Since landing in the UK seven months ago, one of the first habits I quickly reestablished were my regular Starbucks runs. Now, I am not a coffee snob – in fact during the first years of my morning coffee runs with my Principal Global crew (shout-out to TP and BD!!), all I ordered was hot chocolates. (stop right now….shut it down….no judging!) Then I moved on to Chia Lattes. And finally, it was quite the momentous occasion when I finally progressed to caramel lattes!! (again…no judgement). I plan to graduate to full adulthood on the coffee continuum when I turn about 75.  HiRes

In any event, this is not a post to debate the merits and quality of Starbuck’s products, but rather a case study in…my name. That’s right…my name. For those that don’t know, the name ‘Randy’ in British culture has a, um, unique meaning. One that was clearly explained in any of the Austin Powers movies (YouTube as necessary). So there was some actual concern that when we moved here, that I would need to utilize a different name. However, we decided that since I would not be dealing primarily with teenagers day-to-day, we would charge ahead and just use ‘Randy’. (Although, in interest of full disclosure, April and the kids refuse to introduce me at school by anything other than ‘Randall’).

But back to our story…I’m in London. I’ve reestablished my Starbucks runs. However…I notice that the baristas seem to be uncertain, unclear or unwilling to spell my name correctly. Not just one or two or ten times. So below, I provide you with the 23 alternatives we have encountered thus far. I would love to know your favorite version. Cheers!

Wayni Willy Wexen Runie Rudy Rowlene Riny2 Riny Riely or Ridy Reynold Relly Redix Redie Rany Randi Ranch Ramel Raimy R.. R. P.. Briny ???


The Fun Stuff:

My food cravings are in bizarro world – Potato chips are my new comfort food. There HAS to be at least one kind/brand of chocolate in this country that I actually like. Thank you Ben & Jerry’s for being global travelers.

My musical tastes are going through a mid-life crisis – I hereby praise Apple Radio for streaming classical or 80s music whenever I want. I blame this crisis on the music that was deemed necessary to calmly survive driving on narrow streets, on the left-hand side of the road. GnR would have caused too many crashes.

Oh Corolla, where art thou?! I miss the Corolla – there I said it. After 10 years of my love/hate relationship with my milquetoast commuter car, absence has made the heart grow fonder. Why? Because the commute here is the third circle of Dante’s Inferno. Not on an absolute basis – no, no – many people have it worse than me. Totally on a relative basis. My germaphobia is almost cured. My personal bubble has gone AWOL – please text me if you find it. I’m somewhat educated but am quite unclear how it can be 1000 degrees in the Tube under every conceivable weather condition. I knew real estate was a luxury in London, but didn’t realize that applied to seats on the train! Serenity now.

It’s a small world – literally. On our street is an American family…that goes to our school…whose last name is Woodbury….and who has a daughter named Abigaile. I think we are cousins like 15 times removed – still working on that.

My wife and the weather – um…it’s complicated.

London - Big ben and houses of parliament, UK

London – Big ben and houses of parliament, UK

The Serious Stuff:

It’s a big world – literally. I love the diversity that I am surrounded by every day – on every scale. I love that I am being challenged to understand, relate and empathize on a different scale. Whether it’s in the furniture store salesman discussing the basic tenets of Sikhism or talking to the Irishman who’s a foster parent or the military family on their 4th assignment, being the stranger in a strange land (1 Peter 2) is now vivid and disorienting to me.

I worship at the idol of control. I used to think this was just me pursuing my faithful duty to be organized and prepared for any and all situations (work, home, church, life) – it’s not. It’s allowing my attitude and emotions, and ultimately, my hope, to rest in my own skills and abilities, in me controlling my environment. Things, situations, people, schedules. Not a “puppet master, evil villain” type of control but a “if I do this, you should do that” or “if I plan this, it should turn out like that” sort of control that can happen dozens of times in a day. Order and predictability. Things that were simple for the first 40 years of my life are now hard. Things that were predictable are now chaotic. I was soft. I rested my faith on my routine, my time management and the orderly pursuit of my honorable tasks and goals. God has started to chip away and mold me in this. Be flexible. Enjoy the process. Love people. It has been painful and maddening. Anger has risen. Tears have been shed. But in the end, it will all be worth it.

The adventure is just beginning…until next time…