Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Easier said than done...

So at this moment in time, I am laying in my bed at 12.45pm surveying the damage made to my room. I have been doing laundry and a bit of cleaning the past few hours and I just don't know how to start again. The more I pack the more I realize that I wont be able to come back to this room like I have been the past 3 months, I wont have a key to the door, or the same smile on my face. This place will me just another adventure that I went on when I get back to the states, but the thing is ... it has been more than that. I have and will leave a piece of my heart in this house, with these people.
I had to say goodbye to my co-workers yesterday, the other Intern and I got very close while we were working together and it was very difficult to even Imagine leaving her.

Now I sit with my suitcase open and my eyes tearing up because how can I pack a whole semester of life, love, memories and experience into one suitcase?? How is that possible to say goodbye to 2 parents that you have come to love deeply?

Music is a huge outlet of feelings for me... so here are some songs that I immediately think of..

Blessings of peace and love..

Ireland Garth Brooks
They say mother earth is breathing
With each wave that finds the shore
Her soul rises in the evening
For to open twilights door
Her eyes are the stars in heaven
Watching o'er us all the while
And her heart it is in Ireland
Deep within the Emerald Isle.

We are forty against hundreds
In someone elses bloody war
We know not why were fighting
Or what we're dying for
They will storm us in the morning
When the sunlight turns to sky
Death is waiting for its dance now
Fate has sentenced us to die.

Ireland I am coming home
I can see your rolling fields of green
And fences made of stone.
I am reaching out won't you take my hand
I'm coming home Ireland.
Oh the captain he lay bleeding
I can hear him calling me
These men are yours now for the leading
Show them to their destiny
And as I look up all around me
I see the ragged tired and torn
I tell them to make ready
'Cause we're not waiting for the morn.

Now the fog is deep and heavy
As we forge the dark and fear
We can hear their horses breathing
As in silence we draw near
There are no words to be spoken
Just a look to say good-bye
I draw a breath and night is broken
As I scream our battle cry.

I am home Ireland


Galway Girl

I took a stroll down the old long walk
Of the day I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
On a grand soft day I-ay

And I ask you friends, what's a fella to do?
Because her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then, I'd be takin a whirl
Down the Salthill Prom with a Galway Girl

We're halfway there when the rain came down
On the day I-ay-I-ay
And she took me up to her flat downtown
On a grand soft day I-ay

And I ask you friends, what's a fella to do?
Because her hair was black and her eyes were blue
So I took her hand, and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Galway Girl

When I woke up I was all alone
With a broken heart and a ticket home
And I ask you friend, what would you do?
If her hair was black and her eyes were blue

See I've travelled around, I've been all over the world
I've never seen nothin like a Galway girl - Hey!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving....

It is currently 8:11 pm on Thanksgiving night and I am sitting on Carrie's bed with my boots and scarf wrapped around me. Don't worry, it isn't because I am cold, it is just the style!
Even though today was Thanksgiving, there was no turkey, stuffing, or corn in sight. I actually had peanut butter and jelly for lunch. As I sat at lunch, it was a strange realization to think that on the best eating day of the year I was suffering with a PB&J sandwich. hmmm.

Tonight we had our dance at the mayor's parlor. After all of our weeks of Dance class and tin whistle we made it to the final show. As we stood in the Guild Hall lobby with our heads held high, 14 of us stood with hands held jumping around looking ridiculous. It was amazing! :) As we jump around giggling and tripping over each other we found our way to the end of the song and were relieved to know that we didn't fall or make huge fools of ourselves. ;)

After dance we took a stab at Tin Whistle and didn't a pretty good job. With this night I realized that this place truly is home. I seem to come to a realization of that ever time I blog, but this time I know its home. Today I waited in the living room for my 'family' to get home so that we could drive together. I smiled at them as I danced my way across the floor and I applauded them for all of the effort they put into making me feel happy. Stevie and Roisin are my family and I am truly blessed. After the night seemed to make its way to a close I was able to hug my host parents and smile at Carrie. They may not be blood relatives, but they are my relatives now.

Tonight is time for homemade pumpkin pie to create some sort of a Thanksgiving atmosphere. Carrie and I baked it yesterday by ourselves! (It turned out pretty great mom! You should be proud!)
After that we will make our way to our Thursday Pub Quiz night! :)
Today I got to spend one holiday with my family, and on Christmas I will be with my other family... It's strange to see how love can bring people together!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Blessing of joy and peace.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where did it all go?

How can it be close to the end already? It seemed just like last week when I hugged my parents goodbye for a whole semester, cried myself into a fit with my bestfriend, and slept only a few hours on a 7 hour plane flight.

Well... here is something, it was not only a week ago. I have been in Northern Ireland for 3 months already and I have no clue where the time went. I have learned so much from so many different people. Just this past weekend we had our final retreat with each other back at Corrymeela, the place where it all began. It was such a blessing in my life. Whether it was staying up late chatting with everyone, eating too much food at our dinner, or playing the mafia card game until 1.30, this weekend was one that i will never forget.

