Look Up and Struggle On

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Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty great life. In all considering, it’s far from a struggle. However, even in paradise there is a little struggle. When I took this picture I found myself with my head down, and letting my head stir up in a worry frenzy (a habit I often have). This bright blue spray painted electricity box caught my eye and made me smile. I dismissed my worries and continued walking on with my i-pod singing a happy song in my ears as rain began to fall while the sun still shined.

This past weekend, Schuyler came to visit. And we sat and talked about all the wonders of the world. After discussing the  past, present, and future state of the universe, we came to a conclusion that I hope everyone in their lives come to. Life is pretty twisted. It can really be awful to look at sometimes. Hope is often a damsel in distress that everyone consistently fights for. There are some dark corners of the world that is sick, and humanity seems to be singing an apocalyptic song. However, despite all of this, life is still yet beautiful. And the moment we accept that life can be brutal, that acceptance brings hope to a new transgression of reality. Being okay with yourself and your reality allows the air around you to not seem so heavy. It also allows you to really appreciate the dust on the world. For this dust is a work of art. Art can be ugly, but it makes it that much more beautiful.

So I thought I would start with this revelation. It does truly fit the whole theme this blog will have. I do believe I left off around Halloween! I was quite proud of my outfit lads. I got all of it at a thrift store. Presenting to you, Christine-Bilbo Baggins:

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So the pipe? Well my flat-mate, Kyle has a thing for smoking pipes. He showed me his collection and one of them reminded me of the pipe, Bilbo smokes in the Hobbit movie! I asked him if I could carry it around for Halloween and obviously he complied. The hair on my feet? Well my friend CJ was Forest Gump running across the country with a beard. He bought a beard at a store and decided it was too long, so he gave me the trimmings of the hair from it, and I pasted it on my feet! Strange I know, but hobbits are in fact known for their hair on their feet. So all in all, I thought I did quite well with my costume!

My friends had a get together on Halloween where we all danced and ate pizza in our strange attire:

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So later, I got quite hungry and we headed to Chipsy Kings (best late night snack ever, and for those Americans out there, chips=french fries). On our way there we found that the entire city was alive and busy!

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So  while waiting for my chips, I ran into a familiar friend… Gandalf!!!

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It was actually pretty humourous. I literally ran into this stranger and we both looked at each other for a second and then screamed the other’s name: “Gandalf!!!” “Bilbo!!!” It was probably the best moment of the day. I really have no idea who this person was, but it was great to bid them goodbye, “Until our next adventure Gandalf!”

So that about concludes my Halloween. It was really one of the best, due to the fact that I was quite proud of my costume. The first of November was spent waiting for Schuyler and finishing my paper. She had arrived in Ireland, but her cousins had stolen her from me while she was in Dublin. I ended up seeing her the next day, just in time for the trip to Kinsale!

So let me tell you a little bit about Schuyler. First off, I don’t want some minds butchering her name; tis pronounced “Skyler” and I’m not judging anyone who thought otherwise, just know that is in fact how it is said. I believe she once told me it’s a Native American way of spelling it, but don’t quote me on that one. I always thought it was such a pretty name. We met in high school under the good ole red and black, Chittenango. She was in my english class and we found ourselves both telling our teacher that we wouldn’t be present the next day due to an art field trip. While on this art field trip, we bonded and ever since then we became great friends. We weren’t always best friends, but senior year brought us together and we truly became inseparable. We went off to college and remained in contact, and we have shared the best summers of our lives. It was decided that we would both study aboard, and she landed in England while I went to Ireland. We made a promise that we would go visit each other. And thus, such occurred.

I’m not gonna get all cheesy, but there are some people that make life something spectacular. Sky is one of those people, she’s basically my family. In fact my family considers her as theirs as well so no big deal. But this trip to Ireland has been amazing, and it really made my heart happy to be next to someone from home. Because all of a sudden, this isn’t quite a dream anymore. When you bring someone from your reality that you left and place them in your dream, it makes everything real. I don’t know, maybe I’m being dramatic here, but either way it was great to finally see her:

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As a person she’s something amazing, and I’m glad, and proud to call her my best friend.

Alright, enough with that. We started our adventure! I went to the bus station to collect her from one of her distant cousins that so graciously drove her here to Cork. After linking arms and splurging our guts about excitement, we arrive back at Deans Hall to get on a bus to Kinsale! I don’t remember how long the drive was, mostly because Sky an I talked the whole time. We arrived at a fort near the village of Kinsale and we were graced by the perfect rainbow.

