Day One: First Impressions and Whereabouts

It was so relieving to have finally reached our destination in Ireland: Boden Park.  After our student teacher advisor and tour guide dropped us off at our designated host family, it was so great to actually see a warm place with gratitude towards our travels.  The host family showed us the ins-and-outs of the structure they called "home" and welcomed us into their livelihoods.  We then were given time to unravel and unpack our things into a cozy room.  Afterwards, we were able to go back downstairs and join in the conversation about what had happened in Paris the night before.  One thing for sure is this family loves to debate and talk about meaningful politics.  The parents of the family said that they were planning on going on a hike for the day on the "mountain" in Cruagh.  Not knowing what this truly meant, my roommate and I agreed upon the terms of accompanying the family.

After shoving all six of us in the car - John (Roommate), Ron (Father), Catherine (Mother), Evan (Son), Jordan (Son), Ava (Daughter), and Ozzie (Dog), we then ventured out into the wilderness called Cruagh.  Now as Ron explained that even though they called it a "mountain" it truly was not a mountain, but in their minds it was.  So too was it in mine - just five minutes into the climb we all were collectively trying to gasp for more air!  Nearly 40 some minutes into the hike we had reached a focal point where we could see several different Irish passage tombs (similar to Newgrange) in the neighboring hills.  We finally commenced our walk back down the hill before finishing in front of a little Christmas tree - yes - Ireland does decorate for holidays way too early like the states.

With us finally resting back at the house, the family then treated us to a sit-down dinner.  The preparation of the food just seemed perfect - rice with steamed vegetables and cooked shrimp.  What a great healthy meal to endure after walking almost 10,000 steps, or shall I say 5 miles.  After dinner we continued our discussion prior to the walk and were able to give the rent money and gifts.  Before getting too far into our discussions, Ron took us around the area and showed us the location of Sancta Maria College where we would teach, the local convenient store to pick up LEAP cards, as well as the different places to catch buses.  Not even paying attention to the time, 20.00 quickly rolled around and we quickly hurried back home.  So was the time to prepare for bed (Ava's bedtime is usually 20.00 - willingly, such were ours).

Hopefully our great adventure of Ireland and preparation of student teaching is heading off in the right direction.  So far the trip has no means of disappointment.  I "was" watching the Steelers game before heading to bed, but...I am so ready for this 12-hour power "nap." Heading into Dublin City area tomorrow.