Taizé! June 29th – July 6th 2014!

Hi friends! This is a very long and rambling post about my experience in Taizé, France, this summer, 2014. If you prefer videos, please check this one out! I hope you enjoy if you actually read it all! :D 

An experience I will never forget is that of Taizé. I’m not just saying that. Trust me, I’d be the most honest person to talk about my opinion. I, for one, was originally dreading ‘Christian camp’. How wrong I was. My aunt had tried to get anyone in my family to go to Taizé for YEARS. None of my older cousins ever wanted to, and looked at me like I had three heads when I told them I was going. Apparently I was “taking one for the team” by agreeing to go with my aunt to pray ten times a day and scrub the toilet for the rest of the day. I didn’t go alone, obviously. I brought my friend with me. So herself, myself, my aunt and about 20 others set off to the airport to Taizé on Sunday morning.

We checked in and mingled a little bit with the people we were travelling with. We had previously briefly met them at a talk about Taize about two weeks previously. Otherwise than that we were just on our own. The plane over was fun. My friend (K) and I were sitting together, and we basically laughed the whole way to France! We arrived in Lyon airport and collected our baggage (mine was last) and followed a bus driver to her bus. We sat down the back with two brothers, and three girls. K was super sleepy so I chit chatted with the others while she slept. We arrived to Taize and two very good looking Swedish boys came to greet one of the boys in our group. It was the beginning of a great week. 

We dragged our suitcases to a room where we got introduced to the village and received our jobs. K and I had to clean the infirmary each day at ten. We were also told our times of bible group study. After this, my aunt sorted us all into rooms. Following a map, I managed to lead my whole bedroom to a sign that said “Leaving Taize”! We actually found our room after that and I claimed a bottom bunk bed. K claimed the bed over me. My aunt came around to sort us all out and told us about evening prayer happening. Some of the girls were too tired to go, but K and I went. It was completely different to what I was expecting. Everyone was sitting on the floor and just singing. No prayers, no lectures, no ceremonies. Just beautiful harmonious singing. My butt did hurt afterwards though from sitting so long! After prayer, we headed down to the Oyak. This is a tiny shop which has tables, tents and fairy lights surrounding it where people can meet.

Don’t ask me how, because to this day I still have no idea how K and I ended up playing “the foot game” with about 10 good looking Swedish boys. One of those amazing happenings I guess. We also played “ninja”, “samauri” and something about a bus. It was quite funny though. At half eleven, the Oyak closes and Taizé turns into a completely quiet village where we are meant to sleep until the next morning. But for some reason K and I decided to follow these strange Swedish boys into the dark side entrance of the church. It seemed harmless at the time, but looking back it sounds so dodgy. At the church more songs were sang between a smaller group of people. At about half one in the morning K and myself, along with Isabelle and Ciara walked back to our room. We laughed the whole way home about how weird our night was. Our roommates were still up, and had no idea where we were. It was the beginning of an amazing week. 

K and I got up nice and early at 7am for showers. And let me tell you, being in a common bathroom with tanned Europeans can really lower a pale and freckley Irishs self esteem! We headed to morning prayer, which was the same as evening except we received holy communion. Breakfast was served afterwards. Every morning it was a bread roll, butter, two chocolate sticks and a bowl of hot chocolate.

Image from taizefrance.tumblr.com 

Our work started at 10am with a scary little nun. In the infirmary, we had to clean three bedrooms, wash the sinks, wipe the chairs and shelves, mop the floors and change the bins. It sounds long, but eventually we got the hang of things and were finished most days in forty minutes. Kate and I were usually finished earlier than everyone else, so we usually strolled around for a bit before meeting up with others.

