New Town... Newry!!

Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Jan 09, 2014

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What I did
Giant's Causeway Bushmills
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United Kingdom  , Northern Ireland,
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Greetings from a bus on the way to Newry, Northern Ireland! I must say, Goldline's promise of WiFi is a more reliable one than my good friend Megabus back in the states. Although it’s not consistent, I always manage to get connected for at least a little while.

The past few days have been non-STOP, but really remarkable! I believe last we left off, we had performed our first two shows and were in preparation for our last production of "Sanctuary" at the Derry Playhouse before we shipped off to the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre in Newry. I had a beautiful conversation with one of the cast members of “Sanctuary”, who is currently seeking asylum or refugee status in Northern Ireland. There’s also two cast members from Zimbabwe seeking refugee status in the UK. Some of the most enlightening and educational experiences I have had so far have happened with these individuals. Their tenacity and dedication to their cause makes me realize why people are so passionate about theatre of the oppressed. Truly, these people are inspirational and have stories that need to be shared through some form of expression; why not theatre? Art is pretty cool.

One of my favorite people on the tour, Alysia, had two visitors from Spain, her native country. They are WOOF’s (Workers On an Organic Farm) and have been so for about two years, if I remember correctly. I think I have heard a lot about this nomadic sort of lifestyle, but not really known of its real possibility until some recent conversations. Knowing the options to what some might term an alternative lifestyle is kind of refreshing. Our society so often dictates a predetermined mold of what we are “supposed to do”, so these crazy Europeans are giving me lots of ideas as to alternatives.

In any regard, we had a great night with the cast members, Alysia and her friends (including an impromptu birthday celebration for a passing local!). The next day, we had a trip planned to Giant’s Causeway for Megan, Sarah and Sarah’s friends Lauren and Paige. As per usual for this trip, I was ready to be surrounded by estrogen. We set off (somehow the bus coordinated well with us being ten minutes late) for Coleraine, a beautiful trainride that I think everyone deserves in their life. From there, we took a bus to Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s staples. Let me tell you, it is so for a reason.

We first went to the rope bridge, which extended from the northern coast of Northern Ireland to a small island right offshore. It was a little windy and terrifying, and you can see in the pictures that it was totally worth it! I climbed farther than one probably should climb, leading to a slew of German students trying to imitate my adventurous efforts. Which reminds me! We made great friends in Vero and Maria, two German tourists from Berlin. Because I am conversational (enough) in German, I was very excited to talk with them. They said my German was perfect. Thanks, Frau Weirich, high school German teacher!

After the Rope Bridge, we headed to the main attraction: the Causeway. The pictures are wonderful but hardly do the sight justice. It was humbling and remarkable to be around something so old. Everything in my life and our society is new and fresh, but the causeway had so many stories. There were land formations based off of rockfalls, which I hadn’t seen in real life before. Of course, it was pouring rain and I was dramatically underdressed, but I couldn’t help but feel remarkably inspired and reflective about the whole experience. After a brief excursion to the “offbeat path”, we made our way to the Nook, the local tourist’s restaurant area for some Red Pepper soup and warmth.

When we got back to Derry, our housemates had returned!! While Megan and I are grateful for the opportunity to tour Northern Ireland, we really miss our schoolmates, who are in placements that stay local. They got to meet Sarah and we got to share our stories of the weekend with their stories of Dublin. Even now, we are missing them but excited to return to our friends J

Yesterday was a work day, but coupled with a wonderful conversation with our Artistic Director, Teya Sepinuck. Never have I had a boss who was so dedicated to ensuring her intern’s satisfaction and fulfillment on the project. Of course, Megan and I have had nothing but great times so far, so Teya’s quiet warmth and openness led me to some thoughts and conclusions about human compassion, especially in the professional setting. Nothing over here feels like work; I’ve been helping out with redesigning some parts of the website and Facebook, but I wouldn’t call that work because I believe in the message of this organization so strongly. Everything feels like it’s simply the right thing to do.

Last night, we finally secured a phone and some groceries. Megan even got her ears pierced! We got to hang out more with our classmates and eat dinner with them before heading out to Belfast. Megan and I had a great talk on the two hour ride, eventually getting a cab to our cozy home in Malone Manor. After catching up with our Belfast companions, we called it a night (much later than one should but, hey, it’s Northern Ireland).

That catches everyone up to speed! I’m going to try to catch half an hour’s rest before we get into Newry. We have a looooong day in store for us. Can’t wait to update again J

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