Lá Fhéile Phádraig Sona Daoibh! / Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A chairde,

Go raibh Lá Fhéile Phádraig deas agaibh! Caithfidh muidne an lá ag teach ár gcara Máire Ní Ghrada, i gCluain Lára, Contae an Chláir, le roinnt ceoil agus craic! Tá beagán bróin orainn nach bhfeicfidh muid an siúl mór a bheas sa chathair inniu, ach is beag an brón atá orainn nach bhfeicfidh muid an tubaiste a bheas ann leis an ól anocht!

Mo leiscéal nár chuir mé aon rud air seo ar feadh píosa… ag deireadh an tseimeastair, tá neart le déanamh againn. Tá sé doiligh a creidbheáil gur deireadh an tseimeastair é, nach bhfuil? Níl ach seachtain go leith fágtha againn de na ranganna, ansin beidh aistí le scríobh againn faoin 19ú de mhí Aibreáin, scrúdú mór an 13ú de mhí Bealtaine, agus ar ndóigh, an tráchtas! Tá orainn toiseacht air sin anois, agus cé go gcuireann sé brú orainn, tá suim againn sna hábhair agus tá muid ag súil le taighde a dhéanamh orthu.

Bhí an-am againn i bPáras, Lucsamburg, agus an Bheilg. Ní raibh an aimsir ródheas (bhí sé ag cur sneachta i bPáras agus bhí sé iontach fuar), ach ba chuma linn! Chaith muid trí lá agus trí oíche i bPáras, ag turasóireacht. D’fhan muid le leanúin iontach, Marie-Noelle agus Rodney, i lár na cathrach, a d’aimsigh muid fríd Couchsurfers.org. Bhain muid an-sult as an chathair agus bhí sé go hiontach scéalta agus ceol álainn a roinnt le M agus R. Chuaigh muid chuig ceolchoirm le Marie-Noelle agus a cara, agus bhí an ceol ar dóigh acu… seo a suíomh idirlín: http://marienom.wix.com/ilovewow#!sound/c1t44. Mholfainn daoibh bheith ag éisteacht leis!

Ansin go Lucsamburg linn, agus thosaigh an comhdháil Fulbright. Cé go raibh muid iontach gnóthach agus ní fhaca mé mórán de Lucsamburg nó an Bhruiséil (mar bhí mé sáinnithe i léachtaí agus cuir i láthair Powerpoint i rith na laethanta), bhain mé an-sult as an chomhdháil agus ba dheis iontach é foghlaim fán Aontas Eorpach agus cad é a dhéanann siad! Bhuail muid le taidhleoirí, le baill an Chuairte Chirte, an Coimisiún Eorpach, agus NATO. D’fhoghlaim mé féin an t-uafás faoi na heagraíochtaí sin agus tá an-áthas orm go raibh an seans sin agam ó Fulbright.

Nuair a bhí mise ag an chomhdháil, bhí Jonathan ag spaisteoireacht thart fá na cathracha, ag glacadh grianghraif, ag dul go hiarsmalanna, agus araile. Bhí sé go hiontach go raibh muid ábalta fanacht lenár gcara Pádraig sa Bhruiséil – Gaeilgeoir agus Fulbright eile ar bhuail muid leis i Massachusetts. Bhí sé millteanach maith leis an mhéid cuidiú a thug sé dúinn agus muid ag ullmhú do Theastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (scrúdú cáilíochta a bhí orainn dul faoi chun teacht anseo) anuraidh. Tá post ag Pádraig anois mar aistritheoir na Gaeilge ag an Aontas Eorpach, agus bhí sé go hiontach e a fheiceáil arís ina bhaile nua.

Rud a rith liom nuair a bhí muid sna tíortha sin ná an méid ilchultúrthais/ilteangachais atá sna cathracha sin. De ghnáth, bíonn dhá nó trí theanga ag achan duine, feictear domh, agus tá neart cleachtaidh acu bheith ina gcónaí le daoine ó thíortha eile. B’fhéidir go bhfuil sé mar sin go háirithe sna ceantair gnó mar Lucsamburg agus an Bhruiséil, ach chuaigh sé i bhfeidhm go mór orm, agus ba bhreá liom gné an ilchultúrthais sin i mo shaol féin, cibé rud a dhéanaim go gairmiúil sa tódhchaí.

Anois, caithfidh muid an bóthar a bhualadh. Cuirfidh muid pictiúirí ar fáil go luath ach anois, slán agus beannacht daoibh!

Amanda

_______________________________________________

Dear friends,

May you all have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We are going to spend the day at our friend Máire Ní Ghrada’s house in Cloonlara, County Claire, for some tunes and craic! We’re a little sorry we won’t see the parade today in the city, but we’re not all that sorry we’ll miss the disastrous drinking fest that will take place here later!

I’m sorry I haven’t written here for a while… since it’s the end of the semester (already!), we have loads to do. It’s hard to believe that it is the end of the spring semester, isn’t it? We only have a week and a half left of classes, and then we’ll need to write 2 essays by April 19th, we’ll take an exam on May 13th, and of course will be working on our theses! We have to start on that now, actually, and although it’s extra work and pressure we’re interested in our topics and are looking forward to doing research on them.

We had a brilliant time in Paris, Luxembourg and Belgium. The weather was all that nice (it was actually snowing and VERY cold in Paris), but we didn’t care! We spent 3 days and 3 nights in Paris, touring around. We stayed with a lovely couple, Marie-Noelle and Rodney, who we met through Couchsurfers.org. We really enjoyed sharing stories and music with them (they’re both fabulous musicians), and really enjoyed the city, too. We had the chance to go to one of Marie-Noelle’s concerts and listen to her beautiful music… here is her website: http://marienom.wix.com/ilovewow#!sound/c1t44. I suggest you all listen to her stuff!

Then we went to Luxembourg, and the Fulbright seminar began. Although we were very busy and I didn’t end up seeing too much of Luxembourg and Brussels (since we were stuck inside attending lectures and powerpoint presentations all day), I really enjoyed the seminar and it was an amazing opportunity to learn about the European Union and what they do! We met ambassadors, members of the Court of Justice, the European Commission and NATO, and I learned a great amount about these organizations. I’m so grateful and pleased that I was given this opportunity by Fulbright.

While I was at the conference, Jonathan was wandering around and touring the cities, taking photos, going to museums, etc. It was wonderful because we got to stay with a friend of ours, Pádraig, in Brussels – Pádraig is another Irish language speaker who we met in Massachusetts. He was instrumental in our preparation for the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge exam (which we had to take to gain acceptance into this program) last year. He now has a job as an Irish language translator in the European Union, and it was wonderful to see him again and see his new life and new home.

Something that occurred to me as we were visiting these various countries was the great deal of multiculturalism/multilingualism that exists in them. Usually, somebody would speak 2 or 3 languages, it seems, and they would all have a great deal of experience with people from other countries and other backgrounds. Perhaps it’s particularly so in cities like Luxembourg and Brussels, with the business of the European Union settled there, but it really made an impression on me and I’d love to find some way to incorporate that multiculturalism into my own life, whatever I end up doing for work in the future.

Well, we have to hit the road. We’ll soon make photos available of our journeys, but for now, slán agus beannacht!

Amanda

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