Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last Post!

This is going to be my last post because... well... I really hate blogging.  But it was a good way to let everyone know what was happening in Ireland without sending out chain emails or mass facebook posts.  Anyway, if you want anymore details, I'd be happy to meet with you over lunch or tea or whatever, but this is the end of the "There and Back Again: Ireland" blog.  Some of you may be sad, some may be happy to not feel obliged to read my rambling, sometimes strange posts : )

I've been slowly settling into life here again, though in a couple weeks I'll be packing once more for "real" college.  It's been good to see old friends and family again, and I have a training session tomorrow for a possible new job.  Where you ask am I working?  Toys R Us.  Yes indeed, I might just be starting in time for Black Friday... not sure how I feel about that one.  So life goes on here in the States.  I'm trying to see what God has in store for me here instead of lingering on my experiences in Ireland, even though this morning I did treat my friend to a nutella and banana breakfast with tea and everything!  Delicious.

To conclude, thanks to all of you who prayed for me and kept up with this blog.  Hopefully I updated often enough for you all.  Ireland definitely was a once in a lifetime experience... but I don't think I can put it into words more than that, at least for now.  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back Again

It's a very surreal feeling to be home again.  I went to sleep last night, but it was so strange to see my ceiling.  In Greystones, I was on the bottom bunk, in this tiny cave-like bed.  Everything here feels very strange.  I'll just make a list of the way things are strange here.

1. A lot of lights.  Headlights, streetlights, house lights.  Greystones was much darker
2. The stores are HUGE! How in the world do we need that much stuff?
3. I answered the phone for the first time in 3 months
4. I almost drove on the left side of the road once
5. My room is gigantic and very bright in comparison
6. It's a lot louder here, especially at night
7. I don't have to fight for a washing machine

The list goes on.  It smells nicer in Ireland too.  Anyway, I got home last night incredibly exhausted and confused as to what time it was, but I got to bed and slept until about 6:30 in the morning.  This whole day has been kind of a blur of exhaustion and the surreal feeling of being home again.  I half unpacked my stuff and started on laundry.  I visited my grandma and my cousin up the street.  Then I tried to go and buy some jeans since two pairs were ruined in Ireland, got rather lost, realized the store I was looking for had gone out of business or moved, and then went to the library instead.  This rambling post is definitely a reflection of my rambling thoughts.  So to conclude, the adjustment is a difficult one, but I'm working at it.  Ireland was an amazing experience.  One of the best in my life.  But if you want to hear more, you need to come to tea... seriously.  Just call or email, and I can set up a time to show pictures and tell funny stories.  That's another thing about Ireland.  There, most of our communication was done face to face because we didn't have internet or phones, so I'm not used to all this technology yet.  And actually, I like it face-to-face much better.  It makes things so much more personal.  Anyway, before I ramble on anymore, I'm just going to cut this short.  Goodnight.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Last Post from Ireland

This will be my last post from this side of the Atlantic Ocean!  Today, I got up early and walked with the Egan's and their dogs.  They then had us over for tea and toast.  After that, we headed up into Dublin for some last minute shopping.  Chadd, Lauren, and I hit O'Connell Street, the main street in Dublin, and then hopped on the Dart to head up to a farther stop, Malahide.  We walked into this beautiful park.  This lovely path wind through this woods to an amazing park that would totally be illegal in the States.  There was this gigantic rope-thing to climb, this giant see-saw, tire-swing thing, and a really long glider thing.  I can't really describe the equipment well because we don't have anything like it in the States.  It was a lot of fun.

We headed back down to Greystones for our last dance class at 4:00.  Some other Fispers got off the dart at every stop and took a quick picture under the sign there... the people thought we were crazy, but hey, we'll be out of the county by tomorrow.  Then, we had our last dinner at the Y with dessert!  Very good.  I'm all packed and ready to go.  I'll see everyone in just about 24 hours!

Last Day

Lauren and I are all packed up and checked out of our room, though we will still sleep there tonight.  Our room looks so bare without all the decorations.  We also seem to have a lot more room than I though!  Yesterday we made the rounds saying goodbye to the people at church.  We went over to the Egans for tea and then to Gwen and Monty's house for dinner.  Chapel that night was amazing, very powerful with God's hand over it.  Today, we went to the Egan's house for an early morning walk with them and their dogs and tea later on.  I'm really going to miss that family.  They were so quick to take us into their church, their home, and their lives.  That church was really an answer to prayer while I was here.

Today the plan is to go to Dublin again, and then hit dance class at 4:00.  Ugh.  I really don't like dance class!  After that, it'll be saying goodbye to Greystones, our last Y dinner, and going to bed.  We have to up by 4/4:30 tomorrow!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Great Kayaking Adventure... or maybe misadventure!!!

Yesterday we hiked Brayhead for the sunrise... which means that I had to get up at 5:45!  Not fun, but the view from the top of the mountain was incredible.  The moon was still in the West, just over the giant cross that is at the summit of the mountain.   And then the sun rose with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges.   It was just gorgeous!  We sang worship songs and hung out up there until we got cold.  The hike back was gorgeous as well.  It's just a beautiful area.  Then we went on our second pick-a-date to the Symphony.  I really enjoyed it, but with the early morning I had a hard time staying awake.

Today, I went kayaking with my friend Grant.  We put the boats in the little cove right near the Y and headed south.  We were moving along and then drifted out on the ocean for a while just talking and enjoying our time.  A seal stuck its head out about 10 ft away from our boats and stared at us for a little while!  It was really enjoyable until we tried to head back.  We paddled for about twenty minutes and went... backwards!  We literally were further from Greystones even after paddling in that direction for 20 minutes!  So we finally pulled into the beach and started carrying the kayaks, and let me tell you, these things are HEAVY.  We hauled them up over the wall of boulders and started carrying them one at a time about 50 ft. before we had to rest.  And it was about a 3-4 mile walk back to the Y!

Fortunately, a kind Irish couple walking along the beach decided to take pity on the poor American students.  They knew Josh Barrington, an Irish boy that hangs out with us, and knew of Taylor.  So they told us to pull into this Dart stop that was one further down from the Greystones stop (the Dart line runs along the ocean).  We walked the kayaks back to the beach and put in again, letting the current carry us to the next dart stop.  The couple pulled in with a trailer and loaded up our kayaks, taking us back to the Y.  They really did save us!  We would probably still be out there carrying kayaks if not for them.