These people that I have met have changed my life in so many different ways, it is too difficult to even explain. Last night, we had our final girls night with soup, ice cream, chocolate, beer bread and lots of tea. We all found our way to each other during this semester and at the end of it, it was interesting to stop and think about what we all brought to this program.
These women have touched my life and changed so many differnet parts of me. We laughed, cried, talked and even sang into the night.

While this trip has taught me so many different things about this incredible place, it has taught me one important thing for sure.... and that is that I have made friends for a lifetime. I know that no matter where we all end up, I will have a connection between these people because of this magical place.

What a feeling....

peace and love.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Loving friends

Oh it seems like yesterday since I wrote my last post, but I was reminded by my mother on the phone that it was definitely more than just one day. She actually said... "You haven't blogged in a while. Why is that?" Well momma, here it is. :)
After my week of fun and dancing last weekend, it was back to the routine of internship and every busy thing that went with it. Monday morning was filled with phone calls to agency's that may be interested in working with Children in Crossfire. I was also starting to organize a schedule for our tour to local schools that was going to happen on Thursday. The one problem about Mondays at work is that the heating is turned off for so many days that the building is freezing. YIKES. I forgot about that wee detail and froze my butt off for the entire day. I actually worked with one glove on because the computer mouse wont work with both gloves on. Oh what a site to see walking in to the office that day.
The rest of the week just seemed fly by as each day ran its course into the next. It was a night of Tin Whistle, a night of a girls youth groups, a night of pasta fun and quiz night, and then friday already?? Wow. when you keep yourself busy time just flies. Wednesday night, I was invited to a co-workers house for dinner and it was incredible. These people are so welcoming and love conversation. It was a night of stirfry and music. It felt like home. Thursday night included all of the women in our group and a lot of pasta at a host families house. How incredible and fun. We all crammed around a table together and had our pasta, garlic bread, tea and a bit of wine to even the night out. We talked about what we have been missing out and then watched a movie together. It was a night of fun and friends. That night, Carrie and I worked our way down town with our host parents to participate in pub quiz night. Wow. They wanted us around for the questions that they didn't know, but all I can say is that they know a lot and didn't really need our help. Question after question they answered and ended up winning in the end. Wow. :) What fun we had.
The next thing you know it was friday morning and our week was finished. It is incredible how quickly time and emotions run while you are away from things that are familiar to you. Everything is different and keeping in contact with people seems a lot harder to take than before.
I am less than 1 month away from home and there is still so much for me to see and do here.

I just hope that I can get them all in. :)

Peace and love.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh What a Night

What a place to be. Ireland. or Northern Ireland. The culture here is incredible. The people inviting. The music astonishing and the dancing... well amazing.
Last night our Bluffton group was invited to join in the celebration of 20 years for the local group that is keeping the culture of Irish together. To be more specific the group that we take Irish dance lessons and Tin Whistle from.
Our Tin Whistle teacher Geralt was actually going to force us to play in front of everyone, so we had to go. In the beginning it was more of an obligation for us to be there, but by the end of it we loved the whole experience. After a few speakers (in Gaelic) and more than 20 minutes of silence or food was finally served along with tea and round 2 for the locals and their beer. It was an interesting time at that. Soon after, or dance teacher came up and pulled us on the dance floor with everyone else and we did our dance, along with 4 of the other ones that we learned. At first we were so nervous because we aren't very good, but once we stepped out there we were better than some of the other people. It was such a high to stand and dance around with people you didn't know. Along with people that you loved. It was good craic. (a term they use often over here). The night started at 7:45 and didnt end until we were almost asleep on our tables at 12.30. Dancing was what we werent expected to jump in with, but we ended up loving every part of that. Our Tin whistling came after that and was an enjoyment for everyone there. IT was nice for them to see outside people taking an interest in what they are trying to preserve.
Once we got home, it was bed time by 1.30. This morning is supposed to be filled with friends and movies and food I hope. It is one of our last Saturdays here and that in itself seems so strange. I remember packing for this trip and going shopping for this and now I need to start thinking about that all over again? NO WAY!.

My internship is incredible. I love getting up and going into work ready to start a new adventure or project. I can't wait to write more about the upcoming weeks of fun that CHildren in Crossfire is going to have me doing.

I hope that you all are well!
Peace and Blessings.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My internship.

