Coming to you from the vast, green, rainy island of Ireland: it’s Paige, and I am alive and well!
A little cold (a lot. I was spoiled by North Carolina), a little wet at times, overall well. I know it’s taken me too long to update, but no time like the present.
I arrived in Clonakilty early on Thursday morning, or about midday going by the time zone here. My flights were about as uneventful as they get, which is a praise, and I just had jet lag to contend with after that. It was very surreal driving from the airport in Cork to Clonakilty and bumping along the road when 24 hours before, even 12 hours before, I had been in a completely different place. And life carries on as normal in both. That always boggles my mind.
The first thing I noticed, and smelled, when I stepped off the plane (we had to walk on the tarmack to the terminal)… the cow smell! The farm smell, the fertilizer smell, anyways, it smelled of animals and earth and it was cliche, but there it was, same old Ireland.
Moving forward, I have done my first full day as an au pair, which isn’t saying too much because the current au pair is still here so it involved me following her around from (literally, I’m not kidding) 7am till 6:30pm. It was a good day though, and having so many other au pairs–there’s a lot of Americans at the moment!–in the neighborhood has really helped and I can see how beneficial it will be. The kids love playing together and the au pairs get to chat!
So, since arriving, I have:
had a driving “lesson” on the roads around here which are so winding and narrow and blind that it is somehow still even crazier than Northern Ireland roads (how is this possible?! HOW DO YOU FIT TWO CARS ONTO A HALF A LANE SIZED ROAD? I am mystified every day, even though I lived in Northern Ireland for a year and used to laugh at the “small” roads. Not anymore. The south takes it to a whole new level. I wish it wasn’t something that appears to be a competition.)… I’ve woken up an hour and a half before dawn to help get 4 kids ready for their day, I’ve walked along Inchydoney Beach and breathed in some fresh sea air, I’ve met au pairs from all over the world, I stopped in a bakery and ate a cheese wotsit and a sausage roll, and…
I’ve laid on my floor and stared at my ceiling and try to envision the future over, and over, and over again and wondering what will be next and how to keep pressing on and what it means to live in a new place. God has been so wonderful and good to me–I can see Him in all of this but of course, each day brings new challenges in which I forget all over again that He is the reason I’m standing here and I completely put out of my mind how I can best serve Him.
I was listening to a sermon yesterday (Sunday) here in my room since I couldn’t make it to church and have been trying to remember to put this question into practice:
Do I really love and cherish God more than anything else in my life?
That’s a tough one to live out and I know that it’ll fly out of my mind as soon as I post this and turn over to go to sleep. But I’m praying that God brings it to mind throughout the rest of this week. I could make a big deal out of small things and the things I’m freaked out about, but in reality, if I focus on loving God more than anything else I’m doing here, the worries will fade away and I’ll be more focused.
Some friends have asked if I have any prayer requests, and if you want to pray for me in one of these many ways that would be wonderful:
- That I would do what I mentioned above and work hard to glorify God above everything else!
- That I would trust God when I worry about my future after this and where I will go and what I will live and what I will do, because it’s so silly to worry about that now but my life always feels in a constant state of movement and I end up fretting if I don’t have the next piece nailed down. That I would have calmness and discernment and focus on my tasks at hand while I have them.
- That I would find a church somewhere, I was unable to get anywhere this weekend but I’m hopeful that maybe I can get to Cork sometime. For some reason the bus prices are crazy, almost as much as going to Dublin, so that makes it hard, as well as navigating a new city!
- That the transition this week from the other au pair to me would go as smoothly as possible, and that I would juggle a big schedule and a number of big tasks all at once with grace and, well, ease, I hope it will be easy but I don’t want to shy away from the challenges 🙂
- That I would get warm! I am so, so cold all the time, I’ve worn up to three layers of clothes at once and two pairs of wool socks and can’t get warm even while inside (my feet cramp from the cold constantly and the water I have in my room gets chilly, haha). I would love to stop shivering! Maybe NC spoiled me. But I would just love to get warm at this point and that’s almost all I can think about.
If you have any questions, comments, verses of encouragement, let me know! <3
coming soon: a guest post on a friend’s trip to Italy and what she learned while studying abroad