The Irish are really friendly, always willing to help.  These people didn't even know our names when they offered to help us.  I wish it was the same way in America.  Anyway, that was an awesome adventure even if I ache all over from carrying those things.  Tonight I'm in the process of packing up my stuff.  We took down all our decorations, and I just packed one suitcase.  I'm struggling with fitting into the 50 lbs. weight limit... I might just have to leave clothes here.  Anyway, I'll see everybody soon!  I'll arrive Tuesday at 3:30 in O'Hare airport.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wrapping Up

We have been doing homework all week, wrapping up both our classes and our lives here.  It's actually been pretty fun, but very sad at the same time to go around and say our goodbyes.  I'm done with all my papers, including my integrative final paper, though I still have to revise that one.  Tomorrow morning we're going to hike Brayhead Mountain for the sunrise.  Then on Saturday I'm going into Dublin for a final souvenir run.  Then Sunday is dinner at Gwen and Monty's (the minister at my Presby church) followed by a debriefing meeting with Ruth.  Monday is a semi-free day, but we do have to pack.  Then it's up at 4:30, load the bus by 5:00 and leave at 5:15 in the morning on Tuesday.  It's winding down so fast.  I'm excited to be home, but I'm also going to miss the Y, all the FISPers, my church, and the ESL class.  

Right now I'm sitting in a cafe in Dalkey, a little town just up the DART line.  We're all just hanging out drinking coffee, hot chocolate, and the awesome juices that they have here.  I still have to stock up on tea for going home.  Lipton does NOT count as tea...  Anyway, this has been another rambling entry, so I'm going to sign off now.  Cheers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Back in Greystones

I arrived back on Friday and have been doing homework and cooking group since then.  Today though, got to interview a family from church, which was fantastic.  They made this amazing meal of potatoes, carrots, lamb, and ratatouille (yes, like the movie).  The food was delicious, with good warm tea and an excellent dessert.  The conversation was even better.  I think we talked for about three hours in their home.  I am definitely going to miss this family as I prepare to head back to the states.

On that topic, we're all scrambling to get the most out of our last few days here in Ireland.  I'm really going to miss this country (and their amazing tea!) but I'm also excited to get back to family and friend in the States.  It'll be interesting to get back to the states with a whole new government on its way.  I definitely got a whole new perspective being overseas for the election.  Anyway, these are rather rambling reflections on my time here in Ireland, and I need to get into the kitchen.  So if you want to hear more about my time and the things I've learned over here, we can set up a tea-time.  And I can introduce you to the wonder that is Irish tea.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Northern Ireland... a Whole Other Country

We're in Northern Ireland now.  It's a part of Great Britain, though that is hotly contested, and it even uses a different currency, Sterling instead of euro.  We we're supposed to leave on Wednesday morning at 6:30... and Lauren and I woke up at 6:36 sharp.  Oops.  We've been having serious alarm issues because our normal one broke, and now we're using a watch that can normally wake us up, but sometimes can't.  Oh well, we made it out the door semi-on time for Ireland at least.

We headed up to Belfast the first day, which was a pretty... heavy place.  If you don't know the history of the city and the Troubles, you probably won't understand what I'm talking about, but you should look it up.  It's interesting stuff.  There are "Peace Walls" throughout the town to divide up the Unionists (people who want Northern Ireland to remain apart of Great Britain, usually Protestant) and Nationalists (those who want a united Ireland, usually Catholics).  The hatred and the deep scars from the Troubles are almost tangible when you walk or drive through this city divided up by walls and gates that can shut automatically in case any violence erupts.  I've been in poor communities before, but I've never been in such an oppressive place, where the whole city seemed to be so buried within hatred that nothing else existed beyond the conflict and their dead heroes.  You could almost feel the demonic forces in the city, with Satan at work dividing the town.  All over Belfast there are murals, some from both sides and some from people who want peace.  There's this one where a masked gunman literally follows you with his gun no matter where you stand.  It's crazy to me that the children of Belfast grow up under these murals of masked gunman and dead heroes.  Well, as you can tell, that whole tour was very depressing, yet extremely enlightening to Ireland's political and social situation.

However, we ended the day on a higher not, for which I was extremely grateful.  We went to the Giant's Causeway, this place with awesome rock formations.  All the rocks are six-sided in shape.  I really enjoyed that, and I felt an almost physical relief to leave Belfast and get out into God's awesome nature.

Today, we got up early and headed out to see Derry, another city in Northern Ireland, toured there, and then went to some cliffs.  I can't remember their name... Sligo something, but we hiked to the top, and the view was absolutely incredible.  Just massive cliffs, and we were the only people out there as well.  I really enjoyed that.  Tonight we're staying in a hotel in county Donegal, back in the Republic of Ireland.  We'll get back to Greystones sometime tomorrow.  But tonight we're going to eat out at the Hotel restaurant, and I'm pretty excited.  We've been eating paper bag lunches for a while now, so this should be good.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Heat!

The heat is not working at the main house at the Y, which means that I have five layers of clothing on right now.  Quite literally.  So we're all working at staying warm and keeping fires going in the Red Room.  We're headed up to Belfast/Northern Ireland on Wednesday.  That should be a lot of fun, but we have some homework due in between now and then... ugh.

Today, after church, a couple of us were invited over for coffee at a family's house with some of the other members of the church.  That was a lot of fun.  The family has a huge mastiff.  The dog was literally a foot or two shorter than me.  I could have ridden it like a horse it was so huge.  Now my coat is covered with dog drool and hair, but we're going to walk the dogs with them tomorrow morning.  It'll be early, but I can't wait!

Tonight, on the other hand, will be a cold one.  All the girls are thinking about having a sleepover in the Red Room with the fireplace for warmth, but I don't think we'll get much sleep there.  So now I have to choose between sleep and warmth... hard decision.  We'll see what happens with that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back Online Again!