As the weekend flew by, it was time to begin what is to be the last leg of this journey. How crazy to think about. My semester here is down to only about 3 more weeks. My internship is with a great organization called Children in Crossfire.
" Children in Crossfire exists to make a significant and lasting contribution towards the eradication of poverty. We do this not alone, but by working in a vibrant web of collaborating agencies, each of us contributing something valuable and unique towards our shared vision for a better world.
Children in Crossfire supports local initiatives that improve the daily lives for people living in some of the world's poorest communities - for instance, greater income-earning opportunities, improved health facilities, or clean water supplies. At the heart of our commitment to tackle poverty is the belief that it is within local communities that the most effective and sustainable development initiatives are to be found. Strengthening the ability of these communities to establish and sustain development initiatives is a central theme in all our work. The work that is presented throughout this website represents the results of the commitment of all those who have joined us in our work.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our funding partners, our partner organisations, our Associate Members, our employees, and our volunteers."

That is from the children in crossfire website explaining the idea behind the organization.
I was very nervous going into my first day. It was like going into your first day of school without friends x100. Even though my hands were shaking, and sweating, and that I was almost late due to the bad directions, the rest of my day was incredible.
I am working in the Dev Ed. Department. This is developmental education. I was thrown right into meetings, making posters and meeting new people. The next day I went on a teacher retreat for educating them about outside issues within the schools. It was incredible. I am learning so much already and it is only the 3rd day! :)
This place is so encouraging with human rights, women's rights, the idea of peace... etc.

So much to do and say!
Stay in Touch! :)
Peace and blessings!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Notes about Halloween in Derry

10 notes about Halloween in Derry
(by Anna and Carrie.)

1.) Some costumes are wonderful, and others are just excuses to buy short skirts in neon colors.
2.) There doesn't seem to be any trick or treating
3.) The parade includes everything from acrobatics to accordions.
4.) The fireworks are amazing, but I can't help but pay more attention to the costumes around me than the fireworks above me.
5.) You become surrounded by vampires with little baby pumpkins, pirates with their arms around their sweet-heart bees, and more walking bananas than you'll ever see again in your life.
6.) Before the festivities even begin, the Christmas lights are put up.
7.) The streets empty at midnight...but only because everyone moves into the bars.
8.) The night is what you make it...which is to say, making carmel apples with a small group of friends is a good alternative to the typical Derry night.
9.) If you can't find carmel to melt, you can melt toffee and butter together.
10.) If you don't have pumpkins to carve, carve an apple. :)

Notes about Edinburgh

10 things to note about Edinburgh
(by Anna and Carrie)

1.) The accent is very hard to understand, and reminds me of the duck-tales uncle.
2.) Much cheaper than Dublin
3.) Just like Dublin, there is a new city and an old city.
4.) The town is really just a series of hills and it feels like a giant version of shoots and ladders.
5.) It is very cold
6.) There seem to be just as many Australians around as there are Scots
7.) There are lots of kilts for sale...but no one ever wears them in public
8.) There really is plaid EVERYWHERE!
9.) It gets dark before dinner
10.) The free tour is worth the money :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Packing time!!

Don't worry... I'm not packing to go home. This week was our last week of class in NI! I am officially finished with my papers (maybe a little more proof reading) and have a 1 week holiday for Halloween! :) How great! I am currently not packing, but making a list in my head of what to pack! Carrie and I are traveling to Scotland tomorrow for about a week! At 9 in the morning we are jumping on a bus to Belfast and then from there we will catch a ferry to Glasco and then to Edinburgh. :) What an amazing opportunity!
This morning I woke up to my bedroom door wide open. I was in a panic because I was afraid I slept through something big. But I just shut my door and curled back in bed. About 3 minutes later the door opened again and I heard 4 little paws walk across my floor in search of anything to play with. I then leaned up and saw Sparky wagging his tail waiting for me to wake up. However, spark is not allowed upstairs... so I proceeded to use a stern voice to tell him to go down stairs. (When I really wanted to pull him on the bed and cuddle). The sun is beautiful today. The rays are shining bright and making the city glimmer. What a site! Sometime I forget to just stop and look at this place. The days go by so quickly that I move right along with them.
When we get back from Scotland, Halloween will be upon us, and I have no idea what to dress up as. It is a huge celebration in Derry and if you dont dress up you are out of the loop. So.. if you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know!

This past week people are getting sick all over. Colds are popping up as well as headaches! No worries, Carrie and I are getting regular vitamin C and staying away from the sick people! :)

I was able to talk to a few people from home last night! What an opportunity! It is good to be able to chat with them online and hear what they are up to.
You sometimes forget that you are away from them, until you hear their voice!

Well have a wonderful weekend!
I will write more from Scotland! :) :)
Peace and blessings!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


There are many things that I want to talk about today. I'm not sure whether or not they will be of any interest, but within the past few days of working on my papers, I have been reading about the Conflict resolution that has been going on within Northern Ireland. Yesterday we took a trip to Belfast with the group and did a lot of 'tourist' things, but we also got the chance to go to Stormont which is where the parliament of NI takes place. During that we hand the opportunity to talk to two differnt men involved with two different political parties of NI. The DUP (unionist party) and Sinn Fein (republican party). These two different men had a lot to say about the backgroud of their party, as well as their bias opinions of how the government is running (or not running) at the moment. NI's politics are the backgroud of the conflict that has happened, so it was interesting to hear the different points of views.

