This past week has been a bit of an unusual one, but also a very good one.
For those of you who have been following the weather in the UK, the British isles are currently getting socked with lots of snow. Northern Ireland has not gotten as much snow as some parts of Scotland and England, but we have gotten a fair share.
Surprisingly enough, we had 8 days of sunshine in a row. But it was cold enough, that the snow on the ground after melting slightly during the day would refreeze to ice. (It doesn't help that the sun is up for about 7 out of 24 hours.) And more snow would often fall at night.
Today, the snow is falling fast. For living in such a northern country, the Norn Irish don't deal well with snow. Think Williamsburg, VA, style of cancelling schools at the thought of snow.
But in their defense, the Norn Irish are contending with a lot of ice under the snow, lots of country roads that are hard to maintain, and lots of small city streets that few snow/ salt trucks can traverse.
Walking to work this week has been interesting as the sidewalks of one of the main streets that I walk down have been completely iced. Skating to work isn't really my favorite thing to do, so I generally ended up walking in the street, skirting around parked cars. Adventures-Belfast style.
This week has been unusual work-wise for several reasons.
The Nativity planning which started last week continues to go well! Consequently, this week has been a bit calmer compared to last week.
Due to the teacher being sick, Dance Nation was cancelled this week, and then due to icy roads, Friendship Circle was then cancelled as well.
Construction continues to go well at EBM - the church itself was torn down this week. I unfortunately did not have my camera at work the day that the roof came off, but it was quite a sight to see! (And some EBM staff were out taking pictures - hopefully they will be posted online soon, and I will share the link.)
Last night was the first meeting of Re:act, the youth group for 11-18 year olds. I hosted the gathering at my flat, and it was a resounding success!
I had forgotten how much I enjoy working with older youth. (For example: they are old enough to play some of my favorite and more "advanced" games - such as spoons. Also, in the down time, there is space for both serious and also humorous discussions.)
In addition to the standard pizza/crisps (aka chips)/ soda fare of youth gatherings, I also put out some plates of fruit and veg. The apple/ satsuma plate went over really well. The carrot/celery/hummus tray did not... As I expected, most of the youth had not had hummus before. Surprising revelation: only a couple of them had ever had celery sticks before. Most had only had celery in soups... And after their first bite of a celery stick, most made grotesque faces and couldn't finish the remainder of it. I tried explaining to them that carrots and celery sticks are standard fare in America, but I am afraid most of them still thought that I was crazy. :)
Not sure yet what the weekend and next week has in store. Perhaps a makeshift sleigh is in sight for the near future. Who knew I should have brought my snow pants to Northern Ireland!?
Overall, a great week at work of planning activities for the Christmas season, surviving and even enjoying the Scripture Union at the school yesterday (there were a couple of volunteers missing), and having some free time to reflect just how quickly the past three months have flown by!
I hope you are enjoying the Advent season!
During this time, let us reflect on how we often feel like this:
But when we are able to keep life in perspective, appreciate the time that we get to spend with friends and family, and realize that we have indoor plumbing, we are called to be more like this:
In grace and peace. :)