Life Stuff

Blog-iversary!

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I know you all woke up this morning thinking “today is a special day!” And you were right. It’s the day of the blog-iversary. My personal favorite day of the year. There are some big changes in the future of the Guthe household and with big change comes big responsibility. Luckily, there is a special place for all that. Right here. On the world wide web. For the whole world to share.

The end of internship marks the beginning of adult life. And what a better way to start adult life than by celebrating a blog (that I have neglected for the past three years)?! Maybe I should’ve put “write more” on my list of things to do this year…

As for now, we shall celebrate the only way we know how. With cake. And ice cream. And moving boxes.

Until next time, fellow BFs!

Life Stuff

Audiobook Adventures

Happy Fourth of July week to you all! I hope you’re out there enjoying the weather. I don’t know how it’s been throughout the rest of the world but here in Iowa, it has been just glorious. Sunny days with cool-ish temperatures–especially for late-June/early-July.

I’ve been spending a lot of my summer indoors because all of my jobs are inside jobs. I do get to go out on bike rides and long walks during the evenings. But I often stare longingly out the windows when I’m at most of my jobs. One of my jobs doesn’t have a window and it is a pretty monotonous job. So, I decided to tackle one of the items on my yearly list and listen to an audiobook. Previously, I had been listening to podcasts, mainly, Stuff You Should Know. One of their ads was for Audible. A one-month trial membership with one free audiobook. How could I resist? I looked through the list of books I wanted to read and chose Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes as my free book of choice. Later, I found out that I could’ve rented this audibook from my library. Now, I’m a newbie when it comes to audiobooks and had I known that I could rent audiobooks from my library, for free, I would’ve chosen something that I couldn’t get from the library for free. But either way, this book was free.

This was a first for me on a couple of levels. It was my first audiobook. It was also my first Stephen King novel. I haven’t had someone read me a story for a long time and I wasn’t sure if I would actually retain the plot if it were read to me. I’ve always had a frustrating time with reading and retaining information. Which is one of the reasons grad school is annoying–so much reading, not a lot of retaining information. Usually when I read books for pleasure, I don’t remember specific details about the book, I just remember how the book made me feel. Like when I read Still Alice, I remember liking the book and feeling moved at the end. But if you ask me to recall specific scenes, it would be difficult for me to do. This whole reading comprehension thing has plagued me my whole life. I remember getting terrible scores on standardized tests in reading comprehension. Eh, I digress. I found that I retained more details when I listened to the audiobook! Even now, after have “read” (aka listened) to two other books, I can remember specific scenes from Mr. Mercedes. Which may not be impressive to you, but it is to me!

I really enjoyed King’s novel. I’ve read other reviews that say that Mr. Mercedes ventures away from King’s typical writing style. This is basically just a murder mystery without his supernatural tendencies. I’m a fan of mysteries and thrillers so this was right up my alley. It’s about a retired detective who is haunted by an unsolved case–a man drove a Mercedes into a crowd of people waiting in line outside of a job fair. Years have passed since the incident but it remains unsolved. “Mr Mercedes” reaches out to the retired detective through a letter and taunts him about never being able to solve the case. Instead of turning the letter over to the police, the detective begins to investigate on his own. There are some disturbing passages about the life of “Mr Mercedes” sprinkled throughout the book–he obviously has some issues since he chose to drive a car into a crowd of people. Overall, this was a great first audiobook to listen to. The second book in the trilogy, Finders Keepers, came out last month and I am in line to rent it from the library!

Overall, I’d rate Mr. Mercedes as a good mystery novel. It’s a light read/listen but you do have to pay attention.

Since my first experience with Mr. Mercedes, I have started two additional audiobooks! I started The Alchemist, but couldn’t finish it…I did not have the same experience that apparently everyone else who read it did. I’m currently listening to Lock In by John Scalzi which is great, so far! But if you decide to read or listen to it, you’ll want to read the prequel novella Unlocked first, it explains a lot and will help you to understand what is happening from the beginning.

That’s all for now, tune in next time for another installment of Audiobook Adventures.

