It's been good to be back home. One thing I realised in Amsterdam was that if I only had academia in my life and nothing else, I'd go nuts rather quickly. Well, maybe not nuts but I'd lose connection with the real world (and that's pretty much the same). So I've enjoyed finding some sort of balance between academic and non-academic life again and I've greatly enjoyed doing all those things I missed so much while being away - I've had lunch with brother K. and I've called my dad, I've been out walking in my favourite park again and have enjoyed the office routine and oh, I've loved being back to gym. Balance is good. :)

But just today I realised something that made me quite sad. I have so many things on my plate and I've taken on so many responsibilities that I've become a guest speaker in my own church. And don't get me wrong, guest speaker's life is nice. Just this last Sabbath I visited a church (it wasn't my own haha), preached there and had an afternoon seminar on homiletics, everything was so nice and people appreciated my visit, I got a box of chocolate and a 'come back' invitation in the end of the day. But I don't have to sit in their board meetings, and I don't know who's going through a tough time and who's happy about something, I don't really know much about their lives. It's easy to sit on a bus in the morning and then come back home in the evening. But that's not how you have a lasting impact on someone's life, is it? Unless you laugh and cry with people, unless you actually walk the walk with them, you're not making that much difference. So I'm really struggling with the balance here. On one hand, I think all these things I do actually matter - if I can help someone understand what Biblical preaching is and if that leads to a better quality sermons in our churches then yes, I think I've done something right. But if I don't have time to visit my elderly members any more, to sit on their couch and listen to their life story, then I don't know how much the other stuff I do makes a difference for them. I don't want to become a guest speaker. And I don't want to become an administrator. How can I find the right balance?


I'm still stuck with George Ezra. Here's another one of his songs I really like. Leaving It Up To You. And I like this video too - he's such a handsome kid!


Week two wasn't a particularly good week.

First, I was sooo homesick. I don't know what caused it but I just walked around, missing everything and everyone back home. I missed my office guys and my walks in Kadriorg's park, I missed cooking my own food and having an occasional lunch with brother K., I missed calling my dad and I totally missed sweating in the gym. Every morning in the caf me and C., my new Alabaman friend, we counted days to going home like kids count days to Christmas.

The home reading was increased during the second week and we were all asked to make a 30 minute presentation on Thursday (mine was about how postmodern philosophy sees language) so by the end of the week we were all so blurry eyed it was just ridiculous. None of us got enough sleep. And all of us had more reading to do than we could possibly cope with. It all started to look like a military boot camp where only the toughest ones can survive - with the academic dean keeping his watchful eye open to spot and expel the weakest ones. *shudder*

But again, what made us press on and not give up (although I was pretty close to it on Wednesday, I admit) was the camaraderie. Just to know that you're not the only one who's asked to put up with a workload unsurpassably big somehow gives you strength. In that sense I'm deeply indebted to my American friends and an elderly Canadian gentleman who kept me going and with whom we tried to see the positive side of it all. When we were done with our presentations and we hit a pub on Thursday evening to watch some football (after a long discussion about whether we'd be actually able to keep our eyes open) and I realised it might be the last time we got together like this (the course work is over now, what follows is purely individual), I got really sad. Someone said to me last summer, 'Being a doctoral student is a very lonely experience' and I believe it to be true. But at least I've been blessed with some great company in the beginning of this lonely journey. *sniff*


But home is good. So very good. Two people said 'Welcome home' like this (yes, I felt special):
And today in the church couple of people just brought me food (a massive blessing when you get home at midnight on Friday and realise you cleaned your fridge before leaving home). I don't know if it was because I looked like I needed some food and flowers (lol) or whether it was just because God was saying, 'Well done, kid, here's something nice for you for those past weeks'. I opt for the second one.