Monday, December 24, 2007

tea or sparkling wine

I was getting ready for bed in the bathroom this evening and there were a bunch of slips of paper in the waste bin so I pulled a couple of them out and read them. They were from a couple of summers ago, when j and c said that they thought we had a lot of grieving that we needed to do that we just never had done. So they put a box upstairs and when ever we thought of something or someone we missed or we were sad about or needed to grieve we put it in the box. One day we took out all of them and read them.

I pulled them out in handfulls and sat down and read all of them. They lay in a pile on my lap, all of these things and people and places. I thought of keeping them all but then it crossed my mind that maybe they should be in the waste bin.


Mum and I were talking the other day about how people can be screwed up by their pasts and how the devil can use things from the past to tell us lies about ourselves. She brought up, however, that if we have been bought by God and we have been told the truth about ourselves through the gospel then ulimately we have to choose who to listen to. There are, of course, things that we will always struggle with. But we have to decide if we are going to listen to the lies or listen to the truth.


It's Christmas Eve. This evening I was on a walk with one of my friends and Franko. Franko and I walked her home and then we ran back to the house. A few houses before ours lives a family who we are good friends with- I babysit their children all the time, mum is in a book club with the mother, Fiona, and Dad goes to Michael's whiskey tastings. When the immigration trouble came up Fiona (unknown to us) went and waited in line over half an hour to speak to our TD (like a senator) personally about our case.

I ran into them all trying to make it into the car to go to the Christmas Eve family mass. Sean was dressed up like a shepard, he busied himself trying to pet Franko. Niamh ran up to me (this is the first time I have seen them since being back) and shouted happily "I'm five now!" and as I commented on the pretty white angel dresses she and Jennifer were wearing, Jennifer (the youngest) yelled, "we're the same!" She was referring, of course, to the fact that she and Niamh were wearing the same costume, which in her mind means she is as big as Niamh. The whole encounter was quite typical, and as I hugged Fiona and continued to my door she told me I must call in soon for a cup of tea or sparking wine.


Well. I must go to sleep.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, goodnight.

Friday, December 21, 2007

marked my life

My first couple days here were spent sleeping and waiting for my luggage to arrive and watching films. Yesterday I broke out. I walked to dun loaghaire to shop, which is a few miles away, and it was a little bit of glory wrapped into an afternoon. The coolness of December, and with every street the buildings and statues and crossroads and shops that have marked my life. I hope I never live in a place where I give up walking.

Then last night I went to the carol service at my school, which was everything that going back to school is. Talking with teachers is so awkward, ultimately. I truely am very glad to see them, always. I loved most of my teachers a lot. And being in the school without a uniform makes me really feel like an adult. When I return somewhere, when I see people I haven't seen in a long time, I find myself irrepressably smiling. This is unusual for me. I can't stop it. So the most I have to offer my teachers is a huge grin and in some cases a hug and my college information. But then there isn't really much else to say. Nevertheless, it was very good to see them and speak to them. Two of my teachers are now dating. Creepy.

I sat with some of my school friends, though not the ones that I had class with (they did the Irish leaving cert rather than the ib.) I was struck by the religiosity of the service, even a little disturbed by it. There are readings from scripture and T.S. Eliot and Charles Dickens. We sit for the readings, stand for the singing, but when the headmaster Mr. G does his reading he says, "please stand for the gospel" when in actuality we stand for him, and everyone knows it. In the prayers we all stare forward, listening only.

The lovely Bono was of course there, in the row ahead of me.

Afterwards we went for drinks. At the old punch bowl, I realized I didn't have id with me and simultaneously realized it doesn't matter, there.

Afterwards we went for chips.

Afterwards I couldn't find the key that was left out for me, and had to ring j and wake him up.

It was pretty typical, all in all.

I am being a slackass in terms of waking up at a decent time. It isn't good. But I did thoroughly clean the kitchen today. I am going to make Christmas cookies in a few minutes.

Life is not perfect, though. Seeing people from school brings back lots of things. After we ran into another guy from school last night, I said, "being in IB is like being anonymous."

I am (not very thoroughly) reading Sex God by Rob Bell. Mostly because of the title. I am also about halfway through Ishmael, which I am very proud of myself for. Not because it is a hard read, but because it is a thought experiment for me that is having mixed results. There are some good ideas in it, and some that I find many problems with. Thanks to the creepy ginger guy I sat next to on the plane on the way here, I realize exactly the problems I have with it.

