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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The 18th of August

I speak to a headstone. 

I tell you of your boys. your boys I've come to love. 

of our friendship, our true friendship that only thickens the blood we share. how everyone tells us how thrilled you'd be to see us so close. 

I tell you of the home video vhs footage of you, that I had put on dvd to give to your boys. one of them on each of your knees, as you introduced them to the uncles illegally in the states. unable to travel home to ireland. (f you, america)

I tell you of the other day, as i showed them the footage. 

they have no memories of you, slates wiped clean from the grief.

your voice. oh your voice and your beautiful face. 

many times I've watched it.

but your boys seeing you, I'll never forget. 

"play it again." they ask to see you over & over & over.

your boys are men. men who raise cattle & sheep, bail silage, drive lorries, and date beautiful women. men who have friends that show up for them, as is returned. friends even I have fallen for. and oh, do they love to set me up with their friends.

but men that fall weak at the sight of your face and the sound of your heavenly voice.

they're good, auntie. they're good, but dear god do they need you. 

there's nothing fair about a mum of 6 that withers away at 45. nothing fair at all. but there's nothing fair about much these days. 

I love them for you. they're the image of you, and "proud" does not entail the joy you'd find in seeing them now. 

so I talk to your headstone. cry to it too. walk through your house soaked in memories, a place that has forever felt empty since you left it.

I love the Lord, as did you. I'm jealous He took you. I get angry, because He gets you forever and your boys lost you too young. 

but someday He will share you.

'til then, I'll love your boys and talk to your headstone. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The 16th of August

there's a panic. it sets in slow and it lifts even slower. 

explaining it is worse than attempting to tell a story, only to get 3/4 of the way through and realize you've left out the key detail.

because you don't even know the key details yourself, so conveying them to someone else is virtually impossible. 

it's this uneasiness, this fear, this spin. this utter convincing that all is unwell, and nothing will ever be right.

it is unreasonable. 
 
I am unreasonable. 

it's an inability to rationalize, to place things in perspective, nor step outside the problem. the scariest bit? an inability to talk yourself off the edge of poor decisions and bad rationale.

it comes like a mist, and it leaves like a receding storm surge. 

for myself, it creeps in at moments of weakness, moments of change and redesign. a convincing that I know not what I've been doing, I know not what to do, and I know nothing of what is coming. 

a debilitating out-of-control that cannot be tamed. 

the church slaps band-aids of "do not be anxious!" and "do you not trust Him?!" that do as much good as a finger-wrap on an amputated limb.

He gave me this, this panic.

this fear. 

this anxiety.

I'd love to swap it like a white elephant Christmas exchange.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The 12th of August

the endless hills have captured me forever. rolling green gridded with walls of stone and studded with the brown, white and black of charolais, belgian blues and freesians. it will own me for the rest of my life.

the white wash, the sheds, the smoke of turf on the fire that winds up to melt into the clouds of white and grey that commonly inhabit the blue. 

the gravestones. plentiful, marking granny & grandad harkin and rooney, & aunties I'd give my life to bring back. everyone I love is buried in this fertile soil, less one. sister, you'll forever be my tie to the states. forgive me for being away for so long. 

the nights. of stories, of jokes, of songs and of life. the shine in the eye of a man just in from the bog will never grow dull.

the men, from leitrim farmers to spoilt southern dubs. wooing with cheeky smiles and quick wit, rooted in a kindness instilled in them by generations of mammies that would allow nothing less.

I don't fall swiftly and I don't fall hard. this blood pumping organ of mine is thick with sinew and fear. yet for Ireland, I've done both.

for her, the answers are always "yes", "more" and "ah we'll have another."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy

I have always loved Ireland. I do not resent the fact that my parents moved out of lovely Leitrim over 30 years ago in search of opportunity, but much of me has wondered how my life would have differed had they stayed.

It would be a simple one.

I'd be well-known in a small town, be spoilt with overwhelming views in every direction, and so used to the falling rain that I wouldn't even notice it.

Maybe I'd even be re-locating to California for graduate school, rather than the other way around.

It's been almost two and a half months since I moved across the globe, to a place that is quite familiar but quite new all at the same time.

It's the context that has changed. Ireland has always been a confusing entity, because it has included bits of vacation alongside large bits of home. I don't know how many times I have boarded flights to the Emerald Isle, between summers as a child, flash trips for weddings, post-graduation explorations... The number is unknown to me. But this time around, everything is different.

Every trip in the past has been either me...

1. being taken by my parents, along with my brothers, to visit all my aunts, uncles and cousins.
2. in search of the right fascinator to accompany an overpriced dress to a snazzy wedding.

or more recently...
3. exploring the country on my own, hopping from uncles to aunts to cousins, catching up and letting them get to know me as an individual, no longer a child spoken for by her parents. (Though my parents probably see themselves as free of their too-talkative daughter at this stage.)

The third option has combined with something wonderful recently.

I have become an adult, in a land far away, and people are treating me like one.

