PÁS!!! WE PASSED!!!

Haighea a chairde,

Tá muid thar a bheith sásta a rá go bhfuair muid pás sa scrúdú sin, agus go bhfuil muid ag bogadh go Gaillimh inniú. Glacfaidh muid pairt sa treoshuíomh scoláirí idirnáisiúnta amarach (ag a 9:30 ar maidin!), agus tosnóidh muid an cúrsa an déichiú lá de mhí Mheán Fómhair. Níl muid in ann a rá caidé chomh sásta atá muid… tá muid ag fanacht leis an dea-scéal seo le míonna… le níos mó ná bliain amháin, i ndáiríre, mar chuir muid isteach ar an Fulbright agus ar an chúrsa MA an samhradh seo caite. PHEW.

Fuair Jonathan 64 mar grád, agus fuair mise 68. Bhí díomá orainn na torthaí sin a fheiceáil ar dtús, mar tá muid cleachtaithe le grádanna i bhfad níos airde ná sin ar scoil… caidé a rinne muid?? Ach ansin, mhínigh Lillis Ó Laoire (ollamh uasal ag an ollscoil a rinne an ceartúchán ar na scrúdaithe) gur grádanna ard iad sa chórás márcála in Éirinn… dá réir, marcáiltear idir 40 – 70, agus ciallaíonn marc 70% go bhfuair duine céad onóracha, an grád is airde is féidir a fháil. Ní thuigim an córás sin go hiomlán… cad é faoi na 30 pointe eile go dtí 100, cad chuige nach n-úsáidtear iad ar chor ar bith? 🙂 Ach is cuma, mar ciallaíonn sé sin go bhfuair muid grádanna ard go leor, agus tá muid breá sásta leis sin.

Mar ceiliúradh, chuaigh muid go dtí an Maghery Bay Salon inné agus rinne muid folcadh feamainne. Bhí sé suimiúil ar fad agus bhain muid neart suilt as. Bíonn an fheamainn iontach maith duit, agus glanann sé amach aon rud nimhiúil atá i do chorp. Mhothaigh mé go raibh mé i mo mhaighdean mhára, i bhfolcadh le táth breá feamainne, agus sa deirdeadh mhothaigh mé iontach suaimhneach agus glan. Ina dhaidh sin, rinne muid dinnéar “slán” do Mharian sa teach, agus chuaigh muid amach go dtí an t-Ionad Cois Locha i nDún Lúiche, fá choinne ceolchoirm le Donal Lunny, John McSherry, Padraig Ryne, agus daoine eile le cairde. Ba cheolchoirm iontach é, an céann deireanach i mbliana, agus bhí an-áthas orainn go raibh muid ansin.

Anois, tosaíonn an fíor-obair… an MA! 🙂 Beidh sos beag againn, áfach, agus i ndiaidh an treoshuíomh amarach, beidh muid ábalta ár scith a ligint ar feadh seachtaine ar a laghad… don chéad uair ó a tháinig muid go hÉirinn! Tá muid ag súil go mór leis.

Le grá,

Amanda & Jonathan

Hey there, friends,

We are delighted to say that we both passed the exam, and that we are moving to Galway today. We’ll take part in the orientation for international students tomorrow (at 9:30am!), and we’ll start the course itself on the 10th of September. We are unable to say just how happy we are… we’ve been waiting for this good news for months… for more than a year, actually, since we applied for the Fulbright and the MA last summer. PHEW!

Jonathan got a grade of 64, and I got a 68. At first we were really disappointed with those results, since we’re used to getting much higher grades than that in school… what did we do wrong? But then, Lillis Ó Laoire (a fabulous professor at NUIG) explained to us that they are actually pretty high grades in the grading system of Ireland… according to him, grades are given between 40 – 70 in Ireland (as opposed to between 70 – 100 in the US), and a grade of 70% means that the person got “first honors,” the highest grade possible. I don’t quite understand that system entirely… what about the other 30 points to get to 100? How come they’re not used at all? But I don’t really mind, since it means that we got quite high grades, and we’re really happy about that.

In celebration, we went to the Maghery Bay Salon yesterday and took seaweed baths. It was very interesting and we really enjoyed it. Seaweed is very good for you, and it cleanses your body of any toxins that might be in there. I felt like a mermaid, in a bathtub with a big bunch of seaweed, and by the end I felt very relaxed and clean. After that, we made a nice farewell dinner for Marian at the house, and then went to a concert with friends in Dunlewey of Donal Lunny, John McSherry, Padraig Ryne, and others.It was a great concert, the last one of this year, and we were really happy to be there.

