Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Magic of the Arts

This week has been a very interesting one though slightly crazy. I'm already starting to use behavior plans and ABC charts that I've learned to use as a teacher.
One idea that has been growing in my head this week, is the realization of how much the use of the arts such as painting, dancing, and music can be a way to connect with  others when normal communication is difficult.
Almost everyday there is a class in the afternoon here that uses the arts.
On Tuesdays we have a painting class. We just finished a project creating a dragon from torn paper to celebrate St. Michealmas. Everyone could participate whether it was painting, tearing the paper or gluing fingers together. :) 

I went to my first African drumming session with Lisa. The class is fantastic, each of the participants get a chance to do what they do best. Some dance in the middle while everyone gives them a beat on the drums. Others conduct and some sing tunes. Even Lisa got the chance to lead everyone doing movements and sounds. There is so much you can do when you take the time to see and then use each person's talent. At the moment the class is prepping for a concert coming up in a few weeks, I'll keep you updated!

Today's theme was dance! This afternoon there was a session for some of the younger people. The teacher does great with adapting to what everyone can do. Lisa can do some of the dance moves when I use the hand over hand method. We've got comfortable enough with each other, that she leans on me sometimes during breaks. When you work closely with another person doing movements, you make connections and understandings that don't require speech.

 There was a moment at the end of the class when everyone was doing the same motion, there was a calm feeling like we were all on the same brain wave and totally just understood each other.

Art is an amazing tool!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Its a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

Today was so amazing!!!

This morning, one of the classes from St. Francis came to visit. I knew all the teachers that came and most of the students. They were excited to see me. :) It was really nice talking to Elaine who is from my class I taught in. She said that hopefully my class is going to come for a visit in a week or two! It was very cool seeing the graduated students show their old classmates around the land.

In the afternoon, I made a trip to Tralee with two other co-workers to apply for our visas. I was a bit nervous if I would get it, but guess what!!! I'm official! I even have a card with my face on it to prove it. :) I'm definitely breathing better knowing that I can stay instead of being shipped out of town.

But the absolute and most fantastic part of the whole day happened when we dropped off Lisa to her mom. As we stood next to the car talking to her mother, Lisa walked over to me and gave me a big hug. I realize it might not seem like a big deal, but she doesn't initiate contact with others very often especially not with a hug. So for her to give me one, was an amazing thing and it means the world to me. I've had a lot happening this week, I've been trying hard to learn everything and trying to be more help then a hindrance. In a way, Lisa hugging me was her way of saying I am enough. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My real age

Hello Everyone!

Recent tidbits:

Woke up early and went to the beach, got my feet in the ocean of course :)

 Just as I started to walk back to the house, I saw this behind me!


 The rainbow was so bright that reflected off the water, it was pretty amazing.

Later I went to town with Sophie, one of the other co-workers. We took the long way around that follows the entrance of the bay. There is some rocks along it that look exactly like old drift wood until you touch it.
We hosted the community meal for the week. I made blackberry cobbler, using berries I had picked along the road. It turned out pretty good even with me converting measurements. :)
In the afternoon we took a group to Inch beach that is outside Dingle: 

I spent the time running barefoot in and out of the water with one of the co-worker's 4 year old daughter. She speaks only German and I English  but we both understood running around and being silly together. I have decided that I'm actually  a 4 year old, I just pretend to be older :)

This is Thomas, one of our friends in the community, his version of a good day at the beach is a coke, a bit of chocolate and a soft sand dune to sit on.
There is a small group in Dingle that does Zumba each Monday night, I join a group from Camphill that was going including my housemate and friend Katrina:
I had heard that Katrina is a great dancer and they were right, she was fantastic! She was totally in to it singing the songs and dancing her heart out, I had so much fun dancing with her. I need to learn some of her moves. :) 

More to come!  Hope everyone is having a good week!


