It’s been cold here in Ireland for the past week; much colder than usual, I am told. Of course, it being Ireland, it’s a very damp cold so it chills you right to your bones! But it won’t last, or so they say.

I sit here this evening feeling a little woeful as I am starting to sense that my adventure will soon come to an end. A year is simply not long enough, alas. I can’t believe that I’ve been gone for almost seven months already. In the past month, I have come to realize how attached I have become to Ireland, thanks, no doubt, to living in the beautiful, friendly city that is Galway. The road has risen to meet me.

I have posted some photos of Galway and Salthill (the seaside resort that is 20 minutes away from me on foot) on my DeviantArt page:

November was very difficult for me. Some of you surely heard about the torrential rains and the severe flooding that Ireland experienced over the course of the month, and my county was one of the worst hit. Imagine it pouring rain like you’ve never seen every day, for a month, in combination with winds so strong that an umbrella is rendered useless. I felt like a prisoner all alone here in my little flat and my moral was very low. I tried in vain to find a job but it’s near impossible in Galway what with the recession. Finally I decided to sign up for tai chi classes on Monday evenings and to join the local knitting club, which meets every Saturday. I am so happy I did!

My tai chi classes are very relaxing and there is a guy my age by the name of Patrick who enjoys teasing me every class: “ask the Canadian, she knows”. We talked for a good hour after last class and he was kind enough to drive me home. We exchanged numbers and will surely do something in the New Year!

I absolutely adore going to my knitting group! The group consists of about 25 women from all over the world: Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, England, the States, Poland, France etc.! Most of the women are younger than me or my age but there are older ones too! We sit in a big oval and chat about anything and everything, and most of all, we laugh, a lot. I felt warmly welcomed from the start and I have come to know some of the women a little more. I have exchanged numbers with a girl by the name of Miho, who is from Japan, and we have decided to do something in the New Year! It’s great as she lives only a few minutes away from me! We had a little Christmas party a few weeks back and we did a secret Santa exchange. Here’s my group (I am the 2nd from the left in the back row):

The girl in the front is super cute; she crocheted that outfit herself! It actually makes me think of aboriginal clothing!

December was a great month for me. The weather has been outstanding; sunny every day, hardly any rain and best of all, I went to see two amazing concerts in Dublin!! That also gave me the chance to visit Ralf, which is great! The first show I went to see was The Tragically Hip!! I had the BEST night! I met up with a bunch of fellow Canadians I’d never met before (they were all SWAP participants, like me) at Whelans Pub and then we headed out for one of the best shows I’ve seen! It was a really special experience to see one of the biggest Canadian bands play in Ireland; best of all was being surrounded by a bunch of Canadians asking one another where we are from and talking about what we miss back home. I was truly lucky, as I managed to score a pass to the after party and got to meet the band! A guy I was with took pictures of me and the band but he never sent them to me. After the show, this young Irish guy started hitting on me big time and wouldn’t let up. He kept asking me to just give him 14 minutes (why 14 and not 15, I don’t know!) and went so far as to follow me outside!! I finally managed to ditch him and went to meet Ralf for a pint. We had a really nice weekend together. 🙂

The second show was The Swell Season, and this time Ralf came with me. The singers formed a band after they made the movie “Once” together, which was filmed in Dublin! It’s a beautiful movie that I saw in Ottawa with Luc. It was so lovely in fact that I couldn’t stop crying, the music just moved me so much. I even ended up getting an eye infection after! Anyway, the show was amazing, as was the opening act, who played traditional Irish music. Glen Hansard (the lead singer of The Swell Season) has a really great sense of humour and he had us sing along on more than one occasion. And as it turns out, a young Irish guy was all over me after the show, once again! Ralf asked me whether I had a magnet on me.

And recently, I have decided to enjoy my time off by knitting up a storm! I made Ralf a scarf and a hat for his birthday, I made my sister two cowls for hers and I made myself a hat! I also made a crocheted hat, which I gave to my landlady. She looks super cute in it and she was really happy!

And now I am preparing for my friend Shannon, and her friend Sarah (whom I’ve never met); they arrive here in Galway tomorrow! We will spend three days here, then we’re off to Belfast for three days and finally, we will sail & rail to Glasgow!! I’m soooo excited, especially about spending hogmanay in Glasgow, because when I went in 2007, I fell in love!

As most of you know, I’m not a Christmas person, but tonight I was sitting here knitting when I heard jingle bells and the sound of a choir. I rushed outside, camera in tow, to enjoy the group of carollers singing Gloria in Excelsis Deo on my street. The mix of fog, frost, music and lights made the experience magical and I found myself filled with the Christmas spirit. Go figure.

I know I’ve fallen behind on my blogging but every time I decide to do my Prague post, I am overwhelmed by the hundreds of pictures I took there, and the amount of stories I want to tell about my adventures, and I end up not doing it. I will though, eventually, I promise. And of course, I’ve not yet blogged about Belfast in July or Cork!

So on that happy note, I want you all to know that I really miss you and that my friends and family are dear to me. I wish you all the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year.

Sharlène xo


4 Responses to Retrospect

  1. Jan KS says:

    OK Shar – will hold out for Belfast – but it better be here!!!!

  2. Jan KS says:

    With regard to the Christmas Spirit – didn’t you miss us???? I mean Canada??? Family??? EH!!!!!!

    • europilote says:

      Hey, the last sentence was: “So on that happy note, I want you all to know that I really miss you and that my friends and family are dear to me. I wish you all the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year.”!!! 🙂

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