The internet here at the Y has been going in and out, but we have steady service for now... Hopefully it will stay that way. Things have been going pretty normally around here after the profs left last Saturday. I cooked all weekend because it was my group's turn to do the weekend meals. Saturday night I went with another friend to help out a this place called the Lighthouse Mission. They give a free meal along with clothes and other things out to the homeless of Dublin on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. If you guys back home could pray for them, they would really appreciate it. They're trying to build new facilities so that they can offer more, but they still need a lot of funding.

Since then, I've just been doing homework and hanging out at the Y, except for yesterday. My friend, Katie Moore, and I decided we wanted to go to Dublin Zoo, so we headed out on the Dart to Phoenix Park, where the zoo is. Easy, right? Not exactly. The Dart ride there took forever, and then we got off in the middle of corn fields. Phoenix Park was about a 15 minute walk from the station. Then we walked for 2-3 miles through the park itself towards the zoo. By that time, we didn't have enough time to actually go into the zoo because we had Irish dance class at four. So we slowly made our way back using multiple modes of Public transportation as the Dart broke down and such... It was a fun adventure, even though we didn't actually get to go into the zoo.

Tomorrow we're heading off on another trip to Hook Lighthouse and some other places. I'm not exactly sure where, but it should be fun. Our Art as an Experience final is due on Friday, and then we have a Halloween Party. We're all attending this party with different roles to play in an Italian mobster family, so it should be great fun. In the game, we're trying to solve who killed the head of the family, and I play his daughter Angel. I'm definitely looking forward to it. The costumes should be just as outrageous as 80's night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We've been going nonstop with two of my profs here to teach the Art as an Experience Course, all over Dublin and county Meath.  On Monday, we saw three monastic sites and an ancient site called Knowth, and then had Irish dance lessons followed by a short class at night.  Tuesday, we had class from 9:00 until 4:30 and then I helped with our ESL class at the Y.  Today then, we headed into Dublin at 8:30 to do an architectural tour of the area.  We hit the first public library in Ireland (which has remained unchanged since the 1700's). St. Patrick's, Christ Church, an art gallery, and Dublin Castle, followed by a long sprint to the DART station.  Let's just say we're all exhausted at this point and looking forward to our free days on Saturday and Sunday.  Tonight we still have class at 8:00 and then tomorrow will be class all day again... Hopefully we'll all survive until Saturday.  As of right now it's looking doubtful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Hair and Pink Eyeshadow... Agh! 80's

Yesterday, I was sick all day for my birthday... ugh.  But it was still a good birthday.  My roommate and my friends put signs up all over the Y, and I got a cake with my name on it.  I got some cards, presents from home (thanks everybody!), and a present from my roommate.  We had class all day, and then headed into Dublin to see a play.  It was a pretty abstract play by Samuel Beckett, and then I headed home and fell asleep thanks to some good medication : )

Today, I feel better, thankfully.  We had our pick-a-date earlier tonight.  It's a Taylor tradition where you go out on a "date" with a guy's floor, and it's a lot of fun.  The guys in the group picked their dates out of a hat, and then had to come up with a creative way to ask them to go.  I got asked with cookies in the shape of a bowling ball and pins because we were going bowling.  We actually had a group of three (two girls and a guy) because we don't have that many guys on this trip.  So my group and another date group went out to pizza and ice cream and then headed out to meet the other groups to bowl in Bray.

The thing is that the theme tonight was 80's night... and the Irish did not dress the same way that Americans dressed in the 80's.  Let's just say we got a lot of strange looks walking down the main street of Greystones towards the DART because our costumes were pretty much all-out craziness!  Then, later at the bowling alley, a song came on that a group of guys had used to ask their dates out.  They created this dance to a pop song, and did the whole thing in the bowling alley.  Again, we drew a crowd... All in all, it was a very fun night.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home again, home again!

Well, after surviving on baguettes, cheese, and apples for four days, let's just say that I'm glad to be back at the Y where I'll get meat and veggies and a big meal for free!  Paris was incredible, with all the fall colors in the trees, but I'm glad to be back in green Ireland.  We saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, Sacre Coeur, Sainte-Chappelle, the Tuleries Gardens, Les Invalides, and a bunch of other stuff all within three touring days.  I successfully navigated the metro, and didn't get us lost too many times.  We had church Sunday morning in the Tuleries Gardens, we survived the the sea of people trying to sell Eiffel Tower keychains, we ate Nutella Crepes along the Seine River, bartered for apples and bread in an open air market, and did a whole bunch of other stuff that I don't have time to talk about.  Ask me for stories when I get back, because there are some good ones...

But we're back now.  I think tonight Lauren and I are going to curl up with a cup of tea and a good movie.  Homework and all that other stuff can wait for tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Attacking Paris

Well, after taking the DART to Dublin, a bus to the airport, a plane to France, a bus to Paris, and a taxi to our apartment, we finally made it at about 1:00 in the morning. We were just going to rent hostel rooms in Paris at about 25-30 euro per night per head, but then my friend had the brilliant idea of renting an apartment. It was much cheaper, we have a kitchen, our own bathroom and bedrooms, as well as internet. It is also very nice to have a place to hang out at night that is not shared with complete strangers!

Today was a fun, but very stressful day. To start it off, one of us got locked in the bathroom accidentally. After we sprung him free, we bought croissants for breakfast at the bakery across the street. Then we had the daunting task of navigating the French metro with our terrible grasp of the French language, but we succeeded in figuring out the system after some wandering around aimlessly. We saw Napoleon Bonaparte's sarcophagus, Les Invalides, le Arc d'Triomphe, and Sacre Coeur. (I know I'm spelling that name wrong, but it's this beautiful basilica with a wonderful little market outside.) Finally, we made it back to the apartment, had a great adventure finding a chicken, some bagguettes, and some cheese that smelled seriously like BO but tasted pretty good. All in all, I'm exhausted, but excited to see the city after figuring out how to use the Public Transport today.

Tomorrow we're off to see Notre Dame, Saint Chappelle, and the Musee D'orsay. It should be exciting...

First Day in Paris

Well, after taking the DART to Dublin, a bus to the airport, a plane to France, a bus to Paris, and a taxi to our apartment, we finally made it at about 1:00 in the morning. We were just going to rent hostel rooms in Paris at about 25-30 euro per night per head, but then my friend had the brilliant idea of renting an apartment. It was much cheaper, we have a kitchen, our own bathroom and bedrooms, as well as internet. It is also very nice to have a place to hang out at night that is not shared with complete strangers!

