Silver Linings

The lovely visage of Quaker Cottage

Expectations thrive at a certain Ulster Quaker Cottage–and these expectations are keeping me on my tippiest of toes!  Now we’ve labored through a one week up here on Black Mountain and the positive is that we not only survived but that we did have some fun mixed in with the work. Everything was a million percent better when I at least had a foggy idea of what would happen each day. I loved seeing familiar mugs among the kids. On Friday we drove out to the enchanting village of Killyleaghy where we played on impressive  swing sets and hunted for crabs along the coast of the Lough. We sang songs (fun fact: the new score to my dreams is freaking “Little Bunny Frou Frou”), ate biscuits and crisps–on the whole the entire day was jolly! The negative is that next week everything changes as we switch from the summer to the school year program. In the next few weeks we’ll lose the summer volunteers and Reid and I’ll face two daunting new challenges: driving and cooking duties.

Freaking creepy but oh so popular totem pole in the playground!

Nearly everyday I hear something about driving and how I should be doing it. We’ve been here just a week!  In addition to the obvious switch to the left side of the road, I’m so intimidated by the spaghetti vat of roads here in Belfast, the narrowness of the streets compared to the largeness of our busses, the harrowing lack of traffic regulation and the fact that the bus will be loaded with kids and mumsies.  Tomorrow I think we’ll try to drive in the parking lot; let’s hope that it all gets on much better than I’m anticipating. It’s just another hurdle to jump, a life-skill to master, shoot, if Thomas the Train or the Little Engine or whoever thinks he can then so can I? Such logic is infallible!

Next on the agenda is cooking week. So far I’m told that if your food sucks the mums won’t hesitate to fuss about it!  Then I’ve heard that its loads of fun in spite of being tasked with all the cooking for 10 mums and 10 babies and the cleaning of the kitchen plus the normal amount of work for a week. Hmpf, not scary at all? Apparently we can choose our menu, but they have suggestions. One girl told me that it helped her to cook it all on Sunday, freeze it and then thaw everyday. My mind is spinning just imagining the trauma of cooking 100 meals and snacks in a week. I hear that my time is in just 2 weeks!  Reid and I’ll have to tag-team at least the prep aspect of this. It will be quite rewarding though to if not slay then at least befriend this dragon.   Shoot again, if I can do this then my cap will nigh be made of feathers and I shall return to Texas wielding an Irish Excalibur and a picture of my new dragon buddy.

1000 and more words of hope and beauty

Is my job rewardless though? I don’t think so (see above!!!). Three amazing things happened this week that were pure and simple merciful joy:  Curry Thursday at the pub, sailing on Grant’s  (Head Quaker) yacht and experiencing St. George’s Market.  Let me describe the latter two a bit better. As I was doing a mental TGIF jig, I heard from a fellow volunteer that Grant offered to take us out on his boat. Who cares if it’s a tugboat, I say yes! So picture this: 10 of us are all out on his perfect mid-sized sailboats drinking Carlsberg’s, munching chocolates and taking in a crisp Irish twilight and sunset. It was BEAUTIFUL! We saw the little Lough-side towns, castles, cows, and a couple creatures that could have been Jr. Irish Nessies or maybe just seals! The topic is still hotly debated.  Altogether, it was perfect.

Foodie Haven of Yumness

Next I’d love to show a video of St. George’s Market, but I cannot make it work. Le boo.  At this glorious market Reid and I found a bottomless Latte stand and a plethora of delicious local foodstuffs. I had a Moroccan wrap and Reid had the biggest bap ever from “El Torro.” I love food and relish being in place where you can literally feel the love of munchies with all 5 senses.

Hmmm, I waxed a  little loquacious here, no? Let’s stop for now. I’m staaaarvvving for dinner (please huuurrrrrry up Tandoori delivery mannnnnn)!

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