Margaret and John are so sweet. They had to be away for all of today – my first full day here – and felt so bad about it. Last night, John extensively explained the bus system for me and this morning I successfully made my first trip into town! Waking up to glove and scarf-worthy weather was a significant change from the recent humid Virginian weather, but I love it. Derry has been blessed with gorgeous weather this week. It warmed up to the 70s in the afternoon and the sky was crystal clear and sunny – quite a rarity!
An international students breakfast was planned for 10 am, but I left early to provide a buffer for any potential transportation issues. When I arrived at the campus at 9 am, I found a sunny bench overlooking the Foyle and pulled out my Bible. What a blessed girl I am! After a short walk around, I joined the other international students at the Students’ Union for the breakfast. What a neat group! I sat with two German girls, 3 American girls and a young man from Palestine. There are 25 of us in total, ranging in age from 19 to 26, with students from Brazil and China also being represented. Girls outweigh the boys 4 to 1! Most of the breakfast fare was common, but we found the addition of beans to eggs, sausage and toast to be something new.
After the breakfast and an orientation, we got a campus tour and had lunch. During these experiences, I quickly learned a few unique aspects of the Derry dialect. “Wee” is used quite often, and wee does not necessarily mean small. It’s also simply a descriptor for anything cute or nice. You can have a wee big man. A wee flyer. Coffee and a wee chat. Expect to hear me use this word in the future. Craic is a word I have yet to master. It can mean good fun, a laugh, “what’s up” and more. Also, most of the people just call the town Derry. The two names (Derry or Londonderry) refer back to when the city was more greatly divided. Margaret told me to just use Derry.
In the afternoon, we went to Tesco’s for grocery shopping. I hope you will be amused when I tell you that my first official tour in Derry (besides the campus one) was of the grocery store! The manager, Irene, walked us around and then took us to special room in the back where she had a sampling table set up. There were crisps (chips), cheeses, bread, nuts, fruit and drinks. Then she gave us each a shopping bag with a container of biscuits (cookies) and flyers. Irene was a dear! She confirmed what I had heard about produce being discounted towards the end of the trading day. After getting some very good deals, I walked happily with my groceries to the bus station and waited to catch my 4:15 bus. While there, I had a delightful chat with two elderly ladies who had lived in Derry their whole lives. Besides getting off the bus a mile too early, I had an uneventful trip home. But, this small mistake proved handy as I found there to be the most enormous, juicy blackberries all along the lane! Also, there were scads of lovely wildflowers (by the way, “lovely” is a very popular word here as well…I already use it all the time…SCORE!) Anyway, when I arrived home, I got into workout clothes and went for a delightful run by the river. After running for a while, I walked the way home and picked berries (I knew to bring a berry bag because of my bus stop mishap!) and wildflowers.
After washing up, John and I had a lovely supper and talked big thoughts about history, politics, religion and more. Margaret was in London all day and will be returning home this evening. John told me she loves flowers, so I hope she’ll be happily surprised.
WeIl, when I used the word “wee” in my post title, you probably expected something short. Now, after this long post, you know not to expect that. 🙂 Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my stories. I’m not sure when I’ll post next, but if you enjoy what I’m telling you, let me know. I don’t want to bore you with volumes! Take care.