Simple Gifts

From left: Livia, Olivia, Hillary
From left: Livia, Olivia, Hillary

Tonight as I’m sitting in my apartment with all of the girls on this trip, one upperclassman leader, and one employee from the coffee shop where we have class (her name is Aine), while Emily plays the guitar and we all spontaneously sing, I’m thinking about how the simplest things make me love this place so much. I think I’m going to try and touch on a few of them.
Friends
Everyone on this trip is absolutely amazing. We have eight girls: Emily, Michaela, Shelby, Izzy, Lauren, Olivia, Livia (Lee-via), and me. Four boys: Paul, Aaron, Ben, and Elisha. Then there are our two OMs (upperclassmen), Baili and Hillary. Tammi is our program leader, and Megan is her assistant. We have four apartments here in Galway, Tammi and Megan have one about a block away while the rest of us are all in the same complex. Six girls live in one apartment, four in another, and then the four boys in their own. My apartment is pretty much unbelievable. We have Olivia, who has more allergies than anyone I’ve ever met (think nuts, gluten, soy, and many other processing ingredients), and yet somehow manages to always make herself (and sometimes us) delicious food, anyway. She’s a formerly homeschooled music education major who loves to cook and can play almost an instrument imaginable. She’s the one we go to with kitchen questions! She’s also strangely good at back massages, she seems to know a lot about human anatomy in that area and can get people’s stress kinks out like a real chiropractor. Next is Livia, who’s half Mexican, has nine s

Livia's chili!
Livia’s chili!

iblings, and absolutely loves Latin American food and culture. Her major is elementary education, and she really has a heart for mission work. She wants to continue traveling throughout her entire life, and her special gift is questions and jokes. She can come up with amazing icebreaker, “would-you-rather” and “perfect-for-you-in-every-way-but…” questions on the spur of the moment, as well as both good jokes and bad ones. Like REALLY bad. If ever anyone is sitting around or walking with nothing to say, someone always says “Livia, ask us a question.” She also has a beautiful voice and can write amazing songs. Last in the apartment besides me is Hillary, a college senior who wants to do research on how music affects the brain someday. She’s like our mom, and we all love her! We also have amazing friends from the Christian coffee shop where we go to class. That’s a whole ministry on its own, which I’ll talk about in another post! All I can tell you is that Aine is probably the biggest pranker imaginable…she climbed into our window tonight instead of using the door. As best as I can remember it, this is the song that Livia just wrote for me:
“Oh Kenzi, oh lovely Kenzi, I know you like my cooking though you say you

Yes, we made it in this bread thing.
Yes, we made it in this bread thing.

don’t, you ate the pancakes even though they were mostly dough. Oh Kenzi, darling Kenzi, we’re so glad that you came to Ireland, because before our apartment was lonely, except I had Olivia who gives me massages, but we really needed someone to audit everything we say. Oh Kenzi, what would we do if you hadn’t come? Our apartment would probably be a lot less clean, and I probably wouldn’t wash my grapes before eating them. So darling Kenzi, we’re so glad that you came into our apartment home.”
Food
Number two is food. It can be so spontaneous here, and yet so amazing. Generally there is a plan for dinner each night, so that even though we usually cook in our own apartments we are all having the same thing. One time we didn’t have the ingredients for what we were supposed to make, and we all really wanted chili. Livia, who generally can’t cook any better than I can, started make-shifting a Mexican style chili with noodles, peppers, meat, and a million other things. We had to make it in a bread container because we didn’t have any bowls big enough. It was AMAZING!!!! I took pictures, as you can see! In another instance, we all split up after church looking for something to eat. Livia, Elisha and I were originally with some others, but they left us and then we ended up finding the most amazing café ever. It was called Lynch’s Café, and it was upstairs above this little souvenir shop. I had leek and potato soup with two pieces of brown Irish soda bread. It was perfect. I could barely understand the waitress’ accent…it was great! We all bought a desert to go as we left, and I got a Dutch apple turnover with raisins and everything in it. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Another piece of the food saga happened tonight, when Livia wanted to make cookies to celebrate the fact that one of the hardest subjects from our class (Biblical Literature I) wasn’t going to be on our midterm tomorrow. Midway through she decided to mix pancake mix into the cookie batter, which none of us thought was going to work. All of us laughed hysterically the whole time, though we were eventually proved wrong when her “pancake-cookies” ended up being the best things we’d ever had in our lives. The other girls and Aine all came over, and everyone loved them!
Quote of the Night:
Me: “What’s going to happen is that you and I are going to end up in a dorm together, and neither of us can cook squat.”
Livia: “Oh, I can cook squat, it just tastes a lot like frozen pizza.”

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6 Responses
  1. marybiro@aol.com

    So wonderful to hear about your experience. We do miss you here…your gentle way…your sweet smile. God keeps you ever before our hearts as you are away…

    Thanks for posting your experiences…makes you feel so much closer…

    In HIS Heart & Hand

  2. Kaitlyn

    This sounds like you are really having a great time! Maybe sometime I might get the chance to go to Ireland too! Keep us posted! (don’t forget to face time me 😉

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