I spent my finally weekend in Ireland this past weekend. We had homestays through a presbyterian church in Belfast. Hilary and I stayed with an elder couple, Tom & Margaret. They were absolutely wonderful. We had a great time just hanging out with them. They are both retired. Tom was a pharmacist and Margaret was a nurse...they met at Tom's pharmacy and have been married for 40+ hears and have 4 kids. I loved listening to all their stories about their kids and grandkids.
They took us around Belfast and showed us the city. We went to St. George's market this big fresh food/other goods market that was inside of warehouse. There was music playing and lots of people and different foods to try. They had a huge table full of seafood--some of it still alive (eww.) They took us to a Cathedral-St. Anne's. It was pretty modern looking. There was a group of mentally disabled adults practicing for a harp and lyre concert. It was beautiful. We stopped and listened to them for a while.
We ate at a Spanish Tapas restaurant that was deserted...but it was really good. We talked about everything..the War, growing up in Northern Ireland, the troubles, her kids....Margaret had a lot to share. She paints as a hobby and has some beautiful paintings hanging up in her house. She is really talented. I love that they are still quite active for their age. They stayed up later than we did!!
The first night they took us to a concert at their church, a local group from the Opera house singing show tunes and opera pieces AND the battle hymn of the republic, which Tom and Margaret loved and pointed out to us right away:) It was really good.
On sunday we went to church with them. The church is really great, a very diverse group--young and old and quite vibrant. It is encouraging to see a living and breathing body of christ that is functioning well---a lot of places we have gone don't seem to be having as much success.
After we said our goodbyes (quite sad really), we had lunch at the church and then left for the airport. I really enjoyed staying with them. I think it was a great opportunity, and one of my favorites of this trip. It is great to get to know some of the people that live here.....and I really enjoyed being in Ireland. I will miss it there---who knows maybe I will come back someday and go to school over here somewhere! If only in my dreams....
This week we are at conference center pretty much in the middle of nowhere outside of London and we are studying. We have a midterm this week & a paper due....but then we are going to PARIS this weekend. YEAH! I am so excited...and after that it is free travel. I can't wait.
Until something else blog-worthy happens,