The Swedish boys invited us to play more games and we met a group of English girls who soon became our amazing friends. We ate lunch together. Lunch was my least favourite meal of the day. It was never as nice. I usually only ate the fruit given. We would form circles when we all stood around talking which would either turn into history lessons, or games. Either option was loads of fun. At 3 o clock, we sat in an hour long lecture about I forget what and we got sorted into smaller groups. An Irish girl who we made great friends with and myself were put together in a group with two Germans, two French and two Sweeds. They were all such lovely people, even if we did have nothing in common with them! We usually had tea in our little groups before meeting back with our friends. Tea was bowls of sweet tea and a little pastry. It was cute. Personally I didn’t like the tea, but I know a lot of people who would drink five bowls of it! I think I’ll stick to my Barry’s! We would have about two hours before dinner. The Oyak briefly opened for this time so we usually played more games down there.

One day we had a giant game of frisbee. It started off with a few of us clumsy, no eye coordination Irish and a few of the Swedish lads we knew who were quite good at the game. They mainly just laughed at K and myself trying to catch the frisbee in some way. We usually always failed. But then a couple of Germans wanted to join us. They were gorgeous, of course we said yes. But it was such a hot day. As Irish natives, we were not used to sun. Or frisbees as it’s usually too windy in Ireland to play. HOWEVER, all the Sweeds and all the Germans effortlessly caught the frisbee with one hand and the other hand in the pocket and passed it on again whilst K and I lost all of our dignity by attempting to play. At one point we both just watched as the frisbee flew past us as we thought the other would go get it. We were wrong. It was hilarious. We were pretty awful, but we made good friends! Speaking of that frisbee, it got stuck on the top of one of the rooms and the lads had to lift each other up to go and get it back. It was a victorious day!

Dinner was served at seven and we always queued in the last row because that’s where the cutest Swedish boys were. Oh Christian camp priorities! Evening prayer was after this, and after that everyone headed to the Oyak. Besides from playing games, there would be musicians playing their instruments, shops open, and other various activities happening. We mainly just started all the games and all the sing songs. Everyone loved us Irish by the time we left! And of course we were the REAL Irish there.

There was a group of students from Northern Ireland who weren’t the nicest bunch of people. They had aftersun though, so we befriended them. There was like three that I would tolerate talking to again. Their leaders were really strict. They always had to be in groups of 3, they had to earn privileges, and got isolated from everyone if they disobeyed any rules. Originally we felt sorry for them and their matching GAA jerseys, but by the end of the week we purposely got them isolated because they annoyed us so much! There was one time that basically they stole ball from a girl I knew, and wouldnt give it back to her. So I, being the stubborn head of the group, went over and asked for it back. However, the two guys I asked just laughed and kicked it to the others, so I went over to the others and asked for it back and they didn’t say anything so one of the Nordies from the first group was like “she’z noh tew impressed wit cha” and I was like “No, I’m not. Can I have the ball back?” so the boy with the ball tried to kick it away but I just put my foot on it to stop it, which was when a guy like a foot smaller than me with braces said “yur gonna hav ta tackle meh four it” and I was like “Hah, good one” and handed the ball back to my friend. I’ve said it many times, but Northern Irish aren’t Irish.

  
The group of Swedish boys were most definitely our closest friends for the week. One of the boys from our group met them all last year, and when they greeted him at the bus stop, we were all amazed about how gorgeous they were. As K said, “It’s going to be a good week.” The first night down at the Oyak, we got properly introduced to them. It was even one of their birthdays. They invited us to play many games, and it was a brilliant night. We usually spent most of our day with them. A lot of our conversation topics would be about the differences in our cultures. All students in Sweden get PAID to go to school. How unfair is that? “Potatis” is potatoes in Swedish. Some cow licked a rock and the universe was created. The literal translation for “Under the sea” is “The ocean is deep”. Seven is the hardest word to pronounce in Swedish, but fem is quite easy. My friend had a romance with one of the Sweeds, so saying goodbye was harder for her than expected. I spent my last day comforting her all the way home. We were both so emotional, but she literally couldn’t stop crying. Unfortunately the other Swedish had girlfriends, so no more romances happened for the rest of us! But I have to say, they were all such flirts! And they didn’t even have to try! I seem to be talking about only boys here, and that’s because none of the Swedish girls talked to us for the week except one! She was so lovely, so maybe there are other nice Swedish girls out there! Haha! Well whatever their reason was, they didn’t like us anyway! The boys definitely made our week so much better than expected, and I know I’ll always thank them for that. 
 

