Sunday, December 20, 2009

snow

Today, well this morning, we had snow! These are pictures taken on our walk to church.
Our front garden.
Freezing!
A wee little windowsill snow man!
graveyard
The Palm House in the Botanic Gardens

Saturday, December 19, 2009

one good thing

about going home in January...

There's a giant hot water tank and I can lie in on cold mornings without fear of a cold shower!

Friday, December 18, 2009

for Lacy

a perfect poem for the ending of a year

video
~ e.e. cummings

Thursday, December 17, 2009

a happy Christmas package!

My mom informed me on Monday that she had sent my Christmas package and that it would be arriving by Saturday. I woke up today thinking this is the first day I could reasonably expect it to come. But I was trying to talk myself out of expecting it as, let's face it, most packages arrive later than you think/hope they will. But then, around 1:30, there was a knock at the door and what to my wondering ears did appear, but the sound of Sam talking to the postman!

So here is the contents of my happy Christmas box! I didn't know what to expect because I didn't ask for anything and the only clue I had was that my mom double checked what size I wear. There was a lovely top from my favorite store, which is on the right. A lovely cardigan which is just like (and in fact may be the very) one that my sister has which I've raved over in pictures on facebook, which is on the left. A bag of candy (!), iTunes gift cards (already spent on a little more Ray LaMontagne and Great Lake Swimmers for my life, which can only be a good thing!), a ginger-ale bottle full of messages and drawings from my sister, and all the lovely wrapping completes the picture. Happy me! (And apparently there's a little bit more waiting to be a welcome home present when I get back to Charlotte in January.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Isaiah 9

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

a Christmas treatsie

As post modern Christians we have a lot of discussions about how to engage with our culture. I think one of the prime examples of how to do this successfully is found in our modern-day holidays. Especially Christmas. The ancient church usually gets a really bad rap for incorporating pagan festivals into the Christianity that they preached. It’s all too easy to pull up fundamentalist rants about how Christmas trees are pagan objects and how, by bringing them into our homes, we are worshipping nature and not Jesus. But lets have a closer look at this…

Festivals of light are celebrated in various cultures all around the world, especially in Europe. The theme of rebirth is one that seems to run throughout these Midwinter celebrations. We are reminded at the darkest and coldest time of the year that light and warmth will return. The days have reached their shortest and now begin to grow long again. The phrase used in Finland to recognize this is “talven selka taittuu,” meaning, “the back of winter is broken.” I can’t really think of a better way to engage with that aspect of ancient culture than to proclaim to them that,

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” ~Isaiah 9:2

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” ~ Jesus in John 12:46

I feel that feasts and festivals, holy days (the original form of holiday), are a very important part of life. The Lord instituted a number of days of remembrance and days of celebration for ancient Israel. It is only natural, and I think right, that as Christianity grew and spread we gained our own. If, as a part of the gospel spreading to new peoples and cultures, their native celebrations were adapted to reflect the truth of Christ, I see no difference between that and what modern missionaries do when they look for a “hook” in an un-reached people group’s culture which allows in roads for the gospel.

I am an unabashed and unashamed fan of Christmas. I believe in celebrating the moment when the Peace of God broke into our human violence. When his Joy broke into our despair. When his Love conquered our hate. When his Light shattered our darkness.

And so, may your days all be merry… and may they be bright,

With the Christ who's in Christmas as your guiding light.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

a happy day!

My sister Emily and her boyfriend Calvin got engaged yesterday!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

i know everyone has been posting this recently...


But it looks amazing!

i never really thought it was such a bad little tree

Straw ornaments from Ikea: 2.50
Christmas tree, lights, and pine cones: found around the house
Tree Skirt: re-purposed pillow cases
A pretty little Christmas Tree: priceless

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"On Quiso, the Tuginda used to teach us that real and actual trust in God was the whole life of a priestess. 'God can afford to wait,' she used to say. 'Whether to convert the unbelieving, to reward the just or to punish the wicked - God can afford to wait. With Him, everything comes home in the end. Our work is not only to believe that, but to show that we believe it by everything that we say and do.'"

- Richard Adams in "Shardik"

the first gift of christmas

Today I received my first gift this Christmas.
A beautiful locket with an excerpt from the poem "Footprints" on the back.

