One of the realities of living overseas is getting acquainted with the US Embassy. In Ireland, the embassy is in Dublin, and there are times when getting or maintaining our US documents requires a visit. This week we’ll be going up to renew Daniel and Rebekah’s passports. Today I (Seth) took them to get their passport photos and noticed that I didn’t have to coach them not to smile – they already knew exactly where to stand and what to do. International living is the norm for these kids.
It took the best part of two days to get here, but we finally did make it back to our house yesterday. The only adventure we had along the way was that our first flight was delayed, leaving us just ten minutes to run through the airport (and get a bus to another terminal) in New York to catch our flight to Ireland. We were definitely puffed (out of breath) when we got there, but we did get there in time! Now we are trying to settle back in while our bodies try to catch up to the time difference. All in all we travelled around 10,000 miles in the last three and a half weeks, and we’re ready to be done. We are so thankful for the time we had in the States, though, and thankful for a home to come back to – even as we pray for it to sell, so we can move to Carrigtwohill.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve traveled from Ireland to Georgia to Tennessee to South Carolina to Virginia. We’ve seen lots of family and friends and several of our supporting churches. We’ve had some really yummy American food that we missed, like crispy bacon. We celebrated Daniel turning ten years old and had fun being in the USA for the Fourth of July. It’s been a great trip. Even as I write this, there are evening crickets singing outside, a sound I miss in Ireland. We are thankful.
Seth’s conference in America went well, and he really enjoyed getting to see his grandmother, parents, other relatives, and old friends. But there’s no sight like home!
This was the first time any of us have been able to actually use our Irish passports, and it turned out to be very helpful on the way home: Seth’s flight from Chicago came to London late, and the flight to Ireland decided to leave early, so he ended up with only 30 minutes to get through customs, security, and an airport the size of a city. The Irish passport made customs a breeze, and by some miracle security wasn’t busy, so he actually made it!
Tomorrow morning, Seth will be heading out to fly to America. He was invited to a leadership conference at Crossworld headquarters in Kansas City, which is the main purpose of the trip, but he will also have a chance to drop in for a flying visit (Irish phrase for ‘quick’) to a few friends and family in that part of the country that he hasn’t seen in years.
Seth’s time at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting seems to have been productive, with some publishers even saying they will give Munster Bible College books to help with our library! After the conference was over, Seth hopped over to Alabama for a quick visit with his family that included an early Thanksgiving meal. It was such a treat! Now he’s back in Ireland, trying to get his body to catch up to the clock.
One of the lecturers that has come over from America to teach at Munster Bible College also happens to be the director of the Evangelical Theological Society. He recently invited one of the MBC board to attend the annual meeting of ETS, in order to make connections for our little college and help us build our library. Seth was chosen to go, so he is now in Atlanta, representing MBC. It’s very different, flying over the ocean alone!
In our last post, we told you that after attending a Crossworld conference we took a bus into France for a bit of family time. We had booked a small apartment online (it was a really good deal!) and when we got there we found out that it was actually part of a retirement home! Needless to say, our family stood out a bit, but it was a nice quiet place. We really enjoyed the beautiful autumn colour we saw as well, which is not something we usually get much of in Ireland.
Last week we attended Crossworld’s All Europe Conference, which happens once every three years. The meetings are helpful, but one of the biggest blessings is that it’s a great opportunity to connect with folks working all over the continent, compare notes, and hear what God is doing in various places. They also always have a brilliant kids program, and our children have friends in countries we didn’t even know existed when we were their age. Another plus is that since we live in Europe, beautiful places are easy to get to – the conference was in the Swiss Alps! Afterwards, it was just a short bus trip into France for some family time, since the kids have a school break anyway. Living in Europe does have its advantages!
We left Alabama in the middle of Wednesday, and finally made it back to our house by the middle of Thursday. We’ve got a long way to go before we feel like the clock is right, but we are enjoying re-discovering old toys (Rebekah went upstairs and shouted “I have a DOLLHOUSE!”) and settling back in to our home. We’ve managed to get all the suitcases unpacked, so that’s a good start!