On Tuesday last Reid and I went to a required child protection seminar where we worked through this True or False quiz:
“1. Children and young people represent a quarter of the population in Northern Ireland (total pop is only about 1.2 million).
2. Almost 40% of all children in Northern Ireland are living in poverty.
3. Nearly 60% of households in Northern Ireland do not have full employment.
4. It is only women who experience domestic violence.
5. There are over 8,000 young carers (like taking care of their parents/younger siblings) in Northern Ireland today.
6. Most children are abused by stranger. ”
You can probably guess most of these, but here are the answers: 1.) T 2.) T 3.) T 4.) F 5.) T 6.) F–it is usually a male family member. I would really like to see a West Belfast version of this. Again though, I know I say it all the time, but how can this be Western Europe? I’m not saying that poverty is visible everywhere you look in N.I.–it’s actually very well hidden. Even where I work which is in the slums, poverty isn’t skin deep. The houses all have these nice brick facades, most of the kids have on coats…but it’s there. Ohh yes it is. I’m only starting to notice the subtleties of it. For example a baby always may be wearing the same second-hand smoke drenched coat, or an after schooler having ill-fitting shoes or maybe a teen veiled behind a wall of apathy because they know that there’s no point in trying anyways.
On Wednesday night I hauled out of work early and as fast as our Sunny Bus could go to catch the 7PM bus to Dublin to take my GRE the next morning. Only trouble was that all this global warming or El Nino weather or whatever this brrrrr-ness is had caused all the buses to be cancelled. What? What? I was so tired and stressed and not excited about going that I wanted to just go back up, do some dishes and go to bed. But then I realized something, I paid $190 for this stupid test, maybe that’s why the charge so much for it, and I sure as heck had to try. So I managed to catch the last train out, which cost 3x the bus! I had planned to cram vocab and math formulas for the whole ride, but I never got around to it. Somehow in the mayhem of the Europa bus centre I managed to make some friends. They were straight out of Deidre Massen’s book The Women in so many good ways. My new friends were two mothers and their full grown daughters all hopefully heading to New York City for a birthday shopping weekend. They were sooo jolly and cute and absolutely determined to safely deliver me to Dublin! We sipped champagne and ate Percy Pigs for the duration of our snowy, slow ride. It was just too funny. Upon arriving to Dublin, I stubbornly refused to pay for a taxi and trod all through the snowy streets until I reached my hostel on the bank of the Liffey. My shoddy shoes were all soaked through and I couldn’t sleep partially because of my rock solid bed and my nice neighbors who turned the light on at half 2 in the morning and raucoused around for quite a while. I actually never looked at them, but put on my eye mask. Ha! In the morning I trekked probably 2 or more miles through the snow again re-icing my already wet shoes. I HAAAAAATTEEE cold, wet feet. I arrived in time for my test though, with a little help from another nice Irish lady (my Google map had sneaked out of my coat pocket!) and no help from Prometric who didn’t even have the decency to label their building. So then, cold, wet, tired, unmotivated and annoyed, I started the nefarious, life-altering, $190 GRE. In the math section I realized that I had 1 minute left and like 8 more questions, so horrified I guessed randomly. On the verbal I got really confused/bored out of my mind by the reading comprehension paragraph on the various functions of hair comb-like teeth in different species of lemurs. So by the end of the exam I was all wound up and dizzy. Monsieur GRE asks me if I want to cancel my scores, and I’m just too nosy to not know, so I accept it, good, bad and most likely ugly…
…and two impossible scores appeared on the screen. I had scored the same on math and verbal?! WHAT? Even now I’m petrified that I read the screen wrong, because I scored about 110 points higher than last time and I scored the same in math and verbal. Huh? This should put me in the “not so awful to throw out her application based upon that alone” category. YIPPEEE! I had just about given up on grad school, but now maybe just maybe I’ll do it. We’ll just have to wait and see. I went on a few more icy treks in the snow–I really like the big soft flakes–and 4 hours of snow bus ride later, voila back in Belfast.
Sooo all’s well that ends well.