Going along with the conflict, I am now writting my paper for Mervyn's class, which the topic is based around conflict resolution and whether or not it can resolve conflict, or just provides temporary solutions to the troubles. This paper looks as if it is going to be one of the most difficult things for me, because I myself don't know how I feel about it. Of course in a perfect world, I would love to say that conflict resolution is going to solve all the problems, and even right now I would jump for joy if it is possible. The one thing that I think it does do, is open up the eyes for more underlying issues of the problem.

The best thing about this semester so far is that I can question things like that. And although it drives me crazy not knowing my own answer, i am able to stop and think about what is challenging myself as a person.
Ireland has been one of the best experiences that I have had in the last 20(1) years of my life. I am able to see differences in people I came with, people I live with, and within my own country.


Blessings and peace! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What a feeling...

Wow.There is so much that I could talk about, but I am actually going to start with how I was feeling a few days ago. On Sunday, I took a hike over to the computer lab to work on my papers. I know, I know... the papers are all I seem to be interested in at the moment, but once I get them finished my homework for this semester will mostly be finished! :) But anyway. Sunday was a chillax kind of day. I'm not sure whether or not that was a good thing though. After I was in the midst of papers, I began to realize that I can't really go home for a while. After all of this amazing stuff that has happened to me, part of my mind is just wanting to curl up and find something that would fill me with comfort. I guess it was like that at Bluffton too, but being here in Ireland is a lot further away than the usual and feels a bit different. Church didn't seem to help the situation because it was one service where things just got too deep. I was so overwhelmed that I was lost to where to start. So my Sunday ended in frustration, and that was actually where my Monday began. One word of advice, is that I wouldn't go to bed in another country being frustrated. It does not help the process. Although I was stressed, I was able to find more people feeling the same ways. It was just like this is the halfway point in the trip where you want to stop and quit. There was a story once that Mervyn told us about a student who didn't like the program. He said that they should write a letter to their house and sleep with it under there pillow for 3 days. Then see if they really want to mail it. After three days they forgot about the letter because they were having a great time.
I need to be like that person. I need to push my way through this rough patch and find the joy in this hard, dark tunnel.
Today was better than the last few, and things are looking better! We go to Belfast tomorrow for a tour of the city with the group. It should be interesting!

I wish you all the blessings this week! :)


Sunday, October 12, 2008

10 things about Dublin

Ten notes about Dublin so far

1.) Its much better when its not raining.
2.) there's a funny noise that tells us when we can cross the street and it is terribly fun to imitate
3.) The signs are in Gaelic and English
4.) There are bike lanes and separate stop-lights for the bikes
5.) Current home of the Book of Kells, (the oldest illuminated Bible)
6.) Its warmer than Derry
7.) Capital of Ireland
8.) the people here are much easier to understand than in Derry
9.) The post office still has bullet holes in it from the various rebellions that preceded Irish independence.
10.) There's a kebab shop around every corner

Blessings :)

Anna and Carrie!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Happy October already! :) I know it is the 5th, but time seems to be going by so quickly that I can't keep you updated all the time. This week the groups is going to be spending time in Dublin until Friday the 10th! How exciting!!
What has been happening you ask? Well... a lot! Everything happens when you don't realize it. (Plus the fact I am in another country) On Wednesday, we had two back to back classes to make up for missing a few earlier in the month. This was the longest day ever. ;) Who wants to have two 3 hour classes back to back? After class and some paper writing, the whole group gathered in one place for the first time in a long time. We all brought food and had a potluck. This was our time to stop and relax after all of the mayhem of the beginning of the week. There was more food then I imagined. Who knew that we could all cook something? :)

Thursday was a rainy day. Much to the suprise of all of the other ones. This past week, I was able to wear my new raincoat that I had purchased before hand (thanks mom!). That night for dinner, we (Carrie and I) were invited over to a friend from churches house. They are a family that was welcoming and opened their home for us to get away. We had great food, and fellowship, as well as a fire! This was a home away from home.

The weekend came once again with full force. Carrie and I got the opportunity to go and sit in on the Civil Rights Memorial that was held in the city hall in Derry. This was recognizing 40 years of the civil rights movement and had many differnt speakers! I was so impressed. I got to listen to the President of Ireland speak, Martin Mcguinnes the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and also many other people. This was a time for the community of Northern ireland (and others) to come together and focus on more than just the 'troubles' but also focus on where things are going. The direction that this place heading in! It was amazing.

I am so blessed and honored to be in this place with such great people. I was making a part of history yesterday being in that place as I was learning the history. It is strange to think about things like that, but incredible at the same time.

