I’ve Been Missing… Nature

Having never lived in a large city, I was always familiar to the idea of a town that also had local areas for nature – parks, running trails, hills…. I love nature but it wasn’t something I thought I could actually miss, actually long for. I’ve gone running here to search out any form of open roads, but it’s been without luck. On all my traveling adventures so far, they’ve been to cities with thousands of people, shopping centers, students in colleges. When going to Dublin, this was no different.

My friend and I decided we needed a change of scenery – away from all the people, all the bars, all the stores. We needed nature. After choosing a day trip to Wicklow, a town just south of Dublin, we slowly became more excited. This was the day I looked forward to the most.

And it prevailed. While we were mostly on a coach tour bus and it was snowing or hailing most of the time, there was still time to walk through the valleys, past lakes, sheep – stepping into nature.

I was also able to see the power of prayer at work on this day. For my level of excitement to be so high, the weather was a complete letdown. The tour went past a waterfall in the mountains, but due to the snow we were unable to see it. I was bummed so I began praying. Praying that when we stepped out of the coach, the sun would shine, allowing us the enjoyment of our 45 minutes outside. The skies grew grimmer, but low-and-behold, when we stepped out of the bus, the winds died down, the sun came through, and it was a beautiful time. Only seconds after getting back on the bus from our walk, the clouds darkened and the snow returned, but for that short time it was perfect.

Don’t doubt the photos, it was that sunny out when we were outside.

I’m a nature-lover.

xx

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Craic Happenings in Ireland

Craic – pronounced like crack – is Irish fun and enjoyment. And let me tell you, Ireland is full of craic!

Dublin, Ireland

Home to just about every Irish stereotype: over one thousand bars, short/red-haired/freckled people, potato-lovers, even a few of those cute kilts. With the weather much lower than average – a rainy, windy, freezing combination – it was difficult to fully experience some of the outdoor entertainment over the weekend. We did, however, swallow in the best of the bests. Trinity College, famous university whose library holds The Book of Kells; Temple Bar, a section of town basically filled with bars and clubs; Guinness Storehouse, a museum detailing the making of Guinness beer – complete with a complimentary pint at the end; a day-walking tour, able to take in the majority of this great town from a hilarious tour guide. Our last day in Ireland was spent a little different, a story for another time. The hint? Nature.

Our three days in Ireland were a blast. Skipping over the miserable weather, my friend and I enjoyed ourselves. It was my first stay in a hostel, which turned out to be better than expected.

We stay both nights in Isaac’s Hostel, only blocks away from the city centre. The place was clean, considering the dozens of traveling 20-somethings invading the hostel. We opted to sleep in a room with 8 females total. It wasn’t the worst, let’s just say I’m thankful to be somewhat narcoleptic and able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. All in all, as a young traveler, I was pleased with the hostel.

As for Dublin, I should have expected the rain. Something unexpected – the friendliness. I still cannot believe how friendly Irish people are! Two separate times, our waitresses talked our ear off about Dublin, our travels, recommendations, and America. We even made friends sitting at tables next to us or in passing. Before we could even ask for directions, there were numerous people seeing if we needed help.

Overall rating: A+ Ireland, A+.  

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Surviving a Rainy Day

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With the warming weather of spring and the blooming flowers comes the promise of more rain. I’ve been warned that I have yet to see a hint of all the rain to come. The positives to this? I love rain. (I hope I don’t regret saying this after experiencing “April Showers”) I love the idea of falling asleep to pattering rain. Waking up to rain drops splattered across my window. Walking through puddles. The brighter greens the grass paints. I also love the excuse to stay inside, cuddled up with the essentials.

So, what are the essentials to a day full of upcoming rain?

Tea. Well, obviously. My tea of choice currently is the ever-popular English Breakfast, or the Cranberry, Raspberry, and Elderflower-infused. Keep the kettle on all day, it’s necessary.

A Solid Read. This probably shouldn’t be the book that you’ve picked up dozens of times since the New Year, chances are a full day won’t change your attention span. Your best bet is to chose one that’s interesting, thought-provoking, and one to keep your focus. On today’s list: Forgotten God by Francis Chan.

Embarrassingly Comfy Clothes. I say embarrassing, because I know I have a nasty pair of sweatpants, complete with holes, and a dingy look – but let me tell you they are the best pants I’ve ever owned. A rainy day is a perfect time to skip the shower, and toss on your favorites.

Jammin’ Music. Turn this on in the background during reading time. I’m going for Iron and Wine, Bon Iver, and James Vincent McMorrow. Soothing, talented, and the ideal tunes to pretend you’re in a movie, staring out the window with the rain falling, dreaming of sweeter times.

