Friday, December 7, 2012

Carpe diem... and become!

Ok. So I'm going to let you all in on a little secret... about 2 weeks ago I became extremely homesick. 4 weeks in and that was long enough for me. It's not that I wasn't having a great time, I just felt anxious. Like when I'm shopping in Walmart; After about an hour and a half, I start getting antsy and know it is time to go home. I was fighting conflicting feelings. Anxiety vs. the feeling of knowing this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I need to enjoy every moment of. A simple reminder from a great friend changed everything! "If you can't change the situation, change your attitude!" New motto: Seize the Day! As I started living this I have seen/felt myself become, not only a different person, but a part of my Irish surroundings.

Listowel - My Hometown
Becoming a part of my community. Listowel is a cute little town of approximately 3,500 people. I have tried, much to Nora's dismay, to introduce myself in each shop, bakery, and pub that I have entered. Everyone has been cordial, as if we were just passing through. The introductions have paid off, as nods of recognition and lively conversations now prevail. The lady at the post office even sent off a package when I didn't have enough money (thought they would take a card). Told me that she trusted that I would bring the money when I had it. We attended a play about John B. Keane, a famous local writer, and have become fast friends with his son, Billy. Favorite thing about Listowel? Colorful buildings... Eason's book and school supply shop... wool shop... ok, everything!

Scoil Iosagain
Becoming a part of Scoil Iosagain. Scoil Iosagain is the name of my school. As I was walking down the corridor, about a week and a half ago, I had this overwhelming feeling of belonging. The teachers and I have become friends inside and outside of school, my work is acknowledged and appreciated, and I am treated like a regular staff member. I have definitely made some life-long friends! I have had the opportunity to teach in every class now, one thing or another, and am greeted each morning in the school yard by flocks of children asking if I am going to be in their class at some point throughout the day - what a happy feeling! I truly love these kids! Are there differences and craziness at times? Absolutely! But I have learned to embrace it and I am loving it all!!

My Irish Family
Becoming a part of the Walsh family. It would be nearly impossible to not become a part of the Walsh family. They are so full of love and genuine kindness. Some of the things we enjoy doing as a family are: watching movies, baking cookies, knitting/crocheting, going to church, playing music, listening to gigs at the pub, having tea and scones, making food for each other and just chatting. We have definitely built life-long friendships that will continue beyond my time here.

Ross Castle - Killarney, Ireland
Becoming a part of Ireland. Over the past 6 weeks I have traveled all over this beautiful country! I will not claim to have been everywhere, but I have seen, with my own eyes, some of the most breath taking places on this earth. This past weekend I explored castles, climbed to a waterfall, shopped, went to a great church service, listened to/participated in live music at a pub and successfully drove a car on the Irish side of the road. Pretty well rounded. It was my favorite weekend so far! Mighty craic!! All of the touristy sites and cities have been lovely, but I have come to truly appreciate the simple beauties that surround me each day. As I travel down the country road to my school, I am still in awe at the beauty, yet feel a sense of warmth and peace like I am home. Ireland has become a part of me.

I find myself getting weepy thinking of saying good-bye to all that I have grown to love here, so I must stop thinking. I still have 4 weeks of adventure and new experiences to live and enjoy, so enjoy I will! Attitude really is everything!!! Carpe Diem!
Irish Textbook

Skill of the week: Learning Irish pronunciations. This seems like a silly skill, but Irish is actually VERY difficult to pronounce. The letters rarely give a clue on how to pronounce anything. For instance, mh says the "v" sound. However, bh, on occasion, can also say the "v" sound. Crazy! The lads and teachers at my school have been grand at helping me in this endeavor.

Up-date on past skills of the week:
Crocheting: 4 hats done... more to come!
Tin Whistle: Had the opportunity to try out my sweet tin-whistle skills with "Flog the Dog" at one of their pub gigs. What a blast! "Guest artist... all the way from America... on the tin-whistle..." They were really great sports.
Jarvie driver... and friend.
Making friends: Forgot to mention that this was one of my skills. I have been working on it from day one and it has been very rewarding! Met my latest friend at Ross castle... beware of the Irish charm!

1 comment:

  1. Carrie, your pictures are so lovely I can't wait for us to see more of them here in the International Office. Also, your jittery, anxious description of "Culture Shock" and your resolve to get through it will really help others to understand this experience. Thanks for sharing!