My name is Maria and for the next few months I am living here in Ireland with a host family. It is really exciting for me to report to you about my life here, the new and kind people I met and the culture of this beautiful country. I am also going to tell you about how the situation is with Covid-19 handled here and how it is affecting me.
September 17, 2020
Maybe some of you are thinking that I should be in Canada at the moment, however the borders stay closed and then I decided to go to Ireland. Nevertheless I am really grateful for being here, because this stay abroad is really important for me and I was looking forward to it for such a long time. It was also not really sure if i would get a host family here in Ireland, but my agency showed me one and I was really excited that they were ready to include me in their family so spontaneously. Part of my host family are the host mother, her two daughters, her son, a dog, a cat and a kitten. Additionally there is a girl in my age who is also here for a stay. Currently I am in quarantine and can only go to school afterwards. During this time now, I read books, play with the pets, talk with the host family, go outside for a run and watch Grey’s Anatomy with my host sister.
October 4, 2020
Finally my quarantine is over and I have started school, named St. Bricin’s College, a week ago. I am in 5th grade and study the following subjects; Maths, Biology, English, Irish, Agricultural Science, Career, Enterprising, Business, Engineering, Ethics and Physical Education. The material in school is not that difficult in comparison to the subjects I already have in Switzerland, but the material in the new subjects is more sophisticated so it is something totally different for me. The restrictions because of Covid-19 are really strict though. We are supposed to wear a mask all day and are only allowed to sit on our own specific chair, which is far apart from the other chairs. The heating is not on, so it gets really cold, especially in the morning. An additional consequence of the virus is also the one-way-system in the corridors. What means that there is kind of a circle, partly in the school and partly outside, which you have to follow, for example to go to the toilet or to another room. In school, I have to wear an uniform which consists of navy trousers, a white shirt, a tie and a navy jumper with the logo of the school. Actually, we are not allowed to wear jackets in school (jackets do not match the uniform) but sometimes we do it anyways because it is really cold. One of my host sisters and my host brother started college last week and I only see them now at the weekend, then we often play card games after dinner and that is really fun.
October 28, 2020
A week ago the irish government decided to go for a second lockdown which will last for six weeks. The restrictions state that during this lockdown everything will be closed except of schools, colleges and supermarkets. We are also not allowed to meet up with other people and have to stay in a radius of 5km around the house. Unfortunately this week is my midterm break and and we have a week off, however there is no possibility to do any activities besides going for a walk or just be at home. I often go for walks, read books, watch movies or do some school stuff. My hostsister and I also made decoration for Halloween, carved pumpkins or cooked a meal for the whole family. In the evening then our other hostsiblings join for a game or a movie. I am really looking forward to seeing my friends in school on monday again.
Finally Halloween has arrived! Back home I have never celebrated this day really much only sometimes by meeting dressed up with friends but not more. Here in Ireland the whole family came together for eating and for playing games. Some also dressed up and of course me too; I went as purger from the movie „The Purge“, a very recommendable movie. Before, we prepared all the food and made also cakes which looked like coffins and a gravestone and a lot of themed cupcakes. We played a lot of cardgames and a traditional game where you have to catch an apple from a string hanging between the door frame. At the end my hostbrother and my hostmother’s brother lighted a lot of fireworks in our garden what was so cool! Happy Halloween!
November 16 to November 20, 2020
This week I had a whole exam week. It started every day with an exam at 9am to 11am. After that we had another 2h to prepare for the next exam which started at 2pm and ended at 4pm. In between we had lunch for one hour. The exams were extremely long and therefore very exhausting. Often I finished earlier, but I was not allowed to leave the room, so I had to sit and wait in my seat for the rest of the time. In this week my hostbrother passed his driver exam and bought then as soon as he got the license his first own car. He was really excited and can from now on drive to college in Sligo by himself and doesn’t have to take the bus anymore. I am really looking forward until the lockdown is finally over and I can go places with my friends or hostfamily!