A TV Series. For when the book becomes dull, your eyes become glazed, and the words blurred. This could also be swapped out with a tear-jerking movie, but I prefer a series to keep me busy for days. This way I feel much more accomplished after completing 7 series of Gilmore Girls, rather than one screening of Dirty Dancing.

Stationary. Snail Mail “rox.” Bringing it back to the days when technology didn’t dominate life. To a time when words were more than a vessel for dramatic misunderstandings, but a way to encourage, cherish, and spread joy.

The essentials.

These are my personal essentials for the day. Lucky enough, I have no coursework to finish, and no plans. Eventually, I’ll probably have to add some snacks to the list, but for now am enjoying the looks of this day.

I’ve come to the conclusion that rainy days in England must be looked at differently. Instead of recognizing the times when the rain will stay for hours and dreading it, I’m finding it easier to expect the rainy days and be surprised by the sun. This way, when the sun comes, it’s more like a gift than a given.

 

 

 

Some Things Don’t Ever Change

Traveling is all about change. Change of scenery. Change of language. Change of people. An infinite amount of dissimilarities.

Yet through the nearly 4,000 miles of traveling, I’ve recognized some things that haven’t changed.

Such as my enjoyment of a solid nap to break up my day, or the way I talk to my two miniature Dachshunds in that high, squeaky voice – even if it is over video chat. It’s given me the neon sign that points directly to what things I care most about keeping. I still have found ways to share life with my closest friends, and request advice from those wiser than I. I’ve found ways to read the news and be informed on what’s happening in the world, and update my parents on where I will be (kidding…kind of). I know which restaurant has the better Asian food, and which bookstore has the better comfy couch. I still don’t wash my hair often, but somehow I don’t think that will ever be different, and Diet Coke is still welcomed like a drug.

Some things don’t change, no matter how far away you go.

Equally, my God doesn’t change – no matter how many miles I travel.

He is still the same faithful, trustworthy, all-knowing, loving God. Just because my location has differed, He surely has not. Almost one month ago, I wrote a post about being in a “waiting season” and seeing what God had in mind for me here. Now, a short time later – still unsure exactly where this trip will take me – what I know to be true is Jesus. I can rest in His presence, I can believe that this day is a gift. This day is another day to focus on Him – the one who remains. The one who stays the same.

And while I know that some day my love for sushi may fade or I won’t be capable of taking a nap each and every day – which dear goodness, I hope neither of those happen – what I do know is that some things, some One will never change.

Rest in His hope. Rest in His love that goes beyond borders.

xx

Dear God, Please Give Me An English Accent

I’ve been here almost a month now. You could basically call me a local!

I was actually asked to give directions yesterday, I could have cheered out of excitement – until I couldn’t tell the lost person the right directions. I hope they eventually found their way after I confidently gave them excessively vague directions to an unknown place. But that’s neither here nor there because that woman believed I knew my way around! Woohoo!

I have caught onto some phrases I’ve been a little too scared to use, but come one day I will flawlessly execute the use of them in conversation.

I have to go to the loo. – Bathroom

Oh, that costs a fiver or five quid. – Five pounds

Hiya! Cheers! – Greeting and salutation

I’m rubbish at cricket . – Garbage or bad

Where’s the launderette ? – Laundry room

Finish a sentence with “xx” – Like xoxo but without those pesky hugs

You all right? – Greeting like “How are you” where a response almost isn’t necessary, not to be confused with a genuine inquiry about my wellbeing

Bloody!! – somewhat of a vulgarity

(And my favorite) Bugger Off! – Get lost

Now the only thing I need is the accent. Fingers crosses it will come. Im not holding my breath, but… I can’t wait.

Dance Party of 1

It was like any other morning… in Wisconsin, that is. I woke up, brushed open my curtains to see SNOW.

I thought this was only supposed to happen like once a winter over here? I am no longer in the Midwest, this shouldn’t be happening. Nonetheless, I was ready early for my 9am class, which was also surprising. I prepared for the frozen tundra I was about to walk into and upon opening the door I was so shocked I had to laugh.

God surely has a sense of humor. It was basically a small blizzard for the British, yet for this Wisconsinite it was a horse of a different color. Although it had snowed, it was almost 40 degrees already. I could’ve gone without the 7 layers and my mittens. It was pleasant outside! As I made my way to class I was in pure enjoyment. This morning felt like a little piece of home brought to England.

Usually I have two classes in a row on Mondays, but not today. During my first class, the professor announced the second class was cancelled. I actually chuckled out loud. It’s 11am and I don’t have any plans for the rest of this wintery wonderland. Soon after taking the long way back to my flat, just so I could enjoy the weather, my friend and I had decided to go for a walk. It was picture perfect, breezing through the woods with such satisfaction.

To top of this day of blessings, laughs, and snow-dreams I had a dance party. By myself. To this song. Don’t judge.

Listen up and dance.
Then learn to laugh at this crazy and unpredictable life.