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08
Oct
08

family fun

ive been meaning to post this since i got back, but ive been quite lazy when it comes to writing, and im not so good at weblogging. but, yeah, i spent this last weekend near tipperary with my host family. a very cool time.

tipperary is about an hour from cork, near the southwest corner of ireland. i think, anyway. ive no concept of what this countrys geography and such looks like. the bus ride was much longer than we thought it was. for some reason we all expected, like, an hour and a half drive, but that wasnt the case. about three hours was the time it took. it wasnt all bad and the irish country side will now forever be associated with beirut for me. a rather fitting union, i must say.

we got dropped off with our host, amanda, and one of her current and longstaying house members, sarah. she informed lucy, lucie, and me that she had a very full house. thirteen people including us were to be there for the weekend. kind of funny, really, i mean, the study abroad people said nothing about that. they said she had four kids and thats it. also, lucy and lucie were originally supposed to stay with someone else. theres no sense of planning in ireland, it seems.

we arrived at their home which was of a goodly size. amanda made us dinner, pasta, and gave us tea and ice cream and such. then, we watched me, myself, and irene, which was a little strange, to be honest. some bits of awkwardness in that movie. most everyone went to sleep pretty early that night, all before midnight, anyway. it ended up being just me and sarah watching television pretty late into the night. shes only sixteen, but shes pretty cool. shes an american, too, from washington. i guess it was a bit weird staying in a strangers house, hanging out with a sixteen year old girl, but it was all right.

i’ll take this moment to introduce everyone int he host family.

amanda: the matron. shes getting her masters in social work and currently works with drug addicts. very cool and pretty related to my own knowledge field. a very boisterous woman, friendly, but not afraid to tell you to fuck off and call you a little shit. she didnt say that, but i assume shed have no trouble doing so. a very funny lady with a great heart.

john: the patron. looks a bit like sam beam, but older, maybe mid to late forties, id say. he has an enormous beard, and also a very youthful face. spriteful eyes, simply shine when he looks at you. a bit like i imagine gandalfs eyes looking like. really though, just looking at him warms your heart. and when he smiles, oh man, its really great, just bright and lively. hes very soft spoken and understated, too, which makes his kind face and shining eyes all the better. also, the mans like a renassaince gentleman. he built his house, transformed it from gas and oil powered to an ecofriendly house with renewable power and water. he also worked in the computer industry for a long time and as a television repair type guy. he can do anything, i bet.

james: the eldest son. he ducked us most the weekend. only said a few words to him. he seems a distant sort or, more likely, doesnt like having ten strangers in his house.

sarah: a champion equestrian from washington. there as an exchange student.

helen: an exchange student from germany. also sixteen and more than a little strange. she spends most of her days there in her room apparently. barely speaks either.

laurna: the moodiest thirteen year old ive ever encountered. shes a big girl, about my height. she just mostly stares at people, kind of unnerving. shes a bit creepy, really, all scowls and no words. another one of john and amandas biological kids.

sam: the youngest son, six years old, and one hundred percent dudley dursely. really, a moody little kid, a bit violent and uppity. an attention grabbing technique as old as time. i mean, he just got two little brothers in the last month. i’ll explain. though, he was all right. i dont mean to paint him so cruel. we had some great talking about pokemon, transformers, and such things. oh, too, hes got the foulest mouth for a kid his age. all jackass this and jackass that.

anna: a great little girl, the youngest of john and amandas kids at three. just bubbling with sweetness and smiles. seems old for her age, if such things apply to three year olds. really though, a great little girl.

leon: a foster child of four years old. staying with amanda and john along with his biological little brother, shane. a very sweet boy with much more life in him than youd think a victim of abuse would have.

shane: an amazing little guy. hes three years old and leons brother. amanda and john began caring for the two about three weeks ago. shane came to them with a broken arm, a broken leg, burns all over his body, and three stab wounds in his head. yes, stab wounds in the head of a three year old. his biological mother and stepfather terrorized these two sweet little boys to the point of shanes near death. scary stuff, makes me feel terrible just thinking of it. but shane, like leon, is all sweetness and kindness and smiles. amazing really. i mean, hes still lively despite a near early end to it.

and thats the family that we stayed with. ive a lot of respect for john and amanda.

anyway, saturday morning, we woke up and ate some breakfast. then, amanda dropped us off at cashel where theres a huge castle. this castle is where the only irish king reigned, before the english came. we went with sarah and helen as guides. cashels a cool town, very touristy, but pretty cool and very historical. the castle was glorious, though. i’ll throw pictures up here soon or you can check out the ones on my facebook. i have loads more, but i decided to be brief with them. the castle sits high ontop of a hill, over the town. also, the sky was perfect for caslte exploring. all clouds blooming over the sky, threatening with rain. made it all epic. on the opposite side of the castlee is a monastery which was also pretty cool. again, pictures soon to come or on my facebook presently. at the monastery there were a few kids throwing rocks back and forth over one of the walls. it seemed funny to me, i mean, they went there to throw centuries old rocks that used to be a part of the monastery.

we hung around the town for a few hours after that waiting for our ride. we went to this church that holds the smallest book in the world, though, it was closed because it was saturday. also, we went into this super small bookstore that had some cool, random books. including the werewolf, some victorian age pseudoscientific volume about werewolves. i ended up not buying it, though, it made me weak in the knees, and ive been regretting it ever since stepping outside of that store. but it was twenty euro, and thats a lot, right? if i ever go back, i will own that book.

we got back that night and ate a big dinner with everyone. shepherds pie, a familiar dinner to me. that night john took us out for drinks and this is when we actually got to meet john. hed been around, but he doesnt speak much, though i wish he had, because hes a great man. i felt bad that he paid for our drinks, though. drinks are expensive here. then, we came back home and watched perfume. well, first john and amanda and me were watching it, then sarah came in, then john left, and eventually amanda left, too. after that, it was time for sleep.

sunday morning had a big breakfast. eggs, sausage, and toast. after that, the lucies and me went on a walk. the streets all around their house and their area were built by the ira originally. they used to for artillery maneuvering and things of that nature. michael collins’ house was nearby, as well. also, ive never seen cows or sheep so close up. and there were a lot of sheep and cows around there. unfortunately, we missed the ira memorial that was nearby. we didnt know about it until we got back, though.

we lounged around for a few hours after that, playing with the kids and what have you. eventually we had a great big irish meal. pork, potatoes, and cabbage. i didnt eat the cabbage, which i felt bad about. amanda mocked me a bit, too, said i wouldnt have survived the famine if i dont eat cabbage. but really, cabbage is just aweful. no offense to the irish, i know its a classic dish, but its really bad. i ate all my other portions, though, usually two of potatoes. so, i think i made up for it.

then it was time to say goodbye to the family and the weekend. a very cool time, a well spent weekend. the ride back was surprisingly much shorter for some reason, too. no accounting for it.

classes began on monday and theyve gone well so far. very little time is spent in class here, though. ive only six hours of class a week. no class on tuesday or friday, which is very cool.

meh, i think thats enough from me. i’ll try to be a bit mroe frequent. pictures soon.

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