The other group we got along with so well, were a group of English girls! Although we mainly bonded with two of them, their whole school group was so lovely and friendly. On our last day of bible group, I left my own group to go play games with all of them and my Irish friends. (Don’t worry, I didn’t just abandon my group! It was all sorted out!) The majority of our time spent with them was in the evening playing games and making more friends. One of our two new best friends claimed the boys in Taize by claiming they were her ‘boyfriend’. (Even if the guy didn’t know yet!) It was all very hilarious! We’re still in full contact, and they’re hopefully coming to visit us in October! We’ve vowed to get matching fanny packs for next year! 

To conclude, it was an amazing week. I know I’m not doing it justice, but Taize is so hard to explain to anyone who has never set foot there before. Yes, there is a religious aspect to it, of course. But everything is optional- meaning that everyone who was there, wanted to be there. This made the atmosphere so amazing. It was a very casual week, but it was definitely one of the best weeks of my life. 

 
Our Group :) 


Rain ponchos! 


Two of my Irish friends who I love dearly! 


At The Oyak :) 

 

Frustration

Frustration fills my mind with fear 

I feel too stretched 

like I’m not really here 

 

my minds on the surface

yet I’m ten feet away 

trying to figure out something to say 

 

I’m wanted here 

Yet I long to be there 

and I’m kinda just floating everywhere 

 

I have too many people

who care too much 

yet I still feel like I’m causing all the fuss 

 

but isn’t that a good thing

to be loved by all 

even if my hair is fuzzy, and my height too tall 

 

still I’m not happy

because it’s not the whole me

just the me that I choose to be 

 

that is my own fault 

and for that I’ll take credit 

but that still doesn’t mean I can’t regret it 

 

I sit in my mind 

and let my thoughts stir 

I just wish things weren’t the way that they were

 

A perfectly peaceful evening

IMG_8590

I was visiting my cousins down south last week, and the weather was strangely amazing. Like, over 20 degrees amazing. See that photo above? That’s obviously not 20 degrees. But that photo does have a story behind it!

It was a stunning day, and my cousin and I had just returned from a woodland walk. We decided to then go to the beach. And by we, I mean he decided and I didn’t want to say no to him. But when we got to the beach it was so crowded. Like, I felt like I couldn’t even breathe there were so many people on this tiny beach! I was also not expecting everyone to be practically half naked, so already I felt over dressed. I was wearing denim long shorts with a light shirt, so I was unintentionally covered up. Being at my cousins, I obviously didn’t know anyone else but him. However, it felt like he knew everybody. I felt awkward and honestly I did not want to be there. I was introduced to a few people, but they just seemed so. . . different from my own friends that I didn’t feel comfortable around any of them either. But being the good cousin that I am, I endured about an hour of this before my cousin finally got the hint.

That night, we went out for dinner. The restaurant was looking out over the beach, and it looked amazing. I asked my cousin did he want to go down after dinner and he, being the amazing cousin that he is, agreed. We walked down and sat on a wall. The only people on the beach were two couples, both with dogs. It was still quite warm out, so my cousin and I just sat on a wall looking out on the horizon. Just then, an elderly man appeared with a metal detecter. Yes, you read that right. He was our main source of entertainment. He was just the type of old man you’d want to hug. (And he told us he found a couple of euros). My cousin and I joked how we would throw our phones into the sand just so he could find them! (Obviously we didn’t! Hah). At one point, there were like 10 dogs on the beach. We talked to one dog owner (who let me play with her happy little puppy). Do you see that man standing in the photo? He came down with his dog and his cup of tea. Not takeaway tea or anything, like an actual mug with tea in it. He played fetch with his over hyper dog. We decided to name all the dogs. Our personal favourite was Bullet. Who ran after anything! We saw a car with a surfboard attached on the roof pull up. After they decided there were definitely no waves (clearly in the photo), they took out a couple of fishing rods and went fishing. A stray dog (named Daisy) came along, and we made friends with her.

