LIFE, CURRENTLY


When I first moved to Oxford, I had this grand idea that I would reinvent myself and become Delightfully Mysterious. You know, not give too much away, keep people guessing (keep my mouth shut). Of course, this idea flew right out the window when I started meeting actual people. I'd open my mouth and my entire life's story would spill right out onto the floor and I'd stand there awkwardly looking at it, wishing I could scoop it up and swallow it back down. Fortunately I've met the most gracious people who politely looked away while I collected myself and tried to mop up the damage. It's amazing how many friends you can make by being open and honest...even if you walk away painfully reliving every word you wish you hadn't said. 
I say this because I'm about to make a mess on the floor, hoping that you won't point and laugh but instead see something interesting. 

To do this story justice, we will have to start way back at the Beginning. Not as far back as the day I was born, not even as far back as the days I wore too much eyeliner and plucked my eyebrows to absolute obscurity, but farther back than my move to Oxford, and a bit farther back than the days leading up to that. 
I think our story will best start around the time I got married. I had just moved back from Australia, having lived there for a year while going to college - I came back with a Certificate IV in worship ministry, stars in my eyes, and a killer tan that I have never again been able to achieve. 
My new husband and I jumped into married life - he a music director and master's student, me a youth ministry director and barista. Things went on like this for a while and when it came time for Mark to graduate we had a decision to make: would he continue in education and apply to do his PhD? We decided yes, of course Mark should continue in his academic dream which eventually led us to Oxford. 
To summarize: since we were married, I have been supporting my husband one hundred percent as he fulfills his dream of pursuing academics (which he is particularly excellent at, I might at). This has never posed much of a problem for me - I am so happy to be standing alongside Mark as he pursues a life-long passion. I knew vaguely in the back of my mind that eventually I wanted to go back to university at some point, but never had a specific timeline in mind. 
When we first started exploring the idea of moving to Oxford I looked into undergraduate programs, but nothing stood out to me as something I needed to do (if I'm going to spend three-to-four years of my life studying something and spend all that money, I want it to be something I need to do) so I put studying back into the depths of my brain to pull out again on a rainy day. 
Well, that rainy day came along winter last year. 
Have you ever stumbled across something at just the right time? Something you know wouldn't really have been great one month, six months, a year before? Just me? Okay. Well, trust me, it's pretty awesome.
This Something that I stumbled across took the form of a potential route of education I had never really considered, or even knew existed. 
(I suppose this is where our story really starts, but sometimes you need a bit of background to make things have a bit more impact, right? Also: life-story-spillage).
Oxford University has a department of continuing education that offers part-time courses in many different areas of study. I was perusing the continuing education website one day to see what kinds of courses they offered and discovered they offer a two-year part-time undergraduate diploma in creative writing. Two years - that means I would finish at the same time as Mark. Part-time - that means I could still work. Creative writing - something I need to do. Having something like that as a possibility made me simultaneously feel overwhelmed with excited and completely sick with fear. That's how I knew I needed to apply. 
I researched the program to death - the application requirements, cost, course outline - and got a thrill of fear every time I opened the page. I decided to keep all this information to myself. I would not tell a soul (except Mark) and apply in secret. Naturally, I told everyone. 
The library became my new after-work domain and soon I had a rough draft of my statement of purpose (probably one of the most evil things anyone ever has to write, if you ask me). I sent it off to some trusted advisers for feedback and eventually came up with something that would do.
Then I moved on to my submission piece. A sample of my writing. Two thousand words of it. Here's how it went:
I was hit with a great idea. The idea took on a wonderful shape in my brain. I did some research into the topic. My imagination ran wild with possibilities. I tried writing. Hated everything. Stared at a blank document for hours, willing myself to start again. Scrapped the idea. Started a new one. Scrapped that one, went back to the original. Trapped myself in the library until I had roughly two thousand words and something that made some sort of sense. Sent it to some more trusted advisers for feedback and tried not to fall into the Depths of Despair as I waited for the verdict. Received very valuable feedback. Edited. Edited again and edited one more time for good measure. It was finished (or as finished as it was going to get the day before the deadline).
I loved every second of those few weeks. I loved having a project. I loved going to the library day in and day out. I loved sitting in coffee shops with Mark while he worked on his research and I edited. I loved talking to friends about my story. Don't get me wrong, it was hard work, but work I enjoyed.
I submitted my application and the waiting began.
On the fourth day, I was invited to interview.
Nine days later I interviewed, didn't say anything stupid, and got through the whole thing without crying.
Six days of obsessive email-checking later, I received a letter in the post.
I was accepted. To Oxford University.


Yes, that's me with my official offer letter (obviously things aren't real unless you document them with a photo).
I never thought I would be able say I was accepted to Oxford University - it always seemed like this dream-beyond-a-dream that I didn't even dare dream, because it would clearly never come true.
But here I am with an offer letter to one of the world's leading universities in an area of study I am so passionate about.
So... Now What?
The obvious course of action would be to accept the offer, do the course and learn everything I can - which is ideally what I would like to happen. The only trouble is: Money.
Yes, it's such a terrible dilemma to be in. During the application process there were moments I half-hoped I wouldn't be accepted purely so I wouldn't have to worry about where the finances would come from to pay for it.
I'm still not quite sure, but I'm remaining open and cautiously excited about the whole situation. I'm trusting that things will come together and that I'll feel at peace either way.

So here we are, all caught up to the present, and I commend you, dear reader, for getting this far in our story. We will leave our protagonist (that would be me) at a crossroad, of sorts - an offer received, but not formally accepted. A dilemma to be faced and hopefully overcome. A path to choose - but which one remains to be seen.

...to be continued.

Much love,









13 comments

  1. The picture says it all! I'm so proud of you! You must take after me because I stared at this empty comment box trying to formulate what to say, but I said it - I am so proud and happy for you! Love you bunches!!
    Dad.

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    1. Love you, too, Dad! Couldn't have gotten here without you and mum :)
      xx

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  2. I do hope you'll decide to go! You will find the finances somehow. But regret most often comes in the form of not having done something rather than having done it.

    A huge congrats on getting in!! So happy for you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Nathy!
      I can definitely agree with you there! It's scary thinking how hard it will be... but I think I'm more afraid NOT to do it ;)
      xx

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  3. I do hope you'll decide to go! You will find the finances somehow. But regret most often comes in the form of not having done something rather than having done it.

    A huge congrats on getting in!! So happy for you.

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  4. This is such an amazing story!! Congrats on getting in :)

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    1. Michelle, thank you! It has been a journey but I'm excited to see where it leads!
      xx

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  5. That's so awesome! And I believe the Lord wouldn't have taken you this far just to let you give up on your dream for money matters or any other matter. Look out. There are amazing things coming your way.
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Paula! Amen and amen! Trusting that God will make a way!
      xx

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  6. This is amazing! Well done! just think of all the amazing stationary you can buy for your new course!

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    1. Thanks so much, Reagan! And omg yes ALL the stationary! LOVE stationary (perhaps a bit too much!)
      Hope you're well!
      x

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  7. Wow, congratulations! Life is so funny and surprising.

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    1. Thank you so much, Beverly! And I definitely agree! :)
      x

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