I get to visit the family I love on the occasional weekend, hopping on buses and trains to jet across the greener-than-green countryside to aunts and uncles for a couple days of non-quinoa meals, gin and tonics that will make your mouth water, and enough tea to keep you awake to chat the night away. (Or watch Love/Hate and Downton Abbey.)

Or spending days and weekends with cousins that have also grown into adulthood, joking about our childhoods, our differences and similarities, and hiking across mountains to our parents dilapidated stone houses, imagining what their lives must have been like growing up in rural Ireland.

I stay in Dublin the majority of the time (obviously), because I do plan to actually receive my Master's at the end of this lovely experience. Much to my mother's approval, as I think she was legitimately concerned I would disappear across the country and never show up to lectures.

Just kidding. She wasn't actually afraid of that. I hope.

But it's really too bad for you and me, Mom, that they don't give Masters of Drink and Dancing, because I think we would both fly through that program. (As everyone says, I am your daughter!)

The neighborhood we live in is emoji-with-hearts-for-eyes gorgeous. Like, brick mansions, iron fences, Newfoundlands, climbing ivy gorgeous. We live in an old brick semi-detached house that's been converted into a ton of apartments, meaning we are surrounded on the neighbouring blocks by wealthy young professionals, young families, Range Rovers and BMWs.

So, needless to say, my semi-rusty refurbished bicycle locked to the iron railing fits in nicely.

It's wealthy hipster territory, and our top-floor lofted ceiling apartment where the rain sounds far worse than it is, has me spoiled rotten.

Everyone says it is the absolute best place to live in Dublin, and with all of my Dublin-living experience... I agree.

We are within walking (or cycling if you're feeling fancy) distance of the best restaurants, pubs that feel like home, and our university campus.

The importance of those in my life is not related to the order in which they are listed above.

Graduate school, or "college" as it's called here, has been so very interesting. And just recently, has gotten to be quite intellectually challenging. I only know three people at home with their Masters degree, and I am SO VERY PROUD of them, because it is true what they say about graduate school. That it's all on you, and you either get it done or you don't.

This is why I am so glad to have been able to grow up over this last year: in my own perception of myself, in my parents and my family's eyes, and with my friends.

Well, not really with my friends. But I guess that's what happens when people meet you when you're 12: forever immortalised as a child, even at 24.

I had a moment on the train a few weeks ago, heading back to the apartment I pay the rent on, to eat the food I bought. I was thankful that I had reached a point where I knew what was expected of me: to be independent, to be responsible, and to be receiving "advice" from my parents rather than "help" financially.

The last year has been challenging, trying to grow up, but not trying hard enough. I was balancing wanting to scream "I am an adult! Treat me like one!" to my friends, while whispering "But Mom, Dad, never let me out of your sight."

And on that train, I was so glad to be here. I knew right then, there was nothing else for me to be doing at this exact moment in life. This is exactly where I am meant to be.

It has been such a seamless transition, that it has almost scared me? Like, sometimes I think we are capable of things we don't ever think we can handle, so when they come to fruition, all we can do is smirk.

I've been doing a lot of that. Smirking.

Jokingly at my colleagues in lectures.
Knowingly to a friend in the gym about the guy that's really into himself.
Laughingly across pint-filled tables in my favorite stomping grounds.
Bashfully with girlfriends about the rugby players in the Student Union.
And joyfully, to myself, on trains.
About how happy I am.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yeah...

How honest can I be on this thing? Pretty damn honest? Cool.

I realized a couple weeks ago, I have the rest of my life to blog. If I want to.

I don't have the rest of my life to be a student, to be passionate about traveling, to go on funny dates, to spend all night in the library with my best friends, to have sleepovers, to drink coffee and diet coke and call it a meal.

To be with these people, and in this place, for the last time.

The blogs I read belong to people who lead lives different than my own. Lives where they get to bake cool things, make cool things, raise their children, decorate their houses, and do cool things with their church. Overuse the word cool, much?

I like them because they're different than what I'm doing.

And what I do recently? It just ain't blog-worthy.

It's memory-worthy.

And laugh til your abs hurt-worthy.

It's journal-worthy, for SURE.

And hey, maybe ten years from now I'll turn my journal into a funny blog about the life of a 22-year-old, but until then, composing posts about my days and nights just doesn't make sense.

They're funny and memorable, and sometimes hard. But they're leading to great things.

Great things that I'll blog about someday.

Until then?

Adios, suckers.

Just kidding.

But really.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Video

Go watch this. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw1iwvp-HFA

Good luck not crying. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Home

Weekend visitors.
Friday Funday sports at Finkbiner.
Pasadena.
Lemonade.
Summer weather.
Weekend-long sleepovers.
The Nest.
Dinosaur egg oatmeal.
Brown sugar coffee.
The beach.
This place has slowly become home.
But these reminders have been popping up all over.

"So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:6-7

"Our Father refreshes us along the journey of life with some pleasant inns, but He will not encourage us to mistake them for home." -C.S. Lewis

And a good friend who I've been far from for quite some time, sent me this the other day.


In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”