Episode 3 - Spontaneity Enthusiast

Dia dhuit (hello!) from Galway!

Rounding out a full week with my favorite part of it- reflecting on it! Let's go!

3 Things I am Grateful For:

1) Spontaneity

2) Passionate people who push you to try new things

3) The way people light up when you answer with, "Chicago" after being asked where you're from because they're either relieved to actually know of the place or have family that currently lives there.

3 Things I have learned:

1) "Cozy" Airbnb could translate to a couch

2) Trying things by yourself is brave, not lonely or pathetic

3) I am passionate about Irish breakfast & the accordion- in that I believe everyone should experience them at least once in life. Two things I never thought I'd hold an opinion on.

Irish fry-up. Total game changer.

This week was all about appreciating the opportunity to experience something spontaneously and learning that college doesn't have to be a dreadful experience.

Tuesday night's highlight was going to a pub called the Crane that quickly became my favorite spot in Galway. This 2-story spot welcomes musicians across the city to come in for a causal jam session of whatever instrument you play. I sat with some friends and listened to the first floor play some quiet, subdued music featuring guitars, accordions, fiddles, and a few beautiful voices. After a few songs we ventured up to the second floor that was flooded with college-aged musicians riffing off each other. We saw all sorts of different instruments, including one called a bodran (which is basically just the canvas top of a drum), and a tin whistle (looking very similar to a recorder). There was so much energy in that room that swallowed you up, just as excited for you to be there as you it.

Enjoying the music of the Crane!

Thursday night my roommates and I all went out for dinner as a place called, Papa Rigatoni's, fully expecting to have some really good Italian food. It was very much not that, as we sat down to a menu of all Asian cuisine, but still really great! It was also very Irish-ized in that you could order fries with your Pad Thai (which my Irish housemate did). After dinner we went to a pub and played cards for the entire night, making up new rules to old games that made us cackle with laughter. 

"Do you think they'll sing for us if we say it's someone's birthday?"

One of my classes requires me to experience an art performance three times a semester, so I stayed behind this weekend to hear a poetry reading in Galway. Initially miffed that I had to sacrifice a weekend for class, I was extremely grateful after meeting a professor who convinced me to join the Galway Opening Ceremony for the 2020 European Capital of Culture. She was so enthusiastic and passionate about the project that I joined her and a group of 12 or so students in becoming fire bearers for the ceremony. Every year since 1980 the EU has chosen two cities that best represent the culture of the country, and for Galway to be chosen is absolutely massive. (Here's the rundown of what it is exactly https://www.giaf.ie/info/galway/galway-2020

Through this I was able to meet the nicest group of girls from Palestine that are grad students at NUIG. They were so excited by the beginning of my time here and laid out everything they wish they knew when they had started. PLUS I also got to hold a giant TORCH OF FIRE which was such an awesome experience.

All 12 of the NUIG students in the ceremony

The torches we will be processing with (sans fire)

In addition to holding fire (which, COME ON that is so cool) we will also be fitted with costumes that we get to keep. Excited to see what that entails.

After getting home and filled with spontaneous adrenaline, I booked a trip to Limerick, Ireland- inspired entirely by my aunt asking if I had been. The bus left Sunday morning and returned Monday afternoon so the trip was short but filled with so many activities. I went to mass at St. John's Cathedral, toured King John's castle, ate the best breakfast of my life, kayaked the water and went to a pub with Irish dancing and music.

St. Johns Cathedral

King John's Castle

Kayaking the water

Wake-up time the next morning was 6:30 am to walk out and hike a small part of the Galtymore mountains. Because my camera was dead and I needed to preserve my battery in order to get back to campus, I decided to skip the photoshoot and only observe (which... I am grateful for but if I were to ever hike up there again I would make sure to have a full battery or at least a phone with a charge greater than 30%).

I imagine that we all experience something in our lives that just immediately connects us to where we are. I had never experienced even so much as a glimmer of that feeling until that morning. I have never felt as grounded or connected to my surroundings as I did watching the sun creep over the peaks and illuminate the cities and homes below. I resisted the urge to snap as many photos as I could and instead decided that this would only be a moment in my mind, one that paints a more beautiful image every time I revisit it mentally (But again, had no choice as I was limited by battery choice, but the first excuse sounds better).

I write this to the background of my housemate teaching my roommate to play Billy Joel on the piano and while another makes dinner while singing along.

Irish phrase of the week:

 Tóg go bog é = Take it easy. 

With love from Galway,