That might not happen. Don’t hold your breath.

Until next time, fellow BFs!

Life Stuff

Summer Winds Down…A Year Gone By

I think summer always goes by too fast. Soon, I may not have a summer so I guess I should be thankful that I at least get some “down” time. Even if “down” really means “not going as fast as I usually go”.IMG_2438.JPG

This summer has been a ton of fun and I’m not saying that it’s over yet, but it’s drawing to a close. Boone and I have put over 500 miles on our bikes and we plan to do some big rides as the summer comes to a close. I’ve crossed several things off of my list of things to do this year which is good because once school starts, it is going to be really difficult to get those things done. We’ve gone to festivals galore this summer including the Trek Fest in Riverside, IA, Blues and BBQ in North Liberty, IA, Solon Beef Days in Solon, IA, and the Sweet Corn Festival in Cedar Rapids is this weekend. We’ve seen a lot of really cool music at all these festivals. And I’ve gotten to spend some quality time with my family and soon some quality time with Boone’s family! IMG_2996.JPG

Summer has gone by fast. But the past year has gone by even faster! It’s really crazy to think that we’ve been up here for a year. I will say that I’ve learned a lot over the past year. First and foremost, being away from family is hard. I thought when we moved that I would be fine because I’ve moved a lot in the past. I thought that Boone would have a difficult time being away from his family because he grew up in Knoxville and this was his first big adventure away from the south. Boy was I wrong. I’ve been the one who has struggled to be away from friends and family. I’ve been the one who comes home crying because I just want to go home. And as much as this house has become our home, I can definitely still feel a hole in my heart. 

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Now before you think all bad thoughts, I will say that there have been many blessings to moving so far away. Spending our first year of marriage away from everyone and everything that we know has been a blessing. Boone and I have come to rely on each other for support. If I have a bad day, I know that he’s going to be ready with an open heart to listen to why it’s been bad and if he has a bad day, he knows I’m there to do the same. If we have a disagreement, we sit and work it out. We can’t run right down the road to our family because we “want to get away for a minute”. We go to our separate corners of the house until we’re ready to talk and then we talk about it. We rely on each other and have built a strong foundation of trust and encouragement for each other. Most people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. We didn’t have a chance to go through a difficult time because we packed up everything we owned and moved 14 hours away from everyone. We learned quickly how to live with one another, we adjusted well to living with each other, and we moved on to tackle bigger and more challenging feats. During the times when I feel the saddest about being so far from home, I think about those things and realize that that in itself would be reason enough to spend a couple of years away from everything that we know. Having a strong foundation on which to build our marriage will be worth it in the long run! 

I have wondered many times over the past year if we made the right decision to move up here. And sometimes I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do know is that music therapy is the right career for me. Without a doubt. And that knowledge is one of the only reasons we’re still up here. If I felt like I was wasting my time, I wouldn’t go through with finishing the program. But when I’m put in a music therapy setting, my heart is at peace. My sadness of leaving my family and Boone’s family is quieted. For that 30-45 minute session, I am happy. The ultimate goal is to push through the next three semesters of course work so that I can do my internship and we can move closer to home! 

This has been a somewhat ramble-y post. And part of the reason for that is because my brain is going about 1,000 miles per hour. There’s a lot on my mind and no real direction. But I haven’t posted much about my experience up here. Mainly because I want my blog posts to be happy and exciting. But, life isn’t always happy and exciting. And I think that’s okay. It’s just taken me a while to realize that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss your family. It’s okay to feel frustrated. It’s also important for me to remember to stay positive and hopeful that the next three semesters will be easier than the past year. That I won’t come home crying most days out of the week. That I can stay strong and finish what I started! 

And before I leave you with this post you should know that I’m thankful for a lot of things. I’m thankful for a supportive husband who has put up with a lot of tears over the past year. I’m thankful for loving parents who have shown more generosity and love than I can ever express. I’m grateful for new friends who help pass the time. I’m grateful for old friends who write me letters that show up at the exact moment I need them most. And most importantly, I’m grateful for the experiences and education I am lucky enough to receive. 

