where I go, who I meet, and what I think in Europe

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pathway Progress


It is exactly one week until I see my parents and younger brother! I really cannot wait. They seem to be having a fabulous time in Germany. They did a high ropes course yesterday, and my mother went to see the most recent Harry Potter in German with Kirsten. She seemed to really enjoy it. My dad heads off to Germany in two days, so keep you fingers crossed that he makes it there safely.
In the meantime, we are very busy at the farm making paths in the forest. Jobs include shoveling dirt, leveling dirt, moving dirt, and probably other things that involve dirt. I was so excited when Juan told me I was going to be driving the Terex dumper. I posted a picture of one. It's very fun to drive, but also very difficult. The pathways are not smooth and the Earth is moist so i make deep tracks when I drive on the paths. Then after I dump the soil for the others to level out, I have to reverse all the way back up the path to get more dirt. IT's not easy. The first day I drove it I almost tipped over because of a pothole. I quickly jumped off and got help. We fixed the problem quickly and since then I haven't had any major issues. I'm the only girl who has been allowed to use the equipment, so I'm pretty proud that they deem me responsible enough. It's definitely a thrill driving a three ton machine.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

24 hrs in Killarney

Saturday morning I did not have to go to the market in Cork because the new German guys wanted to go. I had no problem with this because I got to sleep in! We also hosted a bit of a party Friday night, so it was nice not to wake up at 6 am. I slept until 12 pm which is probably the latest I ever have in my entire life. It felt very good. Saturday was slow morning. A new French girl showed up the night before, so Lauren and I took her around the farm and explained some things. When Colin, Anne, Thomas, and Boho got back from Cork they had two more American girls with them. They seem very nice. I haven't had a chance to get to know them very well yet, but they are very eager like most people who first come to the farm.

Saturday night, Lauren and I decided to spontaneously go into Killarney. Denis our neighbor drove us into Macroom, and from there, we caught a hour long bus into Killarney. Once in the city, we set out to find a hostel. This is when I got nervous. All the hostels were booked! I was preparing myself to be homeless for the night, but fortune was on our side. We stopped into a few hotels, but they were asking for seventy five euros per person! hell no. Through out our search we purposely avoided this sketchy bed and breakfast on the main street. It was called sebastians and we didn't trust it from the outside. However, we were desperate so we rang the doorbell. A very nice looking woman opened the door. She said she had a vacancy and it would cost thirty euros per person for the night. It was more than a hostel, but we took it. The room was very nice, and since it wasn't a hostel, we could leave our belongings in the room.

The night was rainy, but that didn't hold us back. We got dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was sooo good compared to the bland food we've been having on the farm. Meat and potatoes get pretty boring after 1.5 months. The Chinese food had so much flavor. The service was slow at the restaurant and the soundtrack playing inside was worse. I swear they were playing the 1990's best wedding songs cd. haha it was funny.

After dinner, we went souvenir shopping a bit. The night ended in a pub with a pint of Smithwicks and live music. It was also different falling asleep to the sounds of a city not a farm.

Sunday morning, Lauren and I walked into the Killarney National Park. We both had been there before a few weeks earlier, so we just took a short trail through the woods. We also stopped at a cafe for coffee and a scone. We did a bit more shopping. I splurged on an authentic Aran Woolen sweater. I'd been oogling it the last time I was in Killarney and decided to pay the fee. Now the really exciting part of the store.....

Around 1:30 we got a bus back to Macroom. We weren't sure how we would get back to Leades House. Our options were two: walk or hitch hike. If you remember, my list includes hitchhiking, so I wanted to try it out. It was pouring rain, so I hoped the Irish would be sympathetic. They weren't. After about 45 minutes of walking a man stopped, and he told us we were heading the wrong direction. GREAT! so we head back. WE walk and walk and about another hour later we see a green car come around the corner. We figured she would pass like all the others but she stopped. We said we were going to Leades House. She said she figured that, and would drive us the rest of the way. In the car, we found out she was the mother of one of the renters on the Leades House property. At this point, I realized I had seen her before. We were so greatful for her ride. I also was ecstatic that I successfully hitchhiked. I think the only thing I have left to do is Irish Step dance. I don't think it will happen, but who knows. I didn't think half of my list would get checked off.

P.s. My mother and brother have safetly arrived in Germany. Thanks for your crossed fingers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some Pictures and Videos

Typical Irish Stones



Driving on the Kubota around the farm.
Adorable chicks and mother

My favorite goats in the world!







