A Travellerspoint blog

These Are the Days

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It's days like yesterday that make me remember why I didn't like living in Houston. Not in a bad way, but in an aha moment kind of way. Whether or not it truly was, yesterday felt like the first day of spring - absolutely and utterly brilliant. The kind of day that makes you want to just stand outside eyes closed with the sun glowing down on your face, the breeze sweeping gently past, while breathing in the fresh scent of air and earth and grass and trees. Sadly, they don't have these kinds of days in Houston, where everything is new and exciting, but that makes me appreciate it so much more. I love the changing of the seasons and never really imagined life without it.

It reminded me of something else; a note I wrote to myself on our Sustainable Peace Weekend. This was just before things started to spiral downwards here. We received them in the mail about a month later and it's hard to believe that so little time has past. Part of what I wrote to myself in my letter was this, "Remember that life has it's ups and downs. In order to know what it means to feel on top of the world you must know what it feels like to be unsettled, sad, and depressed." This is not a startling revelation, and yet it's something I often forget. If we don't know the bad, then the good means nothing, and so experiencing the bad just means that there's more good out there coming your way.

Posted by Wonkerer 11:13 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

When Green Is All There Is To Be

It Could Make You Wonder Why

As usual I said I would get back to you and didn't, but at least this time I actually have a decent reason. Rearranging one's whole life, along with trying to fit in all those things I was supposed to do before I left and haven't, does tend to keep a person quite busy:) I've gotten a good bit figured out including plane tickets and hostels, etc. Some things, like me taxes, keep haunting me, but I'll get to them eventually. However, I'm sure you are all wondering about St. Patrick's Day in Ireland (or maybe it's been so long you've forgotten) so I'm here to give you a little run down!

We decided to start the day off by heading to the ever classic St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. However, in our normal fashion, we arrived quite late and were unable to really see what was going on. I think most of us pushed our way forward enough to get a view at some point or another, but we didn't last long. Also arriving late meant we had to get a move on in order to get to our next destination.

Here's a shot of the madness right in front of the ever famous GPO.

And another shot of the madness looking the other way down O'Connell.

So our next stop, and big entertainment for the day, was Croke Park for the all Ireland finals of hurling and gaelic football. As we arrived here late (big surprise I know) after fighting our way through all the crowds, we came in on the middle of the hurling. Now, while the hurling was definitely interesting and cool to watch it wasn't too much of a let down to be late, as it wasn't the big event. It was a most definite second runner to the gaelic football. Hurling, for those that don't know, is very similar to field hockey and is said to be the fastest game on land. It's been a while since I've played field hockey, but I think the one big difference is that in hurling you can pick the ball up and throw it around. However, maybe you can also do this in field hockey, who knows?:)

So we got warmed up with the hurling and then comes the gaelic football. Now, Irish people love this game and to add to that one of the teams was a Dublin team, so there was lots of support. Gaelic football is one weird sport. Very interesting, but to this American brain, quite odd. It's a mixture of football/soccer, American football, rugby, and a tiny bit of volleyball. Big difference between it and "regular" football would be that you can pick up the ball. The "end zones" have a typical football net with an American football goalpost above it. You can either kick a point into the net, for three points, or kick it between the goalposts, for one point. Overall there is a lot of hand handling the ball and the footwork is generally not as skilled as football players, but the game is incredibly intriguing. A very, very Irish experience and a truly wonderful way to spend St. Paddy's Day! And Krystal even got us our tickets for free:)

Nadia looking very fashionable in a shamrock hat!

On our way out there were all kinds of people including one overly dressed fan. This brings me to introduce you to COTU, otherwise known as Case of the Unfortunates. This feature is something my friend Matt A. has in his blog. And sadly, it's one of my favorites. So, I've now stolen it from him, to bring it's goodness to y'all.

And here she is on the left hand side dressed so lovely in blue and white (team colors). Trish was kind enough to point this lady out and then take a picture of "me" as evidence. Thanks Trish!