Now the real work starts… the MA! 🙂 We’ll have a break, though, and after the orientation tomorrow we’ll be able to relax for about a week at least… for the first time since we came to Ireland! We’re really looking forward to it.

With love,

Amanda & Jonathan

Ag fanacht anois…

Haighea a chairde,

Bhuel, tá an scrúdú mór déanta againn, agus tá muid ag fanacht leis na torthaí anois. Bhí go maith agus ní raibh go holc, mar a deir Conchúr (ceann de na muinteóirí a bhí againn ag an Acadamh)… d’ullmhaigh na muinteórí go maith muid fá choinne an scrúdú seo, agus síleann muid go raibh sé ceart go leor. Ach níl a fhios againn go fóill, agus braitheann achan rud fá Gaillimh ar na torthaí dámanta seo, mar sin níl muid in ann ár scith a ligint go fóill. 🙂

Mar rud suaimhneach, rachaidh muid go dtí an Maghery Bay Salon inniu, chun folcadh feamainne a dhéanamh. Insíodh muid gur taithí iontach é, agus tá súil againn go mbeidh sé iontach deas agus síochanta i ndiaidh an strus a bhí orainn na míonna seo a chuaigh thart.

Beidh muid ar ais leis na torthaí go luath!

Amanda

Hey, friends,

Well, we’ve done the big exam now, and we’re waiting for the results. It was good and it wasn’t awful, as Conchúr says (one of our teachers at the Acadamh)… The teachers prepared us very well for this exam, and we think that it was fine. But we still don’t know, and everything about Galway depends on these damned results, so we’re not able to relax about it yet! 🙂

As a relaxing thing, we’re going to go to the Maghery Bay Salon today to take a seaweed bath. We were told that it’s a wonderful experience, and we hope that it will be really nice and peaceful after the stress we’ve been under for the past couple of months.

We’ll get back to you with the results soon!

Best,

Amanda

Tír Chonaill Abú!!!!

Tá muid díreach i ndiaidh ag amharc ar an fhoireann Dhún na nGall ag baint an chluiche phéil Gaelach in aghaidh Corcaí! Cluiche iontach a bhí ann, agus cé nach bhfuil mórán taithí againn a bheith inár lucht leanúna maidir le cúrsaí spóirt, bhí an-áthas agus an-sceitimíní orainn nuair a chonaic muid an bua a bhí acu. Níor bhain an fhoireann Dún na nGall an craobhchomórtais seo ar feadh ocht mbliana anuas, agus níl ach cluiche amháin le bhaint acu a bheith ina gcuradh… beidh siad ag imirt in aghaidh an oiread Baile Átha Cliath nó Maigh Eo an tríú lá fichead de mhí Meán Fómhair. Seans go mbeidh muid ann?

Caithfidh mé é a rá, tá péil Gaelach i bhfád níos suimiúla ná an formhór spóirt a chonaic mé i Meiriceá (ar ndóigh, ní ráiteas mór é sin, mar ní bhím ag leanúint cúrsaí spóirt ar chor ar bith sa bhaile…). Tá sé iontach sciobtha, tá na imreoirí chomh aclaí, agus tá an cluiche thart sula bhfuil seans agat leadrán a bheith ort! Is maith liom go mbíonn na imreoirí in ann greim a fháil ar an liathróid lena lámha, chomh maith le bheith ag baint úsáid as a gcosa… bogann an cluiche ar aghaidh níos gasta leis sin, dar liom. Agus de réir Marian, cé go bhfuil an spórt seo mar reiligiún do dhaoine áirithe, ní bhíonn nimh i láthair idir na luchtanna leanúna i ndiaidh na cluichí… is maith liom é sin. Bí dílis don fhoireann a leanann tú, ach ag deireadh an lae níl ann ach cluiche!

(Mura bhfuil a fhios agat faoi na rialacha i bpéil Gaelach, caith súil ar seo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_football)

Whew… tá sé corraitheach fós. Tá a fhios agam go mbeidh Marian agus Maitiú ag ceiliúradh anocht i mBaile Átha Cliath, agus achan duine eile faoin spéir Éireannach leo! Anois, ceiliúrfaidh mise le bheith ag déanamh píosa dinnéir dúinn (maicréal úr a fuair ár gcomharsa béal dorais inniú ón fharraige, piseanna agus rís, yum!). Deir daoine go mbíonn an t-iasc go maith don inchinn… tá súil agam go bhfuil ceart acu agus bo mbeidh muid inár saineolaíthe don scrúdú amarach! 🙂

Tír Chonaill Abú!

