Don and I have been living the "This is the last time we'll get to _ _ _ _ _ _ before we go home" challenge for several weeks now, but it still seems surreal that we will be leaving England in a week. It is really, really difficult to think about leaving the people and places we have grown to love so much. It was hard to say good-bye as we left home to come on our mission, but this time we know we won't be returning. Our boxes have been packed and shipped. We've already said good-bye to many good friends we won't see again before we leave. This is harder than we imagined!
Though we may be leaving England, it feels like a big chunk of our hearts will be staying here. There are so many, many people and places and activities that we will miss. Here's the shortlist of things we'll miss that Don and I have compiled over the last little while. It is by no means comprehensive. Just heartfelt.
Christmas programs and all the firesides & activities at the London Temple
Dear, dear friends - both on and off the temple grounds
All the fabulous sister missionaries we have served with and love so much
Sweet friendships with senior missionaries - in the VC, in the temple, and in
West Park Manor, their "MTC" and everyone there
So many people we have met at the VC who have touched our lives
The spirit of conversion at the Christus - the powerful narrative
The Peacock Pub
Knowledgeable, well-trained, courteous drivers
Dry British humor
The Lodge - where we live - with it's massive view of the majestic
The trains and the Tube
The temple staff and both Presidencies
Visiting different wards each Sunday and meeting with "the Saints"
The spirit and beauty of the London Temple grounds
Having a temple about 100 steps from our front door
Ducks, foxes, and swans
British accents - all of them
The Mission Office - the source of all wisdom!
The wonderful missionaries - past and present - of the England London
The beauty of the English countryside - especially hedges and gardens
and pastures of sheep
British gardens, castles, and cathedrals
Narrow roads (I never thought I'd miss them, but I will!)
Coaches (buses) on the temple grounds on Saturday
Rainbows over the temple
The excitement of London - the Thames, Parliament, Westminster Abbey,
Big Ben, etc.
London theatre - concerts, plays and musicals
Food - Authentic Fish and Chips, Cornish pasties, Yorkshire pudding,
Sticky Toffee pudding, and Lemon Curd, just to name a few
Majestic village churches from the 14th and 15th centuries
British culture and history
So much to love. So hard to leave.
Just before Christmas, we received a sweet gift. In the midst of all of our angst about leaving England, Kristen emailed us a copy of our 7-year-old grandson's Christmas Wish List. It reminded us that we really are going to be excited to see our family again soon! It has changed our perspective about going home. Thanks, Ammon!
AMMON'S CHRISTMAS WISH LIST (TRANSLATED)
Ammon's Christmas List
1. Kung Zoo
2. Kung Zoo little thing
3. Remote Control Helicopter
4. A few Hero Factories
5. 2 Bay Blades
6. 1 or 2 Lego sets or 3 or 4
7. A bunch of candy
8. A Tomigatchi with a store
9. A stuffed animal
10. GRANDMA AND GRANDPA!
O.K. - so we're #10, but we made his list! Santa's going to be a little late, Ammon, but we're coming! ~Pat/Grandma~