Monday, February 2, 2009


"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

Over the last few months I have been able to experience Ireland in ways I never experienced my home country. I walk outside and feel the rain gently sweep down my face, I hear the melody of a distant guitar and let the sound of their voice wrap around me, I stand in awe of the view of a lake from a mountains peak. As I sit cuddled up in duvets with books around me writing this I am watching large snowflakes drift past my window and land on the cars on my street. The snow is sticking today, an unusual sight for Ireland, and it floods me with memories from home. I have not updated this blog lately because not much has happened lately, or maybe it just seems like life now. I'm not truly traveling, I'm living. I'm living in Cork City, County Cork, Ireland. I'm living in a city that has narrow streets that are navigated by small cars that would never make it to Canada. A city where buskers serenade you as you walk into town and volunteers ask you for money at every corner. I live in a country where the clouds move so fast that if you look up a moment later the dragon you saw would have morphed into a penguin or became a flower. If you were to ask me what Ireland looks like I could paint you a picture in words in minutes and continue describing it for hours. I could not do the same thing with Canada. Only in my last month while in Kelowna did I truly appreciate the beauty of a vineyard, the cozy feel of the valley and the peaceful swaying of the lake. Here I sense everything. I can't believe that in less than three months I'll be leaving my home here. I am excited for the travels that await me and I can't wait to experience other cultures and to see the gorgeous cathedrals and ruins and architecture that are scattered around Europe but another part of me is already grieving Ireland. Lately I have been thinking about the people in my life. Being in Cork has helped me see them in a different light, helped me to appreciate them more. I am lucky enough to be loved by the most amazing parents a daughter could ask for and to have a true friend in my brother. The friends and family that God has brought along side me is something I am blown away with but still too often take for granted. And now He has done it again. Here in Cork I've made friends that will last a lifetime. I have met people I love with every fibre of my being and as much as I want to gather together with lads from Lawson's Small Group and hear Jared lead us in a song and listen to each individual's take on scripture, as much as I desire to be enclosed in my parents or brothers arms or watch Chelsea capture the most beautiful moments with her camera I will miss the people I've met here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I have not abandoned the blog! I realized only a week ago that my last update was over a month ago so I finally decided to take a full 2 hours (actually it may go onto 3 if I'm able to get through to a few people on Skype) and get caught up on all emails, blog posts and picture updates.

Life in Ireland has settled down some which I'm sure has something to do with the fact that life goes on as normal as it would in Canada. I fall in love with Ireland a little more each day which has made me wonder what it will be like when I head back home but as that is not for some time to come it is something I am not going to worry about or really even think about until I step foot on Canadian soil next year. The one aspect of Ireland I love the most is how slow life is. I finally feel like I've stepped out of the rat race of what my life in Calgary was beginning to be caught up in and I actually don't feel bad about taking lazy days. I've read more books since I've been here and knitted more then I have in the last year or even two years. As the days pass I begin to realize that life has nothing to do with big houses, new clothes, or even careers and has everything to do with relationships. Although I miss, almost desperately at times, the people I have left on the other side of the ocean, I have realized that there are two things I hold most dear in my life, my friends and family and my relationship with God. Everything else is secondary. When I first came to Ireland, what I wanted to learn was where I would be in the future. I was so unsure about where God wanted me to be career wise and even location wise that I thought Ireland would be a big revelation for me. But the longer I stay here the more I see that it has little to do with that and has been more about grabbing hold of my relationship with my Lord. I feel like I've finally begun to relax for the first time in years. This afternoon I watched leaves fall in Fitzgerald Park as I curled up on a park bench. Listening to the sound of the river flow and watching the birds take flight and the smell of the leaves still damp from last nights rain was so breathtaking it brought tears to my eyes. Why is that I couldn't see that when I was in Calgary?

Courtney has just moved to Cork which has been such a blessing! We spent two days a part last week and then spent all Saturday night and Sunday together just to catch up! Our server at Scott's was not impressed that by the third time he came over we had still not opened up our menus :0) It has been amazing to have her here to talk with and site see with and just sit in a coffee shop and read a book. We're planning a trip to Barcelona for the first weekend in December and hopefully a trip up to Giants Causeway soon as well!

Other then that things go on as normal and no big events to report. I've posted pictures up on Facebook so if you have time check them out! The Cliffs of Moher were unreal and the pictures don't do them justice.