Blessings from Northern Ireland!
Love and Peace.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An ipod kind of day..

Good morning. Well... early morning for those of you in the states! I am currently at the same place as I was yesterday, working on the same paper. Oh the love of homework! :)
Today I woke up with the feeling of content. There are times in life, when this feeling doesn't necessarly hit until I have nothing to do, and trust me... I have lots to do here. It was a morning that I was able to roll over in bed, and smile. Maybe it was because of the restful sleep, or the fact that the night before I was able to sit by the fire with my Host Mom and talk about U.S politics, or maybe just because it's another day in my life that I can be 'thoughtful'. :) Anyways, after waking up and walking down for some cereal and tea, I took off for yet another day in the lab before class.

Usually, on my way to campus, my ipod is hooked up in my ears playing some sort of music for the day. As I put them in today, i decided to put them on shuffle. A mixture of songs, for a mixture of feelings! While I was walking between the raindrops, I passed many people with the look of frustration(from the rain), the look of tiredness(from lack of sleep?), and one with a smile of his face. I try to walk about this city with that same smile that I recieved from that stranger. So as I walk with my ipod full of music and my heart happy and content, I realize this place is where I should be. A place where I can struggle, love, cry and learn. Every post so far describes this place in the way I see it, but I feel as if my eyes are open to very different things every day. It's like I have a new pair of eyes every morning. That is what is so interesting.

So, tomorrow morning, I am going to put my ipod in my ears again, open my eyes and smile at someone walking by. But most of all I am going to accept how things come. :)

Contentment, and peace.


Monday, September 29, 2008

It's interesting to think that I have already been here for many weeks! Wow. How time goes by very quickly.
It is currently Monday afternoon at 2:18 and I am sitting in the computer lab on campus about to start a paper for one of my 5 classes. I am trying to catch up on emails, papers, pictures, music. There is so much business that I forget about until I can get myself to a computer.
This past weekend I was able to take a day trip to the city of Belfast. I went with a few people from the group, and we had the day to walk around the city. It was amazing. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and we were able to find a market place that was thriving! :) So far, this was one of the trips that I have enjoyed the most.
This trip gives you so much freedom that you don't realize you dont have at home sometimes. I am able to get up and go places without really having a plan. Although, saftey comes first always with Meryvn (director), it is the fact that I was able to stop and tour the city of Belfast with 4 other people my age.

This trip is doing so much for me in the way of growing up. I have been put in situations that I never would have expected to be put into back in the states. I am growing acustom with how things work, and what I should and shouldn't do in this place. I am open to answering questions about anything here if you have any. There are only so many words that I can use to express how the life of Derry really is. You can only understand sometimes if you get this experience as well! :)
Enjoy the pictures!! :)

Blessings and Peace.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extra things to do...

Hello all,
It has been a while since I have actually updated fully on what was happening in Ireland. I am very sorry for that. This place is magical. I woke up this morning with a smile on my face, but most of all a sense of peace. This is a bit strange because I am currently working on finishing some papers that are due soon, so peace of mind shouldn't be one of the things I should be thinking about. :)
In previous posts, I explained a bit about what I am supposed to be doing here and the classes I am taking. Today I want to explain a bit about two classes that we are supposed to take about the culture of Northern Ireland. These are classes on Tin Whistle and an Irish dance class. Let me tell you... they are thrilling.
Every Tuesday night at 7:30, the students from Bluffton travel up the road to a building where Traditional Irish Classes are taking place. There are wide varieties of learning Tin Whisle to Irish Dance and even learning the Gaelic language. It is incredible to see all of the people on the first day.
After that we break up into groups and every week meet to go over the songs that we were to practice. Last night was Tin Whistle and I just love going to that class. Maybe it is because music is in every bone of my body, or just the fact that we are learning yet another part of the culture.
Irish Dance is on Fridays and this is a bit more tricky. A lot of people maynot have dancing experience so it is challenging, but so much fun at the same time. Life here leaves me feeling in awe of what I am doing.
After we have practiced dance and tin whistle for a while, closer to the end of the semester we will be invited to perform infront of the Mayor the the city building. That is what we are working our way up to. YIKES! :)

Well... I shoud go and add on to the first paper that I started!
Peace and Blessing from Ireland! :)


Monday, September 22, 2008


I have been busy during the days and bored at night! Life in Derry is interesting. The first things that come to mind to inform you about would be that there are a lot of random dogs running about over the city. I laugh so hard when I see them, because they literally just run and bark at the moving cars and vehicles. I am doing well. Last week was the first time that I have felt a bit homesick, but that is too be expected. A lot my time currently will be spent on typing papers and researching. I have to write 5 by the end of October. Outside of that, this weekend the group from Bluffton took a trip up to the Northern Coast of Ireland to Donegal. This is the same place that my host family has a house. It is beautiful. The weather started out really great but ended up rainy by the end. We were able to walk around in some old Forts and then went to a replica of the Famine Village. This was where the setting was similar to what it would be like when the Potatoe Famine was happening. It was really neat to see and hear about how life was then.
After that Carrie and I came home and went to church last night at a place called 7. It is more upbeat and college age. Its a good place where the two of us can interact with other students our age and also just people outside of the group. We are big fans of it. :)

