Family, Friends and Easter Bunnies!

Friday May 16th 2014

Now that the long awaited teaching practice is finally over, the comedown has been, quite frankly, VERY easy to adjust to. Much to Mammy’s annoyance I have resumed my stereotypical student-y regime of leaving plates beside the sink hoping they’ll be washed sometime in the next week and being quite content with what I know to be my ‘organised mess’ of a bedroom. However, Mammy would refer to it as more of a bomb site, but we’ll agree to disagree on that one.

As you may have read in my last blog, I had the absolute time of my life during my teaching practice experience, and was truly blessed with the exceptional school in which I was based and with the wonderful teachers and students whom I had the pleasure of working alongside day and daily. Now however, I’m beginning to realise that just because I’ve taught for six weeks doesn’t make me a fully qualified teacher with a full time job, and that I still have the tiny hurdle of finishing a degree to get over. And so the dreaded revision begins.

The past three weeks have been spent catching up on much needed family time and enjoying the glorious weather with special friends. After moving out to university in September, it became pretty hard to fit in time to see all my Aunts and Uncles and umpteen younger cousins, who, being the oldest in a very close-knit family, really are like my younger brothers and sisters. Thankfully, being off work for a few days meant that I was able to pack up and head off to Newry for a relaxing stay with my Godmother and her family where I was treated like royalty. My younger cousin is now making her First Holy Communion next week and so she was all bizz trying on her white ‘princess dress’. As a result of being ‘adopted’ by my Auntie for those few days, it gave me the opportunity to be able to volunteer at the Michaela Foundation’s ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ and Easter Egg Hunt in the Buttercrane in Newry. A genuinely lovely day was had by all volunteers and the enchantment of the children by the wonderful Mad Hatter, Easter Bunny and our very own Alice in Wonderland was exceptional. Whilst on our way in to the Buttercrane however, my Auntie asked me ‘So do you know anyone else volunteering here today?’ Despite the vast expanse of the Michaela Foundation volunteers all across the country the only person who I knew would be there was fellow scholar, Stephen. I know what you’re thinking. Where on earth is she going with this rather long and drawn out story that really has no relevance or general basic point? But the point is that with the Michaela Foundation, you may walk in to a fundraiser or event such as that, unfamiliar with anyone else you may be working with, but leave knowing every person there and making new friends along the way. What better way to bond that to stick on a pair of bunny ears and hop, yes, literally hop, around a rather busy shopping centre on a beautiful Saturday afternoon looking for rabbits in shop windows. In fairness, it was just as well that we got on so well with each other, because to anyone who wasn’t a small child, we looked like absolute fools, to say the least.

For the six scholars this year, the month of May marks a very significant event in our journey as Freshers. On the 5th May as some of you may know, we will be running the Belfast Marathon Relay on behalf of the Foundation, as are a few other fabulous volunteers. The six of us aim is to reach a target of £1,000 so that we can give back in whatever small way we can for the generosity and support that, as first years opening a new chapter in our lives, the Michaela Foundation has given us. However we would also love enable the Foundation to give another fresh faced first year the same opportunities next year that we have been blessed with. By the time you’re reading this, we will hopefully have successfully completed the marathon without any major injuries or hiccups. However, if you have a penny or two to spare, (especially you students now that the third instalment of the loan is in!), it isn’t too late to donate and we would all be so so grateful for whatever donations you can give to help us on our way. You can donate online here at http://www.justgiving.com/Aoife-Ni-Shiadhai, or just give any money you want to any of the six of us. We’d be more than happy for you to donate it that way too! Many thanks in advance for any support you may give.

Eiméar