Freshly back from my 3 month sabbatical I want to share some perspective and random observations gained from my time away. I am so very appreciative of being given the time to step away from everyday life (at work and home!) to reflect and experience life in other countries and to just have some down time.  My sabbatical time included a two week cruise on the Seine from Paris to Normandy with my husband, Albert and a two week tour of Scotland, Wales and England with my daughter, Anna.

Much to my surprise, the two adventures I enjoyed the most were time on an organic farm in Normandy and a sheep dog demonstration in Wales. Who knew?!  On both excursions we were consistently surrounded by history and UNESCO sites and yet I was most captivated by experiences of living, growing and evolving.

In four weeks of traveling we encountered only one period of rain which lasted for about 3 hours one evening.  In both France and the UK we were told over and over by the tour guides how lucky we were to have such beautiful weather. Indeed we were! However, I did find myself hoping for at least one cool and overcast day in the UK.  Particularly in the UK, those native to the area reveled in the weather.  I often wonder how they feel about it now as the heat and lack of rain has continued unabated.

On both trips we encountered a new (to us) mode of energy conservation on our cruise ship and in the hotels in the UK. In order to turn on anything requiring electricity, your key card had to be inserted in a slot just inside the hotel room door. When you left your room and took the key with you, everything electric was shut down.  I could use that at home! I wonder why we don’t have a similar technology employed in our hotels on this side of the pond.

In England there was, of course, a lot of excitement about the Royal Wedding. Albert and I watched it from our hotel in Versailles while we were recovering from jet lag.  I loved seeing our presiding bishop, Michael Curry, preach and was feeling pretty good about being a member of his church. Apparently, that admiration was not widely shared in the UK.  Aside from his clearly non-British preaching style, he exceeded his time limit which upset the Brits no end! And from another perspective: Anna and I were driven to Heathrow Airport at the end of our trip by a native of Yorkshire whose father is from Jamaica and mother, from St. Kitts. Making conversation, I asked if he had watched the royal wedding. He pointed to his very dark skin and said “See this? Absolutely! The wedding was important for us.”  His response was unexpected and poignant.  Race relations are an area where work is needed regardless of which side of the ocean we live on.

After five weeks of sabbatical time, between trips, I suddenly realized that I felt a “lightening’. I can’t quite explain what that lightening was and still is but it was quite real and very welcome!  It helped me realize how much I needed the sabbatical and how grateful I am was the opportunity.  Many thanks to David for suggesting I take a sabbatical and to Barb, Darlene, Kathy and Mark for each minding parts of my job while I was away.  I’m now refreshed and happy to be back home and at work at Redeemer!