It was like we visited a different place altogether, and I definitely liked the second one better. Although it wasn’t filled with girls in bikinis, my cousin quite enjoyed it too!
And that night we unintentionally matched outfits. #Twinning

The Leaving Cert Book Burning!


I had one of the most amazing nights last Saturday. I was invited to my friends house for a book burning, and I’ve never been happier. The group that was there wasn’t my usual friend group. I’ll spare you the long dramatic details, but this group accepted me with no questions asked, and I’ll always thank them for that.

So I arrived to her house, with a bunch of flowers and met the whole family. I was second there, with my friend (who’s always early). The other friend was in my other friend group, so I would be closest to her. This is getting fairly complicated. I’ll continue.
But you see, meeting her family was pretty cool, but I also MET HER KITTENS.
I made friends with this one. She’s called Moo.

After meeting the kittens and what not, we sat out at the pit waiting for the others to arrive. It was SO WARM and it was amazing just to finally relax! The rest of the group started to arrive and we chilled and talked for a bit. (That cat is called Vomit)

We then played garden games. And by games, I mean game. We basically played rounders/rugby/football all at the same time. . . very eventful. I regret wearing a dress. . .

We had food (curry woo) in the tent-like thing in the garden and listened to fairly funny 90’s pop music! One of the boys sister had made a cake for us! It was so cute! We were meant to put alcohol in it, and light it. . . but it didn’t exactly work. . . so we may or may not have used firelighters. . .

We finally got around to burning the books, and we burned until 2 o clock in the morning! It was a such a clear night, so the stars were amazing. We also called into a local radio station and got our names called out. We played more garden games, and had a lot of dmc’s (deep meaningful conversations) on the trampoline. It was perfection.

After that, we all went inside to watch a few movies, but at the end of the first hour, there was only 4 of us awake. That then dropped to myself and the hostess being the only ones awake. Instead of sleeping, we watched The Holy Grail, Kronks Movie, 21 and Over and Oliver and Co. Eventually everyone started to wake up and we had an Austin and Ally marathon!

But the night was perfection. I wouldn’t change one thing about it.

To lose a friend is ten times worse than to lose a lover.

 

This statement may seem bold, but it is true. (In my experience it is)

Because no one will ever understand.

A relationship bond is different from a friendship.

A relationship includes love, lust, happiness and balance

A friendship can be anything

All friendships are unique. We are all different people in front of others. The way we interact with our friends, is far from the way we’d interact with our parents.

But friendships are more common than relationships.

You can have hundreds of friends, but you can only really have one lover.

Which is why it’s harder when a friendship breaks up than a relationship.

People have sympathy for losing a lover. It’s almost expect for both parties to spend the next month crying over what could have been.

But with a friendship, you can’t do that.

People don’t understand that bond.

In reality, broken friendships should be cried over most.

I lost a really good friend recently, which is the inspiration for this I suppose, and I’ve noticed a few things. People don’t have sympathy.

Friendships seem so common that people think that losing one is nothing.

I love ALL of my friends, but I had known this particular friend for 5 years of my life. Five years we’ve spent side by side, and then one day she decided I was too controlling for her.

I’m powerless.

Everyone has told me I can do much better. And I know that. I know that the friendship was toxic for me. But five years had to mean something, right?

I want to scream, I want to shout, I want her to tell me what I actually did to make her so angry at me.

But I also want to cry. To cuddle up and eat ice cream for days. To call her and apologise for things that I never did.

But I’ve done that far too many times for it to be even healthy.

I decided this time I wasn’t going to make the first mood to fix it.

Two months later I’ve not heard a word from her.

Two months of no communication.

I have friends who cannot believe I’m still wasting my time on her.

But no one understands.

This is the girl I met in first year on the first day. The girl I’ve shared priceless memories with. The girl who never minded if I randomly showed up to her house. The girl who’s parents love me. The girl who I’ve shared my embarrassing stories with. The girl who has lived those embarrassing stories with. Five years worth of stories.  The girl who never made me feel isolated for my interest in anything which was not mainstream. The girl who wasn’t ashamed to shout from rooftops that I was her best friend. The girl who was my best friend.

