Just when I was settling in, the second lockdown hit. The first news that the UK government would impose new restrictions sent me into a tailspin: I imagined myself trapped in my room for four more weeks of self-isolation, cut off from library access just when it was most critical for me to do research for my upcoming term essay.
In the end, as is almost always the case, my fears outstripped reality.
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Never would I have guessed that my past six months would be spent on my family’s farm in the USA! When I concluded my Peace Corps service, I was making plans to return to South Africa as an independent volunteer in a couple of weeks… or a month or two… and then maybe for the summer… or even just for a quick visit?
Instead, South Africa’s borders have yet to reopen for international travel, and I grudgingly submitted to a time of restoration and fellowship, reconnecting with my loved ones while future opportunities unfolded.
Given the international travel climate today, I can only be thankful that I landed without incident last Wednesday in the United Kingdom: newly “enroled” for graduate studies at the University of Oxford.
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If there’s anything Peace Corps service has taught me, it’s the necessity of waiting.
My nature rebels against the humility and simple surrender of acknowledging that further action will avail nothing; the outcome is beyond my power to influence; there’s nothing to do but place my trust in the Lord…and wait.
In some small areas, my expectations have made the adjustment: the taxis to my shopping town, the line at the grocery store, the printers at school. Although service providers here rarely hurry and sometimes acknowledge requests reluctantly, that doesn’t mean they aren’t responding. A patient smile does wonders for my health and theirs.
It’s the big questions – about career, family, and the future – that send me into the wrestling ring with God. As a Christian blogger pointed out, there’s a difference between waiting for something you know will happen (eventually) and waiting when you’re not sure whether it ever will. The Biblical images of sowing and reaping acquire new resonance for me as I wonder when the time invested in these critical areas will begin to bear fruit.
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The trip to Ireland began last summer, as the germ of an idea inspired by my good friend, Sarah. When I heard of her plans to spend a year studying abroad in Northern Ireland, I decided, some how, some way, to visit her.
We met in Dublin, after the saintly Sarah suffered a 4am bus ride down from her home away from home in Londonderry. Read the rest of this entry
After riding the Ring of Kerry, we collapsed in our room at Lar Kinley. I refused to succumb to road weariness for long, though, because dancing awaited me.
Dancing! Irish dancing! Irish music, too, as it turned out. My angelic father accompanied me to a local performance, “Celtic Steps,” starring five musicians and four dancers. Despite the relatively small size, the show impressed with its sheer talent and irrepressible charm. Read the rest of this entry
Bed & Breakfasts save you money. First, they feed you enough for breakfast and lunch. Second, the good ones double as travel agents.
Thanks to Fernroyd‘s hosts in Cork, Avril and Tony, we abandoned our plan of traveling the length of Ireland to visit Derry and instead skipped off for a two-day detour to Killarney Read the rest of this entry
After a long weekend on the southern coast, we are back in Dublin. No update today because we stayed out late at a pub…playing a quiz game. Stay tuned for the Ring of Kerry and Celtic Steps.
Our jaunts on Ireland’s southern coast have revealed to me the secret of obnoxiously touristy attractions: People flock there for a reason.
We were happy to visit before the flock had migrated there for the summer, however. On a gray, drizzly, nippy Saturday, we shared Blarney Castle with just half a dozen of our new best friends: the brave and the few. Read the rest of this entry
After dividing our time between the capital city, Dublin, and the lovely coastal town of Skerries, we bid farewell to Ireland’s east coast today and headed south to Cork (home of the Blarney Stone). The Lord has blessed us with excellent weather these last few days. When we left the White Cottages in the morning, we met a mother on every block pushing her baby carriage; when we returned in the evening, we passed joggers and walkers on every corner. I wonder if the locals love fitness this much when it’s raining? Read the rest of this entry
Our second day in Ireland (Wednesday, 4/22), my parents and I parted ways: They caught the bus to the Guinness Storehouse, while I patronized the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The Irish playhouse promised me Shakespeare; how could I resist?
Romeo and Juliet has claimed my affection since my freshman year in high school, when I convinced my classmates to focus our group analysis project on Romeo’s Myers-Briggs personality type–but I had never seen a professional production until now. Read the rest of this entry
The morning of our second day in Ireland dawns; I open my eyes to white and light. It’s hard for a Bed&Breakfast to live up to a website that looks like this, but the White Cottages have not failed to impress so far! My parents and I are staying in Skerries, an idyllic coastal town separated by a 40 minute train ride from Dublin. When we arrived at the station with nothing more than an address and our aching feet, a tax driver offered us a ride to the cottages. Since he had come to the station to pick up his daughter, he refused to accept any fare. This vignette reflects how the Irish folk have treated us since our arrival. Read the rest of this entry