Thanks for reading that. Here’s a picture of Solstice and Finley who choose to eat breakfast and dinner perpendicularly. IMG_2827.JPG

Until next time, fellow BFs!

Life Stuff

3 Books in 3 Days

Well, apparently when I’m at the beach I like to read. I don’t usually like to read because I never remember anything that I’ve read. I have a terrible memory. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, pasta.

Pasta is delicious. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love pasta. The different types and flavors! How can anyone feel differently about pasta?

As I was saying…I’ve read three books in three days. And for those of you who know me, that’s a huge thing. It’s basically like climbing Mount Everest. So I thought, for your enjoyment, I’d write about my experience.

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The first book I read was Burned by Ellen Hopkins. I’ve read several of her books before. This one was a little bit different because it wasn’t about Meth. It was about a Mormon girl who is struggling with her faith because of her situation at home and at the church. Several things occur and she ends up going to live with her Aunt for a summer. I think Ellen Hopkins might be one of my favorite authors. Several reasons: 1) her books are quick reads B) her writing style is unique iii) they’re usually really believable. I’d definitely recommend this book to my friends. And family. In fact, my sister-in-law has it right now because I told her to read it and she does whatever I say. (That’s supposed to be funny because she’s sitting right next to me while I write this. Even though she doesn’t know I’m writing about her. She maybe never will. She probably doesn’t even read my blog. And if she does then she’s probably laughing right now. You’re the best sister-in-law that anyone could ever ask for and I’m so glad you’re fun to hang out with. Don’t even let anyone [Neal] tell you any differently.)

Rating: Image

ImageThe second book I read was by Ellen Degeneres. First and foremost, she has to be my favorite talk show host and all-around person right now. Mainly because I like the way she lives her life. Let’s not get into the argument over religion and marriage and whether or not gay people should have the same rights. I don’t want to argue that here or anywhere because that’s a waste of your time. I want to say that she has some of the best ideas on how to be a good person and I respect her for that. And her book shares what some of those ideas are! And there’s some coloring book pages for those of us who get bored while reading every once in a while. She really knows how to appeal to the masses.

Rating: Image

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Last but not least, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I think I enjoyed this book because I felt like I could really relate to pretty much all of her stories. Minus the whole working at NBC and writing for The Office. Which I really think would be awesome. And I think they should bring back the show so I could write for it. I would be a good writer. As you can tell. (See above musings.) I recommend this book as well.

Rating: Image

I have yet to read a 5-star-knock-me-out-of-the-park-book this week. But the night is young, fellow BFs!

Until next time, … fellow…BFs.

PS – I may not write as good as I thought.

Musical Experiences, Travel

Belfast Happenings

Day 1 – Titanic Museum, Concert at St Nicholas’ Church

Belfast was a lot different than Dublin. Even after spending almost a week in Dublin, I still didn’t feel like I was in Ireland. I had a hard time believing that I was actually in another country. I think mainly because it’s such a big city with so much to offer. Belfast was a little bit further spread out so it seemed a little more like what I pictured Ireland to be in my mind. We decided to go check out the Titanic Museum first and foremost. I didn’t realize it, but the Titanic was launched from a port in Belfast. And the museum is built on that port! Since it was the 100th anniversary of its sinking (is that really what you would call it? The anniversary? That seems wrong…) it was even more special to me!

The Titanic Museum in Belfast

I think one of the most interesting parts of this museum that I haven’t seen in museums that I’ve visited before is the amount of technology that was used. When you walked into the first room, there were huge walls with Belfast as it was in 1912 and there were projected images of shadows walking through the streets. Meagan tried to walk with one of them but she had to practically run to catch up to them! I haven’t been to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge so I can’t compare the one in Belfast to the one here in TN but I loved walking through and seeing the carpet samples, and what the rooms would’ve looked like. There was even a five minute ride that you could take through “the shipyard” and you got to see the different conditions that the workers were working in. At one point, you took an elevator up 70 feet and when you got off the elevator a voice over the speaker system told you that workers were typically up three times as high with no safety harnesses. And that less than 10 people died the whole time they were building the ship! My favorite fun fact of the Titanic trip…the rudder was 78 feet tall. SEVENTY-EIGHT FEET!

