The past week has been a mishmash of emotions for me. I can officially say that I’ve reached the homesick stage of my year away. Perhaps it will pass quickly once the holidays are all finished with, but for now, I definitely miss my family and friends. On the bright side, I’ve been receiving cards from people and churches back home for the past two weeks. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive a card in the mail. Many of the cards are from people I don’t know, but I imagine this is what a soldier feels like when he/she receives cards from random children. It warms me up a bit knowing that people from Iowa, W. Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and all over took the time to send a few words to me.
We have continued working on our 8000 piece puzzle, and it still has a LONG way to go. When we first started it over a month ago, I thought that we could finish it by Christmas. Not to toot my own horn (ok, yes it is), but I happen to be a very good puzzler. For that reason, I figured it could be done. My thinking was that a 2000 piece puzzle takes me less than a week, so 8000 pieces should take 4 times that long. Wrong… The sorting of pieces from the massive pile adds an exponential increase in time. I’ll keep the updates coming.
Steffi, Becky, and I visited Dublin for a few days prior to Christmas. This trip made me realize that I am not a city vacationer. I would much rather spend a couple days hiking or camping than walking around a city looking in museums and at architecture. However, I do still enjoy cities, just not as much as some people. For me, Dublin was a bit of a letdown. I’m not sure if it was because it’s a difficult place to visit when on a tight budget or if we just didn’t know what to look for, but I wasn’t all that impressed. We did see St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Dublin Castle which were both pretty neat, and for a bit of craic, we visited a pub to listen to some traditional Irish music. Our original intent was to visit the Christmas market in Dublin during our first day there, but once we arrived, it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen. The market was in the courtyard of Dublin Castle, and as we entered the courtyard, we saw a large Christmas tree and two stalls at the far end. For whatever reason, all of the other stalls had gone home. Oh well! I think the most exciting thing for me in Dublin was my ability to find coins everywhere. I often find and pick up coins in the street, but this was ridiculous. I found upwards of 25-30 coins in under 2½ days. Sweet.
On Christmas day, the three of us had dinner with L’arche Belfast volunteers. It was fun meeting and chatting with new people, and I discovered something about myself while there. Whenever I am at gatherings where there are children present, I naturally gravitate toward those kids. So at this dinner, there were 21 adults sitting, eating, and talking away, but there were also three children present. At one point in the evening, I discovered that I had just spent the past half hour playing a game with a 5 year-old. Even if I’m not with the kids, I’m thinking, “Man, I really wish I could swing on the swing set with them.” It’s not that I don’t enjoy being with adults. I do, but sometimes the conversations bore me. What does that say about me? Am I not mature enough to sit and have an intelligent conversation with adults? Well, obviously I can do it, but sometimes I’d rather not. Do I relate better to kids than adults? Maybe so. I’m in the process of figuring out if this leans toward being more of a good thing or a bad thing.
And one last random thought before I sign off. Growing up, I always thought that adults were super smart. To me, it seemed as though they always knew what to do and how to do it. Now that I am an adult, I realize that this was not the case. I am just as clueless now as I was back then, and most everybody around me is just trying to figure it out along the way like me.