That kind of week.

on September 8, 2011 in Scotland with 7 comments by

It’s been that kind of week, in the best way.

I don’t know how much I’ve told you about my role at Crossroads Edinburgh, but it kinda looks like this: take one part secretary and one part organizer, throw it in a blender with an events coordinator, a personal assistant, cruise director, and an interior decorator. Add a gallon of orange juice and that’s me.

[I drink a lot of orange juice.]

So this week has been crazy fun, emphasis on the crazy.

It started on Saturday when our friends Ian and Maxine at Napier University invited us to have a booth during their fresher’s festival. Which, as you can imagine, was AMAZINGLY AWESOME AND UNBELIEVABLY COOL. I mean, in a matter of six hours, we met over 600 students.

Whoa.

Here’s our little display. Cute, huh? We handed out pens [welcome to uni, kiddos, you’re gonna be writing a lot] and postcards with our church details. It was really really fun.

Here are the girls- Melissa, Esther, and me! It was such a fun day, and you know me well enough to know that the day I get to talk to 600 people is more or less my heaven.

[I wish I was kidding.]

Then Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, we all buzzed around town collecting things for our Wednesday night dinner. See, every Wednesday this month, we are hosting free dinners for students. Some of the team is in charge of the food and some are in charge of the decor and some are ridiculously bossy and find it natural to order people around all the live long evening.

[I mean me. I’m the bossy one. But it’s for a good cause.]

Here’s the thing. All these students have left home and moved to Edinburgh. Whether they are from Stirling, 30 minutes away, or from China, they no longer live at home.

So it is our goal on Wednesday nights to create a place and a meal and friendships and conversations that feel like home.

We don’t have a megachurch budget. Nor do we have a Wal-Mart. So. As you can imagine, I’ve been Fairy-Godmothering all over this place. [You know, pumpkins to carriages. That kind of thing.]

It’s a modest home, to be sure.

And then while my pals were cooking and serving ….

The room went from this…

to this! Our team and about ten new friends sat and ate and talked until we finally had to say, “People. We were supposed to be out of there 30 minutes ago. You have to go home.” Best. Problem. Ever.

Right? Are you freaking out at how COOL that is?

I know. I was too. And the students who came along last night were so fun and really great to get to know.

Then just today we headed back to Napier for the second fresher’s fair and I decided I needed to beef up my display table by going totes crafty and making bunting.

Are you proud? I won’t tell you how long it took me to make those triangles. It’s a shame. And a sham. A pillow sham.

So it’s been crazy and fun and exciting and busy and we have two more weeks of this.

Whoa.

And don’t even get me started on the weather this week. It has been 44 shades of perfection – no rain, cool breezes, windy like nobody’s biz-nass. And my hair? Good gracious. It’s been like taming a beast… who is highly effected by wind.

But it’s been fun. 🙂

Oh oh oh. Also. If you want to see more pictures [and a quick little video!] check out our Crossroads Church facebook page.

. . . . .

Help me help them! What did people do for you when you moved off to college (or moved to a new city) to make you feel at home? 

7 comments

  1. Maria
    posted on Sep 08, 2011 at 12:22 PM  |  reply

    Annie! Will you please-oh-please give us a phonetical spelling of how to say “Edinburgh” with a Scottish accent? Every time you mention it in a post I find myself trying to say it, and then getting awkward looks from my co-workers. You must save me from this.

    As an aside, when I moved here to Phoenix from Ohio with my husband, the thing that made me feel most at home was the movie “Ever After.” You may thinking saying this as an endearing little exaggeration, but oh, I am not. Would that I were.

  2. posted on Sep 08, 2011 at 9:20 PM  |  reply

    Whoa is right. This is fabulous! I can feel your excitement in this post.

