22 June 2010

A Week of Reverse Culture Shock

Overall it's been a good first week back. The worst part has been not being able to find a decent car to buy. You have to be extra careful buying a car in these parts due to all the flooding in May in the Nashville area.  We'd appreciate your prayers that God would provide one quickly for us and within our price range. In the meantime, my parents have been great at letting us borrow their cars when we need them.

I thought I'd share some reverse culture shock happenings. More than likely it will be our Aberdeen friends that will most appreciate these.

-I was at the grocery store and was going to pay for my items, so took out my credit card and held it like I was going to insert it in the "chip and pin" slot. I was slightly flustered to realize it had no chip and I no longer live in the land of "chip and pin" but in the land of swipe-your-card-then-sign-your-name.

-I have had a hard time remembering that when writing my birthdate the month comes first instead of the day. This kind of shocked me since it took ages for me to get this one (in regards to my birthdate) into my head in Aberdeen. Mark's birthday, for some reason, has really thrown me for a loop.

-Writing the date in general. I knew this was going to be a problem since within the first 6 months or so in Aberdeen I had embraced this one rather wholeheartedly both at work and in my personal life.

-Mark and I were at Wal-Mart. He was in line while I went to the, well, the "bathroom" (since it is no longer as acceptable to call it the "toilet" or "loo").  When I finished he said to me, "I started to bag the stuff." I had a good laugh. Though, since there is no conveyer-belt, he said he didn't get any further than opening the bag on the turntable thing when the checkout clerk obviously started to pack the groceries.

-Turning right on red. Mark and I had a discussion trying to remember if this was okay.

-The emptiness of the grocery stores. I really can't get over this one. Maybe it is just the area my parents live in, or maybe American grocery stores just aren't as crazy busy (during most times) as Scottish ones since people don't shop every stinkin' day.

-Of course I've already called "cell" phones "mobile" phones. This will be hard to break, at least this first month, I think.

-You wave at your neighbors when you pass in your car. Right. I remember this one was new to me when I moved from Ohio to NC. I am no longer a hard-nosed city northerner so I must not act like one.

-It actually being hot when the sun is out. And in the evenings. Don't get me wrong, I'm lovin' it! My brother noted (when he visited this weekend) that he hadn't heard me complain about the 90+ temps we've had almost the entire week we've been back. I said, "No, I haven't. And you won't hear me. At least not for a very long time."

-The laundry, when placed outside to dry on a drying rack, (yes, this habit is harder to break. It's one I kind of like now, so will still line dry some) dries in about .4 seconds.

20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day!

For the record, I love my dad! It's great to be able to be here with him this year for Father's Day, especially after missing the past two. As a family we talked about how my brother and I haven't both been together with my dad on Father's day for nearly a decade due to one of us always living overseas for the past 8 years.

Here are just a few reasons I love my daddy:
1. He loves the Lord with all His heart, soul, mind and strength.
2. He loves my mom devotedly.
3. He loves and prays regularly for my brother, Mark and me.
4. He isn't perfect but is willing to ask for forgiveness when he's wrong.
5. He's super silly and fun! (see photo with pink shirt - this week was VBS and he promised the kids he'd wear a pink shirt [he hates pink BTW] if they got over 400 kids this week - they were close so he agreed to still wear one.  His staff picked this out for him and he wore it today to church. What a trooper!)
6. He's modeled Christ, His Kingdom and ways to us since we were young.


15 June 2010

(New) Home Sweet (New) Home!

Well, after arriving to my parents last night at 11:15pm (instead of 8pm) after flight delays, and some sleep, we are now chillin' for the day. My parents are at VBS at their church so we've barely even seen them yet. But there's lots of time to catch up. Hope you enjoy the below that I wrote (mostly) last night while desperately trying to stay awake in O'Hare.

Since our final flight from Chicago to Nashville is delayed (bad weather in the midwest, I think, though not actually in Chicago), and I have nothing better to do, I thought I'd write an update about this very, very long 14th of June.  I hope you enjoy the stats about the day.