Francy catching a fish!


video

video

Friday, July 24, 2009

4 countries on a farm

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile. The internet is harder to get to now that there are 9 volunteers here at the farm. Tomorrow this will increase by four more! Currently there are two Americans, three Germans, and three Spaniards. Tomorrow there will be three more Americans and a French girl coming. I truthfully don’t know where we will fit them all or what work will be done. We seem pretty well stocked.

For the most part we are all getting along well. There is some tension due to power struggles. Everyone has their own way of cleaning etc and a few speak up more than others. I try to stay out of this. I want to like everyone and have everyone respect me. They don’t have to be my friend necessarily, but I would like their respect so I respect them too. However, I don’t think I am the cause of tension, thankfully.

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of the farm because I realize I only have about two more weeks left. This is really hard to believe. Leades House has been my home for the past month and a half, and I will miss it. I’ve met some really great people and animals. I will miss my favorite goat, Tabitha. We play every day, and we have gotten to the point where she runs to greet me at the gate. I know I should treat these animals as if they were domesticated pets because I know they have a different future, but I am who I am.

Today, I’ve been a little nervous because I know my mother and brother, Samuel, are flying to Europe. They are headed to Germany. My father will meet them there in a week. I have my fingers crossed that they will make it there safely. Please keep yours crossed too or say a pray, whatever you prefer.

As I mentioned before, with more people on the farm there is a bit less work for each person to do. We began the major walkway project that will stretch for 1.5 miles, but it’s slow and tedious, and right now, the digger machine does most of the work. I did help build 4 stone walls. It’s quite an art. Tonight, I think we will put our feet up and relax. Our fridge is stocked with some adult beverages, so it should be a good time. Buenos noches!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Drive with Francy

Good news but I don't want to jinx it. I spent an entire day with Francy and the girls, and he and I did not argue once. This is major. I guess my new approach towards him is working. He came by the farm around 10 this morning. We weren't expecting him. I suppose he was going to take the Spanish boys fishing, but they had stayed in Kinsale overnight and were not back at the farm yet. Francy decided he would take us out instead.

We spent the day near Bantry. We went to another peninsula called the sheep's head. I think this was my favorite place so far in Ireland. I got to see so much of the sea, and the lanscapes were breathtaking. The pictures I take just don't do the views justice. I also got to go fishing again. This time Francy caught two fish. I helped gather perriwinkles off the rocks. This time I ate both of them. The perriwinkles don't have much flavor but look pretty gross when they are outside of their shell. The Mackrel Francy caught was delicious, but he didn't cook it very well. He mashed it all up in the pan head and all. I was really afraid I might get an eyeball. Francy thinks they are yummy! yuck

All in all it was a really great day. Lauren said it was a little bittersweet and I agree with her. Who knows if I'll ever be back in this part of Ireland again. I gave a moment of thanks as I sat by the sea. I am just so happy to be here. Sometimes I have to remind myself where I am. I've been away from home for so long that I think i've begun to take my new environment for granted. I have to continue to live each day to the fullest. I'm so glad I have done this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bon Qui Qui

I realized today that some of you may be curious about the title of my blog, "Bon Qui Qui goes Abroad." Who is bon qui qui. To put it simply; she's my alter ego. She was a character once on Madtv and I realized my inner self had finally be portrayed accurately. If you want to watch, please take a look at the youtube clip. Some people find it funny others think it's dumb. For me, well, it's just part of my everyday life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkdcYlOn5M

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Work Hard

Two weeks ago I bought a deck of cards to keep me entertained during slow afternoons. The cards say, “Work Less Play More,” and I joke that this is my personal motto. However, Francy claims the only option is to Work Hard. That’s a random story for you.

Updates! Three Spanish men are now here at Leades House. Their names are Louis, Juan, and Ruma. They are 20, 20, and 18. Juan and Ruma are brothers. They are very nice guys. Their English skills come in a range, but we don’t have too much difficulty communicating. I’ve sort of been designated as their translator because Francy and Colin speak entirely too fast for them. They always look to me to slow explanations down and use lots of gestures. I don’t mind at all.

Today, I helped build a stone wall behind Colin’s mother’s house. I also fixed a fence with Lauren because the young calves kept squeezing through into the wrong field. Other chores remain the same. The three girls milk the cows, but that’s become a bit of problem because the one cow has begun to rebel. She kicks the machine off and kicks at you. She took a bit of skin off my finger the other day. We used to feel very competent milking the cows but now we always get Colin to do the rebellious cow which slows us down. It’s a bit of a shame. The cows have also been milking less which makes the market harder to prepare for.

