Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I’ve been back in my Grand Rapids “home” for almost two weeks now, and it has been something of an adjustment period. First of all, there was the jet lag which had to be dealt with. That was easy: the day after I got back I went to bed early and slept for twelve hours. Adjustment complete. Secondly, I had to get used to new housemates. The living situation I was in all last year seemed so easy and comfortable. We all knew each other well, having lived together for two years in the dorms prior to moving off-campus. It was not really any work to make everyone feel included and a part of our non-biological family, the houseloves. This summer, however, only two of us housemates are originals, me and Moriah. The other three people in our house are not houseloves. Thankfully we all have a decent amount of free time in which to hang out and build community, so the adjustment hasn’t been too difficult, but at first it felt a bit disorienting to wake up and find someone different using the bathroom or the kitchen and not know quite how to relate to them.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Tapping My Roots
After the class was over and the group left to return home, I had made arrangements to stay behind in Scotland for an extra week. One other girl, Jessica, was staying with me, and we were going to spend the time visiting my family, none of whom I had seen more recently than 2000 - eight years ago. We were received with warm Highland hospitality and such graciousness that we were made to feel as though we were the ones doing them a favor by staying with them! I hope to someday have developed an easy welcoming spirit similar to theirs. I also wouldn’t mind being timeless, as I found them to be. It seemed as though they hadn’t changed at all in the past eight years. My great-aunt Nanda was just as spunky and knowledgeable as I remembered, and having dinner with her the first night that the group was gone was a definite highlight.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Edinburgh - how DO you say that?
My dad’s side of the family is Scottish, so the final stop on our UK tour - Scotland - was something I was particularly looking forward to. It was an overcast and misty day when we took the ferry from Belfast over to Stranraer on the southwest coast of Scotland.
Most of us spent the ferry ride doing our final transcriptions from Ireland. We were in groups of four or five and each group had to turn in one transcription from each region. Everyone was charged with collecting two samples in every location, and then out of the eight or ten that our group had, we would choose one to transcribe as a group. I’m sure the people sitting near us were curious as to why there were five groups of girls listening to recordings of people saying “When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, it acts like a prism and forms a rainbow,” and then discussing whether that was really a schwa or if it was stressed enough to count as a caret. And was that “th” sound voiced or not? Did our speaker make a “w” in between “two” and “ends” or was it a glottal stop? These were the pressing issues of the day.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I apologize for not continuing to update this blog while I finished my interim course. I’ll do my best to recreate my experiences now, complete with pictures (check back to the posts from London and Wales for photos and more details).
We spent the whole day traveling to Derry, Northern Ireland on Wednesday, the 28th of May. Our first leg was a train from Llandudno to Holyhead, where we took the ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin. We had initially planned to spend that night in Dublin, but finding adequate lodging proved impossible, so instead our group was met at the port by a coach and a driver named Seamus. Our bus was actually decorated with an 8-year-old’s rendition of a Dutch Windmill (I guess it won some contest, so it was displayed on the side of this minibus), but it was comforting for some of the Dutch-er girls in our group, and funny for all of us. Here we were in Ireland, and our bus - which was named Gus, by the way - had a painting of a windmill on it. Dutchness simply permeates our world.