We got picked up in the morning by Zach and Shara and headed to church in Staines! The whole drive, Aaron and I got to chat with Zach and Shara and get to know them better! It was hilariously encouraging to find that we had a ton in common and as fairly newly married, Aaron and I were able to relate a lot to the common arguments and disagreements they were experiencing. Most of their relationship was long distance and only recently as Zach had moved to England, were they able to properly date each other and see each other in day to day life. Their relationship dynamic was so incredibly similar to Aaron and I and we laughed at how many times either couple said something that sounded so familiar to the other! It was almost like mini pre-marital sessions the whole day.
We stopped for coffee on the way to church on the Staines high street and I got to quickly show Aaron where Phoebe and I had spent many a Wednesday eating out, shopping, and seeing a movie. Then on to Hope Christian Center for church.
Their church is a small international community with a lot of people who have come to England from Africa. It is full of worship and spirit and I loved going there when I was studying abroad and was excited to be back! Deborah actually called Aaron and I out during the service and welcomed me back. Granted there were like 50 people there, so it wasn't hard to stick out anyway. After the service (which was so wonderful), we all went downstairs for tea time and everyone was excited to meet Aaron and I. I kept hearing over and over again that Carla talked a lot about me and did a pretty spot on impression of me now that they had met me in person. We both felt so welcomed and honored to be there with such fun and lovely people.
|After church photoshoot! Carla and I try to stock up on pictures as much as we can when we're together.|
|The Brink women and I (minus Candi Grace who was off playing)|
|Candi Grace dancing with her mum|
After church we all went out to lunch or Stuart's birthday!! He chose a Chinese buffet spot and it was delicious! Just like yesterday proved, the Brinks are not shy about food portions and they ordered way to much food! I was frustrated because I didn't pace myself and by the second course had stuffed myself too much to eat much more. I did get a taste of everything though and I wish I could go back and eat more!
|seriously, this was just the first course of food!!|
|The whole gang for Pastor Stuart's birthday|
Carla and Shara's friend Rachel and Stuart's mom joined the party! We had to say goodbye to everyone save Carla, Shara, and Zach at the restaurant, since we wouldn't see them again this trip.
And I just want to gush again about how amazing these people were to Aaron and I. I don't think we paid for anything the whole time we were with them. We felt so loved and accepted and just thrown into their family like we had been there the whole time. Just a beyond perfect weekend!
|also, this picture of Zach and his future in laws makes me smile|
Since we were so close to Royal Holloway, I told Carla I would love to head over and show Aaron around my university! So we headed there with Shara, Zach and Carla.
It was just how I remembered it! Imposing and breathtakingly beautiful! I still can't believe this was where I lived! Aaron was quite impressed by its grandeur. We got to go into the building, but were a bit nervous about being caught, so we didn't stay long. I showed him the dining hall and the chapel. And we took a TON of pictures! Carla is a great photographer and captured some sweet moments of Aaron and I.
|So good to be back!|
|modeling after Mr & Mrs Holloway|
|the love birds... their modeling game is way stronger than ours|
I took Aaron over to one of my favorite spots on the campus. I only discovered it in the last couple of months of my time here, or else I would have spent WAY more time by the water.
|I want to live right here|
|Inside the Chapel|
|Last pose with Queen Vic!|
As with every spot we stopped at on this trip, I wish we would have had more time! I would have shown Aaron my exact room, and where I took classes, and taken him to Egham high street to see it all. Every trip we say this, and especially knowing it on this trip, that we will be back and be able to see things again someday.
We drove back to Reading and said our goodbyes! Carla and I talked a lot about her coming to visit when the baby was born, so I knew I would see her again soon, but that didn't make it easier to say goodbye. I hate that she lives an ocean away. And I hate that I couldn't spend more time with the rest of her family. I can't wait for our next visit with them and I hope that one day, they will all come to Arizona and visit us!