I promise I'll update more regularly :0)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A new job and a place to live... so this is home now :0)

Well Cork officially has begun to feel like home. It's strange to say that to be honest but it is, it's home. I have officially moved into my new room in a house just minutes away from the church I attend and only 10 minutes from the centre of town. It's small, kind of like a big walk in closet but it's big enough for me and what I've brought with me. I've got just 2 more things left to buy to be able to organize my space and then it will be official. I even have my "love wall" up! Before I left two friends of mine, Karla and Candice, gave me a bag with specific instructions not to open the bag until I'm sitting on the plane. So, with all the self control I could muster I waited until I was up in the air and I reached in and took out a gigantic "card". Basically, Karla and Candice, and from what I can tell numerous other people, wrote notes that I'm to open on specific days during the next year. Each month has it's own pocket and there are notes and letters in each pocket that have different dates on them. This was the most amazing gift I have ever received and as many of you know, the romantic in me thought first of P.S I Love you. Yes my mind jumped to the movie but this card is ten times better then the movie. As I have been able to open up these letters and notes God has used each one to encourage and strengthen and even challenge me throughout the day. This past month I have been struggling often with worry. Worrying about not finding a place to live, of not finding a job, of not finding friends... and each note had a quote or bible verse or thought that has spoken to me on numerous occasions. As I get a note that really stands out to me, or was written by someone who is not yet on my "love wall" I put it up on the wall.

I have also just been offered a temporary job lasting until Christmas with la creme (a temp. job placement agency in Cork). I'll be working with Skye digital TV workin gin a call center. Yes, I get to be the annoying person on the other end of the phone asking you how you like your TV service provider and whether you're interested in any of our promotions :0) At first I was unsure about it but the job not only pays well with bonuses it has great hours and amazing flexiblity. If anything, it should be quite an experience!

Other then that life has been really good. Lonely at times but I've had a lot of time to read and knit and play the guitar. I've also made a few friends which has been amazing! And I've spent a lot of time with the Canadian family I met my first week here. I love being with their family! They take me in like another daughter and they are one of the main reasons Cork feels like home.

I'll post photos as soon as I can!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The first week has come and gone

I can not believe that I have been overseas for a week and I've already traveled through two different countries! I guess when I start traveling around Europe next year this won't be an abnormal occurrence but for a small town girl this is extremely exciting!

I flew into London last Friday at 0630 London time and got into London City Center at 0930. I actually was not tired when I first got into the city but although I checked my guitar and large backpack I still had a number of books in the smaller bag I decided to cart around London with me. That day I saw Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, walked through a few of the green spaces (they must be royal gardens!) and had lunch at a small cafe in Covent Gardens. This may not mean much at the moment but it is a lot of walking! Half way through the day I started to get very tired and cranky, I even got lost which made things much worse and by the time Buckingham Palace came back into view all I wanted to do was find Victoria cross Station and sit down and wait for Marina! To say the least, London was not my favorite city that day! But Marina came and found me at 1800 and we caught a train back to her place. Her family spoiled me with an amazing dinner and I slept for 11 hours that night! The next day Marina took me back to the City Center and we walked around the Southend (or is it southbank?) and we went to Borough market where I had the best latte ever! Well, it was almost as good as a latte from Weeds Cafe in Calgary :0p After that we just walked around and took pictures of living statues and famous monuments and had dinner at a pub near the river. Marina then took me to a show at Shakespears Globe Theatre called "The Merry Wives of Windsor". It was amazing! And we got to be groundlings so we stood on the floor right next to the stage! The actors were extraordinary and the music was great! Then we went to go see Tower Bridge all lit up! I slept for another long time that night and Marina's mom made up a Canadian breakfast of Pancakes and Maple Syrup... sigh just like home, and then Marina and I went to Kings Cross Station! As many of you know I am a huge Harry Potter fan and lets just say I was very excited! After we walked around Kensington and had afternoon tea at a hotel :0) Very English! I had to say goodbye to Marina and her family that night (which was extremely difficult since I felt quite safe and comfortable there) and headed out to Dublin the following morning.

Dublin was amazing but very busy. I met up with 4 other girls from Canada that came on the same program as I did. Two already have jobs as au pairs and they are just a two hours bus ride from where I am in Cork and the other two are now in Gallway, the third largest city in Ireland. The orientation was full of information which has been very helpful! I've alredy registered with immigration and all I need to do is go and get a PPS number (the Irish version of a SIN number) and then I'll open up a bank account once that comes in the mail.

