Week 1: Irish class

I never wanted to travel outside the US.  Left on my own I would happily have just taken all my vacations in Maine.  But my first summer of law school, I needed something to fill the summer and wasn’t finding internships that interested me.  And there was this study abroad in Ireland program. God seemed to think it was a good idea, as did everyone around me.  And it would save me from a internship I wasn’t interested in.   And I did like Irish folklore……

Long story short, I went.  Best decision I ever made.  I got there and instantly felt like I had found something I’d been looking for all my life.  I fell in love.  The whole time I was there I felt like the country was whispering to me and that if I listened hard enough, I would understand.  I wanted to lie down and grow roots into the earth, float off into the ocean and fly off the cliffs.  I dream that one day I’ll be able to move there and be a barrister there.

I know its an impossible dream, but hope springs eternal.  So just in case one day a miracle happens, I started listening to Pimsleur Irish a while back.  Mum suggested I take classes too, and I thought she had a point; easier to practice with someone real to talk to. And a good place to start meeting people.

So I called the number on Mum’s link.  Magically a beginner’s class was starting the next day! Did I want to register?

I gulp nervously, thinking of my utter lack of linguisitic ability.  But meeting people requires risk!  I must be bold!  “Yes, that would be great!” I chirp into the phone.

So come Wednesday.  Class is at 6:30.  I fuss and choose pretty clothes to wear to work, so I will make a nice impression.  I pack a notepad to take notes, an irish dictionary and a granola bar to have for dinner, since I’ll be going straight from work to class.

Get to work.  It’s One Of Those Days.  Everything is all due that day, none of it is finished, and we spend all day rushing around desperately  trying to finish the unfinishable.  As the day wears on, I can feel my heart sinking.  Two of these things are projects I’m working on.  I know the memo needs more work, but I’m frantically trying to finish the discovery, and know I won’t even be able to finish that until 5 or 6.  And there’s still exhibits to be done.  I may not even be a lawyer yet, but I know what that meant for my plans.


But hope springs eternal.  So I worked like a lunatic all day, literally running around the office as I rushed to finish.  Magically project 1 was finished at 5:45.  Memo needed work, but was slightly less urgent, and I’d told them about my class, so they agreed that I could go to class and memo from home later in the night.  Free as a bird off I rushed to the Place Of Irish, where I would instantly be sprinkled with four leaved clovers by handsome young irish men and would be instantly clasped into the arms of my brilliant new friends and carried off to ireland.

This dream was only slightly tarnished by the fact it was on a dilapidated street right after a wal-mart and a gas station.  But boldly I parked!  And boldly I stayed in the car, hiding until I saw someone else around!  Finally an old lady came.  She had learning Irish books in her hand so I got out of the car and walked over to her to see if she was there for class.

She was.  But she’d tried the door and it was locked, so we’d have to wait outside.  While waiting, she told me all about her inability to trace her family geneology.  In excruciating detail by explaining how many people there were with her great grandmother’s name and what each had done and how she could be sure some of them weren’t her great grantmother.  This was interspersed with useful information like that she was repeating the class.  And also learning Hungarian.  Needless to say I was quite thankful when the teacher (a cozy looking older woman) came to open the door.

In we went.  The club smelled….familiar in a way I didn’t recognize.  We all sat down: me, Hungarian lady cozy teacher and cd wielding man.  We were soon joined by another older woman who seemed very nice.  They handed out books, and I pulled out my knitting and asked if I could knit.  The teacher agreed, and newest arrival started talking knitting and pretty soon we were all having a cozy little gossip about knitting, spinning, and the fun of combining alpaca and merino and a tiny bit of silk.  We went on to class.  It wasn’t very good.  We listened to the cd pronounce the words, we read the conversations the book said to read, and then we closed with everyone discussing what irish counties their families were from, and how they were tracing their geneologies.  Everyone but me.  I said Waterford, which I know, but that I hadn’t bothered to read my geneology.  They were horrified.  No good for socializing.  Not very good for learning Irish either.  But I’ll keep going back because you can’t learn a language alone.

The upshot?  I am, apparently, a little old knitting lady.  Oh dear.

Next time?  I volunteer with horses!


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