Today was a fun, but very stressful day. To start it off, one of us got locked in the bathroom accidentally. After we sprung him free, we bought croissants for breakfast at the bakery across the street. Then we had the daunting task of navigating the French metro with our terrible grasp of the French language, but we succeeded in figuring out the system after some wandering around aimlessly. We saw Napoleon Bonaparte's sarcophagus, Les Invalides, le Arc d'Triomphe, and Sacre Coeur. (I know I'm spelling that name wrong, but it's this beautiful basilica with a wonderful little market outside.) Finally, we made it back to the apartment, had a great adventure finding a chicken, some bagguettes, and some cheese that smelled seriously like BO but tasted pretty good. All in all, I'm exhausted, but excited to see the city after figuring out how to use the Public Transport today.

Tomorrow we're off to see Notre Dame, Saint Chappelle, and the Musee D'orsay. It should be exciting...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall Break... in France?!

Tomorrow, four friends and I are flying out for Paris for our fall break. I never in my wildest dreams though I could say that I was going to France for Fall Break... It's a strange feeling. I'm excited to go and see the gardens and all the different sites. Hopefully the food will be good too, and the exchange rate is at its lowest since I've been in Ireland, which is great news! Anyway, please pray for safety and that we won't get too lost in the city. Thankfully we have two people who've studied French extensively in school and travelled there before.

I still have a lot to do before tomorrow. I have a class at 10:30 downtown Dublin to discuss the AIDs epidemic with an Irish graduate of Taylor, and then we fly out at 7:00 in the evening. But I still have to finalize our itinerary, and turn in some homework. Today, we started Irish drumming classes! (Yes, I'm getting credit for that) It's an ancient Celtic instrument called a Bodran or Bohran, or something along those lines. Definitely a unique experience.

Well, the dinner bell just rang. I'm off for Paris tomorrow!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

87 Pancakes

I had cooking group this weekend... It was a lot of fun to hang out in the kitchen, but I'm really glad it is over.  I have a new appreciation for the Y staff that feeds us every day!  It's a full time job.  On Saturday, we made hot dogs and American Mac 'n' Cheese for lunch with pizza for dinner.  On Sunday, we made sloppy joes and then breakfast for dinner tonight.  I just finished making 87 pancakes.  Tomorrow we'll be back to the normal schedule with our wonderful cooking staff.

Today, after a wonderful Sunday message from Rev. Monty, Lauren and I were invited over to Sunday dinner at their house.  It was wonderful to be sitting at a table with a home cooked meal.  I don't think I've had that in about two months.  The food was delicious, and Monty and Gwen were great company.  They are a pretty dynamic ministry duo that have had a huge impact on my life in just a few short weeks.  They are definitely a blessing from God.  Anyway, we have small groups tonight and a free day tomorrow.  I'm excited to have absolutely nothing to do for the first time in about 2-3 weeks.  Maybe I'll go to the zoo...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Raining Sideways

I decided to post again because I really, really do not want to continue doing my homework.  It's a pretty stormy day her in Greystones.  About five minutes ago, the rain was coming down sideways because of the high winds.  Now, it's sunny and beautiful... the weather changes extremely quickly in Ireland.  Since the parents have left and we are getting back to a more normal schedule, we have gotten a lot of homework as well.  I've been working all day on my Book of Kells and National Museum study guide which as been about as interesting as watching paint dry. (Weather update: It is now both sunny and raining sideways.  I should go look for a rainbow)  But studying with my roommate Lauren makes it a lot more interesting.

I should probably tell you a little bit about Lauren.  We first roomed together at Taylor for a week, and discovered our shared love for C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of the Narnia.  Then, we found out we would be rooming together here at the Y, and that was very exciting!  Our room is very tiny and narrow, and usually a complete mess because Lauren is even messier than I am!  But we have a blast together, and have started completing each other's sentences at times, which is a little scary.  Hopefully we'll be able to room together at Taylor next semester.  We'll have to see.  But in all seriousness, Lauren is a gift from God.  I wasn't sure about how I would get along with a roommate after never sharing a room in my life, but we have pretty much the same sleeping schedule and disposition.  I'm really loving getting to know her more!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Been a long while

I haven't updated this in a long time... sorry.  We've been pretty crazy around here for the past week or so.  First of all, my Contemporary Ireland prof was in town, so we actually had classes and visited different sites in Dublin like Kilmainham Gaol, the Book of Kells, and the National Museum.  After that, the parents came into town.  A lot of fun, but very crowded here at the YWCA.  Usually, we only have 30-35 people here, but with the parents we were hitting 70.  There were people everywhere, and it was very loud here for a while.  But I got to show my mom and aunt Lynette around Greystones and Dublin.  We visited several sites in Dublin, saw a show in the theatre, had a nice Italian dinner, ate in a pub, and had many other adventures.

One of which was the drive to Kilkenny to see the castle there.  My mom and aunt Lynette decided to rent a car on our free day and drive to this little tourist town in the middle-of-nowhere Ireland.  That day, I nearly died... seriously.  It's been several years since my aunt drove in Europe, and here in Ireland, all their cars are manual, and they drive on the left side of the road!  Let's just say there were several close calls involving semis on country roads and crazy traffic "diversions."  But we made it there and back alive and without too many problems, besides a broken-down cake delivery truck.  All in all, a very fun, busy week.

Now, we're all going crazy trying to catch up on all our homework.  I was able to finish a few papers today, and I plan on doing a lot more tomorrow.  That way, I should have a free day on Friday before being on cooking duty all Sat/Sun.  Things are settling down again around here, so here we go again!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Busy Week

Wow!  This week has been extremely busy, but a lot of fun.  Wednesday, we hiked Brayhead, a nearby mountain, which was absolutely beautiful.  There's this cement cross up at the top with a wonderful view, and even though it was raining, we still had a blast.  Thursday, we spent all day in Dublin, seeing Kilmainham Gaol and a 1916 Rising Memorial.  My roommate, Lauren, hurt her foot, and ended up getting piggy-back rides all through Dublin for the entire day.  She's on the mend now, but still limping.  The next day, we took the DART back out to Dublin to see the book of Kells and Trinity Library (which was incredible) and then headed to the National Museum.

