I’ve arrived! The first thing I saw out of my window when the plane landed were many tiny little bunnies hopping around the patches of grass by the tarmac. It was so funny and cute (what else is new) and quite strange to see any kind of wildlife so close to an airport, let alone right next to landing planes. I don’t really know if I’m one for signs or omens or anything like that, but I decided I’d take the cute little bunnies to mean that I’d have a good trip. If it were to mean anything, really, what else could it be? (A certain euphemism comes to mind, not too hard to figure out, but I assure you, it’s not on my list of things to do whilst here.)
This time around I’m staying way out in Lagmore with some friends, which means I won’t be able to get around quite as easily as in the past. The first picture is of me waiting at the (double-decker!) bus stop. I figured I’ll probably be spending a lot of time waiting for the bus while I’m here, so I might as well get a shot of myself in action. I had such a good time taking a series of pictures of myself while I sat there all alone and giggling like a crazy person, that I am bound to start doing that much more often (see picture number 2).
On Sunday afternoon I met my friend Tom for coffee. It was great to see him again (even if it was to the same soundtrack that my Mexican friends at work listen to day-in and day-out at work–not the “i’m hot and you’re not” song–that would be far too precious, but it was weird anyway). Anyway, leave it to Tom to leave me at a loss for words yet again with all of his subtly intense, thought-provoking questions. One thing that threw me for a loop was when he asked me if (or why, really) I only ask “why” in regards to negative things that happen to me and don’t question the positive. I suppose I’ve never thought about it before–at least not in the way he meant it.
The friend I am staying with handles housing issues for west Belfast, and I accompanied him to a woman’s home who had been complaining to the Housing Executive for quite some time about her living conditions but has not been able to get any help. People here who are in dire need of housing can qualify for free (imagine!) council housing; I’d imagine that some (most?) of it is quite livable but this situation was definitely the exception. This young, single mother was living in a one bedroom flat in an apartment complex, and despite the fact that the apartment above her had been ruined in a fire (leaving water stains all over the ceiling, carpet and walls of her rooms where the water had leaked through and leaving her with NO electricity), her windows were being smashed in by thugs (and she, with no money, was told she had to pay to replace them) and her back garden is littered with heroin needles from local drug users–the Housing Executive would not respond to any of her complaints or requests for new housing. Sigh. That’s where my friend comes in, and hopefully he will be able to put some heat on them. I helped out a bit by taking some pictures of the damage.
This picture here is of me, giggling once again while I eat cookies, drink coffee, and load pictures onto the computer at the SF office in City Hall. My friend offered to take my picture, but I rather like these shots (even if I do look a little crazy).
Later, I got a lolly at the tuck shop (I’m not even kidding–the accent’s no problem, I just have no idea what the hell you’re talking about) and walked around Milltown cemetary with my friend…and felt compelled to take a picture of every McCabe (cutest.last.name.ever.) tombstone that I saw (there were several), including this one here of an IRA volunteer in the republican plot.
Well, I’m off now to go and see the ladies of the Ormeau Road! I’ll try to post more soon (and more coherently).
*I’ll keep you guessing on this one…