We came home after that and decided to watch a movie upstairs in our host sisters room (thanks to golf being on tv and Stevie kicking us out of the living room :) ) It was a good night. Carrie is a big blessing in my life because I can talk to her about anything. She is open with her view of life and is just easy to chat with in general. I have been blessed greatly on this trip! :)
This place is incredible. I am learning to be on my own, which is what I am going to learn about the most. Its a bit scary thinking about that, but it's true. This trip is very independant/dependant. Doesn't make any sense does it?
I have become independant in the way of living, but still dependant on the system of the education and some of the people around me.
At the end of the days, I feel very productive which is a helpful blessing all in itself.

Ireland is a place to learn and I am doing just that!

Here are the lyrics to a traditional Irish song... (one of my favorites too)

Galway Girl

Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then I'd be takin' a whirl
'Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl

We were halfway there when the rain came down
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
And she asked me up to her flat downtown
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Galway girl

When I woke up I was all alone
With a broken heart and a ticket home
And I ask you now, tell me what would you do
If her hair was black and her eyes were blue
I've traveled around I've been all over this world
Boys I ain't never seen nothin' like a Galway girl


Friday, September 5, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away...

Well, it is Friday at 3:30 in Derry, Northern Ireland. My day today has consisted of getting up and walking about 20 minutes to class and then going to the computer lab to stay in contact with the world outside of Ireland. Yesterday, we didn't have class because our professor is at a conference. Janna, Courtney, Ashley and I went shopping and walking around the town. We went out for lunch and then just went where our feet led us. It was amazing to find the little shops around town, but also watching people. There was one point when we just sat down by this statue and watched the people walk around the main road. Everyone seems to have a place to go, whether it is running out for lunch, or having a day off of work. After that I met up with Carrie and Sol for dinner and then walked home. There is a lot of free time on our hands over here, and alot of the stores close around 6pm. This is an opportunity to get creative with what to do to keep busy. Carrie and I love to read for hours on end, but we also love to sit and talk with our host family. That is actually what we did last night. Our parents were going to go out later so we sat and watched soaps on tv with them. It makes me laugh to think that I am watching soap operas in Ireland.
Outside of all of that things are going great over here. I am lucky to have Carrie as a roommate because she has done this before. She is also blogging, but about her clinical practice for student teaching. She is trying to work around teaching art while we are over here. Her first real day with students was yesterday.
Today the weather is cold and rainy. One of the first miserable days that we have had so far. I'm not looking forward to walking back outside into that mess! ;)
I think the weather at home is around 80 degrees.... it is amazing to think about things like that. How different things are from back home. The best part of this trip is that things are different. I have 15 people that I get to see who I really know, and then everything else is different.

The pictures that I am putting up today are just a few from the murals around the Bogside. This is where I am staying in Derry. It is the Catholic area in Derry that has a lot of history surrounding it. Look up the Bogside sometime and see the murals around and also read about some of that history.
Blessings and Peace from Northern Ireland! :)


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Welcome Back

Well... offically Bluffton started classes last Monday, but I am one of the lucky ones who will get to talk to all of you this semester about something very cool! I am doing one of the Study Abroad programs with Bluffton and I am lucky to be in Londonderry (Derry) Northern Ireland. Yes, that is right, I am in Northern Ireland as I am typing this. I started my classes this past Monday, September 1st. This opportunity is open to everyone on campus. You travel to Ireland at the beginning of the semester and are placed in host families around the city of Derry. There you are given an allowance and are set free in this city. We have classes once a day, Monday thru Friday and then have our own time to enjoy the culture of this magical place. Enough about all of that.. if you are interested in seeing more about this, check out the website that Bluffton provides for it.
Last week we (16students) arrived in a foreign counrty with American currency still in our pockets and suitcases packed with 2weeks worth of clothing. This was going to be an adventure of a lifetime. As a member of this program, I was terrified. Part of me still is, but that is the whole point of leaving home. We meet Mervyn Love, the director of this program and set off on a new journey. There were things to do, people to meet and places to go, as well as catching up with the Jet Lag that we are trying to sleep for. The first week we spent at a place called Corrymeela. This is an amazing place that is a Christian Reconciliation center within Northern Ireland. This is where our orientation began. It was a time that allowed for us to become familiar with the accent, routine and become familiar with each other.
After a few days of sightseeing we all pack up and travel to Londonderry (Derry). This is where we are broken up into groups of 2 or 3 and live with a host family for the rest of the program time. We are split up around this city. It is most definately an adventure.

