Summer!

Blog
Hello lovely people!
A quick update from us… Loads has happened in the past month. We graduated from Redcliffe, bought a car, I started a job, we moved house, we organised a surprise 50th birthday party for my Mum, and now we’re off on holiday. It’s been very manic, and I am relieved to finally be able to catch up on sleep!
Having a car is amazing. Something that used to irritate me a lot was the knowledge that living in Gloucester we are surrounded by amazing countryside – the Cotswolds, the Malverns, the Forest of Dean, and all of Gloucester’s own hills – but we were unable to get to most of them without a car. Likewise with Tango, we were unable to get to almost any of the Tango events in the area because of not having a car. When I started my job I had to get a car (which came in very useful when moving house!), and now finally we are able to go walking in the hills, attend Tango events, and even visit family and friends Up North without having to ether pay extortionate train fare or spend whole days on coaches. Awesome!
I mentioned that I’ve started a new job. It genuinely feels like a dream job, as if I was made for this job. I am a Community Builder, which is difficult to explain in just a few sentences (I’m not a builder!). Basically I’ve been assigned to two local villages and my role is to get to know the people there (22,000), find out what’s going on and what people love doing, identify any isolated or lonely people and find out what they are good at or what they love doing, find ways of connecting them with other people in the area who have similar interests or hobbies, potentially encouraging them to meet regularly and start small groups to pursue those interests (and helping them resource those), and generally building inclusive communities… This TED Talk sums it up quite nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5xR4QB1ADw
Since Ben is still job-hunting, he’s been a wonderful ‘housewife’ for me – doing the cooking and some of the cleaning and laundry while I’ve been out at work each day! While moving house we were house-sitting for some holidaying friends, so were able to enjoy the luxury of their large house and art studio and beautiful garden, which was absolutely wonderful and perfect timing for us! Afterwards, though, we had the stress of living surrounded by piles of stuff that needed to be unpacked and sorted and put into place in our new place. That was a very hectic, exhausting and stressful week – but now we’ve left for the summer and will be back to finish off the unpacking (and go back to work after using up all my annual leave plus unpaid leave) in mid August.
This weekend we put on a surprise party for my Mum who recently turned 50, and it was a wonderful evening! About 40 adults showed up, and some of them brought their children too, and it was a lot of fun. Many people shared stories and memories and things that they love or find funny about mum, and a friend did a wonderful quiz with some questions relating to famous Heathers or to things that happened in 1966, and I think everyone had a lot of fun – even Mum!
Today we received some tragic news from the organisation we worked for in Bolivia – three of the five girls who were in the home where I worked have chosen to leave, against the counsel of the staff. I’m devastated… One is back with her old street gang in the dodgy end of town, “working” and probably pregnant again, according to the leader of the organisation – and her two small children have gone to live with relatives of the presumed fathers (therefore separated). One has gone to live with a boyfriend and said that it’s not quite what she had imagined. One has joined a gang in the town near the boys’ home and is being beaten, and a staff member hopes to see her this coming week to see what the organisation can do… I really wish there was something we can do. Please pray for these girls – and for those still in the home, and the staff. Especially for those three girls though. Argh 😥
In lighter news, this coming week Ben and I will be staying with Ben’s parents and he’ll be taking a driving test, and then on Friday we’re going to Finland with Ben’s parents and brothers, to visit the extended family and have a bit of a rest too. We’ve been very excited about this for several months and just can’t wait to get there! Afterwards there are various other summer plans including New Wine, a week with my sister for her 18th, and a few weddings 🙂 Then back to work in mid August, in time for our wedding anniversary! This year has gone by so quickly…
Thanks again for all your thoughts, prayers, emails, phone calls and messages etc – we love hearing from you!
God bless 🙂

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