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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.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

All Over the Place

The other morning in lecture, I wrote the date at the top of a page of notes, and I could not figure out why that date felt so darn familiar. 

I wracked my brain for like 15 minutes trying to figure it out, and it hit me. 

Happy birthday loser high school boyfriend. 

It's been 8 years and I still remember your birthday?

So, needless to say, that was fun. 

In other news...

The past couple weeks have been a riot. 

Taco Tuesdays. 

Logan and Destiny's engagement!

Cops and Robbers party. 

The Cantina's Groundhogs Day party.

A 90's party.  

Brad and Katelyn's engagement day! 

The practice GRE. And another on Sunday. (woopee)

A senior thesis. (again, woopee)

Potty training? (wait, never mind) 

The Bachelor. 

And soaking in the 10 weeks that are left of college. 

Yikes. 

At least we're all freaking out together? 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

PinterTest Kitchen

Yeah, it's February. And yeah PinterTesting was conducted in December.

But sometimes I'm not as ahead of the game as I would like to be.

So, I present to you, A Handmade Holiday.

After seeing this pin when Pinterest first began, I decided I would give these a whirl someday.

So when November rolled around, and I hadn't started working yet, I challenged myself to make as many Christmas gifts these year as I could, by hand. 

Then I started working full-time, and handmade Christmas gifts got more stressful than I intended them to be. But the fun was still there. 

I find a lot of joy in making things myself. I know that for some, it is scarier to attempt to make something than it is to pay someone else to make it for you. But, it is scarier for me to pay for something with money I should use to pay for school, than it is to just make it myself. 

It's my stage of life. I'm sure I won't always be this way. 

So I threw a couple of these together for two friends so far, and there is one more in the works.

I LOVE the look of the one above, and think the spacing is so awesome, but I decided to go for a longer look rather than taller.

Many late nights were spent in this freezing garage after work, which I called Santa's Studio.

This one was for one friend, and piled behind it you can see the pieces of another piece for another friend, and on the floor is the third one. Still not yet finished. 

I set off to Home Depot and bought 6 foot long 1" by 4" pieces of pine, and had my buddy at the cutting station slice them into 2 foot pieces, yielding me around 32 pieces of pine. 

My dad raised me right, I'm a lumber sort of girl. 

After consulting various stains with my other buddy in the paint department, I settled on two pretty darn dark stains, staining half the pieces one shade and half the pieces the other. Then, in putting them together, I sort of just alternated and lined up the grain as I saw fit. As you can see, the pine soaked it up well. 

Then I free-handed on the letters, using the Pin as a general guide, and making up whatever letters were not represented on that original Pin. I was happy to let my creative juices flow with some acrylic paint. 

Acrylic paint is crucial when painting over a stain. Oil-based, people, oil-based. 

After 3 to 4 coats on the letters, I sealed it all with a clear coat of oil-based sealant, and we were good to go. 

Throw on some mounting material for the back, and deliver the joy to your unsuspecting friends. 

Here are the two up on the walls of the recipients. 


Want one? Want to make one together? You let me know. 

Also made this, but didn't photograph it, and it's just paint on some canvas. 

Bo-ring. 


Linking up with Jessica!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ramblings

Just checking in.

I've been watching so much Downton Abbey, that now all my thoughts run through my brain in an early 1900's British accent.

Branson? Marry me.

Of course I'd pick the Irish guy.

But Vera Bates is also Irish, and I'd be fine if she just disappeared from the show altogether.

Of course, I'm only five episodes into Season 2, so my concerns may be null to those who are caught up. I wish I was current on the episodes, but I've got like, school and stuff, sooo....

Currently I am watching William dying in his hospital bed, as Daisy tells him that it would be dishonest to marry him.... Suck it up, DAISY. Marry the dude.

And Mary? Stop being so nice. You love Matthew. Let Ms. Swire get out of the picture.

Anywho.

We are pretty darn excited for the Har-Bowl this weekend around these parts. Lots of viewing parties. And lots of celebrations tomorrow. So many birthdays to gather together for recently, and hey, Betsy's even throwing a Groundhogs Day party. Whatever the heck that entails!

Things are well down here. Four weeks have already passed, so the semester is a quarter of the way done.

That is insane.

Well, if you're reading this, I hope you are well, wherever you are. January is over, and February has begun.

:)

PS Lemon Shandy Shocktop? Yum. Get yourself some.