From New York City to Dublin was a journey.
From anxiously waiting to board in the JFK airport excited to meet new scholars but also the nervousness of moving to a new country not knowing what to expect was kind of scary. But in a good way. Getting acquainted and seeing familiar faces of athletes I’ve played against and now becoming friends with them have cooled down my nerves! The bus from Dublin to Belfast was a 2 hour journey where rather than sleeping I familiarized myself with fellow scholars; sharing basketball memories, exchanging advice on beauty tips, and discussing places we all want to visit.
Once in Belfast, we got settled in our rooms, met the staff of the Sport Changes Life program and went over the requirements and expectations of our time in Ireland. The highlight of the day was the Carnmoney Ladies FC which is a youth girls soccer team who sat and talked to us about their sport. I had the pleasure of speaking and getting acquainted with Kaitlyn a ” Right Back”. I had no idea what a right back was she told me. I’ve watched soccer before but only knew defense and offence, Kaitlyn schooled me to the game and confirmed that she was a defensive player. The highlight of the conversation is when Kaitlyn asked me if High School Musical was like real American High school. We both giggled. I told her besides the abundant of singing and randomly breaking out into song , it is. The same concept of the dynamic of the students interact, the visuals of the high school (many are different). The movie does resemble the high school culture of the U.S.
Day 2: The Wall of Peace
The history of Ireland is a fascinating story to learn about. Today we learned about the Wall of Peace, that at a point in time divided the Catholics and the Protestants. The wall was covered with miraculous murals and some graffiti. The first thing that I thought of was home. The paintings and the political messages resembled some of the same art I’ve seen walking the Brooklyn streets. It was calming to see a little bit of resemblance of home in Belfast. The story of the wall was interesting how different views of religion became the conflict between these two groups. The conflict which has decreased since the promotion of peace and changing views over time. We were encouraged to write a message on the wall just like many others have did. The wall had so much writing on it that I jumped on the back of my fellow Victory Scholar Micheal’s back to reach a clear space at the top. There I wrote ” Aryn, NYC in the Building, Peace 4 all!” The experience was so informative and opened my eyes to other political issues that are occurring around the world and not only in America.