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We got out, and I swear the wnd was going to blow us straight into the ocean. The photos are quite misleading. Yes it’s beautiful and sunny, but we were dealing with a hurricane.

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The fort actually had some pretty neat history. Charles fort was built more in the days when the Brits still reigned over Ireland. Ideally it was a fort that defended the port of Kinsale before Cork became the main harbor in Ireland. When it comes to the sea, no ship would ever try to attempt to breach it’s walls. However, the one only time when the fort was under siege, it lost because of it’s permeability on land. Either way, learning about the history of the fort and it’s conditions was pretty fun. Sky however wasn’t prepared for the Irish winds that prevailed us.

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We continued to walk around and small droplets of rain began falling on us. The wind was vicious and I became utterly grateful for my North Face wind impermeable jacket. Things became a little better as another rainbow showed up.

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After almost being picked up off the edge of the fort, the group made our way back to the bus. I didn’t quite know what was going to happen next, but we made our way along the quaint country side.

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We reached what is called “The Old Head” in Kinsale. Here lays the domain of beautiful cliffs and green scenery. However, the wind did not leave us at the fort. So again, these pictures look full of warmth and perfect sunshine, just know that we were far from peace. Evidence give by the whipping of our hair.

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It was an absolutely beautiful view. You could almost hear the ocean when the wind calmed. The waves were fierce and I thought for a few moments the wind was gonna have it’s way with me and I would soon be below and join the powerful dance shown by the rocks and waves.

As if that wasn’t a close enough view of the Irish sea, our next stop was at a beach. There were a few lads that were wind surfing. It was a very courageous feat, however, I am not sure if I would ever brave these winds like that. Sky and I took a few fun pictures.

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After our trip with the beach we headed into town, where the wind wasn’t as chaotic. Sky and I wandered around and ended up sitting in a bar and talking most of the free time we were given. It was good to laugh and exchange stories. Even though we kept in touch through Facebook and Skype, it was really nice to finally sit face to face. We explored Kinsale and enjoyed the sun.

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We met up with our group and made our way back to Cork, however we were given one more rainbow before we left.

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Once back in Cork, we still had a whole day to ourselves. We wandered around, ate burritos and got ready for the evening. I invited my friends over to my flat to play some music, hang out, and have them meet Sky before going out on to the town. My Irish friend from Ballincollig even ended up visiting us!

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The next day was full of movies and relaxing. I think we made it out of the flat once, and that was to get pizza. I know we’re in Ireland and we should be taking advantage of the time together, but nothing felt so normal as staying in and just having a regular day with my best friend. In fact it was a bit of a relief to have things be normal like they were at home. That night we tried making guacamole. I got sick the next morning due to the fact that our avocados weren’t ripe, or they were just bad in general. So Monday started off pretty rough. I almost lost 500 words of my paper as well due to the sudden converting of document to JPEG. Monday was also my registration day. I got a bit of excitement as I received all the classes for the next semester at Saint Mikes. We then went out to venture around Cork once more. I showed her a few of my favorite places.

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We ended up going shopping and both treated ourselves to some discounted Irish sweaters.

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That night we met up with my friends again at one of our preferred bars, Suas.

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Sky ended up bonded quite a bit with a few of my friends. Jessie has a very similar personality to her and it was a bit refreshing to see my two worlds collide.

The next day I had two classes. I let Sky sleep during my fiddle class, but brought her to my religion class. She got to revisit my inner nerd. It was a bit humorous as she was doodling my professor and made good fun at the fact that I had my hand up at every question. We had a break for a discussion and a few of the Irish student were impressed by her drawing of our professor. Schuyler is an art major, and is quite talented. So this drawing ended up being a masterpiece.

We got back and packed her up to get her ready for her trip home that would occur right after Blarney. She had a 8am flight in Dublin, which means she had to take an overnight bus to get there on time. her packing skills were quite impressive.

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That night at Blarney, I really got to show off my world to her. Tuesday nights are my favorite nights. She ended up having a great time and was a great supporter as I showed off my dancing and fiddling. But I’m glad she came, because I promised her that my time in Ireland wasn’t just sitting around, eating, napping and classes.  My time in Ireland is showcased every Tuesday.

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So we went back to my place for a few hours and then I brought her to the bus station around 2am. She safely got on the bus and we bid our goodbyes. However, this goodbye was a little more comforting because I would be going to England for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. It was truly great to see her because a little bit of home was finally re-planted in my heart.

So I shall end here. I suppose I should go with one adventure at a time. So my theme? if you keep your head up and even with the struggle of the wind, or the struggle of bad avocados, life is still life, and it’s quite beautiful.

Sláinte!

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