Current time in Aberdeen - 1:42am (I need to change my computer clock because that is just depressing!)
Current time in Chicago - 7:42pm
Time we woke up this morning - 4:00am
Hour slept Sunday night - a rough 5
Pieces of checked luggage - 5 at 50lbs
Pieces of carry on - 4 heavy ones
Amount paid for the extra piece of luggage - ZERO! (God is so good! I had only been praying that BMI was indeed going to let us follow United's (our long haul flight carrier) baggage restrictions, which were much more generous - 2 checked luggages per person for free - like we had been told. But you just don't always know if you can trust what you are told these days! So not only did they not charge us for a bag or two that might have been 1-2 lbs over 50lbs, but the lady didn't even charge us for the extra piece of luggage - saving us £130!!) I literally walked away with tears in my eyes at God's mercy via that lady and for answering our prayers.
Number of people carrying a large (2 piece) winter coat besides me - ZERO! (Do you know how much weight and space winter coats take up?!)
Airports visited - 4 (Aberdeen, Heathrow, O'Hare, Nashville)
Number of times food was consumed - at least 15, maybe more!
Pages read in my new Jodi Picoult book ("Handle with Care") - 100
Number of minor meltdowns - 1 - when they took my ice pack in the O'Hare security checkpoint. There might have been a few tears shed over the incident (after the fact), but it was more the injustice of it all (and lack of sleep!) than the loss of my ice pack. They didn't care that we'd been traveling at that point for 16 or so hours, the ice pack was melted and could not be permitted because it was now a liquid. Never mind. At least not much food was left needing the refrigeration.
Number of concourses/terminals toured in O'Hare - 4
Number of Starbucks passed while touring O'Hare - 7
Miles walked in O'Hare - close to two
Number of people in O'Hare also traveling and/or with delayed/cancelled flights- 23,787,093,639,845 (yes, that many!)
Number of times our last flight has been delayed - 5 or 6 (lost count, really)
Number of gate changes - 2
Number of hours delayed - 3
Hours spent in O'Hare - nearly 6
Pieces of luggage arrived safely in Nashville - 5 - HURRAY!
Hours I hope to sleep tonight - 14
Actual numbers slept - 9
Estimated temp for today - 96
Things planned for today - ZERO!

11 June 2010


We are on the final 2.5 day countdown! Seems so weird, though now that most items are packed or in stacks waiting to be given away it is starting to feel more real - and getting more exciting! If we can just press on for a couple more days doing all those things that you have to do when packing and moving, then we can crash once we arrive in Nashville. If I keep sleeping poorly crash is most certainly what I will do!

While I had really wanted to blog about a few things that I've had on my mind to blog about the entire time we've been here, but haven't, it just hasn't happened. Too much else going on, I'm afraid.

One of those "too much" items has been frantically working on my new photography website! After much debate, I settled on www.rachelowensphotography.com which is now LIVE so be sure to check it out and in case you haven't found my photography business on Facebook, you can do that here.  If you know anyone in the Nashville area please send them to my site! Thanks!

In case we don't have another opportunity to blog, we'll see you on the other side!

01 June 2010

Eight Years and Counting!

So hard to believe that 8 years ago Mark and I tied the knot! It seems like ages ago and yet there are so many happy memories that don't seem so far away.  I so wish we had photos here I could look through. Or our video. I've already told Mark I want to watch at least some of it when we get back.  It's been awhile since we've seen it.

Lucerne Lake - I dream of going back here some day!

But I have to admit, my thoughts have probably been more focused on our anniversary last year that started in Zurich and ended in a quaint village outside Freiburg, Germany.  Those were happy memories too (except for Zurich - that place tested our sanity and our marriage but the below sunset made it worth it!). As crazy as our own Amazing Race adventures were those few days, I would love to relive them. But, since that's impossible, I did take a trip down memory lane via viewing the gazillions of photos I took. If these few photos aren't enough for you, click the link above and you can see many more as you look through the four parts of our amazing race posts.

Lake Zurich

The Lord's been so good to us these 8 years! I never would have guessed some of the things that we've been through and yet I wouldn't really want to change a thing. All things have come by God's grace and for His glory and I'm just thankful to have gone through it with my Mark. I can't wait for the new things God has in store for us as we head into another 8+8+8+8+8!

From our walk through the village and some fields after our dinner at our B&B in Germany the night of our anniversary last year.