That night was also Culture Night downtown, so we hung around there to do a lot of the free activities they have there.  We took an Akaido class, which is martial arts/dance, and learned some awesome moves.  That was definitely the highlight of the night.  On the way back, we took the train into Bray, one stop before Greystones, and were waiting to catch a connecting DART to our stop.  Unfortunately, the DART broke down at an earlier stop, and was running about an hour late at 11:30 at night.  So one of the DART workers put us on this double-decker bus for free that brought us into Greystones.  That was a great adventure.  We even got to ride on top of the bus!

Yesterday was a full day as well, because we invited a bunch of families and people from the community over for a pig roast.  We had an entire pig roasting over the fire!  It tasted pretty good.  We spent all day setting up for the party, and then played games with the kids when they came.  That was a lot of fun.  We even got to roast marshmallows over the pig-fire later on in the night.  Finally, after everyone had gone, we went down to the beach and sat on the cliffs/rocks for worship.  It was so beautiful there because it was a clear night with a huge moon hanging over the water and lots of stars.  I counted three shooting stars!  These last few days have been exhausting, but I've loved every minute of them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rainy Day

Well, it rained again today... go figure, rain in Ireland.  But we had class all day today, so it didn't really matter, except that my after class walk was a little damp.  Fortunately, here in Ireland it doesn't really rain, it just kind of spits.  It's like walking through a cloud.

The highlight of my day today was mail time because I got my first piece of mail today, a small package from Mary.  I loved hearing from her, and she even sent me some of the things I miss from the states in an extremely creative way.  Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks, Mary, that made my day.  My roommate got a huge package that included a massive tub of peanut butter cookies!  That was extremely exciting for all of us here too, because they were the first soft, chewy cookies we've had in a while.  Most of the cookies here are harder, more cracker-like, so we all ate cookies for breakfast/lunch today.

Otherwise, it was nice just to relax today.  I've been working non-stop on homework, so today I took a break to just take notes in class and hang out with everyone.  One of my profs is here now, so we actually have classes this next week.  Isn't that crazy, classes in college?!  The rest of the week should be pretty busy around here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Yesterday, we had one of the best assignments I've ever had in school.  We were given 5 euro and a dart pass, and told to get off at two stops to have coffee.  Lauren, Chad, Hannah, Norah, and I got off at a stop called Killeny and walked to the next stop.  The walk was absolutely beautiful.  The winding road ran along the Irish sea, there were beautiful houses all along the way (Bono lives somewhere in the area), and stone walls covered with ivy.  There were wild blackberries all along the way, and we ate those whenever they were ripe as we walked to Dalkey.

In the town of Dalkey is very quiet and peaceful, and we sat down in a coffee shop to do homework for a while.  Finally, we took the Dart back to the town of Bray, right before Greystones, and went to the beach there.  There were some really colorful rocks there, so my group spent about 20 minutes collecting rocks before hopping back on the Dart back to Greystones.

After dinner that night, we played rugby in the dark.  Definitely and interesting but very fun experience.  Today, I headed back to my church, The Presbyterian Church, which starts at 11:00.  It's nice to be able to sleep in and then go off to church fully awake.  Our pastor is an incredible speaker, one of the best I've heard in my life, and I'm not kidding.  He keeps you focused for the entire time, and he relates old texts so well to the modern day and modern issues in Irish and world culture.  I'm definitely going to continue attending this church and hopefully get involved there as the semester continues.  Anyway, the rest of the day should be a homework day.  We have a history test, a C.S. Lewis reading and write-up, a Contemporary Ireland write-up, and two history write-ups due Monday and Tuesday, so I have a lot to accomplish.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Yesterday, we went on a scavenger hunt in downtown Dublin.  We took the DART, the train system they have here, into the city, and then split off into groups to find different landmarks, buildings, and statues.  Dublin is a very interesting city, almost as busy as Chicago, but without the skyscrapers and gigantic buildings.  Instead, most of the larger buildings are extremely old, but very beautiful.  The General Post Office still has bullet holes in its columns from the Easter Rising of 1916, which I found very interesting.

I think Trinity College is one of my favorite places downtown Dublin.  The campus is gorgeous, with huge trees and old buildings right in the heart of the city.  We stopped there first, and one of the students told us where all the things on our list were in the city.  That was a huge help.  I can't wait to get out and just explore the city without an agenda.  There were some pretty awesome stores, like a rare book store, an African art store, and many other wacky, tiny shops.

Today, our assignment is to get on the Dart, get off at two random stops before Dublin, and find two different coffee shops.  We get five euro and an unlimited pass for the dart.  The tracks run along the coast through small towns the whole way, so it should be a fun adventure.  Right now, me, my roommate Lauren, Hannah, and Chadd are in my group.  We should be leaving soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're Here!

Well, we've all settled down into life at the Y in Greystones!  I'm definitely loving it here, though the rooms are small and the building is extremely old.  I'm rooming with Lauren Sparks, which I am extremely excited about.  We're both rather quiet and love to read, so the rooming situation works out really well.

The YWCA, called Coolnegreina, is this old building that was built around 1850.  It's clean, but very old and cozy.  My room is about 7-8 feet wide and about 15 feet long, but we only have two people in it.  We have several common rooms that are a lot of fun to hang out in, and do homework in.  In one room, every night at 8:30, they watch Gilmore Girls.  Tonight, we have our Living Cross-Culturally class from 8:00-10:00.  Tomorrow is a study day, with a memorial service for Sept. 11, and Friday, we have a scavenger hunt in Dublin.  I'm really excited for that.

The Y is about 25 feet from the road that runs along the Irish sea, and I love taking long walks there every day (except when it rains all day like today).  Yesterday, we had a memorial service for a friend of one of the FISP students who passed away in the states.  Karolyn, the FISP student, had known him from high school and found out about his death the night before we left for Greystones.  It was a powerful time for everyone, especially those that had lost friend in the past, and everyone lit a candle for Daniel.  If you could just keep the FISP student here and the family back home in your prayers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Leaving Galway

Well, today is our last full day in Galway.  I'm hanging out at An Tabor Nua, the coolest cafe in town, using their internet because ours has been down.  Anyway, we're packing up tonight and heading out for County Wicklow tomorrow on the other coast.  I definitely love the town of Galway.  There are so many things to see here, and I'm going to miss this cafe.  But I'm also glad to be able to finally settle down permanently at the YWCA in Greystones.  This will be my address for the next 10 weeks, and I would love to hear from you.  International mail takes about 5 days.  Anyway, I'm not sure when I will get internet next because Internet at the Y is a bit sketchy.  They don't have to power to support more than five computers at one time, so don't expect me to update as regularly as I have been.  God bless!  Or, as they say in Ireland, Cheers!

