>Only the Beginning of the Adventure

>I thought of this title on the flight from Manchester to JFK in New York, little did I know how true that would be even in the next few hours!

The last week at Capernwray was very surreal. We all knew that we would be leaving soon but I don’t think it really hit anyone until the coach was leaving Thursday night (June 9). Mom arrived Tuesday right after lunch, my friend John was able to drive me into town so we could pick her up at the train station in Carnforth. That afternoon I spent showing mom around, introducing her to people and generally trying to keep her awake until bed time. Tuesday night was a special service instead of regular lectures so we had about an hour of worship and then an hour of sharing time.

Wednesday we had regular lectures in the morning, Chris Thomas was speaking about relationships and that day he talked about the relationship between parents and their children, which mom really enjoyed. After lunch we went into Carnforth and I showed my mom around (which didn’t really take much time) and then we went into the second-hand bookshop and spent at least an hour in there. We found a ton of really neat books, but since weight and room for packing to get home was already tight we were only able to pick up a couple books. That afternoon when we got back from town I went for a run and then we got ready for the banquet. The banquet that night was really fun, everyone was dressed up and taking pictures of each other. Plus, the dinner was a longer/fancier event than usual with staff members and some of their kids being waiters and waitresses for the evening. After dinner we also had our graduation where we got our certificates for the program, one of the main reasons mom came to visit was to see this. After the banquet we had a “dance” in the sports hall. The Capernwray definition of a dance is basically everyone crowds up together and bounces around while waving their hands around, pause for the Cha-Cha Slide, continue random dancing, pause for Macarena, continue random dancing. That lasted until lock-up and it was really fun.

Thursday was spent listening to a couple lectures, finishing packing (I only had my day-to-day stuff left to pack, I knocked most of it out of the way before mom came so I wouldn’t have to spend time doing that) and cleaning our rooms. That night was a goodbye service, there was a lot of crying and people saying goodbye. Some people left on the coach that night, I have to admit, I didn’t cry that night and felt bad because almost everyone else was weeping. After the coach left everyone was pretty depressed, so we went into the kitchen and found all the food that people had left behind. The end result was Melissa and a few other people and me ate the remainder of a couple tubs of ice cream, made icing, mixed peanut butter and chex cereal and created some pretty gross leftover soup. It did make us feel a little better to be able to goof off together and just have a good time. There wasn’t a lock-up time that night so we stayed up really late and Melissa and I were able to have tea together one last time. We sat on the windowsill overlooking the courtyard and just talked about things we had learned and how we were feeling about going back home. I finally got in bed around 1:45am and was almost asleep when the fire alarm went off! Of course everyone has to get outside and there are assigned places you are supposed to go so I grabbed a jacket and some shoes. I knew mom wouldn’t know what was going on, so I had to go to the guest rooms to get her and Kate’s mom (who had come in on Wednesday afternoon). We stood in the courtyard until they gave us the all-clear to go back inside.

Friday morning Melissa and Kaity left and that’s when I cried. Thankfully, Josh Melder (one of the other students) made me go roll on the grass as they were leaving (a sort of inside joke we all had) and it sort of cheered me up so I wasn’t depressed all day. That day was so weird. Just sitting around watching as group after group of people left until there was hardly anyone left. At 11:30 me, mom, Kate and her mom all left to go to Carnforth so we could get our train to London. The train ride was about 3 1/2 hours long and went pretty well. When we got to London we took a taxi to the flat where we were staying, the same place Kate and I stayed when we were in London over spring break. We spent Friday getting settled in and showing our moms around the area a little bit.

Saturday we took the tube into central London and saw Westminster, the houses of Parliament, the Eye, the Southbank area (there was a festival going on), the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, the Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and a ton of other stuff. We ate at the Old Thameside Inn and then mom and I went back to the Globe Theatre because we had tickets to see All’s Well That Ends Well! We stood in the yard in the second row from the stage, it was really fun to see how the actors interacted with the audience and it was a really good show.