Yes, that is a person standing at the bottom of the rudder to give you an idea of how huge that thing was!

After our trip to the Titanic Museum, we had to go back to Queen’s University to get ready for our concert at St Nicholas. I think I was most excited about this concert because I kept telling myself that I was singing at Santa’s church.

The concert was beautiful and the food they fed us in between rehearsal and the concert was amazing! I loved every single bit!

Day 2 – Carrickfergus (train ride!), dumpster experience, Queen’s University photo and surprise!

Today Meagan, David, Ben, and I decided to head out away from the city. We headed to the bus stop in the morning and tried to figure out where to go. We decided on a couple of destinations but realized that we wouldn’t be back in time for rehearsal so we took the train to Carrickfergus. We knew there was a castle there and, for me, that’s all I need and I’ll get on the train! Plus, since one of my 25 Before 26 things is ride a train, I figured this was the perfect chance!

Ben and I on the train to Carrickfergus!

When we got to the small town, we headed straight to the castle. It was an interesting castle experience to say the least. As we were walking up to the castle we heard current pop music blaring from right outside in the parking lot. So the whole time we were touring the castle, we heard Katy Perry and the likes from outside. Very authentic.

We left the castle, had some fish and chips, and headed back to Belfast. When we made it back to the city, we had to catch a bus back to Queen’s University. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong bus. We took 8A instead of 8B. We figured they would be on similar routes but when the locals realized that we were anxiously looking at a map trying to figure out where we were, they graciously told us we were on the wrong bus and that we had to get off and walk back to Queen’s. So…that’s what we did.

Unfortunately, all of us had to pee. Bad. And we didn’t have much time to get back to the University. We all couldn’t walk fast because we were trying not to pee on ourselves. So…

I won’t explicitly say what did or did not take place near or around this dumpster. But the satisfied looks on our faces should explain enough…

Luckily, we made it back to the University on time . We had to be in our University of Tennessee polo shirts and ready for rehearsal by a certain time so we ran back to our room and changed. As soon as we changed we went back to meet the rest of the Chamber Singers and started walking. Back in the direction that we had just come. We all thought we were going to take a picture in front of Queen’s University (aka Harry Potter University) and then going to rehearsal. So…we took pictures in front of Queen’s…

Queen’s University

And then we headed inside for a “photo opp” and then, according to Dr Batey, we were going to rehearse after that. But when we walked inside Queen’s, there was a surprise fancy-schmancy dinner for all of us!

The dinner was awesome and so much fun. Dr Batey really knows how to surprise!

Day 3 – Lisbane post office, Down Patrick Cathedral, Botanic Inn (again), David Pegel sign language

Today, on our way to Down Patrick’s Cathedral, we stopped at the Lisbane Post Office for lunch and dessert. It was the cutest little post office you ever did see!

Cute little post office!

We had a fantastic lunch and an even more amazing dessert.

The selection of desserts!

After we finished lunch we headed up to Down Patrick, where Saint Patrick is buried. We rehearsed when we arrived and got ready for the Evensong. Unfortunately the local papers had advertised the Evensong at 5:oopm but we were singing at 3:00pm so there wasn’t a huge crowd.

The organ at Down Patrick
St Patrick’s grave

Day 4 – Northern Coast!, Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Portrush

This day will mainly be pictures. We left early in the morning to explore the Northern coast of Ireland and after a Long…LONG bus ride, we finally made it to our first stop. The Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge! It was 100 feet in the air and super exciting to walk across!

Looking back across after crossing the rope bridge.

Our next stop was the Giant’s Causeway. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I don’t think I ever would’ve guess this…

The Giant’s Causeway

Walking up the stones of the Giant’s Causeway

After we left the Giant’s Causeway, we headed toward Dunluce Castle. At this point of the day, it had started snowing. This was by far the coldest day of the trip! And it was the day we were outside the whole time!