The girl who would still be my best friend, if she replied to me.

But in most relationships, we only reminisce the good times.

This is the same girl who was toxic to me. The girl who only used me as her second choice. The girl who made me feel like a third wheel. The girl who criticised things about me that I could never change. The girl who abused my niceness and generosity. The girl who used me to get to know other people. The girl who would never let me tell her my problems, because we were always too busy dealing with hers. The girl who made me feel abnormal because I knew random trivia facts. The girl who changed once we got split up into different years.

She’s the girl I need to say goodbye to, because if she can’t make the effort anymore, why should I?

She’s the girl who I’ll always remember because she was with me through all the important parts of my life growing up.

She’s the girl who has shaped me into the person I am.

She’s the girl who I’ll miss the most.

She’s the girl who knows me well enough that even in ten years time if she called me with a problem, I’d never hesitate to help her.

 

Oops, I’m outside

IMG_7968 IMG_3877

Oh look. I’m outside. That’s always fun.

So basically, I’m mid way through my exams and I haven’t left my house in longer than I care to share with the internet.
I know I should be grasping every minute to study and this week will literally change my life forever… but oh well.

I was upstairs in my room and looked out my window and I remembered that when my sister was doing her leaving cert (end of year exams), she always told me that I should be outside instead of on the internet. Of course I didn’t follow her instructions. But looking out that window-

IRRELEVANT SIDENOTE: my dad just locked me out of the house as he thought no one was outside. . . wow. .  .

So yes, looking out that window I actually understood what she meant.

But I know that I’ll forget about it all this time next week.
BECAUSE THAT’LL BE SUMMER

OTHER IRRELEVANT SIDENOTE: There’s many stray cats around where I live and they’re all meowing at me and I feel like I’m the one not be to be here…..
IMG_8388 IMG_5845
The first one has a white moustache but doesn’t like humans. The second one is my friend.

OKAY

So I was rambling about some window strategy but I’ve kinda defeated the purpose of this post as it got dark and I had to go back inside.

I’m almost finished my exams.
I’m almost there.

I love writing this blog, I really do, but I just feel like I’ve kinda reached it’s full potential at this point. I’d love to move on to something new, but WordPress has definitely become my safety blanket. The dream is to one day become a successful YouTuber, but not for the fame. I LOVE MAKING VIDEOS. They’ve always been my passion, and this blog was started so I could dip my toe into the water of the public. It has been successful, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve been actively blogging for over a year, so it’s really interesting to go back to where I was this time last year and see how much (and how little) I’ve changed. My mind frame, and way of thinking has totally changed, and I’m starting a new chapter of my life soon. But hopefully that chapter involves making more videos, and making more online friends here. I have no idea where I’m going in life and the internet has thought me that that’s ok. I know this is my first blog, and very unstructured, and unplanned, and unscheduled. . . but that’s why I love it. It truly is my haven of procrastination. My comfort. My secret.
But who knows, right?

“I’M DOING ME LEAVIN”

Ahhhhhh blehhh mehhhh gadhhhhhh

It starts tomorrow

TOMORROW

And I’m so excited!
Like, I’m not dreading the oncoming week at all! Which is rare!

I’ve convinced myself that it’s not the end of the world. I’ve worked(ish) for the past two years, and I will succeed.

If I don’t, I have like a billion back up plans.

I don’t know if there’s any other leaving cert reading this, or anyone else doing the equivalent of final year exams, but we can get through this!

I’ve gathered a few videos about studying and exams which has sorta helped me get through my final year. But who knows yet.

As these tests kind of determine my future, you won’t see me here until the 18th of June!

I’ll see you on the other side guys!

Here we go:

Take a look at this video if you’re feeling a bit scared about it all.

Take a look at this if you’re up for a tune with a good message in the video.

 

Take a look at this if you want some easy study tips, and easy outfit ideas (if you don’t have a uniform that is). 

Take a look at this if you’re looking at how to survive exams.

Take a look at this if you want to distract yourself from worrying. 

Take a look at this if you’re dreading exams, and need a laugh.

 

Take a look at this if cheating is your last resort!