Sunday we went to Westminster Abbey for the morning service, wandered around for a bit in the Abbey and then tried to find a few of our friends in St. James’ Park. We couldn’t find them and it was raining so we went back to the Caffe Nero by Trafalgar Square and had lunch. After that we went to Hillsong London for the afternoon service. My mom commented on how different the services were, Westminster was very traditional, no real mention of the gospel. Hillsong was alive, they gave a great message, presented the gospel clearly and gave an invitation at the end of the service. We went to Garfunkel’s for dinner, a restaurant that was next to the Dominion Theatre where the Hillsong service had been, and then went back to the flat for the night because it was still raining.

Monday we took a coach to Oxford and spent the day wandering around and exploring. We went to the Eagle and Child for dinner, the pub where Tolkein, Lewis and the rest of the Inklings used to meet and talk about what they were writing. We also saw Christchurch and visited Primark (a department store ๐Ÿ™‚ ). When we got back to London we stopped by Buckingham Palace as it was starting to get dark (around 9:45 at that point) and took a bunch of pictures. Then we walked to the houses of Parliament so we could get some nice pictures at night.

Tuesday Kate and her mom went to Hampton Court and mom and I went on a lunch river cruise on the Thames! The lunch cruise took about 2 hours and was really nice. After that we walked to the Theatre district and explored, we had dinner and then went to the Garrick Theatre where we saw Pygmalion. It was a great show! Rupert Everrett played Henry Higgins, Diana Riggs played his mother and Kara Tointon played Eliza Doolittle. After the show we were standing outside the theater when Diana Riggs walked out past us! So we stayed a while longer and Kara Tointon came out! I was able to get her autograph on my ticket and then Rupert Everrett came out and also signed my ticket. It was pretty funny to see how casual they were, she just rode a bike away to have dinner with some friends and he just walked across the street into some random neighborhood.

Wednesday we had to figure out our train tickets to get back to Manchester where we were flying out to get home. After we had that figured out we found a shop called The Forbidden Planet which is full of sci-fi stuff from TV and movies. We got a couple souvenirs there because of the BBC show Dr. Who which we watch. Then we found a new suitcase for me that had wheels (the trunk I brought in September didn’t have wheels…bad idea. But that’s another story for another time) and went back to the flat to pack.

Thursday a taxi took us to the train station and we were off to Manchester! We got to Manchester around 2pm and just chilled there until Friday morning when our flight left at 11am. We got there really early because of the way the train tickets worked out.

Our flight to JFK was uneventful and we got through customs fine and our bags checked through without a problem. We got to our gate and sat there, I went to get Alex something out a shop and then it was time to board at 4pm. We got in line and people started boarding when a storm moved in, they stopped the boarding process because there was lightening and they couldn’t have people walking on the tarmac to get into the plane while there was lightening. Our flight was delayed an hour and then it got canceled! No more than five minutes after being canceled the weather cleared up completely. This is how the nightmare began… when our flight was canceled we immediately tried to get help from some Delta people to get on a different flight so we could get home. We were pretty tired at this point, sleeping in an airport isn’t the most restful way to sleep. Unfortunately, everyone we encountered was rude and unhelpful. We tried getting to be on standby for an 8:30 flight to Charlotte but it got canceled, so we got on standby for a 9:45 flight to Raleigh. When they finished loading there was only one spot left but while mom and I were deliberating about if/who one of us should go the guy gave the spot away! Needless to say we were both pretty upset, especially since we had just decided that I would go on the flight and get picked up by my Aunt who lives there and mom would get on a later flight. We then ran to a gate where a flight to Atlanta was supposed to be leaving in about an hour to try to get on there. After 6 hours of dealing unhelpful and rude people we encountered our first helpful and polite person at the desk for the Atlanta flight. We were confirmed on the flight and finally got put on a connecting flight to Charlotte that would leave Atlanta at 8:30am on Saturday. We agreed to that so we were feeling a little better when dad offered to drive to Atlanta and pick us up (mom had been on the phone with him while I was getting us booked to Atlanta). We were very grateful and accepted his offer, so dad drove 5 hours to Atlanta and picked us up at 3:30am on Saturday and drove us straight back. We got home at 8:00am, I went in and woke Alex up (I jumped on her and she was still happy to see me, I should go away more often!). I slept for a couple hours and when I got up at 11:30 dad had made waffles for breakfast! Needless to say, it’s obvious who the best dad in the world is.

