Greenery, Community, Jetlag … and Cows!
- That was a long flight
- It was an uncomfortable seat
- Somehow things were different
Others would call this experience the beginnings of jetlag. My flight took off 1.5 hours late which left me with the distinct fear that I had missed the chance to take a shuttle with my fellow Fairfielder MFAers into Galway. I entered Shannon airport already planning how I would get to the location independently, ready to dig through my bags to find the exact address of my destination. When I looked up, I found two smiling faces – Don Noel, a fellow student and amazing gentleman, and Elizabeth Hastings, or Mother Hastings as we affectionately call her. “I was afraid you guys had left,” I said. This seemed like a logical thought considering I was so late.
“We wouldn’t leave without you,” Mother Hastings said. The driver had graciously agreed to wait for me and another traveler, Raun Griffin. “Is Raun with you?” Mother Hastings asked.
Raun had texted me while I was in JFK airport. He was stuck in Newark Airport due to a rather treacherous storm that had caused the first leg of his trip to be four hours late. This delay caused him to miss the second leg of his trip which would take him to Europe. Raun’s heritage is in Ireland so this trip has a greater additional meaning. I hoped that these delays wouldn’t cause him to miss the residency. We anticipated he would be able to get onto a flight that would bring him to us on Sunday. With the last person of our group accounted for or rather, we knew where he was, I picked up my suitcase and we made our way to the bus.
I’ve been to Ireland before. I used to travel for work and was given the distinct pleasure to represent our company. I was familiar with the greenery and the friendliness of the Irish. I had never been to Galway which was an enticement for this trip. I boarded the bus to find most of the others patiently awaiting my arrival. “Thanks, guys.” Tired heads nodded and said no problem. I plopped down into my cushy seat and the bus started on its way.
I am not familiar with the history of Galway and Shannon, I will find out about it later today as we tour a bit of the area, but I am familiar with Ireland’s agricultural infrastructure, demonstrated in the rolling green hills, the vast numbers of roaming cows and sheep. I quickly realized that not everyone on the bus had the same knowledge when one of my fellow MFA’ers burst out, “Cows!” She covered her mouth in amazement.
“Yup, those are cows,” I said. I had never thought of cows as a tourist attraction but hey, to each his or her own.
We arrived without drama to Corrib Village which would become our home for the next eight days. I have my own room (yay!), my own bathroom (double-yay!) and two talented wing mates (four apartments connect and share a common kitchen and sitting area) – Destinie and Brit.
With the unpacking of our bags, and a bit of chaos in terms of what we would do next, we made our way through Galway University and into Galway City Center to meet our Irish instructors, Eva Bourke and Mike McCormick, for our first dinner in the town.
We tried to talk over the high chatter and cheering for the Galway races. We arrived on the last day of the races to find women dressed to the nines in big hats, fancy dresses, and high heels while men wore their absolute best suits and separates. Midway through our meal, the cable feed to the bar/restaurant died which meant that revelers quickly exited the bar/restaurant in favor for one that continued to have Galway Races coverage. We enjoyed the last of our meals with lesser background noise and then steadily made our way back to Corrib Village, eagerly preparing for the first day of classes.