Is It Places We Remember... Or People?

I'm delighted to introduce you to Mal for today's World of Wow post. She shares about her travels to jolly 'ole England. (I've only visited London, but it was absolutely wonderful!) Please welome Mal and be sure to visit her blog as well. 

When I went to Liverpool, I never expected to make real friends.

I was sixteen, and people my age had never been very kind to me. But my mom was chaperoning a trip for students from her school to Liverpool for ten days, and I liked to travel, so I wasn't going to say no. I knew going with a group of kids who all knew each other was going to be awkward, but I was going for the experience. I'd dealt with mean peers for years, I could put up with these strangers for ten days if it meant getting to travel out of the country. 

It was an exchange trip, which meant we had host families and would spend all our time with a group of British teenagers. Great, more people to ostracize me. Or so I thought.  In reality, my host family treated me like one of their own from the second I walked in the door. And to this day, they still call me their American sister or daughter.

The American kids.werent great to me. There were times I cried, but what made the difference was how the British kids took me in. They included me, they hung out with me, they genuinely seemed to like me, which was quite baffling for me. They were the first group of guys that I could be around that didnt want to abuse me, which was huge at that point in my life. I quickly came to look at them as my brothers.

Paddy, my host brother, and me, then and in 2012. He came back to North Carolina a couple years ago for his birthday, and he spent a weekend with me at my university. It was a dream. I didnt know when wed ever get to see each other again, and so to be reunited with my brother at the university that felt like home was everything I could have asked for. That weekend was a sweet reminder for the both of us that we are just as much family now as we were on that initial trip in 2008.

Theres one other guy that I didnt realize at the time would come to mean as much to me as he does. Meet Jay.

I actually didnt talk to him as much as I talked to others during the trip, but when it was over, we bonded in a way we didnt in person. We may be several thousand miles apart, but he is one of my closest friends, and we have spent countless hours talking late into the night over the past six years. We cant wait to see each other again, but were just fine until that day comes.

Paddy and Jay are two sweet reminders of just what God can do when we think we have other plans. I was going to Liverpool because I like to travel. Nothing more. In the process, I met people who changed me for the better and are still very dear to me to this day. 

The best part is, I know that distance doesnt change a thing for us. My British family has promised theyll all fly over when I get married one day, and Paddy, Jay, and I all talk enough that those boys are two of the most important people in my life, despite the distance.

I wasnt looking to meet anyone special on this trip in 2008. In fact, I was downright terrified of who I would meet. But God, well, Hes known for doing abundantly more than all we ask or imagine

Mallory (you can call her Mal) is a 22-year old grad student who just moved to New York City from North Carolina. She loves Jesus, watching college football and basketball, and playing music way too loudly. She is passionate about knowing people's stories and has been told by many that there's not a person she won't talk to. She writes over at Beauty in the Breakdown about her everyday life, experiences in NYC, things God is teaching her, and whatever thoughts she just needs to get out. Feel free to come say hi! 

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