It's a rather poignant gift, although I'm not sure the giver knows how poignant.

I have been wrestling with issues of trust lately. Things haven't played out as I hoped they would during my time here and so I've been a bit disheartened the last few weeks. To combat this I have been reminding myself of the promises the Lord has made me and reminding him of them as well.

During our gathering on Sunday evening we talked about God as Father. We took time to lay our burdens and cares at his feet, reiterating our faith that he is big enough to carry them. As we did this and as we watched Rob Bell's video Rain I was actually thinking about the poem Footprints. It's a classic Christian, slightly cheesy poem. But it conveys a brilliant and life changing truth. We don't always understand the way the Father is at work in our lives. We don't always understand why things don't work out the way we want them to. But we can rest assured that he is at work and that he is working out (and redeeming if necessary) all things for our good.

So a very big Thank You to Jim and Eileen for this meaningful and beautiful Christmas gift.

psalm 25

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

We must not portray you in king's robes,
you drifting mist that brought forth the morning.

Once again from the old paintboxes
we take the same gold for scepter and crown
that has disguised you through the ages.

Piously we produce our images of you
till they stand around you like a thousand walls.
And when our hearts would simply open,
our fervent hands hide you.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

spiritual econometrics

Go HERE to watch some life changing teaching from my little sister.

Monday, November 30, 2009

picture post

Attempting to take a picture of Great Lake Swimmers.
Succeeding in taking a picture of shiny lights and the back of two guys' heads.
How can anyone eat a product that advertises on it's own label that it is nasty?
Horse and Hound... it's real!
Birthday cupcakes!
My very first Victoria Sponge... completed successfully!

a warm wool coat

I've been looking for a long winter coat for at least a year. When the temperature dropped here the last couple weeks the search began again in earnest. But I couldn't find anything in the shops, charity or high-street. So I decided to look on ebay. I was a bit wary of buying clothes on ebay. I mean with other things it's pretty straightforward, but clothes not so much. You can't return them if they don't fit. But I decided to give it a go. This afternoon I bought this beautiful coat by Max Mara for probably about a tenth of it's original retail price. (I've never owned real designer clothes before so I'm rather excited!) Crossing my fingers that it fits, and planning which hat/scarf/mittens will look best with it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

red ribbon foxes



There’s snow on your collar

And boy, there’s snow on the bench.

There’s snow on the sleeping grain

And the crooked fence.


And if you’ve been cryin’

With my hand on my chest

I swear, I’ll never tell.


The town is a glow with lights,

A caroler sings.

Your sister won’t sleep tonight

For the morning creeps.


That old happy Christmas

You came here to find it,

I did as well.


For joy doesn’t come in boxes,

Nor peace in a heavy watch.

Those red ribbon foxes are not so easy caught,

But the search it never stops.


The son of a holy man

You dream of the saints,

So thin with your poet hands

And your eyes aflame.


And I’d like to kiss you,

Full on the mouth,

I don’t care if you tell.


For love doesn’t come in boxes,

Nor truth in a crowded shop.

Those red ribbon foxes are not so easy caught,

But the search it never stops.


For faith doesn’t come in boxes,

Nor God in a silver cross.

Those red ribbon foxes are not so easy caught.


But the search goes on and on,

The search, it never stops.



~ A Fine Frenzy

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's a boy!

Here he is:
William Reid Strite
Cutest little boy in the whole, wide world!
Due on April 29th, 2010

culture stress

"You feel tired, anxious, discouraged, isolated, angry, and homesick but cannot think of any reason why you should feel that way."

"Culture stress is the stress that occurs when you change to a different way of living in a new culture. It is what you experience as you move beyond understanding the culture to making it your own so that you accept the customs, becoming comfortable and at home with them. If you are trying to become a real part of the culture, to become bicultural, you are likely to experience culture stress as you assimilate some of the conventions to the point that they feel natural to you."

"Culture stress is the adjustment stage in which people accept the new environment, adopting new ways of thinking and doing things so that they feel like they belong to the new culture. This takes years, and some missionaries never complete it."

~from What Missionaries Ought to Know about Culture Stress by Ronald Koteskey

This is why I've been feeling so out of whack the last few weeks...

re-centered

We shared communion on Sunday evening. Before we came to the Lord's table we took some time to reflect on what this sacrament meant to us. I landed on the word centering.

