With March approaching, just three short days away, the Ireland ladies are reaching the halfway point of our time in Galway. These first two months have been packed full of adventures in the city, journeys to neighboring counties (and for some, neighboring countries!), and even a bit of school. I think there are some mixed feelings about the arrival of the two month marker. March is the last official month of classes and so the four weeks will pass in a flurry of last minute assignments and exam preparation…as well as a major celebration on the 17th of March for the Saint of Patrick! April and May are likely to see a fair amount of traveling through Europe, as many of us will only need to be in Galway for two or three exams. There is also much talk of the family and friends that are soon coming to visit. A bitter-sweet emotion seems to be hanging in the air. The Galway routine we’ve settled into will soon be shaken up and it is unlikely we will ever have the opportunity to experience life as a NUIG student ever again, thus resulting in some sadness. However, the promise of exploring new places, of relieving oneself of school demands and of seeing loved ones brings a bit of joy and excitement. Hence the bitter-sweet emotion I alluded to. I know that I plan to make it my personal mission to enjoy any lasting time that I have in Galway as much as I can!
Sticking true to the resolution above, this past weekend was one of true Galway fashion for me. On Saturday morning I went to the market at 9 a.m. with a few friends. We got our donuts from the donut man, him giving us a friendly smile along with this most beloved treat. After perusing the market stalls, we wandered through the cold across the river bridge and grabbed coffees at a café that was new to us. My coffee had a beautiful foam flower on the top and Katie’s said “enjoy”- I am ever appreciative of this coffee art. Before returning back to Cuirt Na Coiribe Student Village, we indulged ourselves with an early lunch at Finnegan’s. Katie had the traditional Irish breakfast for her first time…I don’t think she was too impressed with the black pudding, but hey, at least she can say she tried it! Sunday brought with it the most glorious sunshine I have witnessed thus far during my time in Ireland. There was no way I would be staying inside on such a day. So, with three other girls, I made my way into the city. We walked up to Salt Hill and spent the afternoon exploring the promenade shops and strolling along the bay’s shore line. We ate chips (French fries) on the water edge and took in the salty smell of ocean water. It felt like summer time in early spring!
I know that I am not the only Linfield girl committed to fully embracing the opportunity that is being provided. This coming weekend a few girls are traveling to County Dingle and County Kerry. Just last weekend my very own roommate visited County Mayo with her Irish boyfriend! Other girls have made great efforts to become a part of religious and athletic communities, thus surrounding themselves with wonderful friends in the process. It is such fun to watch each girl craft a unique and beautiful way of life in this country.