Jessica Larson
YWCA Conference Centre
Coolnagreina, Trafalgar Rd.
Greystones, CO. Wicklow, Ireland

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finally Finished

I finished my take home test today, finally!  It was my first real test in college, and it was about six essays together about the different topics we covered, from Beowulf, Mere Christianity, How the Irish Saved Civilization, to my prof.'s book.  It's a relief to be done with that, though I still have to edit all of them, along with my Art as an Experience essay.  Hopefully all will go well grade-wise.

I'm not so sure about my Irish History class.  The book relies on our background knowledge Ireland, which in my case is non-existent.  It was obviously written for Irish students, not American students can't even pronounce most of the names in the book, let alone understand their importance in the big picture of Irish history.  We'll see how that one goes...

Monday, September 1, 2008

More Pictures

1. Graveyard on the Aran Islands, where we went bike-riding on Friday
2. Another Cross over the bay
3. The kitty we found on the Island.  Katie Moore and Melissa Velar, two of my roommates are holding it
4. My biking group for the afternoon
5. Cooking in our apartment
6. Our living room/kitchen/dining room
7. Downtown Galway in the pedestrian only section
8. Melissa cutting something
9. Ross Castle.  Old picture, but I forgot to put it on the last bunch of pictures.  There was a whole family of swans swimming on the lake just outside.

Homework Day

We spent the whole day doing homework today.  I read two chapters in my Irish History textbook, which took forever, and then I finished up my Mere Christianity summary for Foundations of Christian Thought.  Next, I'll be tackling my Art as an Experience textbook, which is about as interesting as watching paint dry.  If I'm able to finish that tonight, I can start the two page reaction paper and then finally begin my take-home test for Dr. Cosgrove.  Let's just say that this week will be devoted to homework.

Today, my entire apartment spent the day reading and doing homework with a guy's apartment from Eris Gratton, the apartment complex across the street.  Tonight, we're planning to lay low and catch up on some sleep.  I had a delicious dark chocolate Magnum bar for dessert (if you don't know what Magnum bars are, you're really missing out).  Tomorrow will probably be another homework day, though I might take an hour or two out to go to An Tobar Nua, a cafe in town run by two missionaries.  It's an awesome place to hang out, and the food is delicious.  It also has a book store attached.

Anyway, those are our plans for the next couple days.  Kind of boring, I know, but that's what is going down.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Night Out

Today, a couple of us headed down to a church in a nearby hotel called Calvary Church.  It was very tiny, but a lot of fun.  The Pastor was an American too.  Afterward, we headed home and had French Onion soup for lunch.  Now we're just hanging out until 4:45, when we're headed out onto the town.

We'll be eating at a nice Italian Restaurant in town and then go to see a show similar to Riverdance.  It should be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to the food (sometimes it seems that all I do is talk about food on this blog ;))

Our homework load is definitely picking up now.  I actually have work to be doing, go figure.  I actually feel like I'm in college now.  Sort of.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Today was a very peaceful, relaxing day.  My site visit group came over for tea in the afternoon, and we discussed the outline for some of our papers on the different places we've visited so far.  It was fun to just hang out over cups of tea and talk about the history of this amazing place.

Right now, we're all cooking our dinner.  Actually some of my roommates are cooking and I'm the designated DJ for tonight.  We're making stir fry with a fruit salad and curry cheese fries (apparently a very Irish dish... go figure).  It smells delicious in here.  My professor and his wife, the Cosgroves, are coming over for dinner tonight.  We even bought three liters of Coke for the special occasion!

Tonight, all the girls are sleeping over in our apartment!  We're going to watch Penelope and Pride & Prejudice, make facial masks out of oatmeal and bananas or some crazy concoction like that, make chocolate chip cookies, and just hang out.  Tomorrow, I'm making pancakes with Melissa for everyone.  It should be a blast!  But we do have to get up early in order to go to the Aran Islands tomorrow, our first outing since coming here to Galway.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Popcorn and Pancakes

Today, we've just been relaxing at the apartment.  Yesterday, I got to go downtown Galway shopping in the tiny Irish stores.  It was a lot of fun to wander through the pedestrian-only part of town.  My friend Kate Meredith was extremely excited to find a Polish store there that sold her favorite Polish juice.  She spent the summer in Poland on a mission trip, so she was nearly sprinted through the mall when she saw the sign for the store.

This morning, I made pancakes for my apartment, but they turned out more like crepes with the Irish pancake mix.  Then, this afternoon, I made my box of Macaroni & Cheese, and we all shared in the cheesiness and American goodness of food from home along with a liter of Coca-Cola.  Right now, we're all just hanging out watching movies and eating popcorn.  On Thursday night we're going to have a sleepover with all 20 girls in the FISP program in my apartment.  That should be a blast!  And tonight we're grilling fish fresh off the boat.  I'm not really a big fan of fish, but if I'm ever going to try it, Galway is the place.  Goodbye for now!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Slowing Down

We moved into our apartments (ours is called Gratton House 7) on Saturday.  I have five roommates, but the apartment is HUGE!  I even have my own room.  There are two floors, two bathrooms, a living room, three bedrooms, and a tiny kitchen.  This is probably going to be the nicest place I'll stay during college!  My window looks out over the Atlantic Ocean, and we did our homework yesterday on the beach.  My roommate and I (Melissa) even found three snails on the beach, Gratton House 7's new pets!  Their names are Big Daddy Craic (pronounced "crack"), Craic Junior, and William Butler Yeats.  Craic is an Irish word for good fun or laughter, just in case you were wondering.

We cook our dinner in groups, and our apartment is with an apartment of boys downstairs.  Last night, one of my roommates, Katie, made this awesome pasta sauce with noodles, veggies, and bacon.  Today we're all busy cooking a beef soup with potatoes, carrots, onions, and all sorts of other stuff.  We definitely don't go hungry around here.

