A Travellerspoint blog

Part 1: Gathering All Nations Together (G.A.N.T.)

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I have so much to say, I have decided to break up my last entry into 2 parts. The first will be about the people I’ve met. The second will be about the things that I did with them. Here we go… Leades House Gang.


I believe I left off in my previous entry how the Spanish boys had arrived. Did I mention that two Germans came soon after? Botho (pronounced boat-o) and Thomas. They are both 18 and completely different characters, but I enjoyed them both a lot. Botho is full of energy and loves the sound of Spanish words. He learned the word conejo (rabbit) and that became his favorite word that he incorporated into almost every sentence. It was quite unique I’d say. Thomas was a person I found to be unintentionally funny. He was quiet and reserved, but when he said things, the way he said them I found to be hysterical. I was never laughing AT him. I was legit finding him very funny, but completely unable to explain why. That sometimes left him a little confused. Sorry, Thomas. Both of the boys were practically fluent in other languages besides German. Botho knew French and Thomas knew Polish. English was their“weakest” language, although they were practically fluent in that as well! For instance, in the last 2 weeks that I was at Leades House, Thomas read 2 books in English. I can’t even read 2 books in 2 weeks, let alone in a 3rd language. Once again, Thomas was slightly confused as to how I was mesmerized… which, in turn, just made me laugh.



I also met a French girl, Pauline, whom I adored. She stayed in my room, finally occupying another one of the 6 remaining beds. I was able to feel less guilty about hogging a room. ANYWAYS, Pauline was highly memorable because… I will explain. First of all, she had a blond afro. Both of her parents are of French origin as well, so there is really no explanation for the gorgeous, tight curls. They are a phenomenon. But she did get them from her father. Secondly, Pauline was the bubbliest, silliest, funniest, kindest person ever. It wasn’t even that she didn’t care what people thought of her; she didn’t even notice it (even though the thoughts were all as positive as mine!). So, she was able to be whomever she wanted to be at any moment, without inhibitions. Quite admirable I’d say.

Two American girls arrived the same weekend that Pauline did. Libby and Madeleine. Libby lived in Spain for a year and is now majoring in Spanish. Her ability to speak the language and her reflection of her experience made me really determined to have one of my own. In addition to the Spaniards being there and loving them, Libby was sorta like the icing on the cake that made me really want to live in Spain and finally become fluent in the Spanish language. Madeleine is this chill chick that is going to school for films. Kudos to her because I love film studies. She also liked to experiment with cooking and baking. My kind of homie. I regularly found myself down in the kitchen of Leades House trying out her creations…whether I was invited to or not. Muahaha.

There was a girl visiting, Ramona, who had once been a volunteer at Leades House. She loved it so much, she decided to stop by for a few days to say hello to her past. She was so so nice. I was lucky enough to get her contact information so I can always stop to visit her in Germany in the future. The rest of the people were all ones that I have mentioned before. Anne was the most natural when it came to doing the barn chores. She was always on top of things and definitely the most trusted by Colin, the owner. Anna was my go-to girl for entertainment and relaxation. She also reminded me of friends back in America, which made me less homesick at times.


The Spanish boys were just wonderful. They spoke English a lot better than they thought, and what wasn’t correct was definitely understandable. However, they surprised everyone with knowing the words to some American/English songs, even if they didn’t know what the heck they meant. Some of my favorite moments were when they would bust out with the Beatles. I once caught Ruma singing half of a chorus of one of their songs, then the other half he said “blah blah blah” in his thick Spanish accent because he didn’t know the words. He had no idea I was listening until he heard my giggles. It was adorable. Luis was funny with his sarcastic sense of humor, and he was also brilliant on guitar. Beautiful voice. Juan was always so kind and laid back… except for when it came to killing pigeons. Then there was kind of an exciting anticipation like when someone’s about to compete. He and Ruma (and sometimes Botho) were hired to kill the pesty pigeons, which sort of became a sport at Leades House. He also made this clucking noise all the time, to the point that I adopted it. Ruma… let’s just say Ruma stole my heart. I would take him as a brother any day. He was adorable, funny, and always interested in having conversations with me. I, as well, enjoyed them because I got to help him with his English. Ruma also liked to teach me Spanish phrases (i.e. how to call someone crazy).