There is a spiritual act called centering which I don't know anything about. But as a potter I do know a lot about the act of centering clay.

When you first lob a ball of clay on the wheel it spins around like a dizzy three-year-old, all wobbly and out of whack. As the potter, your first job is to center the clay so that your pot will be sturdy and stable. To do this you begin by getting as close to the clay as you can. You want to place your center of gravity right over the clay. Then you surround the clay with your hands and ease it into alignment with constant and gentle pressure.


I was feeling a lot like a dizzy three-year-old throughout this past week. And on Sunday all the places where I had been knocked off center where painfully obvious to me. As we reflected on the Lord's table, remembering the sacrifice he made to come close to us, I could feel his hands surround me and, by exerting constant and gentle pressure, realign me with his center of gravity.

Friday, November 20, 2009

a happy list!

So here are a few things that have made me happy or excited in the last few days:

1) I found a copy of a book I've been wanting to read for a while for cheap in a charity shop. I love short stories, especially Irish short stories!
2) My new iPod came in the mail this morning. There's a big difference between 4gb and 8gb! I loaded it up with lots of music, so I thought, to find that it's only half full. Brilliant! So happy to have (portable) music back in my life!
3) Hiding in my electronics drawer I now have a bag of chocolate. Thanks Mom!
4) The wonderful Rosie made me this beautiful bag for my birthday. It's so lovely!!! And next to it, on the mantle, you can see the cans of pumpkin she sent me too! Pumpkin bars just in time for Thanksgiving! Yeah!!!
5) Thanks to a tutorial on youtube and a trip to Boots and some focused work my eyebrows have received some much needed attention. (It's hard to see the full effect here because of the lighting, but take my word for it that they are looking loads better.)
6) Just found out that LOST returns on February 2nd!
7) I absolutely loved the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy, Holidaze. A bit emotional in a happy, holiday-ie sort of way.
8) We have some sunshine today! This is always to be celebrated in the British Isles during the winter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

from ella minnow pea

In the sanctuary of my thoughts, I am a fearless renegade.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Get up, my dear friend,
fair and beautiful lover - come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over
The whole world's a choir - and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
with sweet arpeggios.
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,
and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms.
Oh, get up, dear friend,
my fair and beautiful lover - come to me!
Come, my shy and modest dove -
leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face,
let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing
and your face is ravishing."

"Then you must protect me from the foxes,
foxes on the prowl,
foxes who would like nothing better
than to get into our flowering garden."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

belfast sight seeing bus tour

This is the village area of Belfast.
The Clifton Street Orange Hall, you can see "King Billy" has turned... green!
Samson and Goliath in the former Harland and Wolfe shipbuilding yards.
The dry dock where Titanic was built.
Albert Memorial Clock, Belfast's leaning tower. And underneath this road runs the River Farset from which Belfast derives its name.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the end

video
I'm always so excited when I reach the end of one journal and get to start a new one. I started this one in October of 2008 so it's been just over a year. And now I get to use the beautiful one that Rosie made me for my birthday last year. Yeah!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

twenty seven


1650 - William III of Orange, king of England (1689-1702)

1879 - Will Rogers, Oologah Indian Territory (Okla), humorist

1916 - Walter Cronkite, St Joseph Mo, news anchor (CBS Evening News 1962-81)

1946 - Laura Bush, U.S. First Lady 2000-

1969 - Matthew McConaughey, actor (Contact, A Time to Kill)

1975 - Curtis Stone, Australian chef and television personality (Take Home Chef)

This is a list of famous people whose birthday is on November 4th. Coincidently that's my birthday too! And it's also my friend Kirstin, my friend John, my friend Emily, and my friend Noah's birthday. John is a year older than me, Emily a year younger. Kirstin's 25 and Noah is 3. Happy Birthday to you all!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

my favorite things...


Anthropologie is my favorite store in the whole, wide world. I took this from their facebook page. It's just one of the reasons why.


"When’s the last time you handwrote a note or a letter to a loved one? No form of instant communication can truly replace such a warm, intimate gesture – essentially, it’s confirming to someone that he or she is worth your time.

