July 2017 marks the 5 year anniversary of our move to Dublin. Over the next few months I’m writing a few posts to share about that journey. You can keep up with all posts in this series here.
Leaving Ireland was hard, but before heading back to the States, we had a week’s vacation left. Because of cheaper than expected flights, we had enough in the budget to stay a few days in London and a few days in Paris. We both figured, we’d never have the whole family together in Europe again. And although we were wrong on that point, it was a good way to wrap up the trip. Because once we got back to Ithaca, life was about to kick into high gear.
Selling Our House
When we arrived back, we only had about a week before school started. While normally that would not have been a big deal, before our European trip we had decided to move our family out of Ithaca and into Trumansburg, a neighboring town, so we could get the kids into a different school.
One of our girls had been physically attacked by another student in middle school. The case went to family court. It was hard on all of us, and we’d been advised by a person at city hall that in high school this type of stuff would only get worse.
Another daughter had also been the victim of severe harassment while attending a local religious school. So while we didn’t want to leave Ithaca, being in school there was proving to not be a safe place for our kids.
However, to get into a neighboring school district, we had to move into that district…And that meant selling our house. The recent housing crash made that a challenge. Not only had the price of our home dropped drastically in value, it was taking a long time to sell.
Shortly after arriving back from Europe, we found a buyer. We immediately went to meet with the administration at Trumansburg, explained our situation and asked if we could send the kids to school here even though we wouldn’t live in the district for about 8 more weeks. The answer was “no.”
At that point school had begun and we were desperate to get the kids out of Ithaca. After a couple days of thinking and praying, we decided to look for a place to rent in Trumansburg. While that meant we would have 2 or 3 months of having a mortgage and a rent payment, it was one of those things we just had to do.
The positive of that was that we found a great apartment that was able to serve as our home for the next 2 years.
A Bit of a Blur
The next few months are a bit of a blur.
In the midst of trying to move, we got the official word that Liz was expecting. While she and I were happy, our oldest two kids were less than pleased. We were accused by one of “throwing caution to the wind.”
At the church, we began trying to implement some of the things that we’d learned over the past year. I also met with our church leaders and shared what I’ve shared here about sensing a call to Ireland. But the truth was, it had already begun to wane a bit. On the one hand I was pretty sure the kids would exercise their veto, and as you’ve read, we had a lot on our plate.
What About Ireland?
When I think back, I really don’t remember it being a huge thing for most of that time. I know I still wanted to go. I know sometimes I got upset that the kids had the right to veto it, but as a family it rarely came up.
In January 2011, the 6 month mark, I did ask each of the kids the question about whether or not they thought we should move to Ireland. I asked with zero hope.
But the first response was a complete surprise. Brenna, who was almost 12 at that point told us that while she didn’t want to go, she believed God wanted us to. I was not expecting that and started thinking that maybe this was going to happen after all.
So I went to Erin and Hannah and received a one word answer from both…”Nope.”
And the truth is, in the moment, I was okay with that. I had moment here or there were it was a struggle, but overall I figured it was probably was a crazy idea.
At this point it seemed like the answer to the question,” what are we supposed to do with the next 20 years of our life ”was, continue leading the church we’d planted in 1999 and maybe after the kids are grown, revisit the Ireland idea.”
Now that we knew we were staying in New York long-term, we contacted our realtor and said we’d like to begin looking for houses to buy in the Trumansburg area.
This is where things get weird.