Tag Archives: Gifts

New traditions are bittersweet.

23 Dec

Though I love that my parents moved up to NC in May of this year and are now only a 45-minute drive away from me, the “big move” involved selling the house I grew up in until I was 16 years old. Though I was ready to get out of my small hometown as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I loved growing up in the house that I did, and I am very fortunate to have been provided with a house that was full of love, comfort, books, and many memories.

Every single holiday memory I have took place in that house, and this year will be the first time I will be making new traditions in a different house. I’m happy with how things are now, of course. I love my parents’ current house more than my childhood home in SC, but my childhood home holds every single memory of my life up until the age of 16. Decorating the Christmas tree with my mom and getting nostalgic when pulling out the hand-made ornaments from when I was 5 and 6, making Christmas cookies in the kitchen, and putting up my own little fiber-optic Christmas tree (which came into the picture many years ago when I spent the holidays in Shriner’s Hospital for Kids and wanted something to make it feel more like Christmas in my hospital room). Even though the majority of our holiday “traditions,” or just how Christmas Day would pan out, are easy to duplicate in a different house, I think the kicker is also the realization that we will be opening presents and stockings in a different house from now on. The Christmas tree is up against a wall of windows rather than being set in a corner with two couches nestled around it. Since we have a wood stove, there is no fireplace to hang our stockings, and for the very first time, we will only have 5 stockings as opposed to 6 (since we lost Roxy, one of our springer spaniels, this year). Despite that sadness, Hoss, Roxy’s son, will be getting plenty of treats and as much love and attention as we can possibly show him. Needless to say, he’ll definitely be a happy camper on Christmas morning.

I don’t doubt that this Christmas will be just as special as previous holidays. However, I know that for me, it’ll be an emotional adjustment. I know that this year when I wake up on Christmas morning, I’ll be picturing the tree nestled in a corner…stockings hung up on the fireplace…and Hoss and Roxy sitting around my parents, my brother and I as we open stockings and gifts in our pajamas. And maybe, for just a few seconds, I’ll feel a bit sad about not getting to experience another Christmas in my childhood home, but then I will be sure to understand how fortunate I am to even have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with my family around me.

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Counting Down The Days Until Ireland!

11 Jun

I leave for Ireland in 8 days. Truthfully, it still feels a bit unreal, and yet it’s not. In eight short days, I’ll be saying goodbye to the United States and hello to a dream of mine: Ireland. 🙂

I spent time yesterday getting things ready for Ireland: making copies of all the important documents, going out and getting power adapters for my computer and camera charger (the two necessities of my trip, both of which will help me document the experience of a lifetime). Even though I haven’t started packing yet, I’ll probably do some packing trial runs throughout this week so that I’ll be sure and have everything when I leave on the 19th. Even though I’ve been told that a lot of things can be bought once I’m Ireland, I still want to bring as much of my own things as I can. Thankfully, I’ve always been a pretty light packer anyway, and I’ll definitely want to have plenty of room for gifts for family and friends as well as a few momentoes for myself.

Since I’ll be traveling around for a week with my mom before my program begins in Galway, I’ll hopefully be able to at least get a feel for things (transportation, money, shops, pubs etc) before starting my program. While in Galway, I’ll be taking two courses, and even though I haven’t officially signed up for classes yet, I’m hoping to take Irish Literature and Film and Gaelic Culture. Four full weeks of reading Irish literature and learning as much as possible about the Irish culture…I couldn’t think of anything better.

I’m also excited to keep all of you up to date on my travels and my experiences while in Ireland. I’ll be posting tons of pictures as well as recapping the best memories of every few days. I’m so happy to be able to tell all of you how my trip is going. Most of all though, I’m just ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime. I’ve had more than my share of nerves over the past few days, but truthfully, I think once I actually get there, most of my nerves will settle. I mean, how can I not smile constantly when I’m finally living a dream of mine? 🙂