This is one of the reasons why we adore the “Message in a Bottle." It’s the perfect little something for a friend or loved one who is celebrating a milestone, throwing a dinner party or just special in your life. The best part about it is that it’s 100% interactive – think of it as an old-fashioned form of texting!

To whom do you envision giving Message in a Bottle? And what type of sentiment would you write? Is it your sister? Your spouse? Your children? Would you be inclined to write a riddle? A reminder? Or perhaps a simple “I love you”? You tell us."


PS, you should see their catalogs... things of beauty!

a weekend in wicklow


Over the weekend I went down to Wicklow with some of my housemates and some friends. We had a wonderful time climbing mountains, scaling boulders and rivers, eating around campfires, building sweat lodges, etc. (You know, all the things you normally do on the weekend. Here's a few of my pictures. Also, you can see Dennis' pictures here.

Walking through the ferns.
The valley

That's the waterfall we climbed.
The fire!

Apparently I over exerted myself just a bit, because I found myself in bed all day Monday with a fever and a nasty cough. Feeling much better now thank Goodness!

Finally got all my smoke soaked clothes in the wash today. Here's a picture of the blue, green, and brown load:

And this is a picture of things that make me happy! First is the copy of To Kill a Mockingbird I got out of the Ormeau Road Library for my book club next week. (Happy about the book, happy about the Library, happy about the book club!) Then you'll see a copy of InStyle Magazine. This is one thing I love about the UK, you get free gifts when you buy magazines. Buy InStyle and get free L'Occitane hand cream? Yes, thank you!

And here is a video of the valley which we climbed down into, hiked through, and then climbed back out of. If you listen very closely you can hear the eerie call of Stags who had returned to the area for mating season. It haunted us all weekend.
video

Thursday, October 8, 2009

i'm gonna be an auntie

Here is the very first picture of my beautiful new niece/nephew. So now we know it's not twins and that all is well! I love him so much already! Can't wait to meet her! He's arriving sometime around April 29th.

I AMsterdam

The 2nd 24-7 Euro Gathering was held in Amsterdam this past weekend. Such an amazing time! Got to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones. Had lots of time for wandering around the city which is beautiful! The Gathering itself was full of inspiring and challenging teaching and great times of worship and prayer. I felt like I had come home. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:



As far as sessions/teaching goes my highlight was an afternoon seminar on mission and culture in Europe. It was taught by Gerard Kelly (at least I think that's his last name) and I really appreciated what he had to say. He pulled a lot of stuff out about history and how important it is doing mission in Europe today to have an understanding of the past and the role that the church and Christianity has played in Europe's history. Vital questions: If the paganism in Europe today stems not from an ignorance but a rejection of Christianity, how do we make Jesus beautiful again? And, if the heart cry of Europe for generations has been for Freedom, Justice, and Truth, how can we expect to successfully share the gospel without answering this cry? Like I said, really challenging!

I stayed an extra day in Amsterdam to do a bit of touristy things. I went to the Rijksmuseum which was recommended in a couple guide books I flipped through. I'm wondering if they were displaying at full capacity because I was thoroughly disappointed. I was in and out in an hour and it cost 11 Euro! I tried to go to the Van Gogh Museum to make up for the disappointment, but was unable to. So I got to wander around the city and pop into a few used bookstores and some funny souvenir shops and fun things like that.

Since I flew through Dublin on my way here I officially entered the UK on my way home from Amsterdam. So my tourist entry will end on April 5th. A lot can happen between now and then and I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store!

Just to give you an idea of how great and intense the weekend was, I spent 5 hours on Tuesday journalling about it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

i just can't help it...

Ok, I know it's kinda boring to read quotes other people loved from books. And I know that I share quotes that I've enjoyed way too much. But I can't help it... This is another bit from "Notes From a Small Island" which I loved all the way through. When a book consistently makes you laugh out loud at almost every page it's something worth sharing. But I promise this will be the last that I share from it.