Now to explain the title of this post, if you’re a nerd like me you may have already figured out where I got the title. If you aren’t a nerd, it’s ok because it’s a little obscure. It’s actually the title for one of the tracks on the Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack for when the Pevensies are about to return to their world. While I was at Capernwray a lot of people would joke around and say that we were in Narnia (big manor house in the country, lamp posts, snow, etc) and I joined in the fun. The more I thought about it as it got closer to the time when we would all be going home I realized it’s actually kind of true. There’s a line in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan says, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” Each one of us who attended Capernwray were brought there for a short time to learn certain things, about ourselves and God, in a different environment so that we could use those skills when we returned to “our world”.

Leaving Capernwray wasn’t the end of the book for me, it’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. This summer is shaping up to be pretty busy, as is the fall semester and spring semester. I’d appreciate it if you would be praying with me as I apply for an internship program for the spring and continue praying about returning to Capernwray next summer to work on the guest team during their summer holiday programs. I hope you keep reading as God keeps writing my “book” ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Here’s a link to a video one of the team members who went to Kenya with me made about our time there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8kwU00ObMQ (note: you can ONLY get to the video by clicking this link)




Hello Friends and Family!
Bad Alaina, very bad. I know I haven’t updated you in weeks (since May 15th, apparently) and I am very sorry. Spring School has been a different sort of experience. I wrote an update during the first two weeks of school but never posted it for whatever reason. I will include it here and then give you a brief update on things that have happened since then.
Spring School!
Picking up where I left off…
Sunday morning breakfast was a strange event. Walking into the dining hall and seeing people I recognized…and about 70 people I had never seen before. At the end of Winter School I would have felt comfortable sitting down at any table, now I scanned the tables desperately to figure out where to sit. After breakfast I got ready for church and got to know my room mate Megan (from Wisconsin) a little better and we speculated about where our other room mate Carita (from Columbia, SC who was here for Winter School) was. The past two weeks (I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already!) have been spent settling back in and getting used to the new โ€œnormalโ€. I’ve been getting to know a lot of new people and have really been enjoying these new relationships and growing the relationships I already had. Oh! I’m back to sleeping in the main house this term, which is really nice.
The weather this term has been fantastic! I’ve worn shorts a ton and have continued my tan from Africa. Most afternoons have been spent sitting on the croquet lawn with many other students, singing, playing instruments, talking, reading and just getting to know each other a little better. I played tennis for the first time yesterday, obviously I wasn’t very good at it but I had a good time.
I know, you are all desperate to know about the Royal Wedding. Well, we didn’t get the day off. We had lectures in the morning while they taped the wedding, then we watched it in the afternoon. So, I’m pretty sure some of you got to watch it before I did.
That was April 29, seeing as how today is the glorious second of June I have a lot of catching up to do. First, the weather was really deceptive. It was fantastic for those first couple weeks and then went back to miserable, cold and wet. AKA, typical English weather. It’s starting to warm up again, but it hasn’t been nearly as nice.
There weren’t nearly as many assignments for Spring School and I handed in my last written assignment last week and am sitting my last test this afternoon. The rest of the school sat the test on Tuesday but I wasn’t here, along with 30 other people. More on that later.
The lectures have been really good this term, so far we’ve had such varied topics as 1 Timothy, personality tests, 1 John, Joshua, Isaiah, Ephesians, practical theology and soteriology. I really enjoyed the week that we had Ridge Burns come in, he talked about spiritual gifts and how we’re wired to interact with others. It helped cement a lot of things in my mind and reaffirmed the direction I am going to take when I return to university. It’s probably time to fill everyone in on my plans once I leave Capernwray (only one more week of school, a week in London and then home!).
