What a weekend…!

Whoosh. What a weekend.

I was pretty much on the go from Friday till Monday afternoon. Lots of walking, lots of talking, and lots of activities.

Friday morning I was up and at ’em bright and early to watch the solar eclipse, which was visible in this corner of the world. Coffee in hand, pretty tired, a good group of people gathered and hoped the clouds would eventually part.

We got lucky and got to see the whole thing! The sun came out and our special little eclipse glasses made it so we could look without tweaking our eyeballs.

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Then a couple of us casually got interviewed about the eclipse by BBC Belfast. I haven’t been able to find the clip online, but it’s probably for the best. When the reporter asked me what I thought about the eclipse I replied, ‘It was ok. Usual moon passing across the surface of the sun type stuff.’

Yeah. I’m not smooth. My classmates did much better.

Despite my interview it was really cool to see the eclipse!

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Friday night was spent playing nerdy board games till absurd hours of the morning. Good times!

Saturday I helped out with what was potentially the most uninteresting campus tour for the psychology department. Undergrads and their parents aren’t a very exciting bunch! More adventures were ahead, however…

A couple friends and I headed up to a city called Derry (or Londonderry, depending on who you ask) Saturday evening to see an art installation called The Temple. It was built by an artist whose work features at the Burning Man festival in Nevada frequently. The Temple brought together artists from across Derry and the religious communities in Northern Ireland to make the structure, which was open for a week and filled with bits of wood and paper that contained peoples’ stories, memories, hopes, dreams, regrets, and letters.

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The Derry Peace Bridge

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I think there ended up being about 15,000 people at the event on Saturday. We got there early so had prime spots in the front row, but it got crowded fast! I don’t really like crowds at all, but people mostly kept their space and were nice.033 038 042 046 049 056 057

More on the Derry event can be found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/giant-burning-temple-stirs-hearts-northern-ireland-n328131

Sunday there was roller derby, as always… turns out I’m not such a bad jammer (point scorer) after all. My confidence is growing, slowly but surely.

Then there was STAR WARS ORCHESTRA!!

That’s right. The Ulster Orchestra and Belfast Philharmonic partnered up to present an evening of nerdy awesomeness by presenting the most well known music from John William’s Stars Wars score.

There were storm troopers, a couple jedis and a bounty hunter present. I didn’t get a picture with them but seeing people dressed up like my favorite characters made me smile!

Star Wars is just one of those things that I love, grew up with and have fond memories of, and hearing the music played well was great.

Monday I was up bright and early again to go climbing in the Mournes. The weather report was a bit vague- prepare for everything, or try to!

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Walking in the weather was beautiful- sunny, warm, and not too windy. We headed towards Lower Cove which seemed dry enough and ran into another climber we knew. Small world! They had brought their dog who was the sweetest- I couldn’t complain about the puppy snuggles that occurred :).

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We did a pretty easy route to get warmed up in the hopes that I would be able to lead a route or two that day. Leading is much different (and scarier) than top roping, because you are putting your own safety gear into the rock as you climb.

As I topped out of the first climb and unhooked from our rope it started to hail and then snow. Ew! March in the Mournes is not for the faint or heart or the ill-prepared. One of the other climbers was still halfway up the wall laughing as the weather got weirder and weirder.
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Puppy got damp, we got damp, the rocks got damp, and it was cold… icky! As we scrambled to get jackets on the rain kept coming down, soaking into shoes and rucksacks. Matt even found hail in his chalkbag!

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The rocks were too wet to keep climbing on and weather reports said that showers would continue throughout the day. Well, at least we got to climb one thing!

Then, just to add insult to injury, it was beautiful again as we walked back to the car.

No fair, Mournes. No fair!

More adventures to come.

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