Friday, December 29, 2017

Why I Haven't Blogged in a While

I’ve got this dream where I completely re-do this blog. I can picture it: minimalist black and white theme, high quality photography, and a hand-lettered title. The blog is neat, full of articles about literature, updates on my monthly adventures, thoughts on politics and feminism and faith, and of course my trademark- vulnerable, honest articles about my life.

However, upon dreaming up this idea, I realized several flaws in this plan. First, I haven’t actually posted a blog post since February. And that professional blog templates can cost at least $30, if not more, not to mention monthly hosting fees. While this blog isn’t the height of aestheticism, at least it’s free. When you are living on a small service stipend, everything free is good. But to me, there is a much bigger issue- I’m not sure how to be both a teacher and a blogger.

I am currently teaching high school English at a Catholic school in Omaha. My students are great- hilarious, insightful, and particularly skilled in social media stalking. Within in my first few weeks, they found everything with my name on it online. To be honest, it was pretty funny when they discovered some old college projects that even I forgot that I put on YouTube. But it was less funny when I had to change my Instagram name for the third time in three months. Seriously- I use my insta to get free books! I need that!

While the internet has never been a private place, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to use it to tell stories, especially very personal ones about my life. Writing blogs throughout college helped me process and share some of my most difficult struggles, not just in a way that helped me with my issues, but used these difficult issues to help others. Sometimes I felt like I “thought” in blog posts- always spinning together a narrative out of ordinary or challenging moments.

And I feel as if I still do. I still am writing blog posts. My computer is full of documents of posts that I’ve written in the last few months, but then hesitated to post. While I don’t mind sharing my struggles with family, friends, and even strangers through this blog- there are some things that I don’t want my students or their parents to know. If I write about a personal struggle, is that something a student could use against me or mock me for? If I write about a political opinion, is that something I could get fired for? Sometimes I find myself frustrated because blogging is something that is very much “me” and without it, I’m not sure how to process my life and ideas. I hate that teaching means giving up a part of myself when it already it the most demanding and sacrificial job I’ve ever had. But I also see a need to protect myself- my personal life, my professionalism, and my job.

I don’t know the answer to this predicament. Making a “private blog” with a password seems very Tumblr in 2010 to me. Stripping this blog of every vulnerable or political article seems to take away it’s very integrity. A decent and potential idea is redesigning the blog in some sort of way that can’t be traced to my name through searches. If you have ideas, please feel free to reach out and let me know.

Until then, I’m dying to continue to tell stories. I want to reflect on life through words and share it with my friends. I want to talk about faith and politics and just life in general. I’m dreaming up ways to post all the saved articles on my laptop, because I do think we are called to use our moments of weakness, challenge, and disappointment to help others. I’m just not exactly sure how to do that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Month-in-Review: February

February was one of those months that starts off scary and stressful, but by the end is exciting and amazing. It could have used some more sunlight and less wind and rain, but all things considered I think I made the best of it.

St. Brigid Festival

I’m currently doing a program called House of Brigid, named after St. Brigid of Kildare. So part of my job involved putting on a night of reflection to celebrate St. Brigid. I really enjoyed the process of putting the festival together- from weaving crosses, to visiting wells, to learning more about St. Brigid herself (total badass). I also got to choreograph a dance, which became the talk of the town (literally- it’s a small town). It was a really nice way to celebrate and learn more about an important Irish saint.

Galentines Day

I love Galentine's Day! I think it's so so important to celebrate female friendships. Unfortunately, all my female housemates were out of town for Galentines, so I decided to celebrate with the wonderful ladies who have tea at our church every morning after mass. Even though these women are old enough to be my granny, they have become some of my closest friends in Wexford. I decorated the tea room, made Valentines, brought flowers and cupcakes, and taught them about the new holiday. They definitely got a kick out of it.

Happy Reunions

I was so excited to be visited by one of my dear friends from home, Amy, for a week in February. Amy and I were both Weird Horse Girls in 4th grade, so we decided to celebrate our friendship by going horseback riding. We took an amazing trail ride to the top of Wexford, Forth Mountain. It also meant a reunion with my best horse friend, Ross. He may be slow and sassy, but he’s also adorable.

Northern Ireland Adventures

While Amy was in town, we took a short trip up to Northern Ireland. The first day we took a bus tour to Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Reid rope bridge, and Giants Causeway. Honestly, Giants Causeway is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen ever. Then we spent the night in Belfast. The next day we explored Lisburn Road, had a gorgeous brunch, and took an open top bus tour of the city. Belfast has a tumultuous history, but it is one of the friendliest, most interesting, and most artistic cities I’ve ever visited.

Tea Time

The month ended with my birthday. My amazing housemates took me to afternoon tea at posh hotel in Wexford. It was such a treat and totally made me feel like Lady Mary! We finished the day with dinner (chicken goujons and sweet potato fries), cake, and one of my favorite movies. It’s such a treasured memory.

I finished February feeling really happy about the amazing friendships in my life and the wonderful adventures I’m lucky enough to have here in Ireland.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Month-in-Review: December & January

Long time, no blog- I know! Things have been hectic for me lately- with grad school applications, traveling, and a very full schedule at work- in addition to some personal issues that waylayed my blogging. So here is a little catch up on the last few months (a February one will come soon as well).

Christmas in Ireland

I wrote a few months ago about the difficulty and excitement of celebrating Christmas in another country. In the end, I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about Christmas traditions in Ireland and celebrate the holiday with my new friends in Wexford.

 Home Sweet Home

After Christmas, I headed home for a week and a half. I had the wonderful treat getting to fly First Class on the way home (shout out to Paddy at Aer Lingus for the upgrade). I loved getting to spend time with my family and friends after months away. Whether it was restaging Christmas day with my family, ringing in the New Year with my dear friends the Tarpleys, or grabbing margs and tacos with my Golden Trio of BFFS- every moment of my time at home was refreshing and comforting.

 Cottage Time

One of the best parts of being home was spending a few days at our cottage in Port Sanilac. Our lakeside cottage is one of my favorite places to visits and it’s a really special place in the winter. Walking along the icy beach and through the snowy forest are always really magical things to do in the winter. When not exploring outside, it was great to practice the snuggly art of hygge by spending time inside reading, writing, and drinking tea.

  Another Seaside Retreat

Just like that, my time at home was over and I was back in Ireland! My first week back was spent alongside Curracloe Beach for our mid-year work retreat. It was such a treat to be joined by Father Pat Reidy from Notre Dame who facilitated the retreat. It was great to catch up with other Teach Bhríde members, spend time walking along the beach, and refocusing for a new “semester” in Ireland.


And just like that, I was back into the swing of things for another few more months in Ireland. I’m so grateful for the midyear break which gave me the opportunity to relax at home and see love ones. It’s crazy to think that the next time I’m home, my time in Ireland will be done!