So the table quiz went off great! We had the bake sale in the morning and I bought lots of delicious treats (all to donate money to a good cause of course.) Then after break, most of the 5th years headed off to the hall to set up for the quiz. Lots of non LCVP girls came with, probably to avoid going to French. We had to get 32 tables and 160 chairs! It was a lot of trips back and forth from our building. When we were done the hall looked great - there were balloons, posters, lots of cool raffle prizes and we got the music to play over the loudspeakers. The quiz itself went out without a problem. Although, the teachers did know a suspicious amount of answers (how do they know the average age of One Direction members?) Myself and the five other correctors had a great time cracking up over some really odd answers. My favourite was when people tried to spell Minnesota in response to the question, where are Judy Garland and fifth-year foreign student Emily Syverud from? In the end we deducted 10 points from the teacher’s tables for “crimes against students” so that they wouldn’t win. We finished off with a few dance offs courtesy of the xbox kinect. That was gas!
After school I went home to change and eat before heading off to soccer training. We had a friendly against a team from Limerick instead of normal training. I got to play my favourite position (right outside mid) for almost 3/4 of the game. I also met some girls who are 5th years in Listowel. They couldn’t believe I was only 17 either! I can’t wait for our game next week, I really love this team. Its full of fun, relaxed girls who are super friendly and always good for a laugh. I can’t believe I have to leave them in two weeks, its probably one of the things I’ll miss the most.
Today I enjoyed my day off by sleeping in and lazing around before I headed to the library for a major study session. I studied Biology for close to 4 hours, I am so ready to ace our final exam. (hopefully) I also went to Madeline’s house for a movie night, we finally finished Lord of the Rings. I don’t know if its my attention span, but 3 hours of that movie was about and hour and a half too long. Still, it was fun to get together. I also got the news that the boat trip in Killarney is on for Sunday, I can’t wait!
Alright how about an update on the crazy week I’ve been having? Monday we went back to school, but not really. Instead of a regular school day my whole geography class went on a school tour to the Killarney National Park. We were there to research the hypothesis “that erosion is an ongoing process in a fluvial environment” (and to get out of school for a day). It ended up being great craic! We met up with two guys from the national park service who had a bunch of cool equipment. We walked down to a river and spent the morning taking all sorts of measurements. We measured different rocks, drew pictures, measured the slope of the river and the velocity of the current. It was such a laugh, 26 girls in a river - what could go wrong? Plus, I got to put my wellingtons to good use. After lunch we went up closer to the start of the river where the current was a lot faster and there were tons of mini waterfalls. I had a grand time measuring boulders and balancing in slippery rocks in a quick current to measure the slope of the river. I will help them get an A1 on their Leaving Cert if it kills me!
Yesterday I had been planning to laze around the house after school, but then I found out we had a soccer match on. I met 3 other players at Garvey’s and we headed out. The funniest part of our trip? Having them guess my age. When I told Mags, one of the other players, that I was in secondary school she thought I was teaching there. The other two girls put me at 21 or 22 years old! Later on, during the game another player and I were chatting on the bench and when I said 5th year, she thought I meant 5th year in college. I never get tired of the look on peoples’ faces when they find out I’m only 17! Anyways, the game was good (we won 2-1) although the almost 3 hour commute was tiring. We did get ice cream afterwards, which made it all worth it.
So today I took time to chill out (and cram for various exams.) Tomorrow we have our LCVP Enterprise Activity. My group is running a table quiz in which I am one of two “head correctors.” My job is basically to tally up all the points. It should be good fun, plus we get the afternoon off of school. Thursday night will be mostly taken up by soccer training. But, I’ll get to sleep in on Friday - no school for the 6th year graduation mass!
I’ve officially hiked the two highest mountains in Ireland! Today, I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (I know I’m spoiled by school starting at 9). Anyways it was totally worth it. After a big cup of coffee and a long drive out to Dingle, we were at Mount Brandon. Its the second highest mountain in Ireland at 3,127 feet. It was a beautiful day for hiking, sunny and warm. The path up was marked by 16 crosses that once a year are used for a special Stations of the Cross mass. They also served as good encouragement. (“Alright lads were at the 8th cross, halfway there!) Unfortunately it was rather foggy at the top of the mountain, but I got a ton of good pictures on the way up. I hiked all the way back down with two other exchange students, Madeline and Santiago. We laughed, baaed at the mountain sheep, and talked the whole way. Close to the bottom Madeline and I also took advantage of our lead to lay down and enjoy the sun. It was one of those moments when I felt completely happy. The hike took us about 3 and a half hours, and the whole event was to raise money for cancer research.
Once we got back down, some drama unfolded. Someone up on the mountain had twisted their ankle (not me for once.) The coast guard climbed up to go get her, and eventually a helicopter flew into lift her out. She got off safe and some people were envying her the ride on a helicopter over the ocean on a sunny day.
Even though the hike was over, John (our guide) wasn’t done with us. We took a different route home that let us drive along the sea on the mountainside. The views were absolutely stunning! We had the perfect day to be in Dingle. The sea was a gorgeous blue colour that glittered as the sun reflected on it. There were sheer cliffs dropping into the sea and dotted with wildflowers and the Blasket Islands in the distance. We also saw an island nicknamed “The Dead Man” because from certain viewpoints it looks like a man lying in state. From there we drove on, winding down a narrow mountain road. We stopped again at a little roadside waterfall and hiked a few minutes up to the lake that fed it. We also took one more detour to Glanteenassig Forest to check out the views there.