So this semester you as a reader will get to experience this adventure with me. I will add some pictures from the first week at Corrymeela.

Here's to the first week of classes in Northern Ireland! :)
Peace and Blessings,

Monday, April 28, 2008

What I cherish...

to do. I should make a list... but I'm not that organized. After leaving work last night I was able to go and spend the last night with Shining Through. We had our final get together for the year. It was a time of prayer and food! :) Two things that as a group, we love to do.
After that gathering, I came back to my room to see where I could begin packing. There are so many things that I have been blessed with this past year, but I am going to tell you about one of them.
My dearest friend Megan was in Northern Ireland for the first half of this past semester. She loved every minute of it. It was a "growing period" for her, as she would call it. While she was over there, we bonded. (It seems a bit funny. The fact that the Atlantic Ocean was between us, but we grew closer.) Before she left, I knew that she would do amazing things over there, but actually hearing about them made it all worth while. I then decided to apply for that same abroad program and was blessed to get in. So as she was flying back with this wonderful knowledge, I was ready with questions.
My favorite memory of this year is when Megan was home for her first full day and came in and sat on my futon. She talked and talked about her experience and all about how amazing it was. We were lucky to look at pictures together and she was filled with this pure joy. She then brought in a mug. It is brown and blue and very little. Dainty, perfect for tea. She handed the mug to me and said "you get to experience the same thing I did."
That mug is sitting on my desk. It is something that I can cherish from this past year. It is something that a dear friend brought back to America for me.--How cool!

So, as I begin this post, I am laughing at all of the things that I have
So as I begin to pack my life back into boxes... I find memories like that. It is much easier to pack. :)

Blessings to you on this day,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Last weekend until summer...

Wow. I know that I say every blog that time goes by so quickly, but I don't think that many of you realize how quickly. I was looking back on my week and it feels like just yesterday that I was studying for my first final on Thursday. Wow.
This week is finals week. One of the best and worst times on campus. This week is devoted to the finals of each class, but that is it. ALl you have to do is study and then you have the rest of the time to hang out with your friends. Trust me... we will be doing a lot of the hanging out. Like stated in previous posts, I am living in Riley Court which is themed housing. I am living with 14 of my friends in one building. The downside of this is that half of the girls that I get to live with are seniors. They will be leaving Bluffton in one week and I may never really see them again. They will move away, get real jobs and become a "real grown-up". There are times when I think about this happening and my eyes start to tear up. How has this year gone by so quickly??
I remember the first move in day.. mine was actually postponed because of flooding. It seemed much easier moving in because I didn't rememeber having as much stuff. It is funny how much junk you can accumulate over the past year. I am sure that I am going to have more boxes, more bags, and less space in my car when traveling home. I just started to dig through all of my junk today. I started cleaning out the drawers that have unnecessary things in them. Every time I pull something out, I laugh at myself, because I didnt ever need it. My life this week is going to be filled with goodbyes, packing, studying, and laughter. Those are some of the best things about finals week. We get to spend time with each other. Studying of course isn't as much fun, but after all of that there is endless time to just sit and hang out. It is priceless.

So after all of that I am going to be homebound.Summer bound. work bound. I'm not actually sure which one I am looking forward to the most... ;)

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Great Week!

Have you ever felt like you had way too much to do? Like you overcommitted yourself once again? Well... there are so many times this past year that I have felt that exact same way. It was as if I had more meetings that hours in the day and I had not enough time to do homework or even breath.
Well... I am here to say that the stress of all that is finally over! This past week was the last week of my busy schedule and I will finally have time to stop and breathe. For example, last week I had a 12-15 page paper to finish, present for 20 minutes and also 3 other projects. Maybe it is because I was procrastinating them all, but I was exhausted. There were hours in the night that I haven't seen in a LONG time. Well those projects and papers were due by this Wednesday... and guess what? It is Sunday! I made it through! It was a long process, but now I am able to relax until finals. What a great feeling!!
This weekend has been one of starting to work on study guides and relaxing. Riley Creek Festivle was this past weekend there was so much activity all around. It was a time to stop studying and start having fun! Last night a group on campus, Acting on Aids help a benefit concert for Nigeria. The duo Ellery came to perform and they were AMAZING!! SO many people showed up for this. It is a great way to minister to people.
Today, it filled with a whole lot of nothing for me. I will be working later tonight, but other than that I am free as a bird. I wish that it was warmer out so I could sit outside and read, but its a bit chilly.
When thinking about this post, I think back to when I first started writting. The funny things that I used to talk about. There was one post when I talked about Spring Break last year. That was one of the best times in my life. Three of us girls went to Chicago for a few days. By ourselves. This was probably one of my biggest adventures in college so far. It was a bit of a drive, but I was able to do it was some of my best friends.
This week has been a wonderful week. I can not wait to have another one just like it! :)

