A Travellerspoint blog

Rugby

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Today we had an intro session to learn how to play rugby. It was a ton of fun!! Peter, who organizes a lot of the sports in the area, started off by teaching us a bunch of the basic skills. We did some really silly drills that made us all look like idiots, but were really fun.

When we started actually playing little scrimmages we learned the one major rule of rugby: you have to pass backwards. I Think this was the most difficult for us all to learn because no other sport has that rule, and it just seems so counter-intuitive. It was a lot of fun learning how to tackle. We never tackled in an actual game, but we learned how to with tackle pads. We played two different ways. One was touch rugby which is just like touch football. The other was knee rugby. This was the funniest thing you could ever watch. Basically everyone gets on their knees and waddles around playing rugby. Its great because you can actually tackle without hurting anyone, and its just hilarious to watch.

I think we are all pretty excited to watch an actual game because now we know how it works!

Posted by Caitlin39 09:48 Archived in Ireland Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Irish Culture Seminar #1

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Tonight we had the best class of my college career. It was the first of our Irish culture seminars, and we went to visit the nearest gaeltacht to Dungarvan. A gaeltacht is an area in Ireland where the Irish Gaelic language is the primary language. We had a bus tour of the town, and then went to an Irish language television and movie studio where we had a wine reception and watched a screening of the documentary Kennedy's Cadets. the movie was about the Irish cadets that were the honor guard at JFK's funeral. Then we went to a pub nearby where there was live Irish music and we were able to mingle with some of the locals

We leaned our first bit of the Irish language today as well. We were told that the most important word to know is "sláinte." It's a drinking toast that basically means "good health."

Posted by Caitlin39 14:19 Archived in Ireland Tagged educational Comments (0)

Getting into a Routine

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Last night I made rosemary pork chops for dinner, (which I know will make my mother very proud) and we all had a glass of wine. It's so unusual for us to be able to legally buy alcohol, so that will take a little bit of getting used to. I feel sorry for everyone who won't be 21 when they get back home!

Today will be the second day of classes. Right now I only have two real classes. One is Irish Culture Seminar which only meets on Wednesday. The other is Cross Cultural Symbology. I can already tell that symbology is going to be a lot of fun. It's taught by Keiko Miller, who is a tiny Japanese woman. she is always making hilarious comments, and doing things that make us laugh. In our fist class, in addition to the normal lecture, we meditated and had tea time.

The weather here has been so nice! All the locals keep telling us how unusual it is for it to be so sunny and nice all the time. We hope it lasts!

Posted by Caitlin39 04:21 Archived in Ireland Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Welcome to Ireland

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The past couple days have gone by in a whirlwind. So much has been going on that I have hardly had time to sit and think about it all.

Our plane landed in Dublin at about 8:30 am, and 28 weary American passengers stumbled off toward customs and baggage claim. Two students lost their luggage, and as far as I know we are still working on getting it back for them. We all changed into our green shirts for when we met the delegation that had come to welcome us at the airport. The shirts have Mercyhurst College on the front and a crossed American and Irish flag on the sleeve. We were all ushered onto a bus and taken to breakfast. From there began the final leg of our journey to Dungarvan. the bus ride was about three hours long, and it was difficult to stay awake.

When we finally made it to Dungarvan it was almost 1. We were welcomed again as we got off the bus and were given the keys to our townhouses. They are absolutely amazing! We have a full kitchen, living room, two bath rooms, three bedrooms, and even a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs! And all of this for four people!

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After we were all settled in we went on our first walk around the town to get our bearings. The town is beautiful. We were taken to the art center where some classes will be held, and shown the main square where there are several signs welcoming all of us and American flags are flown from the light posts.

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That night we were treated to dinner at the Park Hotel, where we are staying. A few of us descided to check out one of the pubs in town to have our first Guinness.

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Our formal welcome was the next day. We arrived at the town council center to bagpipe music, and school children waving Irish and American flags. We shook hands with the mayors of Dungarvan and County Waterford. We sat in the Town council room while speeches were made about the sister city relationship between Erie and Dungarvan and the ties to Meryhurst College. We then mingled with some of the council members over a very light lunch. Two girls were playing music for us on a harp and violin. The violinist even danced for us.

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That night there was a reception at a local pub, where there was an open bar just for us. We spoke with some of the people involved in the project, including Joe who will be one of our teachers for the Irish culture seminar class.

(pictures and videos will be edited in later)

Posted by Caitlin39 04:20 Archived in Ireland Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Leaving!!

I leave tomorrow for Ireland for nearly two and a half months. I fly from Charlotte to Chicago where I will meet up with the rest of my travel group before hopping on the plane to Dublin! It hasn't quite hit me yet that this is really happening, so I'll get back to you when it has.

This trip has been over a year in the making. I first applied to be one of the lucky 25 last winter, and then found out that I was in during spring term. Now that it's finally hear I find myself unable to really comprehend what is happening.

Our first couple of days in Dungarvan are going to be pretty crazy. First of all, the entire town is setting up for our arrival. There are apparently signs at the two main entrances to to town welcoming us, and there is going to be a contingent of people coming to pick us up at the airport. They are throwing us a huge apparently two day long party for us. I have the feeling that the 25 of us are going to be like local celebrities while we are there.

Here is a rough map of my trip including some of the other fun places I will be travelling to:

Posted by Caitlin39 23:08 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (2)

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