Friday, December 23, 2011

The 30-hour birthday

My birthday began in the most awesome way possible... with my family.  Sisters sang "Happy Birthday" at midnight and blew out the candle on my behalf.

Then I got to talk to Parents.

And Dakota.

And Sister-Amy again.

After two hours of birthday-skyping, I crawled into bed with a sleeping Bailey.  It took me a while to fall asleep... too much birthday-excitement.  Then I heard Denise whispering, "Bailey, do you want to wake Jo up and tell her Happy Birthday and that she needs to be ready at 9:30?"  Forty-five minutes later, the doorbell rang.  It was Juli and Ashlyn and Merschon and Dublin-Amy.  We went to Malahide for birthday-breakfast.  I had french toast.  And a really good latte.

In the afternoon, Denise and I did some successful shopping... complete with crazy Christmas traffic.

Everyone came over to the Karnes for birthday-dinner... Mexican food.  Go figure.  And birthday-cake... Merschon's delicious cherry-chocolate-cumbly-awesomeness.  And birthday-presents.  We The men moved the comfy furniture into the big room for a birthday-movie... Nacho Libre.  I had never seen it.  I laughed a lot.  I wasn't the only one.  It was good birthday-craic (that's Irish for "fun-times", pronounced "crack").

After all the birthday-partying was over, I curled up to read the perfect birthday-book... the 3rd Hunger Games (which I'd been saving for almost 2 months).  It was totally worth the wait.  I couldn't put it down.  The heart-wrenching plot was the perfect thing to drown out my end-of-birthday-blues.

Sometime during my five hours of reading, Parents and Sister-Amy celebrated at my most favorite restaurant in Dallas... Chitos.  Amy had birthday-quesadillas.  Since I wasn't there to share, she had to eat them all by herself.  Good job, Amos.

I forced myself to put down the Hunger Games at 3am.  It was way-past time to say goodnight to my birthday.  I fumbled around the dark and found my spot next to Bailey.  She rolled over in her sleep and gave me one last birthday-hug.  I smiled.  It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are so many things I love about living in Dublin:
*my team
*Sunday night house worship
*the weather.  seriously.
*Thursday coffee with Amy
*my cute apartment
*public transportation (even though it's not always on time)
*meeting new people (even though it's really hard for me to be brave and talk about why I'm here)
*really good bread.  and cheese.  and apples...
*my new bike (even though I'm still to chicken to ride it anywhere that requires me to turn across traffic)

But lately, the list of things I miss about Home has been weighing heavy.  Maybe the mistake is that I still think of that place as Home.  Isn't my home here now?  Shouldn't I call Dublin home?  The truth is, I never quit calling home Home.  Not after I went off to college and my parents moved to St. Louis.  Not after I graduated and went all the way to Chile.  Not after I came back to finish grad school and got my very first apartment.  Not after my parents traded St. Louis for Dallas.  Not after I moved into my second apartment with my great friend Jael, and then into a little house, and then back on my own in Fayetteville.  I never quit saying things like I'm going home (this weekend/for Christmas/to see my family/etc).

As happy as I am here in Ireland, I really miss Home.  A lot.  Especially now.  My birthday eve (go ahead, roll your eyes) is in 7 minutes.  My birthday is in 24 hours and 7 min.  Christmas is another 72 hours after that.  None of it feels right.  There should be lights on all the houses.  Salvation Army buckets.  Trips to Target.  Coffee and shopping with my sisters.  Crazy Christmas traffic.  Mannheim Steamroller.  I miss it all.  I miss Home.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog-post-catch-up, Part 2: Thanksgiving

I spent last Thanksgiving with my family.  Thankful to have extra time with the people I love the most.  Frustrated with what seemed to be an endless season of waiting for what was next.  Last Thanksgiving, I couldn't imagine myself ever actually being in Dublin.

I spent this Thanksgiving with a new family.  Thankful to finally be surrounded by the team God drew together.  Thankful to share the holiday with all the new friends we've met here, as they experienced our American holiday for the first time.  This Thanksgiving, I couldn't escape the wonderful gift of God's faithful provision.  I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Another thing to be thankful for: 10 cans of pumpkin from Mooly!  Plus some evaporated milk and spices (Shhhhhh... don't tell her you can find all those things here).  I gave 1 can away to an American classmate at IBI.  I used 1 can to make these pumpkin chocolate chip bars.  (They were a big hit... I'll probably have to make them again).  Now, what to make with the other 8?!?!?!?!?  Oh, how I do love pumpkin!