Friday, September 13, 2013


You know that you've had a good but full day when you fall asleep while typing your blog. I woke up this morning refreshed with my laptop still next to me in bed.
I'm so excited right now. All the coworkers (interns) are here now so we have been in planning meetings for the year. The more I learn about how the program works the more excited I am for the year.
Camphill is putting a learning program together for the younger members of the community who are under 25. Its a bit like IEPs where we write and create goals to work towards with the individuals. The staff are giving me the chance to set up Lisa's goals and to put them into motion. I have so many ideas when I work one-on-one. I love problem solving and finding ways to let people show their strengths and to give them the chance to be as independent as possible. Usually there is not enough time or freedom to try them but this time I can. :) I have a year to help an already amazing person show what she can do. I can't think of a better way to spend a year. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

little moments


 Sometimes we get so caught up and focused on making it through the day, that we forget to stop to realize what is happening around us.  There might be someone walking next to you who could use a kind word or someone across the room trying to share a smile or laugh with you. These moments can seem small compared to craziness of the day but they are what connect us as human beings and they make each day a little bit brighter. <3


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Random thoughts of the day

As I reach the 7th day here I have some random thoughts:
1. I really should remember that light switches are outside the rooms instead of fumbling around in the dark every time.
2. There is a old barber shop song about me or at least about a girl named Katie: 
Some of the older staff knew the song so they practiced it before I came so they could sing it to me. Its quickly becoming my theme song around the land. One of the guys has started to sing it every time he sees me. :)
3. There is a difference between a coffee pot, a herbal tea pot and a black tea pot. And if you mix them up, everyone ends up pouring the wrong drinks. :)
4. There is no such thing as a sunny day or a rainy day in dingle, most days have both! 
5. Its interesting talking to people from different countries who have studied special education as well but they have different experiences and trainings.
6. There is evidently a recipe called chutney. it calls for both apples and tomatoes. I'm intrigued but also slightly wary. :)
7. I need to catch up on sleep so I can spend sometime outside watching the stars.
Good night all!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Today was my first day hanging out with  this fantastic person:

 This is Lisa, she just graduated from St. Francis, the school I student taught at in Ireland. She's a super happy person, she enjoys music and instruments. Its hard not to smile when you are around her. At this point Lisa is getting the chance to try out the different areas of the farm which works perfect because everything is new to me too. We went to the weaving shop today and we gathered apples. 
The staff are giving me a chance to try different adaptations with her, which is fantastic! I really want to find ways to let her be as independent as possible and also to give her the chance to show her strengths. I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time with Lisa in the coming months.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shooting over the cliffs

Today was a busy day, even though it was Sunday there was a lot happening.
One of the full time staff held a shooting tournament for the locals to raise money for Camphill.  A few of us helped with taking tea and coffee to ward off the cold.
I got the chance to take a tractor ride up to the top of the cliffs and watch the locals shoot clay pigeons over the edge of the cliffs. Definitely something you don't see everyday. 

This afternoon, we had a house warming party for the new home that has been rebuilt for the community. One of the great things about this community is they love to sing. Anytime everyone is together, they take the time to sit down together and sing songs. :) Its pretty fantastic. It feels good to be singing again. 
Tomorrow is my first official work day! Looking forward to it :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A little bit down the road....

If you happen perchance to go for a walk
perhaps take a stroll down a small country road.
What you see before you
 will make you wonder and marvel
 but remember to feel
  the cool wind that swirls around you
and to listen to
the gulls who sing while sailing through the air.


First walk to the beach and cliffs:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Iron Chef: Ireland edition

Today! On Iron Chef we offer these key ingredients:

One of the jobs everyone takes turns with, is cooking the noon meal. We can take any of the ingredients from the garden/ farm and come up with our own concoctions (preferably edible!). Its a little intimidating at first and I still have a lot to learn about how to cook some of the vegetables they grow. I surprised myself though and managed to make a pretty decent Shepard's pie and some berry apple crumble. It must not have been too bad because all the dishes were scraped clean. :) I think I like cooking from scratch.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A good way to wake up in the morning!

Hello everyone :)
When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to find this view outside my window, I can see both the Dingle peninsula and the Atlantic ocean.


I'm still in a bit of a daze from switching time zones but from first day perspective, this experience looks like it could be an amazing one. There is very good people here who live by a motto that makes for a very positive outlook on life.
I will continue to add more pictures and stories as I go but for now, I have a very important meeting with my bed. :)