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,