Mar 31, 2011

Avoca

Avoca = a perfect girl getaway. So during a time of constant assignments and Irish literature reading, me and another six ladies decided that it was time to get out of the house and into Avoca. I think we spent over three hours there. I did not expect the place to be so absolutely cute and girly, but it was just that and then some.

I really wasn't planning on buying anything there...oops.
















I had to get the cookbook and Tea Time book. I just had to.






How funny are these? The tips are even better. I read them aloud on the way home and we were all dying laughing.



smell good soap.



the perfect cups for Jordan and I.



I also bought some cinnamon flavored honey, long comfy socks, and of course a few souvenirs for my little sis and Mom back home :]



Click here to see the Avoca website.

Mar 28, 2011

The Cat and the Moon

William Butler Yeats is my favorite literary figure we have been studying here in Ireland. I am fascinated by his life story, and I absolutely love his poetry. He writes of fairies and forests and cats (my kind of guy), plus other more important things like the history of Ireland.

We spent an entire day in the West of the country traveling to places that inspired some of his most well known poems. We saw a waterfall, lake, forest, and his grave and memorial. Plus we went to his exhibit at the National Library of Ireland. I bought a giant and beautiful white book which contains all of his poems along with commentary and explanations from other writers.

I love learning about things and people that truly come to life. But I guess this whole semester has been like that really.







Here is one of my faves,

The Cat and the Moon

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

-- William Butler Yeats


Mar 27, 2011

Library in the woods

The library I have always wanted is this one.
The mystery of the woods is my favorite place to go exploring, getting lost in my imagination and childhood memories. I can't think of a better place to sit and read.









This private library is located in Olivebridge, New York. Designed by Peter Gluck and Partners Architects.


Mar 25, 2011

Missing Home

Lately, I have been too easily irritated. Being in Ireland is great, don't get me wrong. But there are those moments, those days, when I crave to be home. I miss the people in my life who know me deeply, and I really can't wait to get back to the familiarity of the States. I have learned so much about myself already, and now I am being challenged to keep growing rather than give up.

One thing I know for sure is that I will no longer hate on the USA as much as I used to.



Mar 19, 2011

St. Patrick

St. Patrick is very very very important here in Ireland, as you would probably already know. This week we have been learning his story, which involved his being captured from Britain by raiders, taken as a slave to Ireland, then escaping and return again to bring Christianity to the country.

Our celebration of the holiday looked a little different than usual.

On Wednesday, we did something called "Monastic Day." This was lead by our professor of Celtic Christianity, who split up our time doing various monastic-like things, one being practical work and labor - my job was peeling potatoes for dinner. We read different passages from the Bible, journaled, spent time in prayer, walked down to the Irish Sea, and sang sections of St. Patrick's hymn, "The Breastplate." We had liturgical readings, shared a meal together, and ended with a short service and communion. All of this, aside from the planned speaking, was done in silence. It was a beautiful and sacred time for us to truly experience what the life of a monk was like, and also to become stripped of everything that is comfortable, normal, and distracting in everyday life.

But on Thursday, we headed for Dublin. We went to the parade, a Gaelic football game, hurling match, and then dinner in Temple Bar area. And boy was it crazy. The streets were filled with green and drunkards. You could say we had plenty of entertainment for the night.















"I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
"
- Breastplate, St. Patrick's hymn







Mar 15, 2011

Paris

I don't even know where to start. It's nearly impossible to fully capture the magic of Paris with a few words and photos. But I will do my best to translate my experience of the city of beauty, fashion, elegance, history, and romance.

Jordan and I were nervous to travel and stay in a foreign country where neither of us spoke the language fluently. Even after my four years of french classes, I was rusty and forgetful. Thankfully we had time in the airport for me to brush up, and to teach Jordan the basics. We found that getting around in Paris was actually pretty easy, and we ended up meeting some very helpful and friendly people - the rumors about the french being stuck up aren't exactly true from what I can tell.

We had plenty of time to see the major sights, with extra hours to spend in the culture of Parisian cafe's indulging in the delicious food and espresso. Jordan was an excellent navigator and Metro coordinator, and I was there for moral support. Unfortunately I am severely directionally challenged. But by Sunday, we knew our way around Paris better than Dublin!



My french stamp! I am so proud of my passport.



Notre Dame, and the star in the center of the city.





Jordan and I walked along the Seine for a few hours. This was one of the best ways to experience the romance of Paris.




So much espresso. And not just regular espresso, it was always pretty and decorated like this little guy.



Souvenir shopping and browsing.



Sacré-Cœur!



And the famous "Tour Eiffel"






We went up to the top of the tower and stayed until the sun went down. Advice from my dear friend George, who lived in Paris for a semester and gave us so many tips!





The Louvre



The real Mona Lisa. We got as close to her as possible.




Jordan being his studly self, reading our map and getting us around the city




Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, recommended by everyone I know who has been to Paris. The shopkeepers even speak English! It was such a relief.





This was our favorite cafe of all. la fourmi ailée had authentic french cuisine and a wide selection of teas brought to us in a cast iron pot. Our waiter was also super friendly and spoke really well English for being a Frenchman.









The Pantheon



Streets of Paris



Shopping at Naf Naf on Champs-Élysées




Jordan and I had extremely sore feet at the end of each day. Since we had already stuffed our bellies, and we didn't want to be lame and go back to our hostel, we went to the movies! Twice. It was a great experience. I was fascinated by the french previews and theater setup. Saturday night was The Fighter, which was amazing. The acting was some of the best I have seen in a long time. Transforming performances by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. And Saturday was the night I finally got to see Black Swan! An epic film that took us a few hours to digest. I am so glad Natalie Portman won the Oscar for Best Actress. Well deserved to say the least.



Sunday night we went all out at Häagen-Dazs Gold Room - sit down restaurant. For dinner we had dark chocolate fondue ice cream balls with fresh fruit, brownies, and cookies for dipping. Heavenly.





We were not ready to leave by Monday. For both Jordan and I, this was by far one of our favorite vacations we had ever been on. He promised me that we would go back someday. I will miss the melodic sounds of the french language, but the taste of the Paris air, crepes, warm espresso, and french onion soup will never be forgotten.

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