Francy became sort of like an Uncle Francy. He’s content giving people his opinions about life and never bending. He also is content never trusting anyone because he has had his fair share of untrustworthy people in his life. However, for whatever reason, he told me he trusted me in front of everyone. People said that’s the biggest compliment he can give someone. So, I was sort of taken under his wing. He told me his words of wisdom and I listened, even if I didn’t agree or if some of them made my stomach turn. He was quite perverted. In exchange, I got to know an extremely memorable, highly entertaining, and decent man. With all of his inappropriate, at times disgusting banter, I was extremely surprised when he said goodbye to me with a hand shake. It was actually quite cute because it showed a vulnerable side to him, one that seemed to not like goodbyes.


Colin, the owner, was a very kind man. My favorite part about Colin was his storytelling. Every day, either in the car or at the dinner table, he would tell stories about suicide, people dying, people being killed, animals being killed, how to kill animals, or elopements. The way he talked about these things were so matter-of-fact and almost light-hearted, like they were everyday occurrences. In the beginning, my jaw would drop every time one of these stories was told. Then, when I realized it was a regular thing, I began giggling every time he began because I was reflecting on how colorful and different the Irish small-talk is from the U.S.

These were the main people that I met in Ireland, the ones that had the most impact on my time spent there. I miss them all terribly, even though it’s just been a week. My goal is to AT LEAST keep in contact with them. Eventually being able to see them would be even better. But for now, you know enough about them, that I can now begin Part 2 of departing entry: what I actually did.

Posted by lmckenn6 14:19 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Aww, she's growing up! Pffff

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I’m sitting… well, laying… in a NYC flat currently. In a matter of 3 hours, I will depart to my final destination: home. It has been over a month since I was last in Rochester, and I am excited to return. At the same time, however, it marks the close of an amazing adventure that took over a year to prepare for, and now seems like has passed in an instant. You know when something has left an impression on you because all you feel the need to do is talk about it. That’s how I have been with Ireland. Everything reminds me of it, even things with no relation. It’s a good thing I think.

I think the biggest thing that I take away from this trip is that it is quite alright to be outside of your comfort zone. That actually became quite the regular as I was there, whether I was confronting fears (i.e. touching chickens) or just learning something new (i.e. driving a tractor). Experiences continued even when I arrived here in NYC. To go from rural Ireland where the nearest town is 15 minutes away, to NYC was almost like culture shock. I also made my way around a metropolis and used the subway system by myself, both which are foreign to me. All and all, minor changes with big impacts I would say. Gives me a lot to reflect on.

It will be interesting to see how differently I approach life when I am home, if I do so at all. I already think that I have made some changes to my thinking and whatnot. Besides the gorgeous sites of Ireland, I think I will miss most the people. If anything, this trip made me realize that I need to do more just like it.

Posted by lmckenn6 03:17 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Not too bad, muy nice

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The Spanish men have arrived and they’re awesome. Anna and Anne let them know that I was the one that knew the most Spanish out of all of us, so I have been getting a little practice in with them. Their names are Luis, Juan, and Ruma. The last 2 are brothers. Anna and I have been practicing English with them. For only learning some English in high school, they speak very well. I told Juan that Americans are weird because we don’t have a siesta (relaxation/napping time after lunch). He said, “What is weird?” so I told him in Spanish, but apparently the word is difficult for Spanish people to pronounce. So, Juan has sorta adopted it as one of his favorite words because he wants to practice it. Ruma is a hoot. He knows the least English out of the 3 but he still knows how to make everyone laugh, and he actually speaks English quite well. Luis is the guy that likes to beat Franci at his game. When Franci starts teasing or getting really bossy, we taught the guys to say the Gaelic version of “kiss my @$$” which spelled phonetically is “poag muh hone”. It’s quite funny hearing them, especially Luis, say it to Franci. It’s even better with the Spanish accent.

On a less G-rated note, yesterday at dinner we had to explain to the guys what “penis” was. Long story on how we got to that topic, but Anna tried to explain it in English, and when she couldn’t quite get it, I chimed in with the Spanish I knew, pointed to the area of the body and said “it’s with the cojones (testicles)”. Needless to say they burst out laughing because I happened to know that word. Ruma followed up by mentioning how I asked him for the Spanish word to say breasts. I wanted to know because us girls were riding around in a bouncy tractor. Muy uncomfortable for those things. But anyway, I forgot to mention why I asked, so as far as the guys knew, I just wanted to know dirty words. Therefore, there was another burst of laughter at the table. It was the hardest I laughed in a long time. Cojones y tetas.