Part of the castle.
Sitting in a window of the castle

Last but not least we headed to Portrush for dinner!

Dinner…and of course, Irish coffee!
Please. Show dogs in transit. Don’t get too close.

The tour of the Northern coast was by far my favorite part of the trip thus far. We got to see so much of what I had pictured as “Ireland”. Even though it was gloomy and cold, I think that’s what my mind pictured when I thought of Ireland.

Day 5 – Black Taxi Tour of Belfast, climbing the bonfire, Bangor Abbey, reception at the Old Inn, hilarious bus ride back

Last day in Belfast was well-spent. We decided to get up and go see the peace walls and murals. Since it was almost the 12th of July (a major Protestant holiday) we decided not to walk. We took a Black Taxi tour instead and looking back on it, that was definitely the best way to go. We had an awesome tour guide and he took us all over Belfast to see the peace walls, bonfires, gates between the two religious neighborhoods, and murals.

It’s hard to tell how tall this gate is but it was over 30 feet tall. It closes at a certain time during the day and locks so nobody can get in or out. (Also, sorry about the reflection.)
This was probably the weirdest and most eery mural of them all. No matter where you stood in the neighborhood, this guy was always pointing his gun at you. It was a mural used for intimidation. And it worked.
The same mural from a different standpoint.
Standing at another stop facing the mural.
Meagan and I climbed the bonfire that they built for The Twelfth.
Signing the peace walls.
My favorite mural on the peace wall

After our tour of the peace walls and murals, we had to get ready for our last concert at Bangor Abbey. We stopped and had tea and scones with the Lord Mayor of Bangor.

After tea and scones, we left for Bangor Abbey and got ready for our last concert.

Our last concert was amazing. It was so musical and we were all very connected to Dr Batey and the music. After our concert, Dr Batey had one last surprise up her sleeve! We headed toward The Old Inn for a celebratory drink and toast!

Toasting an amazing trip with sparkling grape juice.

On the way back from The Old Inn, it was late, we had a little drink in us, and we were all relieved to be at the end of an amazing and wonderful trip so I think everyone cut loose a little bit. Simon usually acted as tour guide as we were busing around Ireland but on the way back, a different person decided to take Simon’s place as tour guide. He showed us the “oldest curve in Ireland”, the “oldest sidewalk in Ireland”, etc. It was fun to let go and enjoy the rest of the evening. A hilarious you-had-to-be-there moment!

In my next post, we’ll talk about what happened in Dingle! After the Chamber Singers left, Meagan, David and I stayed in Ireland for another week. You’ll hear about that soon!

Until next time, fellow BFs!

Life Stuff, Musical Experiences, Travel

Dublin Experiences

Well, it’s been almost a month since I took off on my adventure to the Emerald Isle! I finally have the time to sit down and blog about my trip and all my experiences! Even though I have yet to unpack from the trip, I’ve decided to prolong the inevitable as much as possible. So as to not overwhelm you, I will begin with my Dublin experiences. I’ll save Belfast and Dingle for another blog post!

And…action!

Day 1 – Travel

The trip began with a very long travel day, as you might imagine. The travel agent broke our group into two flights and my flight was the earlier one so I had to be at the airport at about 10:30 for my flight that left around 12:30. I woke up and got all my stuff together and Boone took me to the airport. We stopped at Starbucks and had one last breakfast together before I left. When I got to the airport, I waited on Meagan before I went through security. Then we had to say our goodbyes. Goodbyes are always difficult. I didn’t cry though! Surprisingly…

Then we were on our way! We finally made it to Chicago and had a 5 hour layover. We got word that the second plane’s flight got delayed to the point where they would miss their flight to Dublin. But we got confirmation from a airline attendant in Knoxville that they would hold our plane to Ireland until flight 2 landed in Chicago. Well, when it was time to board our plane, apparently the people in Chicago and Knoxville did not agree because the airline attendant in Chicago was not going to hold the plane for anyone. So…flight one got on board. While flight two was in the air to Chicago. Dr Batey left a message that they would be taken care of and when flight two landed in Chicago…I’m sure it was a very unexpected and upsetting surprise that they were going to be spending the night in Chicago, rerouted through London the next day, and wouldn’t make it to Dublin until July 2nd.

