Well, as we mentioned in an earlier post, before we left Ireland we explored ways to do some additional consulting work with St. Mary’s College in Galway. Well, our proposal was accepted by the school’s Board of Management, and on November 8th we flew back to Ireland with the intent of volunteering at the College through the remainder of the school year!
We have settled into a cute little 2-bedroom house in Galway, about 10 minutes from the school, and God willing we will be here until early July of 2016! So…friends from around the globe, should you desire to visit the Republic of Ireland between now and July, we have an extra bedroom!
We have been in Ireland now for 2 weeks…wow, time has flown by!
A few details to hopefully answer questions you may have:
- Tim’s business is unchanged, other than the fact that he now has a 6- or 7-hour time difference in which to manage communication with students and colleagues.
- Tim is volunteering his sport management expertise to assist the College through basketball training sessions (coaches and players), community outreach, and the creation of a basketball development plan for the school.
- I am volunteering my business and organizational leadership expertise (and marketing and photography skills) to assist the College through leadership and technology advisement, the development of internal administrative systems and job descriptions, and the development of a 5-year strategic plan for the school.
- Yes, some differences in how we live have taken place, mostly in terms of our living space.For example:
- Having lived in an RV for the past 5 years, we have become very accustomed to living in 200-400 square feet of open space. The house is a bit bigger but with separate rooms for living room, office, kitchen and dining room, bathroom and bedrooms. There are so many doors!
- We have had a gas/electric fireplace in the RV. Here we have a real, working fireplace, and the recommended fuel is the smokeless coal briquettes. The fireplace also has something called a back boiler that, in conjunction with a pump connected to the water system, will heat the water for the house. All quite new to us.
- The water heater is called the immersion. It has an on/off switch and a clock timer so that it can be programmed to run at certain times of the day. It provides hot water for only the shower and sinks.
- The shower is electric. Yes, you read that correctly. It heats its own water, and we pull a string to turn it on and off. New to us.
- The dishwasher and washing machines produce their own hot water.
- Our Irish cell phones don’t work in most rooms in our house. Outside the front door and next to the bedroom window we get a few bars, after having run a signal booster app. It’s ok, though, because the WiFi is great and strong throughout the house. Plus, it’s one more way to reduce our time in front of those 2 screens!
- We had great help from our friends Ciarán,
KathleenCaitlín, and Yvonne in preparing the house for our arrival. Yvonne has spent significant time getting the utilities turned on, oil delivered for the radiator heat, sorting out the TV and internet options, having the chimney cleaned, and then explaining to us how each of the unfamiliar house systems works. We enjoyed a wonderful, home-cooked meal with KathleenCaitlín and Ciarán in our first week here, and we always have fun with them. They have made us feel so welcome. Ciarán helped us just the other night by investigating the back boiler pump and the best way to not burn down the house when we use the fireplace! We are truly blessed by these good people.
We are renting a car and already have taken two drives. In addition to our typical “circle drives” we are finding great enjoyment in “to the end of the road” drives. The first was to Ard, and we saw some lovely coastline despite the gray, rainy afternoon. The second was this past weekend and included an overnight stay at the Louis Fitzgerald hotel in Dublin. We are looking forward to exploring the “off-the-beaten-path” beauty of this amazing country over the next 8 months!
We will miss our traditional “Thanksgiving with the Pecks” in Austin this year and hope that we can rejoin them next year! Christmas in another country will be new for us, and although we will miss the opportunity to spend it with family and American friends, we look forward to adding new experiences and new friends to our own traditions. Oh, and we’ll have a tree this year, unlike the past 5 years when we didn’t have room for one in our RV!
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!