  3. posted on Sep 09, 2011 at 7:43 AM  |  reply

    Hi, Annie! I am so impressed with the work you guys are doing for those students…my transition (allllll those years ago! 🙂 ) to a large college was difficult. I came from a tiny high school where everyone knew my name and I knew theirs…so I felt incredibly lonely in those big crowds–until a wonderful group of older girls in our dorm began hosting Bible studies once a week. Having that comfort-zone (where people remember your name!) is SO grounding and gave me that extra encouragement I needed to avoid running back home in tears. My idea is simple & perhaps you guys are already doing this—but it helped me to be needed. Being asked to contribute (in even the smallest ways, like coming early to help set up) helped me to feel like a part of the group…suddenly, I knew that people would be looking for me…it mattered if I was there. By someone recognizing that I had something to offer (again, even just pouring coffee made me feel helpful!:) )I was able to focus on something other than my own awkward new-girl feelings. That was a GREAT thing for me. I’ll be praying for your group…and, while I’m de-lurked to comment, let me say that I loved your weed-pulling. It inspired me to do a bit of my own faith-action, so thank you (as always) for sharing!

  4. posted on Sep 09, 2011 at 8:27 AM  |  reply

    I went from a little Catholic high school with 1000 students, to Penn State University with 40,000+. It was a big adjustment. Literally. We had a great RA who would come by and ask us about class and give us tips on the town/school, and just acted interested in our lives. That really helped me feel at home.

    And I won’t lie…any event with delicious/non dining commons food helped too. 🙂

  5. posted on Sep 09, 2011 at 10:21 AM  |  reply

    Nice work Bossy! When I went to college, I sought out the Campus Crusade folks and connected with a few of them. Got our football tix together and watched Emmitt tear up the SEC his sophomore year. On a big campus like that, you have to figure out a way to re-size it to find your comfort zone.

  6. posted on Sep 09, 2011 at 2:28 PM  |  reply

    “it’s a shame. And a sham.” haha! Made me laugh. 🙂 It made the table very cute though!!

    I love the dinner idea! That’s so awesome. When my roommates and I were in college in the dorms, we started making pancakes every thursday evening before our crusade meeting.. free food, anyone could come and bring friends, and whatnot. Sometimes we would do grilled cheese and tomato soup, or spaghetti. And we’d have birthday parties some weeks. There were plenty of times when we’d look around and realize there were 16 people in just the tiny kitchen- that’s like 2 people per 10 by 10 square kitchen tile! Plus the 20 or so wedged in the living room and hallway. Great times, and a non-threatening environment- quite a few people would come to that every week who would never come to church or Cru.

    Other things that helped me feel at home… a listening ear, someone taking me out for coffee, someone learning my schedule so they could meet up with me on campus or drop by where I was working, a place to do laundry.

    Also I think of an encouraging note and a free snack during a busy week. I did that all last year for my roomies where were still in school cause I noticed them running out the door in the morning and then eating a lot late at night when they got home cause they were starved. So I’d get things like apple slices, string cheese, crackers, a granola bar, carrot sticks, or whatever, and bag them up with a note or verse so they could grab and go.

  7. posted on Sep 12, 2011 at 10:50 AM  |  reply

    My experience was a little bit different, as my high school was actually slightly LARGER than the small midwestern Christian college I wound up attending. As I moved 2,000 miles away from any living person I knew to go to college, feeling at home was a challenge for me at first.

    The many churches in town ALL made it a priority to welcome the college students into their congregations. Since the school was 1,300 students in a town of 6,000 they couldn’t ignore them! I remember one church that would do meals, another that had a monthly “survival kit” put together by the moms in the congregation, others that had special times for the college students to get to know the pastors, etc. Really, anything to make it seem like these were OUR churches, and we weren’t just visitors.

    One thing that I think made me feel more at home was having the opportunity to spend time with people of different ages. College can be such an insular experience, where you’re constantly around people who are all at the same stage of life as you. While that’s good, it helped me grow so much more to spend time with older people, with those my parents age, those in their 20s & 30s just a few steps ahead of me, and also to be around high schoolers and kids. Having a REAL community with all its diversity was by far the most valuable thing I did to make myself feel at home.

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