The three musketeers ready to take flight from Knoxville!

Meanwhile, on the plane, flight one tries to sleep on the plane. I couldn’t sleep at all. And I got to watch the sun set in America and rise in Ireland. One of my favorite experiences I had the whole trip. Just an interesting thing to be able to say! We landed in Dublin, walked through customs, and began our trip to Trinity College.

Day 2 – First Day in Dublin

When we arrived at Trinity College, we discovered that Meagan and I’s room was not ready quite yet. So Meagan and I dropped our luggage off in the accommodations office and David dropped his luggage off in his room. And we decided to wander around Dublin until our room was ready! There was so much to see and it was so early on Sunday morning so not very much was open. But we walked around until about 1:00pm. (Keep in mind that we have been up for over 24 hours at this point.)

The main square at Trinity College
The Temple Bar – a very famous bar in Dublin in the Temple Bar area. Also where we spent the 4th of July.
This was the wall at the Brazen Head (the oldest pub in Ireland established in 1198. I’ll give that a minute to sink in…)

By the time Meagan, David, and I were at Brazen Head eating lunch, we realized how tired we were. Probably because we had some of the best potato and leek soup I’ve ever tasted. It was very warm in our bellies and we were ready for bed. But we decided we were going to power through the day so we didn’t experience as much jet-lag.

After Brazen Head, we headed back to Trinity College to get ready for the Choral Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. This would be the first time I heard a Choral Evensong performed by a Cathedral choir live so I was very excited about it! Also very exhausted. The evensong was phenomenal. Listening to the Christ Church choir was amazing and awe-inspiring. I wanted to join them and have them teach me their ways! I was also very exhausted and at times found myself nodding off. I tried to play it off like the music had taken over my soul. It probably didn’t work but oh well.

After the Evensong, our group went across the street to have our first Irish dinner! We ate at the Bull and Castle pub and I had Guinness Pie. At this point in the evening, I felt a little loopy and we were laughing at anything and everything. Jet-lag can be hilarious. Especially when you’re with a group that is just as jet-lagged as you are.

After dinner, we went back to Trinity and tried to keep our eyes open for as long as possible. Around 11:00pm, we went to bed and got the best sleep EVER!

Day 3 – Jameson Tour and St Patrick’s Cathedral

The next day, it was pretty easy to wake up. I was surprised. Granted, we didn’t make it down to breakfast until about 9:15 and it ended at 9:30. But we made it to breakfast nonetheless. Dr Batey seemed to find it pretty amusing when we walked into the cafeteria! I guess she didn’t think we would even make it down! We decided that morning that we were going to wait until Ben arrived before we went to visit the Guinness Storehouse so we chose the next-best-thing — the Jameson Distillery.

After we got ready, we headed toward Jameson. We walked everywhere in Ireland and today was no different. Unfortunately, we were following David and he got us lost. Several times.

It also rained almost every day. Which is why, in all my pictures, you’ll see me in my blue rain jacket
Trying to figure out where we’re supposed to be going.

Once we made it to Jameson, we had about 30 minutes before the tour started. We knew we would be cutting it close to getting back to Trinity on time for our rehearsal, but we had come this far! If we hadn’t gotten lost, we would’ve had more time at Jameson but we decided to go ahead with the tour. The tour was really nice. It was a guided tour around the distillery and at the end you got to try Jameson. Meagan and David Pegel even got to do some taste-testing! They got to try Johnnie Walker Black, Jameson, and Jack Daniels! We thought that was very appropriate and the tour guide asked if anyone was from Tennessee. When we all cheered she said “Well, I guess I can’t say what I usually say about Jack Daniels then!”

