Discipleship Year, the service program I began in Sept. with 14 other young adults (and the reason I came to Nottingham) has now ended. We had our final community day yesterday although, in true Discipleship Year fashion, we still have some cleaning and serving commitments to complete in the next few weeks.
it was a sad day in many ways, since serving and being stretched has been a transforming experience, and since the 15 of us have experienced this process together, and since it's been, in many ways, a raw process that's exposed who we really are, we've bonded together in an amazing way. Of course every season must end, and it's better for us to finish the program and our structured time together on a high note, before we're all sick of it, but I am surprised by the depth of regret I feel that it's over. This program hasn't always been easy, and being the American in a crowd of Brits (plus one Austrian and one Israeli Arab) has had its challenging moments, but I feel that these folks are true friends.
No, it's not the end of all things, of course. In fact, I am planning to spend one more year continuing to serve the church here in Nottingham, so I don't have to say goodbye to this new land and this community yet. And, in fact, yesterday had some new experiences.
One of them was trying a Pimm's cup for the first time. You may know about Pimm's because of Wimbledon...it's the "posh drink of choice," as one friend described it, quite suitable for enjoying with your strawberries and double cream. I'd tried it once before in Chicago (when my expat Brit friend Alison served it to me) but never with an entire salad inside the glass! The cucumbers were especially surprising. But it was delicious. What is Pimm's? I think it's a fruity, light liqueur that you mix with Sprite or 7-up (what they call lemonade here in England) and serve with fruit. And cucumbers, apparently.
After a packed day of farewell activities (including enjoying Pimm's before a special lunch), we all gathered at the pub, where my friends Tim and Pete tried to explain cricket to me. We found it was easiest if they correlated the cricket terms with baseball terms that...sort of...match up. Finally people began to trickle away, but a few of the girls and I just couldn't bear to end our last official day together, so we went to the cinema to see "Mamma Mia!", which was pure silliness, though entertaining silliness (I have to admit that a snarky line from my friend and Pioneer Press film critic Bruce Ingram's review kept running through my head: Who knew there were so many ABBA songs to hate?). We also discovered that Pierce Brosnan absolutely cannot sing. Poor Pierce.
I like this photo because you get a good view of a much-touted film opening this week, "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging." I'd imagine it's been advertised in the U.S., as well, since the director Gurinder Chadha is famous back home for films like "Bend it Like Beckham" and "Bride and Prejudice." It's billed as the English answer to the American high school comedy.