Over Christmas when I was home for a couple weeks my parents brought up the future (dum dum dum!), I had basically been trying not to think about it the first term I was at Capernwray and my parents pretty much said I needed to be thinking about making a decision. Immediately I went into semi-meltdown mode in my head and told my parents I didn’t want to think about it. In summation, they said, โ€œWe love you, too bad. You need to think about it.โ€ I don’t want my parents to come off as mean or anything, the really do love me and I did need to think about it. So we talked about it for a little while and came to a bit of a conclusion. My dad brought up hospitality, something I had been interested in a few years ago before I became interested in photography. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to fit. Looking at an ability battery I had taken, spiritual gift assessments and things I simply knew about myself I decided that was the direction I was going to pursue. So, this summer I’ll be working as a nanny once again (yay!) and hopefully waitressing in the evenings. In the fall I will continue working, take a few required classes at South Piedmont Community college and then apply for an internship opportunity in Florida. If that works out I would live in Florida from January until May of next year. Hopefully, after that I would apply to Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte and get my degree in Hotel Management/Hospitality Services.
So, it looks like God has given me another step! Until May 2009 I genuinely had no idea what I was doing after graduation. When I heard about Capernwray it sounded perfect. Everything went well, doors opening etc. and I had exactly one year of life laid out for me after graduation. Now God has given me another year and it’s such a relief to know what I’m going to be doing for the next year and perhaps a little more.
Aaaand back to Capernwray. As I said, only one week left. This term has gone by so quickly I really can’t believe it. Fun activities we’ve done here include some football matches, a campus wide game of something like modified capture the flag, Scottish dancing, volleyball tournaments, basketball tournaments and a fashion talk for the girls. We also ran what’s called Police Day (a chance for local members of the police force to come out and have some fun) and an Open Day for people to come experience Capernwray. This past week I went on outreach with about 30 other people.
A brief description of our outreach is camping for five days at Cliff College and working on the volunteer team for Festival, a family conference type thing. Our team was split into three different groups: one group worked with the children aged 3-11, another group worked with the youth team of young people aged 12-approximately 19, and the last group was the detached youth team. The detached team is the most complicated and that was the team I worked with. Four of us from Capernwray team worked with six of the students from Cliff College. Our job was to walk around the campsite engaging young people in conversations, getting to know them and encouraging them to attend the youth events encouraging around campus. Our โ€œshiftโ€ was from 2pm to 2am every night, 2-6:30 we went around the campsite, 6:30ish-9:30ish we were in the Pulse tent (where the youth events occurred), 10-11 was a break in the lounge, 11-2 was running the Chill Out room where there was an Xbox, Nintendo 64, music and films. I had a really wonderful time getting to know the young people and just hanging out with them. It was a really relaxed time and I had a great time getting to know a lot of the students from Cliff College. The only difficult thing was since we were camping I didn’t get quality sleep and because the sun rises so early I got up around 7:30 each morning. I actually got a cold on Thursday when we arrived, which lasted until we left on Tuesday around 10 am. The cold is actually still hanging on a little bit, but I should be better by next week.
Now, some SUPER EXCITING news! On Tuesday my mom is going to be arriving at the Manchester airport to visit Capernwray for the last few days and then we will stay in London for a week with Kate Arnold and her mom, who is also coming. I’m really happy that someone from home will be able to see the place that has basically defined the past year of my life and meet some of the people that have meant so much to me over the past nine months.
I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to blog again before I leave, hopefully I will be able to find some time while we’re in London, but if I don’t get the chance I just want to say thank you so much for keeping up with me and praying for me during the past year. I’m sure I’m the most inconsistent blogger in the world but you’ve put up with me and I’m so grateful! I plan to continue blogging when I get home and will hopefully establish it as a habit.
What will the Stateside version of Daly Dose look like? Hopefully something like this:
-Things God is teaching me
-Exercise tips (maaaayyybeee, we’ll see about that one ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
and more!
Thank you all so much! If you have ANY questions for me about details I was fuzzy on or left out entirely leave a comment, send me an email or message me on Facebook.