Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Final Farewell

Today I looked out my window and this is what I woke up to:All I could do was smile. This reminder of God keeping His promises was an absolute blessing for the last morning of my trip. He has kept His promise to keep me safe, walk with me through this adventure, and provide me with joy, happiness, memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. I also had to laugh at the picture I created in my head of a leprechaun and a pot of gold waiting at the end :)

Today was my last day of work and I have to admit, I was a mess inside the entire day. All I could think about was it being my last time to see the amazing people I met and shared six weeks with. I have grown so close to all the clients and staff and it broke my heart to have to leave. I keep hoping that this isn't the last time though and somehow I will end up back here again, even if it's just for a quick visit.

I can hardly believe that my trip, the one I have been thinking about and waiting for for 6 months is finally coming to an end. Looking back I can't believe how much I have done, seen, and the memories that I have made. I have met so many amazing people including the girls in my group, the staff I worked with and the amazing clientele that I was blessed to develop relationships with. As I stated in the beginning, they have touched my life as much if not more than hopefully I have touched theirs. Some of my favorite memories of the trip include the late nights with my roomies and Brittany's story telling, the weekend get-a-ways and discovering new places, the nights out to dinner and the pubs, and most of all the amazing center that I got to work in. I thought that work would be my least favorite part but it had actually become the thing that I looked forward to the most. I am really excited to come home again and see my much missed family, friends, and wonderful boyfriend (and our trip to NY). I am sad at the same time, however, to leave this beautiful country and everything that it has offered me. I have had my ups and downs, of course, but overall I have absolutely loved my trip and am so glad that I had to opportunity to come! See you all back HOME!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fourth of July... Ireland Style

It was surprising just how homesick I have become and the 4th of July just made me realize even more how much I love and miss the states. We decided to stay in Cork for the weekend in order to save some money and because we THOUGHT there was supposed to be an American festival. We were wrong. So, we made our own fun instead!
The entertainment
Eclipse had a "preview" here on Saturday, even though it was out in the States a week before
We then ate at a restaurant called Captain America's and had this phenomenal chocolate volcano
Tuesday at work we had an American Day. There were tons of sweets.
And their own rendition of America's Got Talent/ American IdolMaking fun of America but funny at the same time :)Helen before singing "All that Jazz"My director, Lorna, and Helen in our room "Cairde"Jill and Sara did their rendition to Avril's "Skater Boy". Hilarious

It turned out to be a pretty fun weekend all in all and I think we did America proud here in Ireland!

Tours and Trails

On Wednesday, instead of going to work the we went on a tour as a group to West County Cork. We started off by going to some COPE Facilities on this side of town that we weren't able to see on the original tour of COPE. We then went to lunch at a place called Bantry, looked around the town a little bit and then headed off to our main stop of Gougane Barra where we hiked some trails, played in some waterfalls and ate a delicious dinner.
Gorgeous church
Brittany and I trying to be cute
Our re-enactment of Twilight

Jumpin' with joy!

Where we ate dinner
My steak... not rare :(

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creation in the Cliffs

This weekend the girls and I (Sara, LeAndra, Brittany and Jill) decided to explore the countryside! I am so happy we did too because it was absolutely beautiful! We went to a town on the west coast of Ireland called Galway. Upon arriving at our hostel we didn't quite get what we were expecting. It was a cute room and nice owners but just not up to par. Long story short, there were stains, awful smells, unisex see-through showers, creepy men and loud neighbors who peed on their floor... All we could do was stand in the middle of the room and laugh with each other. We decided to stick it out though and stay for 1 out of the 2 planned nights.After that little adventure we grabbed some lunch at a popular restaurant/ pub called The Kings Head and then headed to Salthill Beach. Jill has never been to a beach before and we were all expecting white sandy beaches we are used to. Not quite the case. Still beautiful though and it smelt like home! Then onto the shopping. Ever since I've been here I've been on the search for a Claddagh ring and finally found one that I love! It was surprisingly well priced too and I found some other cute gifts for the fam and friends. After shopping, ice cream breaks, and facing the hostel again, we went to dinner and then went around town for a little bit. Brittany and I have been on the search for Beef and Guinness pie ever since last weekend and we found a great restaurant that served it. It was once again a favorite in my book.Saturday we went on a tour of Galway, County Clare, and Doolin. We had a pit stop and decided to do a little photo shoot.
The main stop was the Cliffs of Moher. This was by far my favorite part of my trip thus far and hands down the most gorgeous site I have ever been to. Pictures do not give justice to the beauty of the cliffs and words can barely describe how breathtaking the scenery was. I was awestruck at the Lord's creation and have never seen raw beauty like that before. I probably could have stayed there all day rather than a short hour, basking in His presence and marveling at His creation. This is definitely a place I want to visit again in the future.

Another great weekend in this beautiful country! Looking forward to many more ahead!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Performing Arts Festival

Last night COPE Foundation put on an Irish Performing Arts Festival and organizations from all around Ireland came to participate. It was a singing competition and there were some pieces that were absolutely amazing! My favorite was a performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". It was the most precious thing I have ever seen.
Earlier in the day there were Dance, Instrumental, Drama, and Singing as well and myself and some of the staff at JBC took some of the clients to see a dance performance. It was so touching to see the performers up there giving their all and having such a wonderful time. The clients also loved it! They were clapping and smiling and were performing in the audience almost as if they were on the stage themselves! Overall it was a great day/ night of performances, singing, and dancing!

Also, I finally got some pictures of the room I'm working in at JBC. There are some beautiful gardens within the building as well but I haven't been able to catch those yet. More to come!