Thursday, February 17, 2011

We met a local celebrity! Sorta.

I had my last trip to the Garda! I am officially registered in Ireland and can stay until May 9th! Whew! Glad that is over with. It was actually probably the most exciting trip thus far. I got my passport back and my official registration card. It is pretty hilarious! The picture on it was taken after I had talked to the Garda at the airport for an hour and a half. I was really tired and kinda frustrated, plus you're not allowed to smile.... so my picture looks like I'm ready to kill someone! It makes me laugh. When I get back if you're really curious I'll let you see it so you can share in my amusement.
But after that, the rest of today has been Irish politics education day. Each of us had to do a 5-10 minute presentation on a different aspect of the government or one of the political parties (there are 5 here). I got to talk about the Dail Eirreann, which is their House of Representatives. It was actually pretty interesting to learn about the government. We're watching the news every night and usually it's really confusing. But now that we have a better understanding of who everyone is, we'll be able to follow along better. After all of this, I wish I could vote in the elections next week. If Irish people are anything like Americans, I'm sure we're more educated on all the political parties than many of them are.
After our presentations, we had a local celebrity come to visit! Sort of. Simon Harris is running for TD (Senator) in the upcoming election! I don't know why he took time off to come talk to a bunch of Americans who can't even vote for him, but I'm glad he did. It was good to hear about the Irish government from someone who really understands it. Plus we got to hear a little of why he wants to enter politics. His brother is autistic and he sees a real lack in special education in Ireland. So when he was a teenager he started meeting with TD's and asking them to take this issue on. That continues to motivate him today, as well as the desire to see his friends get good jobs in Ireland rather than be forced to emigrate to other countries due to the economy here. He seemed to have a genuine desire to help fix his country. Oh, I forgot to mention. He's 24 years old (but looks much younger). But anyway, for the past week we've been teasing the single director here who is 27 that she should ask Simon out! He's within her range and loves Ireland and social justice issues. Sounds like a good guy, right?! Well, sadly she didn't ask him, but it was still entertaining to tease her about it.

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