Saturday, May 17, 2014

Getting situated

I still don't quite know what day of the week it is, but I landed in Heathrow on Thursday morning and met a few small adventures right off the plane. My hands were so dry, the computer did not accept my fingerprints as a match with those on file. The border agent had to consult with his co-worker at the next booth. Pretty soon I had two of them working on my case (and nobody left in the line behind me: I was the only thing coming between those two agents and their tea break). After three tries with the fingerprints, the agent went to a back room to call up my documents on the computer for a verification. I passed! On I went to baggage claim, and then out to meet the sisters...who weren't there. (Turned out to be a mixup on the flight information.) It took me a while to get on the free airport wifi, and then to call the convent via Skype. While the phone rang, I popped on Facebook and posted my predicament, tagging several of the sisters in England in case some of them happened to be online. I also zipped off an email to another sister, alerting her to my arrival. And then someone picked up the phone and I let them know that, yes, I was already at the airport. Really. Terminal One. Yes, Terminal One. Meanwhile, the superior had gotten the Facebook notification and was making calls of her own to be sure that someone was on the way. Given the challenge of just getting a visa, this was a tiny hiccup--but another assurance that my mission in England is meant to bear fruit!

The convent is not that far from Heathrow, and before long I was shown to a cozy room and given some time to start working on my jet lag. I am getting used to the very different setting here--from downtown Chicago and its skyscrapers to a country district with cows in a nearby public pasture. I've been waking up, for some reason, at 3:30 a.m. and going down for morning coffee while the birds are just starting to sing. The fragrance of flowers is striking. Even in chapel, the scent is so strong I keep looking around for one of those plug-in things, but it's all natural. In the back, Sister Gabriella maintains an amazing garden. (Tomorrow we are having miniature artichokes she will harvest right before they hit the pan.) Oh, and tomorrow I am also going to a First Communion in a neighboring parish; the little girl of an Indian IT specialist. The parishes here are bursting at the seams with Catholics from India and Poland, among others. The district is teeming with immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well (in the little mall I visited today, the jewelry mannequin-heads wore hijab!).

I don't know when I'll actually get to London-town, but it's a real prospect. In the meantime, I have a quiet room in a country spot, and time to recover from some major jet lag...


6 comments:

esteban said...

It must be something about moving abroad. I had some "adventures" when I left to teach in Papua New Guinea. I think it makes getting situated in your new digs feel a bit better than it might have.

Enjoy the garden and the tea!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

The tea is fantastic!

Anne Ishikawa said...

I really need to meet you soon I am on 45 minutes in the car away from you.

Betty Twamley said...

Hope you are settling in. See you next week

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Yes, Betty, I am transitioning in,

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

The jet lag is still an issue, as you may imagine!