As the sun rose over Lambay Island in the Irish sea at 5:00 this morning, I was on my way to the airport to pick up my oldest sister, Tammy, her husband, and two teenage kids. Only my brother-in-law, Philip, has been to Ireland before. Ten years ago Juli and I helped organize an Irish tour for the Lubbock Christian University choir that he directs. It is always a privilege to share this amazing city and amazing country with friends and family from back home.
Although I feel perfectly at ease in Dublin, I am constantly made aware that I'm not a local - people are always asking about my accent and where in the States I come from. Ashlyn is beginning to pick up a bit of an Irish accent, but even she speaks a little differently than her classmates at preschool. In a sense she's tri-lingual - some of her words sound Irish, some sound Oklahoman (thanks to Juli), and some sound English (thanks to British cartoons, like Peppa Pig).
So the next week as the Smith family shares the best that the Irish have to offer with the Camp family, I'll have several opportunities to explain that though I may not be a local, I'm not a tourist either. Along the way we hope to take in the Dublin coast, http://www.howthismagic.com/, http://visitwicklow.ie/activities/the-cliff-walk-bray/, a castle or two http://ardgillanskerries.com/, the Aran Islands, http://www.aranislands.ie/, the Cliffs of Moher, http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/, the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/ , Glendalough, http://www.glendalough.ie/, the Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland, http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/, http://www.explorethemournes.com/mountains.html, and the fair city of Dublin itself, http://www.visitdublin.com/. Amidst all of that we'll be involved in worship with brothers and sisters in Christ and Bible studies with any and all who come along. As a bonus, the weather is meant to be fantastic over the next few days.
So, for any of our friends and family back in the States, feel free to pop over sometime. We'd love to share the garden of Eden of the North Atlantic with you too! - Shay