December 5, 2020
Finally the lockdown is over!! Today I went with my host family to Dublin, after I had longed for it for such a long time. We went on the bus at 7am and it took us 2h to go there. After we then arrived in the capital of Ireland, we walked to the center of the city where there is a really tall spire. This was actually really practically, because when you get lost, you can just follow the spire and then you are suddenly in the center again. However, we then firstly went in a lot of stores for shopping presents and also souvenirs. The lights everywhere in the Dublin where so so gorgeous and there really was this christmas atmosphere in the air. Later then we also visited a bookstore which was so enormous that I nearly got lost, but I also found some really interesting books about my maturapaper topic what made me really happy. Dublin itself totally had its own charme. The architecture of the buildings was kind of a mixture between brick and glass what gave really a modern-antique vibe. There are also many lovely bridges crossing the river named Liffey. Besides the high amount of pubs, there could also be found many restaurants and cafés. It was really cool going in shops again, however for the next visit I hope that we maybe could also do some cultural things. For example visit the St. Patricks Cathedral, what Dublin is also famous for.
December 24/25/26, 2020
It is Christmas!! I was looking so much forward to this and I am excited to celebrate it with my irish family. Here in Ireland, people celebrate Christmas only on the Christmas Day and not on the Christmas Eve like I used to do it with my own family at home in Switzerland. But my hostmum knew how special this day, the 24th, was for me and my german hostsister and so we also had a little christmas dinner on this eve. During the day we visited my hostgrandparents at teatime and brought presents to the little nieces of my hostmum. Those were so excited for Santa who was being expected during the night from the 25th to the 24th. So for dinner it was duck with potatoes and vegetables what was so nice. After dinner my hostmum took us to church what I really apprechiated, because that is really important for me to go in the eve of that special day to mass. The mass was really interesting, although there were obviously also Covid-19 restriction which had to be thoroughly observed, it was solemn. The priest though, he had a really strong irish accent which I could barely understand. Then in the eve we opened our presents what was so exciting! My hostmum got us so many presents what was really not necessary, because it was present enough for me that we could join them on such a importand holy day for everybody.
On the 25th then, we had dinner kind of during the whole day. Firstly we had a dish, then we played cards and other games and watched a christmas movie. After that we had the main dish what was a huge turkey with ceveral side dishes what was so delicious. In the morning before I had watched my hostmum how she had prepared the bird and maybe I am going to try it back home someday. Anyways, after that we played another round games and talked until the dessert was served. I had made the dessert the day before and I was so glad that everybody liked it. We then ended the evening by cleaning up the dishes and watching „Kevin alone at Home“.
The day later, the St. Stephen’s Day, was traditionally used to just watch movies during the whole day and eat the meal up from the day before. On this day we watched six movies! However, it was so much fun spending the day with my hostfamily and I really enjoyed it. For dinner then we ate all leftovers from the turkey and the side dishes and my dessert.
December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021
New Year is here in my environment and hostfamily not a really big deal. So I could then leave the house for this day and went over to my friend’s. She is lovely a girl from France and also here for a stay abroad. Here in Ireland she is probably my best friend and we had therefore a really great time on the New Year’s Eve. Her hostparents ordered a huge pizza for us all and then we celebrated into the new year.
January 2, 2021
Today my two new hostsisters arrived at our home. Those are two girls and one of them is Italian and the other girl is from Chili. They are so lovely and they settled in pretty well, besides that the suitcase of the girl from Chili went lost. But the airport found it then and sent it to our house. They now have to go into quarantine for two weeks and cannot leave the house.
January 8, 2021
Actually we would have had school today and the day before, however the government decided to go into another lockdown like in November, but this time they ended up closing the schools too. This lockdown lasts until the end of the month what is really unlucky, because my flight from Ireland back home to Switzerland is scheduled on January 24. Unfortunately I am therefore also not able to see neither my classmates nor teachers ever again. I also realised that I had worn my school uniform for the last time before Christmas when the last day of school. But nevermind, either I can be sad about it or just take the situation like it is. I opt for the latter, because there is no point of being gloomy when it is not in my power to change anything. So today I quickly went to school to pick up my stuff which I had left there before the holidays. The teachers announced then to do school via Teams at home and had given us some tasks to do. We also got back our reports for the last semester and I was pretty satisfied about my results.