Monday, November 4, 2013

Save the Best for Last

It's official. I am back in Arkansas!

The past five months were all I dreamed and more. I learned so much from school and teaching. I gained friends from all around the world. I saw the world through different perspectives. And I experienced God in new ways.

After traveling for three weeks over Easter Break, I had a few weeks of classes at Stranmillis. It was really nice to be back in the atmosphere of a classroom, and I continued in my modules for reading and writing, music, P.E., the world around us, and personal development and mutual understanding.We picked up from where we left off at the beginning of the semester, and we discussed our different experiences during teaching placement. My last few weeks consisted of doing our final assignments for each class, most of which were lesson plans, reflections, and essays. It was enjoyable writing the essays and being able to reflect on my experiences in the classroom in Northern Ireland and comparing and contrasting education here in Arkansas with what I had learned and seen in Belfast.

Though school was my first priority, I had many more little adventures around Belfast and Northern Ireland before I had to return home. As usual, I'll let pictures tell it all:

Road trip to Castlewellan with Emmi and friends from Belfast! A beautiful and rainy day all in one:

A weekend to flatmate Emma's Farm with some of the ERASMUS girls and Claire:

 An exciting day trip to Londonderry with Sanna! We heard passionate stories about the city, almost got run over, witnessed a Guinness World Record, and just barely made our way back home to Belfast. All in all, a wonderful day to remember:
Bogside Mural

Brides at Guildhall

Brides crossing the Peace Bridge

"Hands Across the Divide"

Peace and Equality

A friend from Stran agreed to take some of us foreign gals up to the Mourne Mountains one day. It was foggy and windy like crazy, but such a blast!

At the top of Slieve Donard

On our journey to the top

I got to take a couple of lovely trips to Stormount (Parliament buildings). They were some of my favorite days!

In my last week in Belfast, I definitely made some lasting memories! At Stran, I got to represent home for one class. I took a trip to Dublin to watch The Lion King, which ended as one of the most crazy days of my life. I climbed Cave Hill on a beautiful sunny day with friends from Stran, and we got to appreciate Belfast in all of its glory. We went surfing in the cold and rain. And, I took a day trip to the North Coast with one of my favorite people in the world.

Definitely American...

It was amazing! (What I saw of it that is...)

Beautiful Belfast from the top of Cave Hill

Surfing with Simon and the girls

Dunluce Castle in my last few days

One of my favorite parts of Ireland :)

Sea Park

 Hardest of all, I said a lot of goodbyes to a place and many people I grew to love more than I could have ever imagined.

An experience to last a lifetime.
A dream come true.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." -Ralph Waldo Emerson