February 11th, 2015
While I am here in Ireland, I also have the incredible opportunity to have an internship. There is a wide variety of internships students here participate in, but mine specifically is with Curlew Theatre in Clifden. It took a while to get some of the paperwork sorted out, but I will be working in three different locations during the semester. I will be working at Aillebrack National School helping teach improv and drama games to students, as well as working at a disabled care facility – Ability West: Providing Services and Supports to People with an Intellectual Disability (www.abilitywest.ie) – for engagement and movement exercises. In addition to the work at the school and the care facility, I will also be working on social media for Curlew Theatre (it was very amusing trying to explain to my internship coordinators Roz and Sean what Instagram and Twitter was) as well as seeking out performance opportunities for Curlew Theatre across the country.
I had my first day of my internship last week at the disabled care center, and it was an absolutely incredible experience. We met some wonderful people (Kitty, Mary, Patrick, John, Anne, Sally Anne, and Julie) and they made me feel like I could never stop smiling and that my heart could burst. We did some movement games with them (my favorite being: “I have a present”, where you mime opening a present, acting out what is inside, and everyone has to guess) as well as I got to listen to a lovely poem about spring that they wrote themselves and made sound effects with instruments. I will get to see them all once a week, and when we left I got the biggest hugs and kisses I have ever received.
Today, I went to the schools for the first time and we drove past Clifden down a long winding road along the coast to an area called Aillebrack. We pulled up to the school – a tiny yellow building not much bigger than one of our cottages – and went into the “junior” room, where we were greeted by adorable four and five-year olds in tiny maroon sweaters (jumpers) who were so excited for drama class they couldn’t even stay in their seats. (While we were getting set up, a young boy turned to the girl next to him and said very seriously “Hey. Are we dreaming right now?” and she replied with a pondering look on her face, “Hmm. I don’t know. Are we?” I can’t wait to hear what more wacky things these kids will say!). For the first activity, we all stood in a circle and sang a song “Hello, hello, sing hello, hello, sing hello, hello, sing hello”, and then Roz would sing “Hello, Sean” and tiny Sean would squeak “Hello!!” and so on with all of the students. We also acted out a story book about a farmer trying to pull up a giant turnip, and then later we went around the room saying what we were most looking forward to for spring. My heart melted as they all exclaimed with excitement “primroses!” “little sheep baaing for their mummies!!” “cows!!” “cycling with my daddy on the beach!” “snow drops!!” “Gaelic football!!” “going to the beach!!” “puppies!!” “horsies!!”. It was adorable and I was practically a puddle on the floor. Next week I get to teach the little ones some camp songs and I am SO excited! (Boom Chicka Boom, anyone?)
We then went to another classroom with some older students (I think they were 11 and 12 year olds) and they performed a skit for us about what they were learning in their history lesson. A particularly bright group of girls had gone above and beyond expectations with lines and the props they brought in (they even had a fresh-baked loaf of brown bread with jam and butter to put in the fake oven) and I had to stifle my laughter as they casually exclaimed “Oh, Christ!” and “Jaysis!! (Jesus)” in some of their lines. It was really amazing to see all of these students, both the junior students and the older ones, jump wholeheartedly into these activities Roz asks them to do. Next week, I will get to lead them in some improv games, and I can’t wait for that!
Since our internship is in Clifden, we get picked up by Roz or Sean and get a lift into town (this is nice because normally people have to walk to their internships, AND Clifden has better and bigger grocery stores, so I won’t ever have to worry about shopping!). My internship is on Wednesdays and Thursdays only for an hour or so each day, but it has now become the thing I am most looking forward to.
Seriously guys, these kids are the cutest little nuggets of the world you’ll ever see. I’m in love.