Tuesday, January 29, 2013

School at St. Francis

Well, I've made it through my first two days of school! I'm teaching at the St. Francis Special School just outside of town. I don't have pictures yet but hopefully I'll have them soon.

 The school its self is pretty small there is 52 students and 10 teachers. There is also about 2 aides in each classroom. The students are divided by age and ability.For example, the classroom I'm teaching in is the junior class of students with severe learning disabilities and my students' ages range from 6-13. Next door is the senior version that has students 14-18.

So, My class. Let me just say that I love my students! There are 5 students in my class, they are each very unique and have fun personalities. there are three girls and two boys. The boys may be outnumbered but they make sure they are noticed! :)  As I go, I'll tell you more about each of them as I learn about them. 

The school day here is very different then we're use to in the U.S. Each day is different so I'm still trying to figure out what the normal routine is. I'll let you know as soon as I know! :) 

The last part I have right now is that my mentor teacher is amazing. She goes above and beyond for her kids,  shes taught herself a lot, so she could help them even more.  She looks at her students strengths, not weaknesses which is the way it should be. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

One of my favorite places in Cork was the St. Fin Barre's Cathedral on Bishop's Street.

it was built on the site of 7th century monastery. Though the cathedral was built later, part of the grounds and   the cemetery seem to date back to those earlier times. 
There is a stone wall that in-circles it, when you step through the gate you feel like you've time traveled. 

Every time you look at St. Fin, there is something new to look at. There are gargoyles and small statues on every ledge. 

When I walked around the path, I noticed that there were old grave tablets used as stones around the base of the church.

 The inside is just as beautiful as the outside, when you walk in, it kindly takes your breath away.

St. Fin Barre's is use to having visitors and some of the older member act as tour guides. I had a chance to talk to an older gentleman, you could tell that hes very proud of it and can see its beauty. He told me the best time to see the cathedral was during a special service they do Sunday mornings with the Church's choir. I love music and singing so I couldn't pass up the chance to hear how music sounded in this place. So I went back the next morning, its an amazing sound. The church has a fairly small choir but it felt like the whole church has been built around the choir's pews so the sound resounded in every corner. It was a beautiful, beautiful sound.

For my first night in Ireland I stayed at a local hostel called the Aaran House in Cork.

The lady in-charge was very nice. I got the chance to talk to her for awhile. She specifically set up the hostel for students because she enjoys talk to people and learning about other places. She gave me a map of Cork along with a list of places I had to visit. 

As soon as I put my bags down I started walking. There were colors EVERYWHERE. Every shop and house is a different shade and has bright signs hanging outside declaring its purpose. Saturday must be the major shopping day because everyone and their cousin was there. It was fun listening to all the accents. I'm quickly learning that there is more than one type of accent depending on what part of Ireland they are from. 

Cork has a main street called St. Patrick way that holds most of the traditional shops and pubs.

There is an English Market tucked in the middle of it. there were open stalls with cheeses both goat and cow.   Many MANY types of meat and even a bread shop. the walking paths between the stalls was small and I quickly learned to keep moving or others would help you move along. :)  I wanted to take some photos but I quickly learned that the market is a serious business.

One of the things I love about Ireland already is that among the ordinary shows and houses are little random bits of beautiful architecture, like the stain glass door below. 

More to come soon! Hoping to set up a way to put more pictures up, I seem to have a few :)

True Green

At the London airport its kindly like a rat race. the airport is a series of mazes and security points to get through before your plane leaves. By the time you get to the terminal everyone seems frazzled. 
When I reached the Ireland terminal, I was definitely frazzled but I noticed something...everything was calm and relaxing. It's hard to explain but both there and on the plane was calm. there wasn't people rushing to get in first, on the plane everyone including the staff seemed as comfortable as you would be on a town bus. It was so different from the previous flights where everyone seemed rushed and worrying about this and that. 

I lucked out and had a window seat on the way into Ireland.
My first view was absolutely beautiful. They always tell you that Ireland is green but that's an understatement. The fields are the brightest green you've ever seen and it goes for miles and miles. Even the clouds above are a wispy white so different from the clouds we're use to.  I think I fell in love with Ireland right then.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

First Leap

Well, today I'm starting a new adventure! I left this morning from snowy, frosty Ohio and have made it to even colder Chicago. :) I'm waiting for my next flight that will take me to London and eventually.... IRELAND!!!!!  When the plane left Columbus it was dark and snowy but when it broke through the clouds the view was amazing!!! It's nice to think that even on gloomy days there is a blue sky above. :)