30 April 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that my fundraising letters have been showing up in mailboxes across the country, I've begun to receive a few frequently-asked questions. I will take this opportunity to address them below:

When are you leaving?
I will leave for orientation in Stony Point, NY on August 20. Assuming I have no visa issues (which happens on occasion for NI participants), I will leave New York for Belfast on August 27.

What happens if you raise more than $8,000?
That would be an awesome problem to have!

Just kidding... with the amazing support I've received to date, raising more than $8,000 is certainly a possibility. The average cost to support a YAV during their year abroad costs the PC(USA) anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 (thankfully they don't make us raise the entire amount!). Any fundraising I do that exceeds the minimum requirement will still be applied to my year in Belfast.

What will you do with your car? / Is that washer and dryer still available?
Like many of my personal items that will probably cost more to store than they would be worth to replace, I plan on selling my beloved Yaris before I head out in August... and yes, I have had enough people reference the availability of my aforementioned washer and dryer to address it in the FAQ post. Unfortunately for your dirty clothes, the pair have already found a loving home with Alex and Corinna.

Any other burning questions? Add 'em in the comments section!

23 April 2012

More on Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom

Many thanks to fellow future Belfast-er Beth for finding and sharing the following video, which manages to make a good distinction of terms like Great Britain and the United Kingdom (if you have 5:15 to listen to a dude speaking REALLY quickly):

16 April 2012

Wanna be a YAV?

I know you have been reading my blog, thinking: "Oh, that YAV program sounds so awesome. I'd love to apply for a national site, but I missed that deadline!"

Well friends, I'm here to tell you that it's not too late... the deadline for national sites has been extended through May 25!

If you are between the ages of 19 and 30, looking for an opportunity like the Young Adult Volunteer program (or know someone who is), visit http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/yav/sites/ to learn more about national opportunities!

12 April 2012

A Brief History Lesson (a.k.a., What's with the new name?)

I know, after making a big deal about Katie winning the blog naming contest, I went back on my word... I still think she is exceptional and talented and lovely, but I realized that "Irish you were here" was a little misleading.

For one thing, several incredibly smart people I've spoken to didn't actually know that there's a difference between Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (it's not just like in the States, where we refer to things directionally, e.g., "Up North", Midwest) and I feel like having "Irish" in there just added to the confusion.

I'm also trying to be careful about the words I choose as I learn about the politics of everything... I'm not going to walk you through the hundreds of years of conflict (not today, at least), but you can brush up on Wikipedia if that's your jam.

By contrast, Norn Iron "is an informal and affectionate local nickname used by both nationalists and unionists to refer to Northern Ireland, derived from the pronunciation of the words 'Northern Ireland' in an exaggerated Ulster accent (particularly one from the Greater Belfast area). The phrase is seen as a light-hearted way to refer to Northern Ireland, based as it is on regional pronunciation." (Wikipedia)

Don't you feel smarter already?

03 April 2012

Living Simply

Becoming a Young Adult Volunteer means that I have committed to spend the next year as a part of an intentional community, dedicated to living simply, growing in faith and discipleship and serving God. 

Living simply means so much. Not only does it require the obvious step of living on a limited income while I'm abroad, but I have been preparing for it in other ways as well. As a part of the fundraising process, and in preparation for a year away from home, I have been sorting through my possessions to sell or donate the things I can't use anymore. My pack-rat tendencies are fighting it, but I figure that's better than paying for a huge storage unit! 

On that note, does anyone need a washer and dryer?

I think it's pretty well known that I'm a first-rate worrier. Trust me, I've considered everything from whether I'll need that shirt again to whether I can find a job when I get back (yes, more than a year in the future). I've heard it said that the YAV experience makes you "rich enough to be poor for a year" - so I stand here at the beginning of this process excited to be in a place where I can give up my concerns and truly put others first. 
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:25-27

P.S. - congrats to Katie for winning my non-contest for naming this blog (both of the top vote-getters were her suggestion)! Visit her at http://www.ampersandanddash.com/.