I hope you have a sunny week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So after hearing all about Shining Through, the weekends at Bluffton and even some of the classes, some things that I would like to share with you are my favorite things at Bluffton. Whether it be my favorite sporting event to watch, my favorite place to study, favorite food in Marbeck.. this post is all about that!
When choosing Bluffton, I did choose to come here for a reason. That reason was because it was the best campuse environment that I had attended in my search for college. This in point being where my "favorites" begin.
This year I have had the opportunity to grow closer with people on campus, find organizations that fit my personality and finally get into sync with what fits my everyday routine. These different things are many of my favorite things to do on campus. After a long day of class I love that I can come back to my room and sit down with the television turned on in the background and begin a conversation with friends. I have grown closer with the girls on my floor and in Riley Court. This has been a blessing in my life because if I hadn't chosen Bluffton then these girls wouldn't be a part of my college experience. Other than growing with people, I have seen growth in organizations that I see on campus. It is a wonderful thing to walk by the boards in Marbeck and see another group advertising for an event that weekend. Watching new clubs form shows that as a community at Bluffton we are growing.
When walking into the Commons in Marbeck there are always days when you go in hoping that your favorite food will be served at lunch. Today I was hoping that Chicken Patty's would appear on the line, but they didnt. It was a bit of a let down, but I recovered with a ham sandwich and the "frost your own cupcake" dessert.

Bluffton has so many things that I can categorize under my "favorite" things. It is a place where friends are made. That is something that trumps the "favorites" list.

Have a splendid day!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend fun

Well, It is already April 13th. Can you believe it? Time seems to be going so quickly. (I know that I say this everytime but it does.)
This past weekend for me was full of excitement, laughter, and friends. A lot of times I talk about the women I live with, but I want to let you all in on a group of people whom I don't think college would be the same without them. (Well at least for me) Like previously stated in past posts I am in a group called Shining Through. They are the music ministry teams on campus and have a part of my heart. We are about 20 student whom have tried out to be on this "team" who love to sing, praise God, and give our personal testimonies.
This group of students are people that I see regularly every Thursday for practice and maybe Sundays during the second semester. So when looking at that, I do not hang out with them every night, nor do I call them regularly to chat. They are however some of my best friends.
How is that you ask? Well... when you are with people sharing about yourself, faith, and all of your beliefs you usually get to know a person. It just happens.
Well, this weekend happened to be our last Shining Through outing for the year. It was the last time that we would be able to stand and sing with the 3 seniors whom were leaving. We were able to travel yesterday (Saturday) to the location of the Church service for today to hang out. We all stayed in a cabin that was wonderful. A fireplace, good food, and beds was all that we needed to keep ourselves happy and that's what we did. We were able to stop thinking about all of the school work that we needed to get done and spend time playing games together.

Just taking time out to relax turned out to be one of the best weekends that I have had at Bluffton since I have been here. I have grown as a person and in my faith being with these people and that is something I will cherish forever.

As I begin to pack boxes up for yet another end of the year, I hope to make more relationships like the ones that I have with Shining Through. I am able to truly be myself within the group. I think that is why I am so comfortable with them.
There are so many things to know when walking into college for the first time... my absolute favorite thing is that not knowing everything opens up room for you to learn more about yourself. I have been able to do that.

Try to stay dry. (It is raining and cold outside)


Sunday, April 6, 2008


What can I say? I am so sorry that I haven't been on here in such a long time. The whole month of March flew by and I didn't blog once. Well, that just means that there is more to talk about.
While I was working my way through March, there were so many times when I would become stressed with work, but the worst part was that I wasn't just stressed with work but I was also amazed at how fast this year has gone. It was just a few days ago when I was wearing a winter coat and today I was sweating while walking into work. (I guess you can blame some of that on the Ohio weather) This year has been more of a transition year for me while at Bluffton. I wasn't a freshman so the whole college experience wasn't new anymore, but I also was yet to be an "upper classman". I don't have to worry about finding a job for after college yet nor about scheduling classes for my last year. I was in the phase of not worrying. I believe that is why the year flew by.
Even though there are only 3 weeks left (YIKES) I have so much to do. For many of my classes there are no Final Exams but more papers and presentations. I am currently in the middle of finding time to spend doing all of the needed work.

While you are in the midst of finding a school that allows for your personality to shine, look for a place you can see yourself walking around by yourself on a sunny day, or look for a place where you can sit and be comfortable.
Bluffton is that place for me. There are so many things that you can learn from this place and so many things that can effect you as a person.
I would like to dream of leaving Bluffton in 2 years and finding myself emerged in the world outside of Bluffton. I want to be able to walk away from this place and remember the fondest memories. Being able to apply what I have learned in classes, but also in every day life and use it. That is key!

Enjoy the Beauty outside.
Enjoy the Springtime.

Enjoy Life.