With all of that fantastic stuff going on, I almost forgot to mention my injury. Yesterday I jammed my finger between two large rocks. Well, more like a large rock fell on my finger while it was in between another rock. I think my fingernail may fall off and I have a nice gash, but nothing is broken. I did almost pass out, though, when I went to clean it, so Anne has been helping me. Right now I have gause wrapped around my finger. I haven’t seen it since it happened, and I’m terrified to look, because I’m afraid I may vomit or pass out, or both. Guess I can’t complain too much though because it’s my first real injury since I’ve been here.

Last night we went to the pub with the Spanish guys and it was very fun. We talked about movies, politics, dirty words. Good times. Their favorite things to say are “don’t worry”, “it’s ok”, “not too bad” and “muy _______ (something in English)”. They very much enjoy Spanglish.

Ok that’s it I believe. This took me a lot longer to write because of my disabled finger. Muy annoying. Anyhoo, I’ll try to post again soon, with some more colorful news.

Posted by lmckenn6 03:13 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)


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Yesterday Anna and I went on a 10 mile hike! We walked to a waterfall and back. The waterfall was gorgeous. Not huge, but defintely very pretty. To get there though, you entered at this certain area and we had to walk about a mile into the woods, which was actually going back in the direction that we came from. At the beginning of the trail, though, there is this STEAP hill. On the way down you basically fall on your bum, and on the way back, you basically burn your bum off because it hurts so bad to climb. Anna went swimming at the base of the waterfall, and I took some funny videos of her (without her knowing), where she would scream every time she reached a spot that she could not feel the bottom of. It was quite entertaining, but needless to say, I was absolutely exhausted when I got back.

We were supposed to go to the horse fair today but due to the fact that Franci’s car does not have new registration and there are going to be many police there today, he cancelled the trip. I’m pretty bummed because I really wanted to see the horses and pick up the souveniers! But all is ok. We were actually warned that it is freakin’ crazy there. Colin (the owner of Leades House) said that he once saw a man being chased by a group of people who had knives, axes, and those big blades that are used to cut down wheat. Apparently there are a lot of gypsies and pocket-pickers, too. Franci also added that like last year of something, someone brought a gun to the horse fair. A horse fair! Why all of the chaos, I don’t know! But going back to the gypsies… there are these trained (possibly professional) fighters, and whoever is the winner at the end of the day selects which gypsy he wants to take home with him. Apparently the gypsy women have their own parade and they volunteer for this. But yes, all of this occurs at a horse fair… definitely would have been very interesting to experience.

On another note, my cell bill is astronomical and so this is what will be happening: 1) I will not be calling anyone from my cell anymore, 2) I will only use it if people call me, 3) I prefer if people did not call me unless they really need to talk to me, 4) I am working on getting a calling card to use from the house phone. So, that being said, if you would like me to call you (Mom, Dad, Bobby, etc.) give me a day and a time to call you (REMEMBER my time is 5 hours ahead of New York’s time), and we can schedule a phone chat. Otherwise, write me an email and I’ll try to take some time to get back to you personally.

Back to more interesting things… SURPRISE, 3 Spanish guys come TOMORROW! Heyooooo.

Posted by lmckenn6 02:39 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Photos and nakedness

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Ok guys, as promised, I finally posted SOME pictures. Right now I am borrowing Anne’s computer, which means I am borrowing a German computer. All of the buttons are in German, so it is a bit difficult to navigate around the keyboard (i.e. z’s are where y’s generally are). And all of the buttons are labeled in the language too, so I am either going by visuals or pure memorz (see there I did it).

On a different note, nothing much has happened here that’s new. I just went to 2 new markets this week. Oh, and a pasture of cows got loose this morning so we had to herd them back in. The only thing REALLY new is that I went in a European sauna. It was a plain ‘ole sauna that is on the farm, but us girls went in naked. Never thought I would do that! When in Europe…

Oh, and 2 French scouting boys came tonight, even though I haven’t seen them since I met them. Apparently 35 more come tomorrow, but they will be camping out in the cow fields for a month. Still crazy though. 35 guys from PARIS. Ooh la la.

Posted by lmckenn6 10:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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