These next couple days are going to be class days.  Tomorrow Dr. Cosgrove starts to lecture again on Foundations of Christian Thought.  I'm reading Beowulf for that right now, drinking a cup of tea.  It's been nice to be able to settle down and unpack for a while, even though we'll only be here for two weeks.  I was a bit sick of living out of a suitcase and constantly moving around the country.  Tonight, we're going to take a study break with a movie and some popcorn!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Picture Explanation (Because they're in random order)
1.  This is one of the Skellig islands, but it is a bird sanctuary.  It's this huge rock jutting out of the sea, literally swarming with bird.
2.  This man was the captain of our boat that took us out into the Atlantic to Skellig Michael (the island with the monastic site)
3.  This is where we picnicked on Thursday afternoon.  It was gorgeous!
4.  This is me and Kate Meredith (one of my roommates in Upland)
5.  Gallarus, the ancient church/oratory we visited on Thursday
6. The Gap of Dunlow.  We hiked between these two mountains following the river.  It looked like a scene out of Lord of the Rings
7.  Some of the FISP students enjoying the view during their hike.  They are looking down at #6
8&9.  The boats that took us out to where we started the hike through the Gap of Dunlow.

The Skelligs

Yesterday (Friday) was probably my favorite day so far, but first I have to tell you about Gallarus which we visited on Thursday.  That day started off with an insane game of Rugby on Inch Beach.  I have several bruises on my shins and knees from that, even though we played in sand.  We continued driving along the coast, and our last stop of the day was Gallarus, this tiny rock church built over a 1000 years ago.  At first I found the hollowed out pile of rocks to be pretty boring.  After all, we had just been driving along the dramatic Atlantic Coast with huge cliffs dropping off into the sea.  But then our leader, Ruth, reminded us that without this tiny, ancient church paving the way for Christianity in Europe, we probably wouldn't be Christians today.  If that pile of rocks hadn't been built to glorify God, we would still be pagans, worshipping the Celtic gods and goddesses.  The history of that moment hit me hard, and I loved just hearing my group sing the Doxology and Come Thou Fount in that tiny room of stone.

The next day, we headed out to two islands called the Skelligs on a fishing boat piloted by to Irishmen.  The Skelligs are two rocks sticking out of the sea, one a bird sanctuary covered with thousands of birds and the other an ancient monastic site perched high up on a cliff.  We climbed over 600 ancient, stone stairs built by the monks to come to their living place.  It was one of the most beautiful, wild places in Ireland that I have seen.  After wandering around the monastic site, we headed back down the steep cliffs to our boat.  On the way back, we were followed by a dolphin!  Our whole group just laughed and smiled as it jumped out of the water along our boat.  It was such an awesome site and a fun day.  I even got a video of the dolphin.

Today, we leave our hotel in Kellarney and head to apartments in Gallaway for two weeks.  I'm not sure when I will get internet access again, so this could be the last update for a while.  I'll try to upload pictures to the blog as well, but that takes a very long time with this software and my slow internet.  Anyway, hope you all are having an awesome time and getting ready to go back to school.  We're off again here in Ireland!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lord of the Rings

Today, we went on a beautiful boat ride up a river and through the lakes of Kellarney followed by a seven mile hike through a mountain gorge.  It was just like something out of the Lord of the Rings, especially the boat trip up the river.  The hike was amazing, with beautiful misty mountains and sheep wandering through the rocks and flowers.  There were waterfalls everywhere too, feeding the river.  It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  Today, I got to eat Chinese food for dinner too, followed by chocolate cake for my roommate's birthday.  We then wandered around the town, stole Brayton's scarf, and got ice cream.  Tomorrow, we will head up to Dingle to go the beach and maybe learn how to play Rugby from our awesome bus driver Ryan.

I'm falling more and more in love with Ireland the more time I spend here.  The culture is amazing, with an incredible depth in history and identity.  And the countryside is even more spectacular.  I can't wait for tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Today, we ventured out into the rain to see Blarney Castle.  It was pretty impressive with winding stone stairs and everything out of solid rock.  Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you'll get the gift of gab, so we all did that, hanging out over a rock a couple hundred feet in the air.  I was glad to have the man there holding me up!  The castle itself has fantastic gardens with beautiful rocks, waterfalls, and gigantic ancient trees.  Even though it rained the whole time, my raincoat worked wonders, even keeping my camera dry in my pocket.

We ate lunch beneath the bus (yes under the bus)  It was actually quite roomy in the cargo hold, so since it was pouring and we couldn't eat onboard, we all squished under the bus with our sandwiches.  That was actually a lot of fun!

Tonight, we ate at a pub, and I loved the food.  I ate toasted ham sandwiches with cheese and onions.  Pubs are definitely my favorite place to eat.  It's very relaxed with slow service, but it gives you the time to just chill and relax with the people you are eating with.  I'll probably upload some pictures tomorrow.  But goodnight to all of you for now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Well, I'm still up from my last post running on 2 hours of sleep on the bus on the way to O'Hare and about an hour of sleep on the plane.  Which makes about 30 hours straight we've been up.... let's just say that things have been getting interesting around here.  It's almost time to go to bed again so that our internal clocks will switch over to Ireland time.

Our flight over was smooth, even though we took off from Newark about an hour and a half late.  We only lost one bag on the flight between 33 people, so that was pretty good.  After landing, we loaded our luggage onto the bus, met our bus driver, Brian.  Then, we went to go see the Muckross House, a beautiful old house with a giant garden.  The gardens were absolutely gorgeous, one of the most beautiful and calming places I have ever seen.  The house itself reminded me of the chateau from Cinderella.

