A Travellerspoint blog

Time Hurries On

and the leaves that are green turn to brown

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Wow! It's amazing to think that I've been at Glencree for a whole month now. In a way it seems like a long time since I left the states, but overall it's flown by. I've been meaning to catch you all up on a few things I've been involved in over these past few weeks.

We'll start off going back to the weekend before this one just past. I had the amazing experience of sitting in on a session of the Sustainable Peace Network. SPN is part of the Survivors and Ex-Combatants Programme. It brings together people who have been involved in the Troubles. There has been a group each year since 2004 (I believe). Each group is composed of 2/3 survivors and ex-combatants and 1/3 people in the community who coonect to the experience in some way. The programme involve the outdoors and bonding via this. The group meets at Glencree, then takes a 3/4 day trip to Scotland, the Glencree, then a two week trip to South Africa, and then a meeting back at Glencree again. After this they will become part of the larger SPN which is composed of all the members of the former groups. I sat in on their reflection of their trip to Scotland. It was amazing to see how much this group had bonded in one short weekend. To think that these are people who tried to kill each other or whose group is responsible for the death of another's family member is unbelievable. It's a truly wonderful thing to see. It's also great to hear about how people seem to be healing, as many have not talked about this much before and have been carrying their pain around for years. I'm excited to see them once they get back from South Africa!

On a side note - I have to say that if there weren't a confidentiality agreement I would have the best video for all of you! It would definitely rival anything put out there by Matt A. However, if I see anyone I can do a re-enactment for you, though not as good as the original I'm sure. (The material of this bit is not confidential, just what the participant looks like.) Just ask for the "My Body is a Temple" demo:)

Also this past week we had a two visitors from Germany - a mother and daughter. The mother was here at age 11 as part of Operation Shamrock. OS happened after WWII to try to help a ravaged Germany. Mostly orphaned children of the ages 7-12 were brought to Glencree to try to nurse them back to health and to find homes for those who needed them. This women was not orphaned, however her father ran a refugee camp and was asked if he would like to send one of his children. Having a total of 6 kids, his wife was happy to have one less mouth to feed for a few months. The woman was here for 6 months before she returned home. As she told me, she was extremely thin when she arrived here, but the Irish fed her well and she's never been skinny since!

Just a few days ago there was a Golf Classic to benefit the Survivors and Ex-Combatants Programme. A couple of guys from the broader SPN came down to talk with the big spenders while they golfed. These two a quite a riot. Crazy to think that not that long ago they were very seriously trying to kill each other and now they pretty much have a comedy routine that they could take on the road. I don't think I stopped laughing at any of the meals I spent with them. It's crazy that a result like this, one you really hope for, is actually a possibility.

Another side note - apparently in Ireland/Northern Ireland you don't ask a person named Stephen/Steven how they spell. If you ask this what you are really asking is are the Catholic or Protestant. Interesting and something I never knew. I don't know if this (the spelling, not the offensiveness) is so much true in the U.S., but I wouldn't mind doing a little investigating on it. Hmmmm. (Please note that my asking didn't cause any problems, as I was at Glencree and they person knew I was American, but none-the-less it's quite interesting.)

Posted by Wonkerer 08:47 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

I've got a Golden Ticket!

or at least a Garda card

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Well, there are a few things I need to catch you up on, but I think I'll do that later. At this moment I am very, very happy to tell you that I have got in hand my Garda card (picture coming soon) saying that I am allowed to stay in Ireland until the end of September 2008! If we put together last week's 3+ hour visit and yesterday's 5 hour visit I've put in a whole day in Immigration, along with almost another day's time in going back and forth to Dublin, so thank goodness it's finally taken care of. This is in no small part due to the Saint's medallion given to me by Ruthie as a thank you while in Houston. I decided that I need some sort of lucky charm to bring with me and this was the best of all. It worked too!

I have to say that I was a bit worried going back as we don't actually have insurance yet. Only a letter saying that Glencree is in the process of finding some. Around here you never really know if this type of thing will fly or not. Luckily I got a nice agent, and while he talked really quietly, he got me through with almost no hassle. My counterpart Krystal did not have such an easy time, but finally got out with her card as well. Apparently because she's been in Ireland to study before, but hasn't been back in a couple years, she was locked out in the system as a threat. You know those Minnesotans are very scary:) Then when her photo was taken the lady told her it wasn't good enough and brought another agent over to laugh at it with her. Just what we all need after being completely stressed out! But we survived and made it out in time get a quick bit, along with some very quick shopping, before heading back "home". This included a bit a photo printing for me and I am now the proud "owner" of a wall covered in photos. It's a little college dorm room style as Yukari says and I agree, but it makes me happy:)

Now I'll put in a bit of a side note. One of the long timers her, Trish, says that in order to get any song out of your head all you need to do is sing "Kung Fu Fighting". Every time anyone starts doing this I instantly think of Jonny. Specifically Jonny, in the San Antonio IHOP dancing around in his very Jonny way, while dressed in shiny white pants. I have tried to do the Jonny dance for people, though I know I'm hopeless at it:) While my impression is not so on, I have to say that people still find it pretty funny!

Posted by Wonkerer 09:49 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Wishing and hoping

and thinking and praying

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So, I guessed I jinxed myself . . .

Went into immigration yesterday and let me tell you that things are no beuno. Krystal and I took the morning run into Bray where we caught the Dart (train/metro) into Dublin. We arrived at immigration at about 10:15 and waited in line for about 50 minutes before we got our numbers. Crazy system - I'm not sure what they're thinking as they could just have a machine to give out numbers. They must have been screening people or something, but by the time we got up there they were just giving them out - or the lady I got was anyway. We then waited another 2 hours before our numbers were called. Each of us were then told that we had to show proof of private insurance. Now 6 other people from Glencree have been there in the past week or so and have gotten their cards, but apparently Glencree has now been flagged. For many years now they have been giving governmental medical card to volunteers, but apparently immigration has realized this only recently, and has said that this is not allowed. That being so, we have to have private medical insurance. They will talk about it at the Management Meeting on Monday and hopefully they will figure it out. I only have until the end of next week to either get the card or an extension. I wasn't able to go until yesterday as I haven't had a week day off until then. Unfortunately all of this has to be handled on my days off, so I really hope that it gets figured out soon and only have to go back once more. Oh, and I get to wait in line again - what fun!

I hope that all of you have been having better days than this:)

Posted by Wonkerer 13:23 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Just wait a minute

just sitting, waiting

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Right now I'm manning the Reception Desk, and since I've only had one call in the past hour I figure I might do something productive with my time. This is not a normal task, but today's Receptionist had to leave early and the person who was supposed to cover has been stuck at Immigration since 11:30 - it's now 4:30. I'm going into Dublin for Immigration on Friday. While I'm planning on it taking a while I sure hope it doesn't take me 5 hours! And the worst part is that there are six people sitting there today:(

My week hasn't been too exciting so far - mostly just working. Monday I was Linking with the group that was in, which was a private boy's school. While talking to them for a moment I found out that here in Ireland you only have to fill out one standard application for university. You then list the schools you want to go to in order of perference. You don't have to do this until February and then can revisit it in April or May. The boys were a bit shocked when I told them that Americans must fill out individual applications for each school. I don't think they realized how easy they have it in that regard.

Yesterday I made dinner for the rest of the Volunteers and Interns. It included a Blackberry Coffee Cake made with blackberries I had picked on a walk the day before. It was very, very yummy:) Even Pat liked it and he only eats fish and chips! Sadly I think this is the end of the blackberries for this year. I do hear that they get some great blueberries over the summer though:)

Posted by Wonkerer 08:39 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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