After an exhausting and amazing day I’m relaxing at home with cake and tea, a perfect end to a perfect day.
Phew, what a week! School is heating up as we get closer to summer holidays, I had two big tests this week. So, I studied like mad for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, then took Thursday off. Instead of studying, I made bread! My host brother Terry, is a tour guide and right now he has a group of about 12 people in from Florida. They even brought a chef with them. He asked me to make them some traditional Irish soda bread, so I did. It was my first time making bread all by myself, and from what I’ve heard it was well received (even by the fancy chef).
This weekend I’ll be hiking up Mt Brandon, which should be good craic. Then next week is a crazy one at school. Monday my geography class will be mucking through the Killarney wilderness to explore the topic of “erosion in a fluvial environment.” Then on Thursday my LCVP class is doing our enterprise activity, a table quiz. And Friday we have no school because it’s the 6th year graduation/mass. It will be hecticly fun!
My birthday is here and I can hardly believe it, everything has gone by so quickly! I had a really amazing birthday. I got to sleep late because today’s a bank holiday - that was definitely a plus! As soon as I woke up I took my birthday package downstairs to open. I got it on last Monday and managed to resist it until my actual birthday. It was such a great way to start off my birthday; I really loved all the cards that various friends and relatives included. It was so fun to read everyone’s messages and birthday wishes. A special thankyou to anyone who helped with it!
While I was opening my package I got another lovely surprise. The three boys presented me with a card and gift. My host family got me a beautiful mug that says “Home Sweet Home” so I’ll always have something to remember my Irish home by. Soon after that was another surprise! They brought out a cake all lit up with candles and sang Happy Birthday. Matty and I blew out the candles (his birthday is coming up soon). Then we had to relight them about 4 times, so everyone could have a turn to blow out the candles. Then, it was cake for breakfast.
Around 12:30 the boys and Sandra piled into their minivan and headed back to Dublin. Terence and Eileen were also out so I was home all alone. I have to say, the peace and quiet was a present in itself. I took the time to eat chocolate, watch Glee and skype with my family.
Eventually I did roust myself and get dressed in some of my new clothes to head uptown. I was hoping to buy myself some nail varnish and manicure supplies as a birthday present, but the chemists were all closed. I settled for some sweets (blue raspberry bon-bons and chocolate) and a magazine instead. I bought the newest issue of Seventeen magazine, not realising the irony until I sat down to read it. It was particularly fitting. I also went to The Good Table Restaurant for a cup of tea and a scone. Truly, all I meant to buy was a cup of tea and a scone. But, when I saw that they sold chocolate milkshakes…well I caved.
I made my way back home and spent the rest of the afternoon reading Seventeen and People and enjoying a day of doing nothing I didn’t want to. For dinner we had pizza and chips, exactly what I asked for. Even the weather was perfect. It was sunny until late afternoon when it started to rain. But, I like rain when I can watch it from our big bay window with a roaring fire in front of me. I really couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.
That’s not to say I wasn’t a little homesick on my special day. I found myself missing my loving family and amazing friends. The cards and letters were great treats, but nothing can compare to chatting with someone face to face or getting a big hug from Mom and Dad. I also miss the little random things, like not being able to wear my own clothes to school so I can showcase the new things I got. But, I’ll take the good with the bad because my day was about as perfect as it could get.
MAY?!?! My exact thought when I woke up yesterday, for two reasons. First of all, it was pouring rain outside which is not how my favourite month should start. But, that was really the least of my worries because MAY?!? was really my first thought for one and one reason only: this is my last month.
I’ve been repeating that over and over, one more month, four more weeks, one more month, four more weeks. But, if I’m being completely honest, it doesn’t feel real in the slightest. Back in September, when I was living my Minnesota life I knew I was going to come live here and yet it didn’t feel real. Now, I’m experiencing the same feeling. Trust me, I know I have to go back to Minnesota eventually. But that day feels far off in the future, not a few measly weeks away. I probably won’t believe I have to leave until I am boarding the plane in Shannon.
In more mundane news, an update on my life: School has been heating up just a little bit as we get closer to summer tests. For all the girls in my class these few weeks are the last they’ll have as students who aren’t stressing everyday about the Leaving Cert. In fact, we are getting almost daily lectures about how the workload is going to be A LOT worse next year. (I just zone out and think about how happy I am that I’m not doing the Leaving Cert). My LCVP class has been planning our Enterprise Activity. The group I’m in, about 15 girls, is planning a table quiz/raffle/overall fun afternoon to raise money for charity.
This weekend I’ll be going to Killarney to celebrate my birthday. (17! I can buy tickets to R-rated movies!) and going on a combo boat trip and hike. Oh, and the boys will be here. So it will be a relaxing, chill weekend right?
Also, my Mom suggested I put this up for those of ye who didn’t see my mountain climbing skills on facebook.
Another Week Gone!
It’s hard to believe it’s already Friday again, the weeks are absolutely flying by! I’m grasping for every minute I can now. Even during double Biology with our teacher droning on about chyme in the duodenum I don’t wish for time to go faster. Pretty soon it will be May and then I will really be in panic mode.
This week was a good, if normal, one. I’m glad to be back playing soccer. I had training on Thursday, which was very low key and great craic. The fact that it stays light until almost 9:30 has also kept my spirits up. This weekend I’ll probably buckle down to start studying for summer exams…maybe.