Dear friends and family,
As many of you already know I have been in Ireland since August 21. For those of you who have not heard, I am studying at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland for this fall semester and will be returning to the States in mid-December.
I’m sorry I did not begin this blog earlier. Simply put, I’ve been overwhelmed by my new surroundings and it has taken me a while to process enough to put down in writing for you to see. So here I am, almost two months after arriving here, with two months left to go, beginning to share my thoughts and experiences with you. I hope to update this blog weekly… key word, “hope.”
Chapter I: The arrival
Arriving in Ireland was… how might one put it… wet! It is no myth that Ireland is the emerald island because of the egregious amount of rain it gets. And the west coast of Ireland (where I am) might be the worst part. However I have seen my fair share of sunny days in the small village of Ballyvaughan, and it is truly breathtaking. My school is located about a mile outside of the small village and my house is about halfway between the two. This is fairly convenient, because it means that neither town nor school is too far of a walk… but I have to be quite careful lest I want to die a rather quick death by Irish car. The roads are ridiculous. About as wide as a single country lane in America, Irish roads are winding, have no shoulder (most are fenced in by large rock walls) and are set to a speed of 100 kph. (approximately 65 mph) If one does not have their wits about them every moment they’re walking down these roads, they’ll likely never need to use their wits again.
Chapter II: The school
The Burren College of Art is very different from Gordon! It’s tiny in comparison (maybe 40 students total) and is totally dedicated to the study of fine arts. So I’ve become quite familiar with almost all of the students and have had to dive headfirst into the exploration of my own art. I’ve been learning about photography, oil painting and have been independently studying pastel drawing. I’m also taking classes in art history and Irish studies.
Chapter III: Living situation
I live with 10 crazy American art students in one house. You do the math or paint your own picture!
Chapter IV: Where have all the Christians gone?
Coming to Ireland has also been quite a change in comparison to my surroundings at Gordon. I have not met one Christian. There are one or two people who I have my suspicions might have some vague belief in God, but for the most part the students at the school are either atheist or indifferent. And I’m not sure which is harder to confront. There is no form of protestant church within a two-hour reach of Ballyvaughan, so this makes any sort of communion with a church body virtually impossible.
However there is much to be learned from being cut off from the church body. (Even though I don’t recommend willingly putting yourself in that position for an extended amount of time) This challenge has only enabled me to learn to place my trust in the Lord more fully. For in reality, there’s no one else for me to turn to. But isn’t this how the Christian walk is anyway, even when surrounded by the body of Christ? Isn’t Christ the one we should be going to with our burdens from the beginning? This has been a reoccurring thought for me during my time here.
And I can always use prayer! Please pray that I would continue to trust in the Lord and lean on him, and also that I might be able to minister in love to those around me!
I look forward to keeping you all informed on what’s going on in my life in Ireland. I would really enjoy emails/comments from you all. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.