Yep, I’m wile knackered. In other words, plumb tuckered. I had an event every evening this week, which was simultaneously delightful and tiring.
Monday evening, I enjoyed dinner at the Rhodes’ home. After we ate, the American interns came over so we could have a Thanksgiving planning session. We discussed who was making what, who was bringing who and other logistics. Then, enjoying pie and coffee, we watched some funny videos while making road signs for the wedding of a couple in the church, Claire and Gregg, who got married Thursday.
On Tuesday, Diana and I went to Magee Christian Union’s social night. It was loads of fun. There were desserts, games and dancing. Diana got to meet some of my friends there (including Fiona, below) as well as Nigel, the chaplain. Diana and I were the champions of the game “frozen statues,” in which you do a partner dance and stop when the music does. Teams that move or laugh after the music stops get eliminated. Don’t take our skill for granite, but were almost like stone statues. 🙂
On Wednesday evening, our international group was scheduled to do a focus group with the coordinators at Magee to help them know what to change and keep in the study abroad program. I’d posted a message on Facebook for our globetrotter group members to show up if possible. Some agreed to come, then found out that they had prior plans and would not be able to; however, we still expected others to show. That morning, I reminded two of the German girls about the meeting and they said they hadn’t known about it, but would come. Well, I was glad I reminded them. It turned out the the focus group participants consisted of just me and the them! A whopping three. Alas. However, the night was redeemed as Caroline, the international coordinator, drove me and Diana to our church life group meeting on her way home, saving us a long bus trip. Caroline’s full of beans, so the trip was fun. When we arrived at Claire & Adam’s house, we enjoyed tea, banter and worship with our life group.
Thursday evening, I was invited to the home of my church friend Rachel Smyth for dinner. We met at 5 pm at the mall, walked around a bit and then crossed the Peace Bridge to her home on the waterside. Her family welcomed me warmly. The food was delicious and there were many laughs. We talked about differences in American and Derry English, a very amusing topic. To give you an idea: “Why do you spell ‘centre’ the wrong way?”, “How do you pronounce ‘Gary'”?, etc. Also, I encountered a couple new words. When discussing a friend, Rachel’s mother asked me if she had any “weens.” What? I thought. Excuse me? I said. “Weens,” she repeated, then “children.” Oh! Wee ‘uns – wee ones! Sometimes, it takes me a while. Then, she brought out the book of Derry lingo and we had a barrel of laughs. Some of the phrases are quite outlandish.
On Friday evening, we had a dinner meeting at church where we discussed the Holy Spirit with our life group members. It was a great time of teaching, worship, prayer and fellowship. After that, Diana and I went to Pete & Carolyn Smith’s (our life group leaders) home for some tea and chats before heading out for Street Pastors. There were eight of us out that night giving out tea and coffee. I enjoyed it just as much as before. We got the same mix of thankful, besotted, argumentative and philosophical folks. I was given two roses, called gorgeous, got another compliment on my teeth, called a bitch (thankfully in jest), called unintelligent, asked if I would teach someone swing dancing (we did a rock step together) and more. Quite the evening. One young man talked for ages with me and we ended the somewhat rocky conversation agreeing to each read a book we had suggested to the other. Hopefully we’ll meet for coffee down the road and discuss them!
I didn’t get home until 3 am this morning, but hey, what better time in my life to stay up that late? Today, at 10 am, I was picked up by my friend Dennis, a nice 65-year-old mountain climber. He and I met about a month back on the bus. He heard me say one word to the bus driver and knew I was American. Sooner or later, we struck up a conversation and discovered that we both enjoyed hiking. He is part of the northwest mountaineering club of Northern Ireland and invited me to come on some trips. So today, he took me and Krystyn out for a scenic, coastal hike in Buncrana (Co. Donegal, Republic of Ireland.) First, we walked along the coast. Then, we went around Swan Park. It was amazing how dark the river water was! It looked like Coca-Cola – see for yourself in the pics below. Dennis said this was because of peat. We also got to see a castle from 1410 and a bridge from 1730! The weather was lovely, then bad, then lovely, then bad…as is usual here; however, we had a perfectly fabulous time.
They had these cute libraries throughout the trails!
Tomorrow will be slower: church and then a jaunt to the vintage market on Pump Street with Diana. But for now, as I write this, I’m beginning to feel quite tired. I do not profess to be indefagitable. After a Skype to the family, I might just head to bed…