I had a bit of an unfortunate task come to my attention two days ago. I received an email from the elementary education dept. at West Chester University reminding me to get my clearances in for student teaching. They are due on August 1st. I thought they were due September 1st. My plan was to take care of it when I got back to America. Well I have been calling home a lot lately trying to get everything organized. I had to have my brothers and mom search through my room for important papers. It really sucks, and it’s really irresponsible for me to make this date mistake. I hope everything works its way out. Wish me luck.

In one month I’ll be back in America! See ya’ll soon.

p.s. Colin found a "skin egg" the other afternoon and it was really cool. I was going to make a video of it until Lauren showed me the video she made. I realized it was impossible to top it, so I post her video on my blog. Enjoy the fantastical production by Lauren McKenna.
video

Monday, July 13, 2009

Check!

Yesterday was just the day off that I needed. I told the girls Saturday night that no matter what the weather was like on Sunday I was going for a hike! Sunday morning the weather look very promising. The sun was shining, and I was not woken up by rain pounding on the roof. Very good sign! I ate my breakfast in peace, and when Lauren came down, she thought it would be a good idea to go find the waterfall Colin has been telling us about. I thought it was a great idea. We asked Anne to join, but she wanted to sleep in more. Around 11:30, Lauren and I headed out. As soon as we stepped outside it started to rain!!! Luckily, this lasted only 5 minutes and the remainder of our adventure took place on a sunny day. :-)

It took about 1.5 hrs to walk to the entrance of the waterfall path. I was so excited when we made it, and I could hear the water! We headed into the woods, and it reminded me of a forest you might find in Pennsylvania. I really felt at peace. I loved it! We were worried that we should have worn our wellies, but our feet didn't get too wet. When we made it to the waterfall, I am pretty sure I did a victory dance. We clocked now two hrs of walking. This is where I checked yet another thing to do off my list. I went swimming! I waded in the water mostly, but I had to get my whole body wet in order for it to count. I doggie paddled around because I couldn't see the bottom of the stream. Lauren took a video, and when I get it from her, I will post it. I swear it looks like I never swam a day in my life, but the water was shockingly cold and I was scared of the possible monster dwelling deep in the water. It was such a glorious experience and very refreshing after such a long walk. We ate our lunch by the waterfall, and began out trek out of the woods. Before we made it out, we came across a rope swing which proved pretty unsuccessful, but we tried.

The long walk back was much harder. First, we were already tired, and second, we were walking against the wind which slows you down considerably. We rationed out our water..haha.

I am just so happy I got to swim in Irish water. I don't know why it was a goal of mine, but it happened so the origin of my goal doesn't really matter. I ended the great day with phone calls back to America to some very special people. I was so excited to share my day.

My mom and Samuel leave for Germany in 11 days! I am so thrilled to be on the same continent as a family member. Today is the 13th which means only 24 days until i see my family. Yay!

video

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When in Europe!

So Yesterday was a much much better day. I exhaled all of my negative energy and went about my daily chores. I also got to go to Ballincollig for the market with Lauren. I enjoy going to market because you get to walk around town, window shop, and see people who are not farmers as well as people who farmers but are not from Leades House. My next mission is to buy a ladybug bag from this one supermarket. I see people walking aroudn with them, but i went to buy one and the market was all out, so I will have to keep checking back. They are the cutest shopping canvas bags.



In the evening, the three girls got to enjoy the relaxing pleasures of a sauna! There happens to randomly be one at Leades House. Someone built it years ago. Anne and I have been meaning to clean it out, so yesterday, the three of us did just that. Afterwards Lauren says, "I forgot to bring a bathing suit; I guess i'll just wear my bra and underwear." Anne goes, "for what?!" "For the sauna ofcourse, " says lauren. Anne was amused, "You don't wear anything." Well that was a culture shock for Lauren and I. We explained that people just don't strip down in America. Anne was surprised. When it came time to head to the sauna, I exclaimed.... "When in Europe!" and bared all. It was very relaxing and the three of us had a great time chatting it up for the 15 min we were in the sauna. We hope to make it a weekly thing.

Today marks exactly 4 weeks until i see my family. I miss them very much, and I really look forward to traveling up the West coast of Ireland with them. Should be a good time, if anyone has any final suggestions of places for me to go please comment them now!!!

