Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The State of the Union...of the KJ Pughs

I never intended for the recording of our daily lives to slow down so much when we moved, but I guess it's not surprising that it did.  There are so many things you're trying to take care of in moving to another country, especially when you're like us and came with only eight suitcases.  And then there's the settling-in to new routines and processing all of the changes that are occurring in your lives.  All of these things together have made for sporadic time for sitting at the computer.  It's become much easier to use Instagram for quick pictures and glimpses into our lives.  Despite less time at the computer processing pictures, I do still grab my camera from time to time when I head outside, and I spent some time last night uploading 300 photos.  Don't worry; I won't share them all at once.

Two weeks ago we woke to a little dusting of snow, not enough to play in but enough to make the sidewalks (pavements here in England) icy and slick and for me to want to go for a walk with my camera.  Every time I go for a walk out our front door I try to walk in a different direction or explore a different path.  This usually results in me getting muddier than I intend.
part of the back garden at Capstick Cottage

We'll have a newsletter with specific prayer requests going out in the next three days, but it seems appropriate to give a few little updates here.  Sunday will mark 3 months in Boroughbridge, and I think by God's kindness through answering your prayers we are all really adjusting remarkably well. 

The kids are doing amazing. They have made lots of friends with kids at church, and this is their third week going to school 2 1/2 days of the week, which has really been so wonderful thus far.  It gives a good routine and rhythm to their week and mine.  They love going to "real school," and it still gives me time to teach them and connect with them on the days they are home and for us to make some impromptu memories as a family as we did last Wednesday in the snow.  Also, James learned how to count by 2's at school.  He loves his teacher and his class; most of all he loves getting stickers for his achievements.  He came home yesterday wearing a sticker that says, "Smashing."

Ella also really enjoys wearing a school uniform and being in the classroom environment.  She's also  loved taking ballet lessons.  I'm really thankful for these new routines that have started to make this feel like home for her.

We've hit a pretty settled place in buying things we need to set up house here.  I really need to take some pictures and show you around Capstick Cottage.  I'm not sure how long we'll be in this house, but we are really enjoying it.  It's been a great place for church meetings and playing with friends, and lately I've been so thankful for little things like having a driveway to park our car.  Most parking on our street is on the road, and I'm really glad I don't have to parallel park every day.  It's also nice to walk out the door and be at the center of town in 45 seconds.

Speaking of driving, being on the opposite side of the car is finally feeling more normal.  I was actually watching an American commercial the other day and seeing the steering wheel on the left threw me off and looked weird.  I think KJ and I are experiencing the strangeness of living between two worlds at the moment, where we're starting to understand a little more about the way people think here.  It is a strange feeling to step out of your home culture and view it from a distance. 

While enjoying English life, there have been a few moments where I have laughed and wondered if it meant I was subconsciously missing America when I would spontaneously burst into singing The Star Spangled Banner along with several other patriotic songs.  Even now the words to You're a Grand Old Flag just started bouncing around in my head.  Have you ever thought about how many patriotic songs we have?  Stepping out of your home culture makes you more aware of the distinctiveness of it, the things that are just the way things are and you never think about why.

As somewhat of an afterthought, I've heard several English people say Americans have the best National Anthem, though I would say I quite like God Save the Queen, too.

So, I would say, we're all doing really well.  Our church family has been so good at loving us, praying for us, and helping us to begin to understand cultural differences.  We are really thankful for them.  We are really thankful for our family and church family in Alabama, for the continued love we feel from you with your gifts, prayers, and encouraging messages.  In the midst of developing new routines here, I still feel like I've yet to figure out the best way to communicate regularly with people back home.  The time difference, while not vast, does make it difficult.  So, we are definitely still trying to figure out a lot of things.

Maybe I should close out with some things we're enjoying:

  • The kids LOVE scooter-ing around town.
  • being outside more -- I was looking forward to this most, walking more than we drive, living a life a bit more connected with the outdoors, though the downside is mud.
  • being surrounded by historical places and very old things
  • the English wit - We laugh a lot.
  • seeing God's continued faithfulness to us
  • the beauty all around

The things we're missing:

  • our families
  • TARGET (Obviously, I miss Target.)
  • knowing what we're doing all the time (Not that we really ever knew what we were doing all the time, but when you're in a new place and don't know any of the rules, everything takes longer and is a bit exhausting.)
  • So yeah, knowing the rules and knowing where things are is a big thing, but all of these things come with time.

On another note, this time of year it always feels like the sun is low in the sky, so it makes the light lovely.

After a little walk off the beaten path (though not really because there are all kinds of walks on beaten paths here), I walked back into town.  The bulbs at the flower shop on the corner remind me that Spring, she is a-coming.


  1. I can't believe it has already been 3 months; on one hand I can, but on the other, definitely not. ". . . . between two worlds . . . " - what a unique & enlightening place to be. I am so thankful that the adjustment to being positioned in such a place is becoming more normal - for you & K.J., as well as Ella & James. The 2 1/2 days at school sounds like the perfect mixture for all, and I am so delighted to hear of your "smashing" student and your lovely, uniformed ballet dancer! :) I am grateful you are feeling so loved & supported by your new church family, as well as still feeling the love from yours back home. And, of course, I can never say enough about your BREATHTAKING photography! Thank you SO MUCH for glimpses into your new life (and I, too, enjoyed the low-sitting sun lighting). I can't wait for the photo tour of Capstick Cottage! It makes me smile thinking of your patriotic songs bursts, as well as you experiencing your first British spring, just around the corner. We miss you, too, so very much, and you have constantly been on my heart, especially today. Oh, and yes, I am fully aware my Target days are ticking ;) (Sorry for the potential annoyance of commenting on almost everything you said - I couldn't help myself. I guess it made me feel more like I was a part of a conversation with you rather than just reading your words.) I love you dearly. Please hug my brother for me and my precious niece and nephew.

    1. I'm glad you were able to comment on it all! :) I will pass on your hugs. We miss you, and are so glad we're still in your heart though so far away. Yes, please do enjoy having everything cute and wonderful and reasonably priced at Target for your enjoyment. It is a rare thing. ;)