Posted tagged ‘Ireland’

Village Living (Part 2)

March 24, 2009
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Artwork by Andrea Lynch, senior media student

By Steve Marshall, senior business student

We decided to take the path. It wound through a magical forest, up a hill, and to a huge stone cross, jutting up almost 20 feet into the air. Since we couldn’t eat at the castle, this seemed like a good replacement picnic area. Even the simplest sandwiches taste delicious in a setting like that. Then it started to rain. We finished our lunch just in time, but still hadn’t made it to any castles. We had been walking for 5 kilometers (just over 3 miles), and didn’t have anywhere to take shelter. It was a crucial point of decision. Then it started to hail. Decision made. The stone cross was epic enough to serve as a destination. The trip alone had been pretty epic already. So we took our epic band full of an epic lunch, down from the epic hill with the epic cross, and went back into the magical forest. (It was a welcome change from all the epicness. Including the epic hail.) time for the epic journey back.

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Artwork by Andrea Lynch, senior media student

I’d hiked in hail once before, on an 80 mile backpacking trip with the scouts, and it makes an interesting comparison. On the scout trip, we were on the top of a mountain, in the middle of the trip, and with people who came out expecting to be “roughing it.” we’d been doing 7-8 miles a day for a week already, and were used to being wet. Hail was just a different way of getting wet. The people I was with now hadn’t been on any practice hikes, they weren’t expecting anything like this, they were just out for adventure.

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Artwork by Andrea Lynch, senior media student

Still, everyone rose to the occasion, saw the hail as just another form of adventure, and hiked on with the highest spirits. Half the group did decide to go on towards the next castle, but ended up being somewhat disappointed. The other half of us went back along the sea road. After awhile the hail turned to rain, then the rain turned to mist, and finally stopped altogether. That brought out the most beautiful rainbow i’ve seen in my whole life. It was huge! and thick! The purple stripe glowed more than I thought was even possible. We saw the whole curve from end to end, and it even landed right on top of a little cottage on the next hill. That must have been where a leprechaun lived. I wanted to go find it and knock on the door, but everyone else was too tired for mischief like that.

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Artwork by Andrea Lynch, senior media student

The adventure wound down pretty quickly from there, with the only remaining piece of interest being our new friend Vincent. Shortly before seeing the rainbow, we rounded a stone-walled corner and saw the roundest, shortest black labrador coming stright towards us, his tail wagging a mile a minute. It was a pretty comical visual. It was a neighborhood dog, definitely not a sheep-herder, though. He apparently liked us a lot, because he followed us almost all the way back. People tried discouraging him, telling him to go back, ignoring him, and he just kept plodding right along. He took us for a good 3 kilometers at least, right up to the hill overlooking our cottages. As soon as our village was in sight, he turned around and left. It was a wonderfully enjoyable adventure. We didn’t reach our original destination, but that didn’t matter. We used most of the day on the trip, but that was fine. Our whole week in Ireland has been the most welcome change. At school, we’re constantly being stretched and pushed, formed into people who can handle a driven, high-productivity, lifestyle. In Ireland, all we have to do is strike up conversation with everyone we can, and journal. That’s it. We’ve had time for long walks exploring country roads, climbing the stone walls and walking on them, just because, and we can spend 2 and a half hours on a meal. It’s the perfect hobbitly existence. I’ve really enjoyed our mealtimes, because usually we’ll gather a huge group of students into a cottage and each person will kick in a part of the meal. It gives us something better than we would have had originally, but most importantly, it gives us a group of people to laugh and talk with as we eat. Ireland has been amazing. There’s no more to say. The cultural contrasts have been fascinating too, but this post is already wayyy long. Tonight, we fly into Rome. It’s going to be an entirely different experience: city streets, public transpo, a breakneck schedule with a group of 50 people, and a city that has a crime rate. The stories from there will be completely different 🙂

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The Human Experience

February 28, 2009

At JP Catholic, we often discuss culture and how to impact it. Our mission is to Impact the Culture for Christ, so you can see we are a little obsessed by it. The sophomores and juniors are leaving for Europe in March (actually tomorrow). We are taking a class in Global Cultures and the purpose of the class is to better understand other cultures, especially in comparison with our own. I was reflecting on the culture of Ireland, and the similarities we have with the Irish. I was reminded of a movie that JP Catholic screened called The Human Experience. It was made by Grassroots Films and here is the trailer below:

The Human Experience did an excellent job of highlighting the sameness of the human family. They highlighted different aspects of the human experience through different continents and different cultures, but they showed how they were the same across the human family. The showed the unity of the human family in a very powerful and convincing fashion. The sameness of the human family cannot be discounted. We are all the same, we have brains, toes, thoughts, fingerprints, dreams, ideas, hair, desires, and fears.

As I prepare for our trip to Europe and more importantly Rome, I am overjoyed to share in this experience with our human family. What better place than Rome, the Capital of our Catholic Faith to experience the greater human family. Every race of people will be gathered to celebrate our faith, with Jesus Christ as One Body, one human family.

P.S. If you haven’t seen The Human Experience you should. JP Catholic gets to watch cool movies like that all the time.