Sadly though, no Shamrock Shakes this year - guess it's not so Irish:) Until next time . . .

Posted by Wonkerer 11:47 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Sometimes People Leave You

Halfway Through the Woods

It's been a bit since I've last posted, and much has happened, but to be honest I can't really remember much of it. The group of us here had a very big blow come to us on Wednesday and since then most else has been erased from my memory. We were informed that a lot is changing around here, which means quite a few people, including most of the vols/interns, will be leaving sometime between the end of this month and the end of April. This was a great shock to all of us and the past few days have been quite hard. They've included a lot of crying, drinking, reminiscing, and a little bit of letting the madness out partying. Slowly life is moving on, to one extent or another. And while I have no doubt, that the rest of my time here will be very difficult in some ways, I also know that we'll also make some great, new memories together.

Included in all of this was a night out in Enniskerry on Wednesday that came with myself drinking a lot of Jameson. While a sad evening, it was good craic among good friends.

Strangely enough, from Wednesday up until today Sugarloaf has been surrounded by cloud cover. I can't remember another prolonged instance of this since I've been here, and it somehow seems fitting.

It's also a bit poignant as a couple of vols/interns who have left since I've been here have come back in the last couple of days. An interesting happening in all that's been going on around here. Pull us completely apart and somehow we all come back together.

Myself, I'll be finishing up work here the first week of April. I already had booked holiday time and plane tickets, so it just kind of worked out that way. Trying to add some more travel in there as I have some time, so still to figure out exact dates. I'll probably be back in Iowa around the end of April or early May. After that we'll see what happens. One thing at a time, one foot in front of the other. Soon enough I'll have the answers:)

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and there's bound to be some good stories after that, so I'm sure I'll be back here soon.

Posted by Wonkerer 06:14 Comments (1)

Pick Me Up Love


So life quickly rolled on after I returned from London keeping me very, very busy. I did however find a little bit of time to take a walk and snapped some great photos along the way including this one:

Glencree through the trees

And got another the next morning of possibly my favorite subject, Sugarloaf!


Then I had a couple of days off, and again spent them away from Glencree, though this time not so far, just Dublin. I went in on the 12th and met up with some friends who are studying throughout Ireland for a semester. I originally met them up at Glencree and since they're a good bit of fun I've kept in touch with them. It was really great to see them again. We had a nice dinner and drinks and music at a pub before heading out own ways, me back to the hostel for some sleep.

The next day was to be quite eventful. I started it out by going to the Chester Beatty Library and seeing a temporary exhibit of Japanese wood block prints. Pretty neat! Then I went to go meet my college friend Megan and her husband Joel for lunch. They were in Ireland for a whirlwind tour and it was very exciting to get to see them and catch up!

Megan and I

Shortly after lunch I made my way back to Glencree and then jumped on a bus to go to the CEO David's place for a housewarming party. It was great craic. We even got to see his infamous, apparently bought in Baghdad at a base shop. Personally I find it ridiculous, as did he, though obviously some folk take this seriously.


A couple of days after the housewarming the most of the Vols along with some staff and some facilitators sent out for our very own Sustainable Peace Weekend. In past entries I've talked about the Sustainable Peace Network and their wilderness work. Basically this was our very own session, both for our own experience, as well as to try out a new and closer venue located in the Glendalough Valley. Basically we did a wide variety of things that included lots of time spent connecting with nature, team bonding and trust exercises, and facilitated group discussions. Though for myself it included many ups and downs it was a really amazing experience. The setting was gorgeous with a lovely stream running by and lots of trees.

This was our view as we took off on our hike to our spot.

And myself against the beautiful backdrop.

A view as we continue to walk.

One of the more humorous points over the weekend came about when we passed this abandoned building:

Inside of which we found a large plastic ice cream cone. Odd. And even odder is Conn licking the ice cream cone:

On that note, I leave you to the rest of your day:) I hope everyone is enjoying the coming of spring, slow though it may be!

Posted by Wonkerer 07:19 Comments (0)

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