"Among the city's many treasures, none shines brighter, in my view, than the incomparable Burrell Collection, and after checking into my hotel, I hastened there now by taxi, for it is a long way out. 'D'ye nae a lang roon?' said the driver as we sped along a motorway toward Pollock Park. 'I'm sorry,' I said for I don't speak Glaswegian. 'D'ye dack ma fanny?' I hate it when this happens - when a person from Glasgow speaks to me. 'I'm sorry,' I said and floundered for an excuse. 'My ears are very bad.' 'Aye, ye nae hae doon a lang roon,' he said, which I gathered meant, 'I'm going to take you a very long way around and look at you frequently in the mirror with these menacing eyes so that you'll begin to wonder if perhaps I'm taking you to a disused wharf where I will beat you up and take your money,' but he said nothing further and delivered me at the Burrell without incident."

I found this especially funny because I myself have been in a very similar situation, except it involved two jolly Glaswegian men searching my bags at the airport and not a menacing taxi driver. I usually have little problems understanding people who are from other countries. There are two notable exceptions for this, Jamaicans and Glaswegians.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

laundry day

I've been reading "Notes from a Small Island" by Bill Bryson and laughing out loud with almost every page. Just had to share this:

"It has long seemed to me unfortunate - and I'm taking global view here - that such an important experiment in social organization was left to the Russians when the British clearly would have managed it so much better. All those things that are necessary to the successful implementation of a rigorous socialist system are, after all, second nature to the British. For a start, they like going without. They are good at pulling together, particularly in the face of adversity, for a perceived common good. They will queue patiently for indefinite periods and accept with rare fortitude the imposition of rationing, bland diets, and sudden inconvenient shortages of staple goods, as anyone who ever looked for bread at a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon will know. They are comfortable with faceless bureaucracies and, as Mrs. Thatcher proved, tolerant of dictatorships. They will wait uncomplainingly for years for an operation or the delivery of household appliance. They have a natural gift for making excellent, muttered jokes about authority without ever actually challenging it, and they derive universal satisfaction from the sight of the rich and powerful brought low. Most of those above the age of twenty-five already dress like East Germans. The conditions, in a word, are right."

Monday, September 21, 2009

very interesting


At (almost) 27 I already feel behind the times technologically. What am I going to do in the future?

Monday, September 14, 2009

my love/hate relationship with traveling

So while I love traveling I really actually dislike the getting there part. Here are a few reasons why:

1) Manhandling luggage. I know it's my own fault for not being a very light packer, but I can't help it, I'm still learning. I hate dragging luggage around: into the car, out of the car, up to the check in desk, onto the scale, oops! too heavy, back off the scale, take stuff out, onto the scale again. Then the carry on is too heavy because of all the stuff you've crammed in at check in. (I swear I weighed my bags three times and they were right on target. I think they rig those wretched scales.) So now the carry on is heavy and you've gotta wheel it around the airport with your purse/laptop case either bruising your shoulder or breaking your wrists as it rides on top of the wheeled bag. (When you finally arrive at your destination to discover that your bags made a side trip to NY you're actually rather relived because it means they will be hand delivered to you instead of you having to drag them around the airport, on and off a bus, and then into and out of a car.)

2) Accidents. When you've finally gotten settled with your luggage and you decide you deserve your favorite drink at Starbucks (a Venti Sweetened Passion Tea Lemonade) which you won't be able to have for the foreseeable future because they don't make it in the UK what do you go and do, after only having drank about 1/4 of it, but spill it all over the carpet by the internet station. Oh well, at least it didn't land on any one's bag.

4) Trying to sleep on the airplane. Number one the seat is hardly ever comfortable. Number two there is always too much activity to get more than a couple hours anyway. Number three, the elderly gentleman sitting next to you, while lovely, is quite fidgety, keeps dropping his pillow, and doesn't seem to mind getting into your personal space. So you just decide to watch movies instead and give yourself permission to sleep as much as you want when you get home.

5) (This comes under the love part... I think) When you go through passport control in Dublin the passport control officer, if a man, will most likely assume that the reason you've been to Ireland so many times is because you have a boyfriend here.

6) Trying to pay with a credit card. For some reason while I've been gone lots of place have stopped accepting payment by card. This is fine except when the only noticeable cash point at the airport is out of order...

