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 :)