Friday, 20 January 2012

The blank beginning of a new blog post is something intimidating to me. Endless white space to fill with thoughts, and that blinking black cursor just waiting to run from all the letters that eventually begin to chase it. I've hit the point in the trip where it's almost impossible to relay all that has happened in the past week or two. The robotic relaying of it all would be enough to put any reader over the edge. Plus- can we all just agree that when there's pictures involved the words to the side just get neglected? No worries, I won't take it personally. But I'll try to not comment on them AS much so I don't waste my time or yours. So with that thought- I'll start with a reflection, and of course- pictures will follow.

I was in a pub one night with my dear friend Laura Stucky who came to visit, and I saw a paper on the wall with a story written on it. It read...

"There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror  and noticed she only had three hairs on her head. 'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today'. So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she only had two hairs on her head. 'Hmm,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today'. So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she only had one hair on her head. 'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.' So she did and she had a fun, fun day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. 'YEA!' she exclaimed, 'I don't have to fix my hair today!'" 

The story went on to make the point that attitude is everything (as well as some other points), but pertinent to me was this-

Each day here is going to present me with a new situation. Maybe one I've seen before and would rather not repeat, one I've seen and am happy to meet again, or maybe one I've NEVER seen before and have no idea what to expect! The options are endless and the best conclusion to come to is to ENJOY whatever it is life hands me. Before coming here I had expectations planted in my head of what this time was going to look like. Now I know that it cannot be predetermined what is going to happen. I can't at all say where I'm going to go, what it's going to mean to me, or who is going to be there along the way. Three weeks into the journey I've decided to be okay with that. Not only am I okay with that conclusion, but exponentially happier with the thought. I'm aware of the fact that not being okay with it would only bring me trouble as I would toil over decisions, weighing what I want versus what others expect me to do while I'm here. So here's to these next five months being defined however I choose. Here's to seizing the day, the moment, but mostly the opportunity to learn how to pave my own path. I look forward to sharing more of what those moments will be, but for now- here's a little recap of the last couple weeks (in the fashion that you all prefer).

A long-awaited reunion of the two Laura's took place last weekend. The majority of this blog's pictures are from times we had together. It's impossible of course to capture a conversation had, a tear shed, or a laugh that lingered, but I promise it was all there. We had a blast together and I couldn't be more thankful that she came.

Above: This is our first night out! Laura and I had a funny habit of always being graced with someone's forgotten Heineken at the end of the night so I imagine this is just prior to that.

Right: St. Finbarr's Cathedral. Saint Finbarr is a highly esteemed man here in Cork because it was upon his Monastery's ruins that the university was built. The school coat of arms reads beneath it: "Where Finbarr taught let Munster learn". Munster is the region that the county of Cork is in. This is the cathedral in the city by night. Truly a most magnificent work of art that I can't ever just walk by. It's too beautiful to ignore.

 Left: A practically cultural late night snack that the Irish find themselves carrying on the way home from the bars. This is Chipsy King- french fries in a funnel with any topping you want- chili, cheese, garlic mayo, chipotle mayo, ketchup- it's ridiculous (for you and delicious).

On the bus ride to Killarney National park- this is not a bus ride you want to sleep on...

The next ten or so are inside and just outside the park. It's truly a majestic and peaceful place. It's different than any American National Park in that it's not as gated off or monitored- people were out walking their dogs, the dogs were jumping into the lake, people's wandering off into the tundra is not frowned upon and frankly, neither is poppin' a squat on it!

 I had to switch up the standard pose a little bit...

I LOVE this picture. Everything is reflected in the water. It was hard to tell where the real branches ended and the reflection began.

This is the Muckross House- famous for it's traditional gardens and farms in the heart of the park. It was an estate built back in the 1800's by William Burn- a Scottish architect. It's had it's share of esteemed residents as well as visitors including Queen Victoria AND Lord and Lady Ardilaun (better known as The Guinness Family).

We definitely found a cave. We almost ventured all the way in but decided we didn't really know enough about the wildlife we might find in Killarney and basically- we chickened out.

I can't not comment on this picture to the left. It doesn't look like much, but allow me to put a little meaning to it. Laura and I stumbled upon this farmer's market around the corner from my apartment that takes place every Saturday. We were called over to this coffee stand by a young gentleman named Philip and an older man, Frank. They wanted some company with their coffee and we preceded to have great conversation with them and left the stand with some solid words of wisdom from Frank. I plan to go back on Saturdays when I'm in Cork to visit Frank and gain a little more life advice. He truly opened my eyes with his words to making this experience my own and not letting any part of it get me down.

View of Cork City at the top of a long, steep hill. We made it!

Random crucifixion scene at the middle of an intersection. Welcome to the Catholic center of the world.

Making pizza for dinner with homemade dough, pesto, and fresh cheese and veggies from the English Market.

Trad music session at a pub across the river. Great conversation had here. : )

Last eventful moment that will be shared on this blog- I invested in a guitar!! Greatest idea yet. It keeps me occupied at night when I'm feeling a little lonely. 

That's it for now! I'll part with a little goodbye I learned in my Gaelic class-

Slan go foill! 

(See you later!)

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