Tag Archives: students

Warm Wednesday

Wednesday was our warmest day so far (upper 60s) with lots of sunshine. I even got to sit on a sunny bench at Trinity and read for about an hour! It also was fun to watch the people and magpies around New Square, the green in front of our apartment.

The four of us ventured out after a late breakfast to walk to Christ Church Cathedral, about 15 minutes from Trinity. I had read that you can pay one entrance fee for both the cathedral and “Dublinia,” which is a Viking and Medieval Dublin experiential type of attraction next door, so that’s what we did.

The cathedral was quite impressive; Jackson had learned about that type of architecture, so it was neat to have him add to the conversation (can’t wait till he sees Notre Dame!). I especially liked the stained glass windows, particularly a room with various saints, including Patrick (of course). The tree of Jesse is depicted in the large window grouping at the end of the cathedral; it was spectacular to behold. Jackson and I lit a candle of remembrance for Uncle Bruce in a reflection room. After we saw all the features, including the spiral stairs up to the impressive organ, we headed downstairs to the crypt. It was kind of spooky between the below-ground dungeon feel and knowing there were bodies in the walls. It was good to get back into the sunshine. :)

Dublinia was next…you enter what looks like a Viking ship to begin the story of how Vikings invaded what is now Dublin (settled in 841). We learned lots about Vikings’ customs, weapons, houses, trading practices, etc. A highlight was going inside a typical Viking home and imagining what it would have been like to live back then. The portrayal of a Viking bathroom was humorous, complete with sound effects. Did you know moss was the toilet paper of the Viking world? And, Vikings didn’t actually have horns in their helmets – who knew?!

The next level focused on Medieval Dublin and what it was like to live in that time. Again, not an easy way of life. The traditional home was more advanced and there were interesting discoveries that had been made, but living conditions were hard and death rates were high. The final part of Dublinia was an exhibit about archaeology and how discoveries are made through hard work, patience, and science. It was quite interesting and I think we all departed thankful that we had spent the time and money on our excursion.

We walked back to Trinity, stopping for lunch at Pizza Hut on the way. The rest of the day was spent reading, playing games, and hanging out with our students. Reed held a session for the seminar he is teaching while here: Cultural & Political Psychology through the Lenses of Self & U2. It is a very interesting combination of Irish history, intergroup conflict, and application to self. They have been at their service placements for two days and they are good overall. Hannah is volunteering at a watersports school working with (adorable Irish!) children. Jamieson is serving at a facility for intellectually impaired individuals (complete with cat!). Jamie and Kayla are at a rehab & residential setting for people with brain dysfunction (zoo field trip next week!). We will visit their placements so we can get a better sense of what they’re doing. The students are seeking out a lot of additional cultural experiences…they are truly taking full advantage of their time here! As one of the students eloquently put it, “Dublin, I love you.”

Tomorrow morning I will head to the airport fairly early to fetch my parents. We are very much looking forward to their arrival and hope their journey is a smooth one. Tomorrow night we get to see “Riverdance” at the Gaiety Theatre; something I have been waiting for with great anticipation! Hopefully Reed and Jackson will be pleasantly surprised. :)

 

Walking tour & welcome meal

Our Monday morning started in a leisurely fashion which was good, as 3/4 of us had trouble falling asleep (Reed did not). The kids and I had lunch in as Reed met his students and Tony for a Book of Kells tour at 11:30 (the rest of us will see it when my folks arrive). When they were done, they came by the apartment and got a quick tour…we want them to feel welcome here (they’ve designated themselves as our other four adopted children, at least for three weeks). :)

We all departed to meet up with Tony and our tour guide for the afternoon, Sean Finnegan. (A highlight for me was getting to meet Tracy Dicks, the London-based AIFS staffer who set up both this and the Cape Town program!) Sean is a lovely older gentleman who knows a lot about Dublin. As he works for the tourism office, he promised to tell us no lies while on the tour…he had quite a wit about him and often tried to stump us with questions about his city. :) Our 60-90 minute walking tour ended up being about 150 minutes, and we didn’t even travel much distance! We strolled from Trinity down to St. Stephen’s Green, which is only about 1/2 mile away, and back, stopping frequently to hear about the sites. It was interesting most of the time, but everyone grew tired by the end of it. The kids (all six!) handled it well, and we were proud of them.

We had some time to return “home” in the afternoon before our welcome dinner. We met the students and Tony at the front gate of Trinity and headed toward Temple Bar around 7:00. We were ushered up two sets of stairs to a nicer restaurant setting at Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, which I didn’t expect (I thought it would be more of a pub setting, which the first two floors are). We had a lovely dinner, complete with duck for Hannah, lobster for Jamieson, steak for Kayla and Tony, sole for Jamie, pork loin for Jackson, Irish stew for Reed, fish & chips for Abbie, & veggie lasagna for me. We sat there long enough to make room for dessert, so it was a fun celebratory type of meal. We heard about the students’ home stays, which are going well, along with other things they’ve done to explore the city, both together and separately. They are a really great group of individuals, and we are so glad each one is here with us!

We returned home around 10:00, still fairly awake…it doesn’t get dark here until about that time, so our clocks are a bit shifted. We all slept well (I am writing this Tuesday morning), and are ready for another Dublin day!

Home stay switcheroo

A brief report this Saturday from my coffee shop hot spot at the Cavendish Mall…Jen and Kym had a few issues arise at their home stay this week that left them feeling unwelcome. :( The GHS staff supported us in switching their home stay Friday. I went along to oversee the transition, and I found their host mom to be a bit chilly, and even kind of pouty (probably hosting students from other countries isn’t the best fit for her, just sayin’).

I am happy to report that they now reside with Courtney and Crystal and the “home stay hostess with the mostest” Sabine (and her husband, Yul, two young daughters, the girls’ grandpa, Erica the maid, and two [?] dogs). I hope and pray this works out for the remaining two weeks…I think it will be far better than where they were. When I SMS’d them last night, they sounded good. My host, Sheila, has offered up her spare room too, so it’s good to know we have options and nice people here to help us. We appreciate your continued prayers…despite all the “girls” having very good coping skills, this is still quite a stretching experience!

The rain continued off and on much of Friday, but today is looking better, though still some showers. I went with Sheila and another friend, Donna, to the shops at Kalk Bay and lunch toward Simon Town…it was a nice outing. Tonight I will be watching the big rugby match between South Africa and England…go Springboks!!! I look forward to seeing the girls tomorrow for our Hermanus whale-watching adventure…