Amanda

We’ve just finished watching the Donegal team win against Cork in a Gaelic football match! It was an awesome game, and even though we’re not very experienced sports fans, we were really glad and excited to see them win. The Donegal team hasn’t won this championship for eight years now, and now they only have one more game to go to be the champions… they’ll be playing against either Dublin or Mayo the 23rd of September. Maybe we’ll be there?

I must say, Gaelic football is much more interesting than most sports I have ever watched in America (of course, that’s not saying much because I don’t really follow any sports at home…). It’s very fast, the players are incredibly fit, and the game is over before you have a chance to get bored! I like that players can grab the ball with their hands as well as use their feet… the game moves quicker with that, I think. And according to Marian, even though this sport is like a religion to some, there isn’t any animosity between fans after games… I like that. Be loyal to the team you follow, but at the end of the day it’s just a game!

(If you don’t know the rules of Gaelic football, take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_football

Whew… it’s still exciting. I know that Marian and Maitiú will be celebrating tonight in Dublin, along with everybody else in Ireland! For now, I’ll celebrate by making a nice bit of dinner for us (fresh mackerel that our next-door neighbor got today from the sea, peas and rice, yum!). People say that fish is good brain food… I hope they’re right and that we’ll be experts for tomorrow’s exam! 🙂

Up Donegal!

Amanda

Dhá lá níos mó… 2 days to go!

Seo Amanda ag scríobh, a chairde. Ón bhomaite seo, beidh na blaganna seo i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla ionas gur féidir linn cleachtadh a dhéanamh ar ár gcuid scríbhneoireacht as Gaeilge. Brón orm as na botúin a bheidh anseo (agus tá mé cinnte go mbeidh botúin ann!) i nGaeilge, ach caithfidh muid tosnú a dhéanamh áit inteacht. Mar a déarfá: tús maith, leath na hoibre!

This is Amanda writing, friends. From now on, these blogs will be both in Irish and English, so that we can get some practice with our writing in Irish. Sorry for the mistakes in Irish that are sure to come, but we do have to start somewhere… as they say, a good beginning is half the work! See the English version below the Irish stuff (because Irish always comes first! 🙂 )

Anseo atá muid, agus níl ann ach cúpla lá go dtí an scrúdú mór, a dhéanfaidh ár dtodhchaí. Má éireoidh linn, rachaidh muid go Gaillimh chun an cúrsa maistreacht a dhéanamh agus b’fhiú achan rud a rinne muid go dtí seo. Mura n-éireoidh… bhuel… níl a fhios againn caidé a dhéanfaidh muid, i ndáiríre, dá bhrí sin, níl mórán rogha againn ag an phointe seo ach éirigh sa scrúdú!

Agus sílim go mbeidh muid ceart go leor, i ndáiríre. Tá obair mhór déanta againn ón lá ar fhág muid Massachusetts. Rinne muid ceithre chúrsa uilig: Gael Linn ag tús Mhí Iúil, Oideas Gael ag deireadh Mhí Iúil, Gael Linn ag tús Mhí Lúnasa, agus an teagascóireacht leis na léachtóirí iontach ag an Acadamh ar an Bhun Bheag. Níl ach cúpla focal Béarla ráite eadrainn féin ar feadh dhá mhí, bíonn muid ag éisteacht le Raidió na Gaeltachta achan lá, ag léamh leabhar agus nuachtán i nGaeilge, agus ag scríobh píosaí beaga mar iontrálacha dialainne chóir a bheith achan lá. Ní thiocfadh linn a bheith níos mó buíoch de na múinteóirí iontacha a bhí againn, agus den chuidiú iontach a thug siad dúinn. Agus, ar ndóigh, tá muid iontach buíoch dár gcairde agus dár dteaghlaigh, a thug tacaíocht (de fhoirm airgid, cuidiú, loistín, teasgascóireacht sa Ghaeilge, nó aon rud eile) dúinn chun teacht anseo. Tá súil againn nach gcuirfidh muid díoma oraibh!

Tá sceitimíní orainn fá bheith ag bogadh go Gaillimh agus bheith inár gcónaí ansin, gan amhras… ach beidh sé beagán deacair Tír Chonaill a fhágáil anois, agus na cairde/gnéasáin seo déanta againn anseo. Agus tá muid díreach i ndiaidh cairde nua a dhéanamh agus a bheith níos cóngaraí dár gcairde (seanchairde agus cairde nua) i Murbhach Maolán, ar an Bhun Beag, ag an Acadamh, srl. Tá a fhios againn go dtiocfaidh muid ar ais agus níl muid ag rá “slán” go deo, agus tá sé greannmhar go bhfuil muid ag éirí brónach fá dtaobh de sula dtéann muid, fiú, ach is rud iontach tábhachtach dúinn pobal a bheith againn mar an ceann seo. Ach beidh muid ar ais, cinnte, agus tabharfaidh muid aon rud agus is féidir linn ar ais go dtí an pobal seo.