Miss you all and see you in a little over a month!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I cannot tell a lie..I was in a bit of a mood today. It was just an off day for me. I think it was a combination of things. First, I am beginning to miss home. My family is preparing to come to Europe, so I am really anticipating and looking forward to seeing them. It's become a bit of a countdown because I'm over the hump. I hurt myself a lot today. My wrist has been sore from god knows what. I was throwing rocks over a fence as part of a chore and one was a bit too heavy and i took it the fence in order to tip it over and my finger got caught on the barbed wire. OUch! it took a chunk of skin off. I was moving things with Francy and a gate landed on my food. Today was a market day in Macroom and I was the one who stayed on the farm, so I didn't have female companionship. Finally, Francy insisted on telling me my lifeplans are all wrong. I shouldn't be a teacher and that i'm only going into the job because it's secure. Francy has known me for only 4 weeks so how could he possibly know what I enjoy doing and why I chose what I study. ugh. i guess it all just piled up and put me in a sour mood. I still worked hard, but I was a little more defensive and now quite and cheerful.

I did my evening stretches with my ipod on and it gave me some time to refocus and cleanse my negative energy. I feel a lot better now. I plan to go to bed early tonight to also re-energize. Tomorrow I'll be the one who gets to go to market, so I also look forward to that. I think everyone permitted to have an off day now and again.

Quick recap of yesterday:
We had men come to buy cattle from us. It was very intersting to watch them sort through over 100 cattle. I wasn't sure what they were looking for. All cattle have a passport with their information such as vaccinations, birthday, previous owners. It was my job to find the passport of the numbers they shouted out. The saddest part of it all was watching some of the calves get separated from their mother. I am doing a piece of choreography this fall about mothers and daughters, so this was really upsetting for me to watch. Apparently these calves should have been wiened from their mother many months ago. I don't know why they weren't. Nevertheless, I definitely going back to not eating red meat when I get back to America.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Killarney

Another day off equals another day trip with Francy and the girls. Today we went to Killarney, but before we made it to the city, we stopped at a poultry sale/show. I got to see lots of different types of chickens, ducks, and hamsters! Francy was disappointed becaus apparently there were not pure breeds. He was sure there would be, and he wanted to buy some for his collection. o well..

We got back in the car and started on our drive to the Killarney National Park. We visited Ross Castle but opted out of the guided tour. It's more a tower and there was a really great visitors center that showed you a detailed diagram. We didn't think it was worth the price. However, we did take a tour of Muckross House. It was a beautiful victorian house that has gone through three masters. One of the men was a member of the Guinness family. Queen Victoria visited the house in august 1861 i believe. She gave the lord 6 yrs notice of her visit! and guess what...she only stayed for 2 nights. The family ended up going bankrupt because of all the money they put into making her visit special. No one on the tour could believe it!

After the house tour we walked along the gardens. Then we got in the car and Francy took us on one of his really long car rides with beautiful landscapes to watch. We stopped for about a 45 minute hike to a bridge and stream. I wanted to jump right in, but I knew I would be miserable for the rest of the day, so I restrained myself.

The final landmark I got to see today was Ireland highest pub! It is very small, and you really have to drive a long ways to see it, but we stopped and i had half a pint of Guinness. I deemed that an appropriate choice for such a bar. If I had food in my stomach, I might have done a whole pint. Francy treated us to the beers because he and were arguing politics on the car ride there and he felt bad. I didn't complain. However, I think I might open my own pub up the hill from this one. hehe

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A short update

A short update from today...

We have a new girl. Her name is Lauren and she is also from America. She's from New York state. She doesn't have much farming experience, but she owns a few horses and works at the stables occasionally. She has a fear of birds which is a bit of an issue, but she's handling herself very well, and I can tell she's going outside of her comfort zone which is great!

Two piglets escaped today, and I had a lot of trouble getting them back in the pen. I tried grabbing them but they are really fast and squirmy. When you do get a hold on them, they make the most terrifying noise like you are trying to kill them. The shrieking is so high pitched combined with the squirming I always lost a hold on them. Eventually with the help of Natalie, I got them back in with their mother.

It's been raining a lot, and it's having an affect on peoples' moods. I am trying to be as cheery as possible. Rain doesn't kill you. I just keep going about my usual tasks just a little bit muddier than usual. Showers never felt so good!

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