After our tour and taste-testing we had to book it back to Trinity College. We walked as fast as we could walk and got back around 1:50 (we were supposed to meet at 2:00 to walk to St Patricks). Meagan and I ran up to our room, grabbed our music and dresses, and walked back down to the court yard. We made it back down to the courtyard right before 2:00pm but we didn’t see David, or any of the other Chamber Singers so we stood in the court yard and waited for a couple of minutes. We soon saw about three other Chamber Singers coming toward us so we wondered if the rest of them were just not back yet. We thought that David would’ve waited on us since he was with us when we got back to Trinity. Around 2:05, we started wondering if the rest of the Singers had left. So we started to walk toward the Cathedral. But then we started worrying that they would be waiting for us in the courtyard and that they would be mad if we weren’t there. So we stood around for about five more minutes and waited for a little while longer.

*pause* Let me just tell you how frustrating it is not being able to get in touch with people because you don’t have cellphone service/access.

Around 2:10pm, we decided to just go ahead and walk toward St Patrick’s Cathedral. And guess who we saw when we walked up to the front of the Cathedral. The rest of the group. Of course. Dr Batey wasn’t very happy with us…and we tried to explain what happened but at the same time, flight 2 had just arrived so it was neither the time, nor place, to try to explain.

The outside of St Patricks Cathedral
The inside of St Patricks Cathedral

We warmed up and got ready for our first choral evensong service. It was a phenomenal experience and we were all very excited (and also very tired!) After the evensong service, Flight 2 got to go to the Bull & Castle to have their first Irish meal and Meagan, David, and I went to have kebabs. Meagan and I decided to go out after dinner to hear some Irish music. We ended up at the Old Storehouse and saw a great duo of Irish musicians. And they ended up singing “Tell My Ma” which was a song that we sung in choir so the big group of Chamber Singers that were also at The Old Storehouse all chimed in during the chorus. It was a great first pub experience!

Day 4 – Slept in until noon, wax museum, The Church Bar, St Patrick’s Cathedral

So remember yesterday when I said that it was easy to get up? Meagan and I had the best of intentions to get up and go exploring. We set our alarms for 8:00am. Snoozed them. Set them again for 9:00am (for breakfast). Snoozed them. Set them again for 10:00am. Snoozed them again. And then turned them off. We woke up at noon. And to tell you the truth, I probably could’ve slept for longer. But I knew that we had to get up! So we reluctantly got up and decided to head toward the Wax Plus Museum.

Needless to say, it was a very interesting experience. I had never been to a wax museum before so when we walked into the first room, I was a little overwhelmed. The two of us walked into the “Writers Room” which was a room full of writers (go figure) and it felt like there were eight of us in the room. I wanted to touch them…because they looked so real. And I kept waiting for them to move. Or blink. But they never did. It was very strange for the most part.

At one point, Meagan and I walked into a room of athletes. I wanted to take a picture of one but there was someone in front of me so I was waiting behind them. I turned around to see where Meagan was and didn’t see her. When I turned back around the person in front of me was still standing there so I started to walk around them to start taking pictures at the other side of the room. As I started around them, I realized…it was a wax figure…

Can you blame me…? They look so dang real!

After the Wax + Museum, we had to go back and meet Chamber Singers for our second performance at St Patricks Cathedral. The Evensong went very well and the jet-lag was not as present in this performance. After our Evensong, we decided to head toward a famous bar called The Church Bar. It was apparently a church they turned into a bar.

Unfortunately, there was a pretty large group of us and it was a very busy bar, so it was hard to find seats for all of us. So a smaller group broke off and went to T.P. Smith’s for dinner. Another pub. And more great food.

Day 5 – Fourth of July!, Guinness Storehouse, Horse carriage ride, Christ Church Cathedral 

Happy Fourth of July! It was slightly easier to wake up this morning. Meagan and I went down to breakfast and met Ben and David. We decided we wanted to go see the Kilmainham Gaol Jail and the Guinness Storehouse because we had quite a while before we had to be back for our Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. We got on the tram that ran through Dublin to head toward the jail. I think we accidentally got a free ride because we weren’t sure how to pay for the tram. Oops…

 

When we arrived at the jail, the next tour wasn’t leaving for another hour so we decided (thanks to Ben) to just take pictures and pretend like we visited and then leave to go to Guinness. That’s what we did…

I was here.