Níl “Comhrá le Chéile” ach bun-smaoineamh faoi láthair, ach nuair a bheas sé ar siúl againn tá súil agam go mbeidh sé go maith mar achmhainn amháin do dhaoine a bhfuil suim acu an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim. Bheadh neart áthais orm dá gcuideodh sé daoine i Meiriceá AGUS daoine in Éirinn… ansin, seans go mbeadh muid in ann rud a thabhairt ar ais go dtí an pobal Ghaelach. Go dtí seo, ní fhaca mé achmhainn cosúil leis, agus leis na hacmhainnaí ar an idirlíon, cuirtear an bhéim ar an ghramadach nó ar an scríbhneoireacht. Thiocfadh leis a bheith mar atá sé mar beidh barraíocht oibre i gceist leis an achmhainn labhairt seo atá beartaithe againn, ach tchífidh muid. Seans go mbeidh sé cuidiúil do dhaoine, seans nach mbeidh… ach tá súil againn go mbeidh muid in ann an tús dó a chur ar bun go luath. Caithfidh muid taighde a dhéanamh fán teicneolaíocht leis an suíomh idirlínn agus an córas labhartha a bheith againn, ach le cuidiú Dé beidh an tús déanta againn an Fómhar seo.

Anois, tá machnamh randamach scríofa agam fada go leor… rachaidh mé amach chun obair a dhéanamh sa chlós Mharian, agus an grian ag taitneamh anois. Le cuidiú Dé, beidh dea-scéal againn le roinnt libh Dé Luan nó Dé Mairt, ach scríobhfaidh muid arís ar aon nós. Slán go fóill!

Amanda

 

 

 

 

Here we are, and we only have a couple more days till the big exam, which will determine our future. If we pass, we’ll go to Galway and do the Master’s program, and everything we’ve done up to this point will be worth it. If we don’t pass… well… we don’t really know what we’ll do, to be honest, and so we don’t really have much of a choice but to pass at this point!

And I think that we’ll be fine, really. We’ve done a lot of work since we left Massachusetts. We’ve done four courses in total: Gael Linn at the beginning of July, Oideas Gael at the end of July, Gael Linn at the beginning of August, and tutoring with the fabulous lecturers at the Acadamh in Bun Beag. We’ve only spoken a couple of words in English to each other for the past two months, we listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta every day, we’re reading books and newspapers in Irish, and we’re writing small pieces like diary entries almost every day. We couldn’t be more grateful to the wonderful teachers that we’ve had, and for the help they all gave us. And of course we’re very grateful to our friends and family who gave us such support (whether in the form of money, help, accommodation, Irish language teaching, or anything else) to help us get here. We really hope we don’t let you all down!

We are excited to be moving to Galway and to be living there, no doubt… but it will be a bit difficult to leave Donegal, now that we have all these wonderful friends and connections here. And we’ve only recently made some friends and/or gotten closer to some of our friends (old and new) in Marameelan, Bun Beag, at the Acadamh, etc. We know that we’ll come back and that we’re not saying “goodbye” forever, and it’s kinda funny that we’re getting sad about it even before we leave, but this type of community is so important to us. We’ll be back, for sure, and we’ll give back anything we possibly can to this community.

Comhrá le Chéile” is but an idea at the moment, but once it’s running we hope it can be used as a resource for people wanting to learn Irish. I would be really happy if it helped people in America AND people in Ireland… then there’s a chance we could give something back to the Gael community. Till now, I haven’t seen a resource like it, and I’ve only seen Irish language resources on the internet where the emphasis is on grammar or writing. It could be that way because it may be too difficult to keep up a resource that focuses on speaking the language, as we are planning to create, but we’ll see. Perhaps it will be helpful to people, perhaps it won’t… but we hope to establish the beginnings of it soon. We must do some research about the technology necessary to set up the website and the speaking system, but hopefully we’ll have the start done this autumn.

All right, that’s enough random reflections for now… I’m going out to do some yard work for Marian, while the sun is shining. Hopefully, we’ll have good news to share with you all Monday or Tuesday, but we’ll write something one way or another. Cheers!

Amanda