Louisa Briody (TY Monnet) writes:
It was a mild Sunday evening when myself and my family made our way to the Farnham Hotel in Cavan. I felt very nervous yet excited as I was collecting my Dutch student visitor who would be spending the week with me in Ireland. I arrived at the hotel and chatted with some of the other girls who were there, we could barely contain our excitement for their arrival. After about twenty minutes they started piling into the room. It was quite surreal to see all our Dutch friends again after a very long six month wait. I met Jacco and introduced him to my family. We then went off to get some food, as they were all starving after their long day of travel! After eating some chips and sausages, we arranged what we would do that night and then left for home. I let him get settled in and then we left for Maria’s house where she was having a get together. We had a very good night and it was great chatting to all the Dutch again and finding out what they’d been up to the past six months.
The next morning, we arrived in school and met everyone else in the locker area. We headed for the demo room where Ms. Gaffney made a welcoming speech and outlined the activities that we would be undertaking during the week. The group was divided in two, Monnets and Schumans. My class, Monnet, were having a Home Ec demonstration first with Mrs. Farrell. The Dutch liked the kitchen and were surprised that we had cooking classes in our school, as they don’t have that in their school, RSG’t Rijks in The Netherlands. We watched Mrs. Farrell make Irish soda bread, she explained what she was doing as she went along and also asked some of the Dutch students about their food in Holland. When the bread was in the oven, she started preparing the leek and potato soup. The Dutch said they had never tasted the soup before. We all sat around different tables to taste some foods. We shared smoked salmon and some different Irish cheeses, like nettle cheese. The Dutch really enjoyed all this food, especially the soup and the cheese. After eating we made the boys clean up! They were wondering why we “didn’t have machines to do this.”
After the Home Ec lesson we had PE. For the PE lesson we had a coach called Patricia come in to teach the Dutch students the skills of Gaelic football and hurling. They picked up the football quite quickly and had no problem hitting the sloitar with the hurl. The football was very enjoyable and we played some games after to practice the skills learned.
After lunch the two groups Monnet and Schuman had an Irish class together in the music room. Ms. Smith and Mrs. Hughes both taught the Dutch some phrases in Irish, and then we did some Irish singing. The Dutch found the Irish phrases hard to remember, but they really enjoyed the songs. The Irish students then performed “Lady Gaeilge” for the guests, a compilation of Lady Gaga songs that we have been learning all year as Gaeilge. When all was done some Dutch and Irish students got up and played guitar and piano together. The class was really enjoyable.
Finally, the last activity of the day was a Chinese lesson. Our Chinese teacher Ying came in with her colleague to teach us the art of Chinese paper cutting. They showed us what to do and handed out instructions to help us. Everyone’s turned out good and the lesson was very fun and enjoyable.
Day One was over and everyone left for home, looking forward to the week ahead!
(photographs by Louise Briody).