BY: MEGAN DRAKE and JORDYN FERRARO
Four years ago today, we left Ireland, enchanted with the people and open green fields only hoping and dreaming that one day this place would be home again. For some reason, this day, December 19, has always stuck with us. We called it our day of mourning (we’re obviously not dramatic at all) as it was the day our study abroad experience ended. But now, here we are. Four years later with 14 new countries under our belts and this place we once called home, is now our home again. It’s crazy to think it was four years ago, yet at the same time, with every December 19th that passed, the Lord continued His work in our lives to bring us each here.
As to be expected, moving to a different country has had its ups and downs. When we were looking into moving to Ireland we knew that we would be in for some differences, and we knew that the lifestyle we had in Glendora would change – some sad changes like no more Starbucks or Target runs, saying goodbye to friends, family & our church, and also some not so sad changes like finally escaping the LA traffic California is notorious for & the year round heat wave we found ourselves trapped in (ok, that’s a little dramatic, we weren’t trapped). Nevertheless, we were headed in the direction of change, full speed ahead.
Although Ireland may not seem like the most different country compared to the U.S., it still is different in a lot of ways. We thought we would share some of the differences with you so you can laugh along with us as we adjust to life here in Galway.
We tried to think of all the things that we have had to get used to, some realities were harder than others to face (& adapt to daily, like lack of central heating after getting out of the shower) and with others that have led us back to our ungraceful travel selves, laughing through the differences. So, without further adieu here is our list thus far:
1. Grocery Shopping – unlike our Costco loving country, we have found grocery shopping is done in smaller amounts. No more stock up runs for us because we A) can’t carry it all home (one of the many joys of living a car-less life) and B) our fridge is the size of a college freshman’s dorm room fridge. We now shop for only a couple days at a time, instead of our monthly Costco stock ups. And while it can be a struggle to drag ourselves into the rain at times to get some needed groceries, it has given us the luxury of buying fresh – aka fresh baked bread every few days with the (occasional) mixed in fruits and veggies. Living outside of California means living by the fruits and veggies of the season, instead of a plethora of options anytime of the year. While Megan is a bit more used to this from Colorado, for Jordyn it’s been a whole new learning experience.
2. Public Transportation – in the move to Galway we left our cars behind back in America, leaving us to either walk, bus, or taxi everywhere. We are both currently unemployed, looking for work and let’s just say the bus is a luxury we pinch our pennies for. Walking is great on the nice days, not so great when you get caught in the rain, leading us to create our ‘rainy day fund’ – a jar of extra change to save up to take the bus on those downpour days or when we have bought too much to walk home in our run to the city centre. To our advantage, we have a stop directly outside our apartment (that even has a covering for the rain) which we’ve both come to extremely appreciate on those stormy days.
3. Limited Space – we have talked about the size of our apartment and how God has told us no to our dream of a 3 bedroom, but provided immensely with our 2 bedroom. But with a small apartment comes a limited amount of space. If you ever had the privilege of seeing our closet in our Glendora apartment you know how much we love shopping and our clothes. We are adjusting to a small wardrobe to store our clothes and having to get creative with how and where we store things. Let’s just say our old closet was about the size of Jordyn’s room (Megan won Rock Paper Scissors for the bigger of the two rooms – it’s how we make most of our split decisions) and it’s a hard fall back down to reality of the everlasting struggle of finding closet and storage space. But thanks to the ever-so-brilliant Pinterest, we’ve both been able to learn and find new creative ways to maximize our limited space.
4. Weather – now this one probably comes at no surprise as we chose to move to a country with more rainy days than days of sunshine. A complete 180 from the California sunshine. But with our tiny suitcases and still lack of clothes from home, we learned very quickly that the contents of our suitcases did not equip us for the often rainy days. After a few days of trying to tough it out and wait until our wardrobes from home made their entrance to Ireland, we gave in after several caught in the rain moments. But if there is anything we’ve learned, it’s that with the proper gear, the rain really isn’t all that bad. And for those days that we were without rain attire, we embraced the life of the unemployed and had many Netflix marathons to fill our time (something we’re both extremely thankful for as we love our movies and tv shows).
These are just a few of the adjustments were navigating our way through as we continue to hunt for jobs and anxiously await returning to our families for Christmas. All in all, life here is simple. Time seems to move slower, pots of tea linger longer, and the winter weather leaves the perfect excuse to watch endless Hallmark movies (thank you, YouTube). We’re learning and laughing our way through the moments of bags breaking and rain drenching, and as we look back over the past four years, each of us with different circumstances that led us back, we can both confidently say it’s all been by the orchestrating of the Lord and his faithfulness. He’s opened the door for us to live here, and truly, it’s been the best kind of adventure yet.
BY: JORDYN FERRARO and MEGAN DRAKE
There is no other way to start this post than simply to say
WE HAVE AN APARTMENT!
After a week (or two) of debating pros and cons, searching airfare, & calculating budgets we decided to come back to Ireland a few days earlier than originally planned. A mixture of wanting a place to call home and the debate of a 16 hour train ride for a three day trip led us back to Ireland, sad to be ending our Eurail time but beyond excited for this next step (and to be back in the land of English). Even when the adventure felt like it had ended, we were reminded that really – the next adventure is just beginning. This will definitely be a different kind of adventure in living abroad for the next year, but already God has provided so much and, thankfully, given us a place to call home.
We had spent months praying for this, praying for an apartment in Ireland that we could rent smoothly (& affordably) but then as we began looking at the apartments available, we learned we could not only afford a two bedroom but there were also some three bedrooms available in our price range. So, being the dreamers we are, that became the new prayer. Dreaming of a place where friends or family could stay with us in the extra room or using it as a place to rent through AirBnB, made us both so excited and looking forward to a place to be hospitable. So began the specific and bold prayer for a three bedroom, and this wasn’t something we were quiet about either. Asking friends around the world to pray with us, knowing fully the power of the Lord and His provisions. At this time too, Habakkuk 3:17-19 seemed to be popping up all over the place (I think the Lord was trying to get our attention), which states:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines,
The produce of the olive fail
And the fields yield no food,
The flock be cut off from the fold
And there be no herd in the stalls,
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Well, the answer came back no. The doors we hoped to open and step into were closed clearly in our path. In the time between looking online and physically being in Ireland to apartment hunt, it seemed as though all the three bedrooms had disappeared with none to fill the void. But, with far more ease than we ever expected, an apartment came & the Lord provided exactly what we needed. A place with space to unpack our tiny suitcases, a place to call home. It may not have been the big dream and prayers answered in the way we hoped, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t answered & that the desire to be hospitable has to change with the number of rooms.
The lesson we’re both learning in the midst of moving & creating a new home is that sometimes God says no. He said no many times about going on our Eurail adventure before the yes came (it was a dream that grew underground for years before it came to fruition), he said no to our dream of a 3 bedroom, and yet He still gives us exactly what we need. The yeses come at exactly the right time, but for now, in the midst of a no, we will continue to sing of how good God is. We are placed in a great location with plenty of opportunities to get involved in the small quaint community. Our new home is exactly what we need with a good walk into the city to balance out the creme and scones even if our dream of being hospitable with an extra bedroom has to change. Because, truly, we are still able to be hospitable & we still so deeply desire friends and family to come visit us, it just may look different than our other expectations. We are confident if we were able to host people in our shoebox in Glendora, we will be able to here. If there is anything you remember from this post, it’s first, you now have a place to stay in Ireland if you want to visit & secondly, and most importantly, we can sum up the last few months and weeks to this : God is the ultimate provider, He provides exactly what we need & even if the answer is no or a different kind of yes, He is to be praised.