Nothing feels normal in this house. Tomorrow we drive to O’Hare airport and board a plane for Dublin. We’re all so excited we can’t think straight.

These photos were all taken on our last flight to Dublin. Irish flight attendants are AWESOME.
These photos were all taken on our last flight to Dublin. Irish flight attendants are AWESOME. “Tea? Tea? Tea?” And all the Americans blinked in polite refusal. Because NO. NO tea.

And by “we” I mean WE. All four of us are going, plus my mom.

As usual, Eric and I feel a little weird about this trip. We went to Italy a few years ago and got plenty of strange looks from friends when they learned of our plans. People seem to assume we’re either wealthy or we’re putting our vacation on the credit card, because international travel seems so… ostentatious… maybe. Certainly out of the range of normal middle class behavior in this community.

That stretch over the Atlantic feels like you're NEVER GOING TO GET BACK TO LAND. Just take me home, Sweet Jesus. Can't tale this no mo'.
That stretch over the Atlantic feels like you’re NEVER GOING TO GET BACK TO LAND. Just take me home, Sweet Jesus. Can’t take this plane no mo’.

Eric worked really hard to find the absolute best airline ticket prices, and we’re renting a house that will cost far less than a hotel room. We’ll be buying our groceries at the local store and cooking most of our own meals, and then taking inexpensive day trips around the island.

But I know that one of those inexpensive airline tickets costs as much as the monthly rent some people can barely make, and it doesn’t sit well with me. We’ve been financially blessed; I know we’re called to share our resources with those in need. And we do. But even with generosity as a top budget item, we’ve still managed to carve out some money to take the family to Ireland.

Thank goodness for the English, because Irish is not offered in rural American high schools.
Thank goodness for the English, because Irish is not offered in rural American high schools.

To do so, we’ve made budget cuts in all kinds of places. Eric’s car is almost twenty years old and his driver’s side door barely works. He climbed in and out of the passenger door all summer long. We buy the bulk of our clothes at the resale shops. Our kids aren’t involved in expensive extracurricular activities like travel hockey or dance classes.

Do you know how much money you can save when your kids’ greatest interests are going to the library and hanging out with friends??

Enough to go to Ireland, frankly.

I was all bound up in all kinds of conflicting feelings this week, but Tsh Oxenreider’s book Notes From a Blue Bike settled me back down. The Oxenreiders have literally traveled around the world with their kids. (You can read all about their story here.) In her book, she says this:

Once they’ve traveled, kids have permission to question the how and why of their surroundings, because they’ve tasted and seen that other people live differently. While may not be the most comfortable way to go through life, it’s the most honest– and this honesty opens the door to making life choices that feel right in your bones. (p. 147)

This is what I want for our kids. I want them to see beyond American life, with our huge SUVs, mammoth refrigerators, and vinyl-clad houses. I want them to taste food they didn’t know existed, meet people who speak the same language with a totally different accent, and even ride in a car on the other side of the road.

I want to encourage them to think big as they make plans for the rest of their lives.

I’ll let you know how this giant experiment goes. Eric says it’s all going to be fine, or it’ll be a disaster and I’ll have fodder for the blog for a long time. Either way, we all win! I’ll be posting from Ireland as much as the wi-fi allows, but since I’ll be blogging from my smart camera you should count on lots of pictures and not so many words.

In the mean time, I have a million things to do and not enough brain cells to get them all done. I’ll get back to you soon!


I stole this quote out of Tsh's book. I didn't actually talk to Augustine to get that wisdom directly.
I stole this quote out of Tsh’s book. I didn’t actually talk to Augustine to get that wisdom directly.

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9 Comments on We’re Off to Find the Leprechauns!

  1. Sally Shupe
    September 24, 2015 at 11:10 am (2 years ago)

    Sounds like an awesome trip! Have fun and can’t wait to see the pictures!

  2. Jessie Clemence
    September 24, 2015 at 11:18 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks! 🙂

  3. Bethany
    September 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm (2 years ago)

    ENJOY!!!! So excited you are getting to share this with your kiddos and they are excited to share it with you 😀

  4. Jennifer
    September 25, 2015 at 12:05 am (2 years ago)

    Enjoy your time there, Jessie. We loved it! “Mind your head” on the low castle doorways and be sure to try the blood sausage. Couldn’t bring myself to do that! And maybe prepare the kids for the room temp drinks. The scenery is so impressive and the people are very friendly. They will be hooked on traveling after this experience.

  5. wineandhistory
    September 25, 2015 at 12:18 am (2 years ago)

    It will be fabulous! We often feel the same way – Jon’s coworkers all think I must be some sort of money fairy. But the fact is that my previous car was 22 years old when I traded it in, our current cars are paid off, we bought a house we can afford on one income, and we dine in when we are home. It’s all about priorities, isn’t it! Enjoy!

  6. Cheri Fields
    September 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm (2 years ago)

    My parents didn’t give us many fancy gadgets and only bought new when used wasn’t available, but they took us traveling a lot. When I married I’d been to all 50 states and to 6 foreign countries. My life would not be the same without this wider perspective. Your priorities sound pretty good to me.
    Remember this: As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, *who richly provides us with everything to enjoy*. I Timothy 6:17
    We don’t feel rich in America, but we do have unprecedented opportunities to choose how we spend our money.

    September 27, 2015 at 9:16 am (2 years ago)

    Have fun! I know I’m going to sound like a teacher here – but what about school?

  8. Jessie Clemence
    October 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm (2 years ago)

    They’ve spent today finishing the homework they didn’t do on the way to O’Hare! Audrey needs to get 80 minutes of practice time in with her trombone tonight and we’re all losing it. Mercy, that thing is loud!

  9. Jessie Clemence
    October 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m so glad you understand! Sometimes it’s hard to say anything at all without sounding like a self righteous windbag. I want to say, “You could have gone to Ireland five times with what you paid for that SUV, sir.” 🙂