I am going to go now. Tonight I am going to the pub with people who are very dear to me, instead of babysitting, which I was going to do instead in order to get money. Then I realized how screwed up those priorities are.

And, on a topic somewhat unrelated to the rest of this post, dreams take a long time to die. So does idolatry. Sometimes it is quite hard to tell what is dream and what is idolatry.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

damn global warming. damn modernity.

Today I was talking to Natalie after poetry class ended and I realized... in two weeks I am going to be home. Home home home!

I was supposed to perhaps be going to Austria with my family at the end of the break but for a number of reasons I will be staying in Dublin with Abs and Giz when my parents and Rach leave in early January. I am quite content with this. As much as I do have the wanderlust there is still a big homebody in me that just wants to go out to my pubs and cook in my kitchen.

My childish love of Christmas wore off at twelve or thirteen, maybe. I dreaded My first Christmas in Ireland, except for wanting so badly to see Rachel. Christmas necessarily means nostalgia, I firmly believe, and the emptiness of starting over didn't allow for much nostalgia.

I enjoyed it, though. I was surprised that year to find I enjoyed my first Christmas holidays in Ireland. The next year I eagerly awaited it. And last year, the first year of my Diaspora (or the Diaspora on Diaspora) Christmas was defined purely by home. Christmas day seemed pointless because Christmas was when the fecking plane landed.

With that in mind, here are my top five Christmas songs, in no particular order. They are all good, in their own way.

1. Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues.

An Irish classic, it wants to be a part of your life, too.

2. Child in the Straw, by Leigh Nash.

Really beautiful lyrics. Yes, a song for crimbos but no, not a crimbo song.

3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.

Easily downloadable (as all of these are. I don't see how one could not like this song, though.)

4. All I want for Christmas is you, by Mariah Carey.

Don't be a hater. It's a brilliant song. Just recognize it for what it is and move on.

5. Basically any version of "Sleigh Ride."

I have always wanted to ride in a sleigh, for real, with the horses and all the snow. I want to be going somewhere nice and be with someone nice. Damn global warming. Damn modernity.

Monday, December 3, 2007

but I haven't told you

I got a package today!

I had just found out that I left my lines for my oral presentation (that I had translated this morning into Arabic) in my Arabic recitation. And I was about to have to re-translate it all and then memorize it for tomorrow. I checked my e-mail just in case a classmate had picked it up and I had that beautiful e-mail from housing in my inbox.

I never get packages. But today I did. It was from my aunt. She isn't even my blood aunt, she's my mum's brother's wife. But she sent me a package. It is full of food that is bad for me, but that I love. Needless to say, my misery level went down about half a point.

But I haven't told you about the misery level index, have I?

I created this index the summer before we moved to Ireland, when I was spending six weeks out west camping with my family. The index helped me keep my misery in perspective and know when it was appropriate to get upset.

Here's how it works:

There are five points for physical discomfort and five points for emotional/mental discomfort. Ten points in total. But if you did ever reach ten points you would almost certainly be dead.

If you were lying in a ditch, limbs torn off, fleas crawling all over you, with the worst period cramps in the world and nothing bad was happening to you emotionally, you'd only reach five.

Likewise if you have 50 exams in the next week, you just found out your mom has been doing the duke blue devil mascot, and your boyfriend told you to lose weight, etc you could still only make it to five on the misery level index without having physical pain.

Usually, big problems count for about a point. Example: I have three exams and a paper due tomorrow. I'm puking.

Smaller problems are half a point. Example, I have twelve mosquito bites on my leg. I just realized that with my schedule I can't study abroad next semester.

Certain things become appropriate at different times. For example, once you reach a misery level of 4 it is appropriate to give a little yell. I did this multiple times throughout the summer, cramped in the minivan. Luckily my family knows the misery index now so that when I give my little yell they know I have reached 4.

I don't know if I have ever reached 6. If I did I was probably crying.

It is more common for me to compute it and get 2.5 or 3. Don't underestimate the misery of a 2.5 or 3, but ususally when I realize I am well under 4 and I could be as bad as 10 I calm down and get some perspective.

Try it. Compute your level now and put it in a comment.