Saturday, July 22, 2006

Well, after the introduction meeting on Saturday night, we hit the pub. There are three in town and really only two that we regularly went. Biddy's was at the top of the hill and had great atmosphere and ambiance. Roarty's was half-way up the hill and had far more room than Biddy's. I spent most of my evenings in the pub. I drank more those two weeks than I have in my entire life since there was essentially nothing else to do in town when you are on holiday.

The rest of the week was filled with five hours of language instruction everyday. These are punctuated with tea breaks and a long lunch. I found myself often going back to my accommodation to take a nap because I was so tired. In my first week, I was put into an intermediate class. The second week they put me in a higher level intermediate class.

What made the classes so great is that everyone had a passion for learning Irish. We were focused but not without levels of humor and frivolity. The teachers were fantastic overall. They would even come to the pub to speak Irish with you even though they had just spent five hours a day with you. In the end, the commitment level of everyone involved was what really made it stand out as a language learning experience.

The first week was amazing but I think I peaked in the middle of the weekend. By about the middle of the second week, I was forgetting verbs that you use all the time. I was very frustrating even when the teacher was telling me that I was getting better when I did not I could not see it myself. I will have to take her word for it.

The only frustrating thing about the experience was whenever I would tell someone that I was from Dun Eideann (Gaelic for Edinburgh), they would draw a big blank. Sometimes I would give them clues but often to no avail. Otherwise, it was great.

I know this is a highly impressionistic account with little or no detail but I would end up filling this thing for days upon days with stories about things we did. In a way, that would be boring. I might throw up a few from time to time to fill things in when there is nothing else going on.

posted by Chris  #7:10 PM | 0 comments |