Winter in York

 

It’s been consistently snowing in York for the past few days. There’s something absolutely pure, silent, and magical about having familiar buildings covered with a fresh and fluffy layer of snow. York, as always, is gorgeous in any season. It’s been so great to walk to seminars and make my way through a winter wonderland.

Here are some snaps I’ve captured on my afternoon walks!
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Reality

In spite of the haze of speculation, it is still something of a shock to find myself here, coming to terms with an enormous trust placed in my hands and with the inevitable sense of inadequacy that goes with that.
– Rowan Williams

There have been many days spent in thought about all the responsibilities that will be placed on my shoulders this upcoming year. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when I consider all the reading, paperwork, writing, research, and extra things associated with graduate school. Not only will I be a grad student, I’ll be an international one. This comes with its own particular set of worries and struggles, not completely unknown to me. Thankfully, my move to France prepared me for the process of moving to a foreign country, which was no easy walk in the park.

But there are moments where I feel incandescently happy about what lies ahead. In these fleeting seconds, my heart swells with anticipation and excitement about continuing my studies at such a great program. But crouching behind these glimpses of nerdy glory, the reality of next year quickly follows. In the quiet of my heart, in the silence of my thoughts, I am afraid to be inadequate. I fear showing up and failing miserably.

And it seems so silly to be afraid but so natural at the same time. Here I am, making moves and confidently stepping into my career and future. But I still feel like a kid in the waiting room of a dentist, anxious and unsure of what’s behind the shiny glass doors. I guess at the heart of it, I’m a full-fledged, mid 20’s adult, which kinda still freaks me out. The last time I checked, I was waking up late for high school and running out the door with my backpack to catch the bus. I look in the mirror and don’t see that kid anymore.

I know that because I am a Christian, God has promised to provide and care for me. I know that I am not forgotten, that my fears are not misunderstood or misinterpreted by my creator. I am known, fully and completely. He knows the days in front of me, the moments  lost to the past. In this respect, I feel secure and settled. I am taking steps forward in peace and confidence. So when I am afraid, when I fear failure in any respect, when I don’t feel “enough” or “able”, I can, according to Hebrews 4:16, come “boldly to the throne of grace” and I am told that I will find mercy and grace. The Lord is merciful, He is gracious, He is loving, and He is making a path for me in England. It is my delight to follow.

UK Visa – Part Two

Well, good things have happened since I posted last about my visa process.

Since then, I have collected all the necessary financial documents, sent them off to the UK, and found out that all my loan/funding papers have been processed! The school contacted me this afternoon and informed me that they’re mailing me some documents that are essential for my consulate dossier. I’m just gathering more “proof” for the immigration officials that I am a grad student and that I have the sufficient funds to cover my stay in England. The government doesn’t want me to be a leech on society, which is pretty normal.

From there, it’s just a matter of sending all these documents and my passport to the consulate. I’ll also need to get fingerprinted, which is a bit odd… but I’ll take it!  At this point, it’s beginning to seem like the act of applying for a visa is a mere formality now that all the “puzzle pieces” are beginning to come together. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super complicated to figure out, but once you have a working idea of how the system actually functions, applying for a visa is just a giant paper chase. Fortunately, things on my end are pretty straightforward because I don’t have a husband or any children.

I’m really thankful that all of these pieces are falling into place in a timely fashion. It’s a total answer to prayer. Now I just have to sit tight and be prepared to cough up $600! Visas are expensive!