Opinion

Adventures abroad

Cabbage, potatoes, folklore, castles, pubs, beauty, green, Guinness, sheep, rugby, music, rain, history. Ireland.

The Ireland Study Abroad team has only been on the Emerald Island for a week, but in that short time we have already seen the beautiful northern shore and the curious Giant’s Causeway. We have tasted some heavenly fish-n-chips and strolled in Sir Thomas and Lady Dickson’s Rose Garden. Then, on a very sober note, we walked the Peace Wall that painfully divides the Catholics from the Protestants, and is a constant reminder of the severe brokenness that flows in their country’s past.

I have to say that my favorite part of the trip so far has been the Northern Shore. I could sit for hours attempting to describe the beauty with words and never reach the true beauty the Northern Shore offers. Magnificent cliffs, clashing waves hundreds of feet below, grazing sheep, salty breeze… all of it puts you in the perfect position to experience God’s manifested presence.

I wouldn’t do this report justice if I did not tell you about one of the funniest things that we have done while here. Billy Stevenson, our team leader, took us to what he calls the “Perky Pool.” Now, depending on what gender you are, it could also be called the “Shrinky Pool” because you jump into the icy cold North Atlantic Ocean and things instantly begin to ‘perk’ or ‘shrink.’ Imagine about 20 of your fellow John Brown University students shivering on the edge of the Perky Pool and then, with behavior much like the penguins, one student falls in… then two more… then four more… then all the remaining splash into the numbing salt water. The whole point of this nonsense was that if we stayed in the water for four minutes, then Billy would buy us dinner. I am proud to say that everyone who jumped in stayed in and will be receiving a well deserved dinner from our dear Mr. Billy. You can see the priceless video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9lcPCmzH0s.

Finally, if you have not already been to Ireland, whether on the fall semester trip or the summer mission trip, then I strongly encourage you to so! You will not regret it. Also, if you would like to keep up with the happenings of the Irish Fall 2012 team then follow my blog at www.theirishshire.tumblr.com.

Farwell from Belfast Ireland,
Brandon Blackman.