7) International telephones... My US phone, while stocked up with plenty of leftover credit, refuses to work here which leaves me unable to contact my housemates letting them know what time I need to be picked up. So I try my UK phone only to discover that it's been cancelled due to disuse. Great. So I find a cash point that works and take a taxi to the house. No one is home. But now I have change from paying the cab and can walk up the street to use a pay phone. Where are these missing housemates? In town waiting for me. Oh dear.

I guess that's all....

Oh, one thing more not exactly related to traveling: I am not immune to catcalls or blatant stares, etc. while walking down the street. My favorite so far was yesterday when I was walking home from town a guy rolled down his window and just stuck his arm out with a thumbs up. (Girls probably aren't really supposed to talk about this for many different and complicated "polite" reasons, but I don't care.) I thought that was pretty funny.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

saying goodbye


Last night was my last time with my three favorite girls ever! We had so much fun sharing brownies and cookies and playing and reading together. Sydney appropriately picked Fox in Socks for the bedtime book. That is the one book I have read more to them than any other. (When Sydney was 4 I read it to her every day for an entire summer!) You've gotta love a book that starts out by telling you to take it slowly and ends by asking if your tongue is numb. I had a bit of a struggle with all the tongue twisters last night as I was trying desperately hard not to let the girls know that I was crying the whole time! I think I succeeded because I only stumbled once during the "Luke Luck likes lakes" part and I read the "Cheese Trees/Sneezy Fleas" bit three times! But my cover was blown when we had a big group hug and I had to keep wiping my eyes. Shelby asked, "What are you doing?" and I said, "I'm trying not to cry because I'm going to miss you so much!" They are the sweetest, kindest, most creative girls I've ever had the privilege to care for. And that is saying a lot.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a long awaited update (perhaps I flatter myself too much!)

So, I guess the last significant update into my day to day life was written way back in the beginning of July. (Was that only a month and a half ago???) So, I figured it was about time for another!

I was in Florida for just under six weeks. I went down to be a summer nanny for the wonderful girls I used to care for before I left to do Transit and their wonderful baby sister who was born while I was gone and their wonderful cousins who live in Jacksonville. I think I can safely say that everyone involved had a great summer.

We were right on the beach, as you can see from this picture. This is the spot where I did quite a lot of reading when I was "off duty," not bad, huh? The summer was full of sand and water and sun and origami and reading time and ice cream and the dynamics of little girl relationships and naps and trips to the park and trips to the girls' Papa's tree farm and good food and all kinds of other fun things like getting caught in the rain almost every time I went out for a walk in the evenings. And big, beautiful rainbows.


No summer would be complete without a trip to the zoo and this one included petting and feeding sting rays. (Their "stinger" had been trimmed, apparently much like you would trim your fingernails.)
We drove back to Charlotte on the 29th of July, I think. It was definitely a Wednesday. And that evening I booked my flight to Ireland. I fly into Dublin on the 12th of September and will make my way north to Belfast where I will be living until I find a job or run out of money which I project will be sometime in December! No, seriously, I'm heading to Belfast to job hunt and make connections and do some volunteering and have committed to stay through December, which hopefully will give me enough time to find a job so I can stay forever, or at least two years which is how long my visa will be issued for.
So, naturally, I'm excited and nervous and thinking about packing way more than I'm actually doing the packing. And I'm sure to run out of time to do several of the many things I have projected to finish before I leave. So it's all rather exhilarating and tiring.
On a sort of side note I saw movies 24 and 25 of the summer this week. Time Traveler's Wife with my sisters, Laura and Emily, and Nights in Rodanthe with my mom.
I feel a bit like Clare in the Time Traveler's Wife. (If you haven't seen the movie or read the book I'm going to be giving away plot here...) In the scene where Henry travels to and from the bathroom. She's very pregnant, but has tried to keep herself from hoping about this baby because she has lost so many before. Henry comes back from travelling to the future where he meets their daughter, Alba. He tells Clare all about her and she says, "You mean it's all going to be all right?" It was such a moving scene and I feel like her. There's this thing that I've been dreaming about and hoping for and working towards for so long, but because it's been so long it's so very hard to understand that it's really happening. That the dream is becoming reality. I think it can't be true.
But in three weeks from today I'll be sitting (well, sleeping actually) in Belfast. And I'll never again have to cry when I leave Ireland because I don't know when I'll be coming back. It's all rather overwhelming.
So anyway, that's my update.