Afterward, we checked into our hotel the McSweeney Arms Hotel (yes, it does have the best name ever!)  Finally, I went out with a group of six to dinner in a pub where I had traditional Irish stew.  A bit bland but still very good and filling.  Right now I'm just so over-tired, I really need to go to be now.  Well good night!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”
-Gandalf (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Well, its 6:30 here, and we are getting ready to leave very soon!  I'll update when I can in Ireland, but we won't always have an internet connection.  Here we go!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Packing... again

For the past couple hours everyone in FISP has been just hanging out and packing to get ready to leave.  We're off at 7:30 tomorrow, with a four hour ride back to Chicago and O'Hare.  Our flight is at 2:30.  We'll be traveling on the east coast of Ireland for the first three weeks, so you won't be able to contact me, except for when I have an Internet connection, which will be limited.  But after the third week, we will settle down at the YMCA in Greystones.  You can write me there at

Jessica Larson
YWCA Conference Centre
Coolnagreina, Trafalgar Rd.
Greystones, CO. Wicklow, Irelan

Apparently international mail takes about five days, so not too bad of a gap there.  We'll land in Ireland at about 7:00 in the morning and head off on a tour right away.  We're supposed to stay awake all day so that we can make the time adjustment.  We'll see how that goes...

Personally, I am sooooooo excited to leave.  After hearing Dr. Maloney speak all week about Ireland, the culture, the politics, and the sites we'll be seeing, I'm dying to just get on the plane and go.  In TWELVE hours we'll be leaving!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hanging Out

Right now, we are all in the lobby/hang out room of the Swallow-Robin dorm, eating popcorn, listening to Irish music, and watching the Olympics.  Today was my last day of class with Dr. Cosgrove, but our test is still due tomorrow.  I'm done with that and should be done with homework until I get to Ireland!  That's definitely a relieving feeling.

Tonight, we were invited over to the president's house for cookies, cake, and ice cream.  It was a lot of fun to just hang out with Mrs. Habecker (the pres.'s wife), play with their Portuguese Water dog called Taylor, and listen to everyone play various instruments, including the piano, the guitar, and even African Drums.  There was a lot of laughter, prayer, and good community.  Every older student talks about the deep sense of community here at Taylor, and this FISP (Freshman Irish Studies Program) is forming a wonderful, caring community even after four days.  I can't wait to see where God is taking this group!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homework... ugh.

Our first test is tomorrow for Foundations of Christian Thought.  It's actually a take-home test, so the work isn't that hard, just time consuming.  Other than that, I have one other writing assignment and some reading due.

Today's afternoon FCT class was pretty cool because we all shared our testimonies with each other.  The group has been slowly forming relationships and seeing personalities and quirks come to light in each other, and today added a whole new dimension to the group-dynamic.  So far most conversations have been casual get-to-know-you stuff, but today, people were able to share their personal stories about their lives and their faith.  I loved seeing their honesty with where they were in the journey as well as the past, and I can't wait to see where this next semester will bring us both as a community and as individuals.

Monday, August 11, 2008


My first day in Upland went surprisingly well.  I woke up very confused as to where I was when I woke up in a strange room and then proceeded to spend half the morning trying not to sleep through the morning lecture, but after lunch I was able to stay awake through my first college class, Foundations of Christian Thought.  It was so weird to have an extremely intelligent professor talking about psychology, worldviews, the existence fact and morality, and other deep, intellectual topics and then tie all of them into the character of God and the Trinity.  Definitely different from public school, but I loved it!  The very first class I'm taking starts right off with why we should integrate both faith and learning, something I was never able to find at North.

Later that night, one of my roommates and I walked down to Taylor Lake.  It was absolutely gorgeous as the sun set.  There was a blue heron on the lake, and I got to sit on the dock and do my homework and journal as the sun set over the lake/pond.  I think Taylor Lake will be one of my favorite places on campus when I return for the second semester.  I loved just getting away to a peaceful spot to think about the day.

Here are some pictures of my dorm.  It's very bare because we'll only be living here for a week, but it's home for now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Well, I'm here in my room at Taylor.  We hauled all of our bags up to our rooms earlier today, wandered around the campus, and introduced ourselves about 3 thousand times.  I definitely am going to have issues remembering all these names and faces.  I have two roommates for at least the rest of the week at Taylor named Lauren and Kate.

It's kind of funny to watch ourselves being so polite and restrained.  You can tell that everyone is tired and a bit nervous, and there are often awkward moments of silence in conversations.  But people have slowly relaxed throughout the evening with the help of a little bit of humor.  Tomorrow, we have breakfast, and a lecture about what we'll be studying starts at 9:00.  Then, my first class starts after that... ugh.  I'm definitely not looking forward to the start of school.  With my summer being so short, I fell like I just finished all that stress of books due and long papers to write.  Anyway, that's all I have to say for now.  Good night!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

All Packed

After about two hours and a minor suitcase disaster, my two (yes two) bags are packed for Ireland.  I'll be leaving tomorrow for Taylor, about a four hour drive, and my parents will return home without me on Monday.  Unfortunately, I was unable to fit Nikki into my bag, so she will not be able to join me in Ireland.

The last couple of days in Michigan were a blast, even though they got off to a rocky start.  Mary and Lauren came up to visit my grandparents with me, and Lauren got sick on our first night there!  We spent Wednesday around the house shooting the BB gun, dressing up in the dress up clothes I used to play with as a little kid with my cousins, and watching movies.  That night, Mary and I went for a swim in Lake Michigan right as a storm was blowing in.  It was pretty incredible to see the lightning (no we did not swim during the lightning) the waves, and the rain pelting down on us.  Definitely a memorable night.

The next day, we spent the entire time on the boat skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.  Lauren apparently is a skiing prodigy.  I have never in my life seen someone get up on skis on their first try, but she did.  Then she was even able to get up on the wakeboard.  Both Mary and Lauren went tubing as well, and then paid for it the next morning with extremely sore muscles.  All in all, it was an awesome way to end the summer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here We Go

"The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses its turning." 
- Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbit)

Well, here is the promised blog for Ireland.  Just a warning before we start: I'm terrible at blogging and actually updating, but I'm going to try really hard to let you guys know what I'm doing in Ireland and uploading pictures for those of you who don't have a Facebook.

This week, I've just been getting together all the last minute things that I need to pack, and today was the last shopping trip for Ireland (hopefully).  It feels so surreal that I can fit three months of my life into two duffel bags that are under 50 lbs.  But I've also noticed in my packing how much extra junk we think that we need.  

So here's my schedule for this next week.  

Tomorrow: I'll be heading up to Michigan to visit my grandparents and go boating
Saturday: I'll be packing
Sunday: I'll drive up to Taylor with my parents!  

Here we go!