I didn’t set an alarm on Sunday, since I had been waking up on my own around eight, which would have given me plenty of time to get to a ten o’clock church service. Of course, that meant I slept until half past ten. My mum had been fairly insistent that I try to find a church in Cork, and had, the night before, been equally insistent that I at least try to attend some church this week. Fortunately for her, they had services at both ten and noon. Unfortunately for me, that meant I had to actually get my butt out of bed. Since I had another hour and a half until the next service started, I ignored my impending departure and lolled around, waiting to get up and out the door until it was so late that I had to eat breakfast while I walked.
Cork City is somewhat akin to Paris, in that there is a river that runs down the middle of the city, which divides to make an island, where the city centre is located. Previously, I had spent all my time on the island, or just across the river. Getting to church required striking out away from city centre, which meant a long uphill trek. Despite this, the walk was pretty and peaceful, mainly meandering through neighborhoods. The church itself is located downhill, making for a quick turn around the quite literally dumps you through the doors whether you like it or not. The elderly lady at the door greeted me and made sure that I sat with some other young Americans, who responded in typical American style by saying hi and then awkwardly standing around while we all wondered why, exactly, the old lady had stuck us all together.
I don’t quite remember if the elderly lady introduced us, or if one of the awkward Americans did, but before the end of service, I had met Maggie. Maggie and her husband are Americans, too, but they are Americans with a purpose, and intend to make Ireland their permanent residence. Maggie introduced me to several other people in the church, but, most importantly, she gave me the contact information of another lady who apparently loves to help foreign students get settled. And she told me about a wonderful hot chocolate place and promised to take me there.
“If you feel homesick, or just need to talk, call me,” she said. “My husband is often studying or at work, and I don’t work, so I always have time.”
Armed with a phone number, name, and the promise of hot chocolate, I headed back up (and down) the hill to my apartment, then settled under the duvet to eat chocolate and watch some more Buffy. I had met people and found a church. Now to go back in my shell and get ready for the next week of (permanent) apartment hunting and–at the end–orientation and the start of the last summer session.