I thought that living in a country as literary as Ireland would light the proverbial fire under me. I thought I would be writing up a storm, jotting down each amazing or ordinary thing that occurred with fervor. But I’m finding more and more that the words I write hardly explain this place. They feel so useless when I feel like I can’t even adequately convey the spirit of this place–not enough to do it justice anyway. That isn’t to say, however, that I won’t try.
I just returned from my trip to Northern Ireland, and I’ve gotta say, IFSA chose an excellent place to take us. I got to see Giant’s Causeway, an amazing geological formation with a wonderful back story. I also took a black cab tour of Belfast, and got to see both Protestant and Catholic sides of the city. The guides were informative about the religious Troubles that used to take place in Northern Ireland, and it was incredibly moving.
But, one thing I love about traveling is getting back home. Galway is feeling like home more and more every day, except for it feels like a home that I have to work at. I’m not used to walking everywhere, and I’m not used to cooking all of my own food, and I’m not even used to the cloudy weather yet! But, I’m getting there. Our apartment is very nice, though. Laundry and hot water availability have been the main problems we’ve experienced, but as long as the heat works I’m happy to work around the other two!
One thing I love about Galway more than everything else, however, is the friendliness. People here are so welcoming, and you could meet someone in a pub or in a coffee shop, and ten minutes later they will treat you like their best friend. But, it seems to me that it is easier to meet people out and about or in social societies and clubs than in class. People tend to be pretty focused in class, so focused that it seems too quiet at times. But, once you get out of that context, it becomes a lot easier to meet people and make friends. It never hurts to smile and be friendly!
It seems too easy to feel at home in a place like Galway. The city resembles a big town, it reminds me of Fort Collins, Colorado. The town is very much a college town, but there are lots of other folks around. My favorite thing is all of the live music that is always going on in the streets, or maybe the market that runs on the weekends. I’m so happy to be settled enough to have favorite things–they make you feel like you know a place and have been there forever. They make it seem like home.