Oh dear, oh dear… where has all the time gone?
Not only is it already November, but November is half over!
I’ve been primarily occupying myself with (A) homework, including important essays due every week now, and (B) being sick, which now involves a convenient cough that only makes an appearance during classes and on public transport, though I’ve also been doing some (C) Student Life stuff and (D) traveling, in addition to (E) miscellaneous rock climbing, ceili dancing, tea drinking, and sleeping.
However, I also have done other things, like learning to surf and going to Amsterdam. I’ll save Amsterdam for another post and just talk about surfing in Lahinch right now.
Dang, my writing has gotten super formal from all the academic papers. It’s like “based on the evidence presented above, some scholars have concluded that Natalie has been too busy to write a blog post. However, others have claimed that she has failed to make time for blog-post-writing and therefore she is still to be blamed (Warren, 2015).”
Anyway. I’ll try to loosen up. Here’s Lahinch! This was a mid-semester getaway with Student Life, the weekend before Halloween. There were about forty of us total, and we booked out an entire beautiful little hostel – absolutely wonderful. Of course, we had to stop at Barack Obama Plaza on the way.
Lahinch is a small town on the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare. It’s also spelled Lehinch, and there appears to be no reason for using one spelling or the other – two signs right next to each other will have two different spellings. The town looks like this:
and from the hill to the south, like this:
So basically a wee rugged coastal paradise. The town has two intersecting main streets, which include a church, five or six pubs, an ATM, a few cafe/restaurants, a surf school, and a couple cute little shops. Every night we were there you could hear trad music coming from at least two pubs, and one night I actually saw/heard a group of lads singing The Wild Rover on a cobbled streetcorner. Foirfe [perfect].
Saturday morning we went surfing, which was an adventure! Although the Atlantic Ocean isn’t super warm in October, it was better than I expected because our wetsuits were actually super great, and something about the currents around Ireland keeps it relatively warm. I don’t have any photos of me actually surfing, but here are a couple of me looking surfy:
And one of the whole gang:
Saturday afternoon, Molly and I went for a walk before the Rugby World Cup final started, and we saw a variety of exciting things. Like this tiny door in a stone wall.
Then I came back and this pony appeared majestically over the hill inside the wall.
When we had calmed down a little from this, we went to the next pasture over, where these two lads literally ran to us:
Also the water looked like this
We also had some excellent talks from the staff on Saturday about revolutions (leading up to a talk/discussion Sunday night about whether Jesus was revolutionary). Saturday night was spent doing a super long [n fun] table quiz, during which my team bribed the judges with candy and actually got extra points.
Sunday, most people walked 12 km to the Cliffs of Moher, but a few of us decided to surf again, me included. The waves were way bigger, the wetsuits were way less warm, and I actually surfed standing up several times, which was an awesome feeling! At the end, the three other girls there and I went swimming in just our bathing suits, and then we hightailed it back to the hostel for hot showers and tea because the water was actually pretty dang cold. Sunday afternoon was more Rugby World Cup semifinals and some chill time. It was honestly wonderful just to sit around on the sofas chatting and availing ourselves of the 24/7 free tea, toast, and cereal. Quite a nice relaxing weekend and a great time to get to know Student Life people from other schools!
And… then we came back Monday because it was a bank holiday and then I was sick for a week. Tuesday night I went to a trad session with my mandolin but didn’t actually play anything (#success), and then Thursday I decided I was tired of being sick so I stopped. The following Saturday (Halloween) I spent some time in city centre with Kaedyn and Stephanie from Student Life (scones at Avoca Cafe!)
and was convinced we’d hit the bus in front of us
and then that night we went to a Halloween party at the house of another staffer, which was wonderful – a hundred-year-old house with lovely decorations and a coal fire and a giant cake shaped like a spider. I was a comic book character/Liechtenstein’s “Crying Girl” without blond hair:
For reference, from Wikipedia:
And… Sunday I went to Howth with my flatmate Monique and we had some good chats while being enveloped in the densest fog I’ve ever seen. So much for going to the coast to see the ocean – we could barely see across the street.
That’s all I’ll write now, because I should be studying and I’m going to a farm tomorrow morning! I’ll try to write about it in less than two weeks 😛
Final thoughts… wishing I were at Yale/at home now because of the tensions and sadness on campus and because my mom’s having hip surgery this coming Tuesday – please pray for her and if you’re in Berea, bring her some food and hugs! And Yalies, know I’m thinking of you and praying for you. But I’m sincerely enjoying the beautiful moments here with friends, and the rock climbing, and the November weather, which yesterday could be described as windy/wet/sunny/rainy/cold/cloudy/rainbow (gaofar/fluich/grianmhar/báisti/fuar/scamallach/bogha báisti, as Gaeilge).
Love y’all. Bye now.