After we left the jail, we started walking toward Guinness Storehouse. And guess what. We got lost. I know, I know…it’s hard to believe. But we did. So it took us longer to get there than it should’ve. We were supposed to meet Meagan’s roommate Elise at the Storehouse since she was in Ireland visiting her sister. When we got to the Storehouse, we couldn’t find Elise but the guys were ACHING to go through the Storehouse so we told them to just go ahead. We eventually found Elise and Meagan, Elise, and I started through the Storehouse. And when we got to the floor where you got to taste a Guinness, we saw David ALREADY DRINKING A GUINNESS! After I waited a whole year to have a Guinness. After I made a huge deal about having my first Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse with my three best friends. Him and Ben already had their Guinness. I was really angry. But Meagan waited for me to have one so that made it better.

We finally got to the top floor, the Gravity Bar, and had our beers together (Me, Meagan, and Elise because Ben and David are jerks)

Waiting for the Guinness to settle so they can top it off.
My finished Guinness!

After we finished our Guinness, we had to walk to Christ Church Cathedral for our next Evensong service. Since I had one and a half Guinness I was a little bit Guinness-ey. And when we walked outside, David, Meagan, and I saw a line of horse and carriages. I got really excited and decided to pay the 20  euro to take a horse and carriage to rehearsal. It was the best 20 euro I spent the whole trip!

The Evensong we performed this night was our 20th century set where we performed David Pegel’s Magnificat and nunc dimittis. We also sang Ola Gjeilo’s Sanctus. They were all fantastic. It was so much fun. I think that was by far my favorite Choral Evensong that we did. After the Choral Evensong, we went back to Trinity to drop our stuff off and we got ready for the 4th of July evening! The celebrations began. And they lasted for forever. A group of us closed down the Temple Bar at around 2:30am. The bouncer kept having to tell us to leave. Finally, I grab Meagan and tell her it’s time to go. We head back to Trinity and to close out our night. It was a lot of fun and we had a fantastic 4th of July. But I have to say…I definitely missed the fireworks.

Day 6 – Travel to Belfast

We got up the next morning and had to have the busses loaded at around 10:00am. After we loaded the busses we had until around 2:00pm to venture through Dublin one last time. David and Meagan wanted to go see the Book of Kells. I didn’t really want to see it because I didn’t know what it was or why it was important. So I sat outside while they went through.

Here’s a picture of a pigeon.

We didn’t really have much time after they finished the Book of Kells so we walked to St Patricks and started to make our way to Belfast. On our way we stopped at Knowth. Unfortunately, I started feeling really bad while we were waiting for the bus so I didn’t get to go see the tombs. But here’s a picture that David took with my camera!

Find the David!

When we arrived in Belfast, we unloaded our luggage, checked into our rooms, and started down the road to find something to eat. Belfast is a smaller city than Dublin was so there wasn’t as much right next to Queen’s University compared to Trinity College but we found a place called The Botanic Inn and decided to stop to get something to eat. It turned out to be a really great restaurant. I had some of the best chicken curry I’ve ever had there.

A free pint with every meal ordered!

After dinner, we headed back to Queen’s and hung out for the rest of the evening. Our adventures in Belfast begin in the next blog post!

Get ready, fellow BFs!

 

Life Stuff, Musical Experiences, Travel

Ireland Diaries 2

Fear not fellow, BFs! I am in the process of blogging about my Ireland experiences! In the meantime, you may want to check out the rest of our Ireland Diaries! They’re great. My favorite is probably the last one. So if you choose to watch only one (which you should definitely not do!) you should watch that one.

Ireland Diaries Part IV –

Ireland Diaries Part V –

Ireland Diaries Part VI –

Ireland Diaries Part VII –

Enjoy! And I’ll hopefully have my first post finished my tomorrow!

Until next time, fellow BFs!