9:30 am: It's a quiet Saturday morning...and although the sky is decidedly overcast, the light in this warm living room is so soft that I don't mind. This is the first day so far that I haven't had to be at campus in the morning for an orientation event, so I'm taking the chance to settle into the day. Teresa and I are going to check out downtown Galway today...there's a farmer's market in Eyre Square (which is a transportation hub of sorts, analogous to Times Square) on the weekends, close to a church I'd like to scope out. Oh, and speaking of churches, here are some photos of Galway Cathedral, a simply awe-inspiring church just off-campus:
7 pm: Change of plans...remember my new friend S? I gave her a call from Eyre Square and braved the bus system again to visit her in Salthill, a suburb of Galway. I was really wary of trying the bus again after my last experience with it, but I got over my self-consciousness of my "American accent" enough to ask a few strangers for directions and eventually ended up in the right place.
|This is what you see as soon as you walk through the doors. It's a magnificent structure, really.|
|The altar...and those gold gates reminded me of Christ Church.|
|This is taken from the front of the church. Check out that choir loft, and the organ!|
|This is a little setup in a corner of the church dedicated to Saint Thérèse.|
|Isn't the French beautiful? I always found French kinder to the ear than any other language...|
|From the pew where I sat to just take everything in...these pillars support the whole church. It's a picture of strength, support, fortitude...|
|This is the outside...and a very little me in front of it. But it felt most important to capture the face of the church, and the intricacy of its architecture.|
And let me tell you, friends: it was so worth it.
I met S' husband V, who's a physician at a nearby hospital and grew up in the same two cities as my mother (Trivandrum and Bangalore). The two of them were nothing but welcoming...and this family gave me the closest experience to a home that I've gotten since I left my own. There was easy conversation, the best tea I've had in a week, and even a walk (albeit in the rain) to the beach. They live five minutes - by foot - from the ocean. (I would have taken photos so you all could see the beautiful beach and the promenade right beside it, but it was raining too hard.)
The three hours I spent in Salthill flew by...and by the end of the afternoon, their daughter A (who happens to be just a few weeks older than my brother) and I were real buddies. We bonded over alphabetizing her drawings for school and the games on her iPod - all of which, thanks to Rishi, I was very familiar with. (Are all eight-year-olds this tech-savvy?) A's talkativeness reminded me of him, but not in a painful way - honestly, it was more refreshing than anything else to sit with this child on the Rugrats mat in her bedroom and talk about swimming lessons and Disney Channel. Oh, and check this out: she's learning the tin whistle and the guitar in school, so (obviously) I tuned her guitar and taught her a few chords. When it was time for me to leave, she and her mother walked me to the bus stop...and as we waited there, in the steady rain with the coastline a stone's throw away, she looked up at me and asked me the sweetest question:
"When can you come over again?"
"When can you come over again?"