken the chance to really examine my attitudes about money and work and several other related areas. That has been weirdly emotional for me. I think that thinking right can be a hard process, because it’s often a very nuanced surgery to do to yourself, and you have to go very deep into your own attitudes to root out any lurking hang ups. It can be an uncomfortable process, but a good one.

My little updates about other things will be popped here: we took a test in Arabic, no-one’s test got marked, we all moved into level 4 which is very exciting; in my own Arabic lessons I am getting very confused about three very similar words that mean the same thing, and yet different and all make me sound like I’m swearing most shockingly; I started singing lessons, by which I mean, I had one singing lesson and will probably have more; I’ve really been enjoying painting and feel like I’m progressing; I have begun to pray in Arabic occasionally, which I’m sure sounds ridiculous (which I feel all the more acutely because I’m doing it in front of a room full of Egyptians and Sudanese people), but it really is teaching me to be humble. Our God looks to the heart and he isn’t impressed by flowery oration. What he wants is us to come to him with our hopes and concerns and to put them in his hands. We also bought an Arabic children’s Bible which I can read. I feel very excited about that.

The long awaited holiday is now less than a week away (pretty sure this time.) At least one week of April will be filled, almost exclusively with sun, swimming and reading books. We have actually found somewhere near our home where we can swim regularly (which is harder than you’d think) so I hope the rest of April will be full of swimming too. This week I am leading kids work at the International church for the first time, which will be fun. I have mad plans with two of my volunteer friends to record/ just play for our own benefit, some bilingual, multi-culture music some time in April.  Should be fun. Other than that, who knows what April will bring? With Ramadan starting, it might be a quiet month of nothing to do, or it may be wild and full of iftar parties. I’m excited to see.

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