A Heart of Many Places

Today has been a day, and this week has been a week. It’s excellent that I write a blog. I’ve done my sort of anguished decompressing over today already, so now I can share the happy kind with you. I’m thankful for a house to come home to.

Also, just interrupted by a housemate who, what horror, has made too much pancake batter. So I’m going to have a pancake. Much more befitting the mood of Thanksgiving than some of the darker thoughts I thought today. I’m thankful for pancakes. Also, pie.

Firstly, I’m just loving the decorations all around town, especially around Grafton Street and Temple Bar. They’re just so festive, and have been so for a while but I feel that I can share them now without any backlash since it’s after Thanksgiving– a temporal decoration marker that they lack here. Anyway, here are some mediocre pictures of lovely Dublin at Christmastime. I’m thankful for cheer and goodwill toward men.

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Monday was the dress rehearsal for our performance of the Messiah which we then performed on Tuesday and Wednesday, both lovely performances if I do say so myself. It was, firstly, a lot of fun and a new experience for me and, to some extent, I didn’t even care how we sounded. On Wednesday, a number of my classmates were kind enough to grace the performance with their presence which was just lovely of them. It’s so much more meaningful when you’re performing for people you know. There’s much more heart, at least, regardless of the sound. Anyway, it was a lot of fun to have them there and, in lieu of flowers, they got me a little kitten who is the most precious thing in this world. I’ve been incredibly blessed by this awesome group of people. They’re my favorites. I’m thankful for friends near and far.

IMG_20151126_202723  This is Freddy (Handel) and he is my new best friend. I’m thankful for cats near and far.

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Also, more cat updates. The new cat is living with my sister for the present. His name is Bullseye.

 

This morning bright and early (a bit of a difficulty after the lateness of the performance yesterday) I gave a group presentation on EAL (English as an Additional Language) in the Irish education system–a topic I found really interesting– and the presentation went over famously. We were the first group, and I think we set the bar pretty high (sorry other groups who have to go after us. It wasn’t intentional, I assure you). I’m thankful for education and all the opportunities I’ve been given.

Aside: the pancake has arrived. Have I’m mentioned how thankful I am for pancakes? And wonderful housemates?

After the class with the presentation, I went and had some pumpkin pie (and an awesome pumpkin swirl cheesecake) courtesy of the Global Room for international students. The whipped cream left something to be desired, but the whole occasion was delightful. Then I just had a leisurely afternoon until the next class reading inspirational quotations and poetry aloud (either to my friends’ chagrin or pleasure, I wasn’t really paying attention). I’m thankful for pie. Also, literacy.

Then we had Research Methods which I will not discuss so as to stay positive. I’m thankful for teachers who are passionate about their subjects.

Then, in true Thanksgiving spirit, I video called my family. We’re spread across thousands of miles, but united in heart. Super cheesy, but true. At one point, the iPad with my image and voice was passed through the dining room, kitchen, and living room to ensure that everyone got to say hi and I got to see everyone. I felt like Zach from Bones in that Christmas episode where they’re trapped in the lab and his whole family comes to the door and they chat through the glass. And I mean that in the best way. It was really heartwarming even just to be able to see my family for a moment. I’ve haven’t been in Ireland that long, really. I was in England longer. But it was such a joy to see everyone and be able to take part, in some small way, in the festivities. I think it’s different because I was in England over the spring. I didn’t miss any major holidays. And the point of Thanksgiving is being together–with friends, with family, with friends who are basically family–just together. And I got a bit of that today. So I’m thankful for family and getting to be together.

That about concludes the fun happenings of this week. It was pretty busy for me (I’ve often said that my threshold for busyness is relatively low) but it was also just a really lovely one. In The Geography of Bliss, writer Eric Weiner says, “Some places are like family. They annoy us to no end, especially during the holidays, but we keep coming back for more because we know, deep in our hearts, that our destinies are intertwined.” And so it is. I’m thankful for family with whom any annoyance is still love, and that my heart can live in so many places.

And, as a sort of finale to this month of poetry, I thought I’d include one of my own compositions. (Oh my goodness, he’s going to share one of his awful teenage angst poems. Please let me die…). While I share such a sentiment which will be common among you, I’m sure (no shame), I’m going to share anyway. I think it really fits with the autumnal theme and I’m actually really proud of it, as opposed to most my my actual teenage angst poetry. And, for future reference, I did write this while a teenager, but I was in college and it was for a class. Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t really care what you think, in the end, because this is my blog and I do what I want. So there it is. I leave you this day with a thankful heart and some musings on the season of decay. I’m thankful for small, soft things that comfort.

Autumn Rhapsody

I open the box of sepia photographs,
crinkled like dry leaves in a cold November alley.
Through the narrow attic windows, a mysterious
darkness creeps, echoing the sigh of gas-lamps which
illuminate quiet lanes shaded by trees of propitious girth.
There is no traffic at this late hour, bringing a damp hush
to my end of the street. The lamp on the walk flickers
and summons spirits of streets long past, silent faces
near forgotten highways or on a trolley going down to the shore.
The gentle piano of a chill autumn night sends the whispered
strains of a nocturne for the rain through welcoming windows,
translated by the years as muffled chords from a distant radio.
Dim shadows of barren trees recall sumptuous ballrooms with
graceful dancers dressed in exquisite splendor; a quivering
branch an elegant leg, silk clinging to flesh long since
returned to dust. A solemn exhalation, the breeze brings back
breath to figures once friends and lovers, who lived lives
now only remembered on nights like this, when time’s golden lens
lends its light to such reminiscences. Filaments of tender thought
tremble in air roused by the stiff wind outside, whose ageless
blowing never remembers and never forgets. Outside the world’s
dim electric glow, trembling drops descend through darkness to
swell some great expanse of somnolent water. It is as though
a great clock is turning backward, and the rain is like remembering,
a phantasmal pattering on the inside of my eyes.
The musty air is an ocean lapping against memory, stirring thoughts
and ladies’ skirts and men’s overcoats, melding
into the soft pearls falling outside on my weary city,
flowing in rivulets across the pavement toward the storm drain—
a Lethe for our age.

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