My first day in Cork was very difficult. Homesickness hit quickly and I couldn't shake it. While I was in Kelowna I prayed often about what city God wanted me to go in Ireland and Cork stood out amongst the rest. I did not do much research on the city but as the days continued I felt at peace about heading to Cork once the orientation was over but once on the train my mind began to role and all I could do was worry about all of the things I needed to do once i got to Cork and how long it would take me to find a place to live and then a job. The person who needs a plan and structure was suddenly being shaken fiercly and tears were quite close to the surface. The Lord has continually been teaching me that He is with me and knows the way ahead even though I do not and He will not leave me because He loves me. I went down for breakfast early this morning with a list of things to complete and as I was reading in 1 Corinthians and writing in my prayer journal I felt God say to look for a church first. So I walked into a Christian Bookstore that is owned by Cove Street Christian Fellowship (an evangelical/pentecostal church) and the gentleman at the store and I talked for quite sometime. When he learned I was going to be here for 7 months and was looking for accomodation and a job he gave me the address of a Canadian couple who moved her a little over 3 years ago. I met with the women and we had coffee and talked a lot about the different churchs and she said that she would look out for accomodations that come up with women in the church that she knows. It was such a blessing to be taken into their home as family and enjoy a cup of coffee. After meeting with her the feeling of peace that Cork is where I am suppose to be took over my senses and the day ran by much better than the previous night. So often I believe that God does not have time to take care of me but I am wrong. He always has time to take care of me and He wants to! That is a truth I must continually remind myself. The love my Lord bestows on me, and all of His children, has taken my breath away constantly today.

Well, after such a long update (which I will be impressed if you got through :0p ) I will sign off. I have to do laundry tonight and get an early start tomorrow. Time to find a place to live!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just the beginning

After a few failed attempts at keeping up a blog in the past hopefully this one will be different. I always find the most difficult part of this is writing down what is happening in my life. For some reason I feel selfish and unsure that someone would actually enjoy reading this. But of course, lies come in all shapes, sizes, and voices and the sentence before this is certainly a lie. As much as I enjoy reading my friends blogs in order to keep up with them, my friends will also enjoy reading mine.

I have been back in Kelowna, my hometown, for just under a month now and it has been blessing to re-establish friendships and have the ability to relax and enjoy time with my parents. It feels like years since I've been able to spend a significant amount of time with my Mom and Dad and just having them near has been a blessing I have thanked my Lord for numerous times over. Being by the water has also been refreshing and I've started to realize how much I love this city. It has bike paths everywhere and hiking trails less than 15 minutes outside of the city (sometimes inside of the city depending on where you go) and people enjoy being at others houses rather than out at a restaurant or pub. As much as I enjoy coffee shops and pubs, sitting at a friends place outside having a BBQ or playing a game of Ultimate Frisbee always seems more special and intimate. I've missed friends in Calgary a lot though and it will be nice to be back there in just a few days.

In a week I will be on my way to London, England to meet up with a friend and after a few days of visiting I will be off to Ireland. This trip still seems like a dream to me and I'm a bit scared of what my reaction will be when it sinks in that I will be gone for a year. As exciting as this journey will be, God has given me such a close community of people that I have cared for and they have cared for me that it is hard to leave that behind. Both in Kelowna and Calgary He has blessed me with people I can share life with and although they are just an email or phone call away it will still be difficult to leave them behind. As the days go by I've been thinking a lot of what will happen over this next year. I have been able to plan a few things but much of my trip is being left up to moment by moment planning. My time in Europe will be spontaneous rather than pre-planned which is exciting but also daunting. As many of you know I am a planner and leaving things to chance is not my idea of a good trip. But, God is teaching me that His plans may not be known by me at this moment but if I just continue following Him with one foot ahead of the other I will not only be ok but I will be living out His plans for me. This is but one lesson among many that I am positive that my Lord will be teaching me on the weeks and months to come.

I will do my best to post photos so check my facebook page for those as it is easier for me to upload them there instead of adding them all to this blog. I can't wait to hear from you so please don't hesitate to send me an email or comment or a quick message or wall posting on facebook.

Love, Candice