Back to Melody's travels
here's another of those dreadfully impersonal group letters.
Hello again and sorry again for my lack of communication. It always seems to strike when i'm staying in a place, especially in Britain, as it's so easy to get sucked into and consummed by what's around me. Belfast is an especially entrenching place, there is so much happening and to learn from that you have to submerge to forge some understanding. But now the time is coming for me to move on so I'm thinking about the world once more.
So, In the wee north of Ireland spring is in full swing, it is glorious. The whole city here, so drab and timid before has leapt into colour, nature is flowing from every crack and crevice, previously unnoticed trees are commanding everyone's attention. For the first time i feel i am seeing the true spring green - a flourescent brightness in the leaves that highlights the sky. The people are waking up with it too, coming alive, this city is so multifaceted i'm starting to see many completely new sides to it just when i foolishly thought some assumptions could be made.
There's been an arts festival happening all over the city, a wonderful different melange of theatre and art and writing, there is such a strong artistic influence here although you'd never believe it to begin with. I guess artists do thrive on struggle, hence the masses of great irish writers, the suffering lends them to realism, but at the same time their presence makes the city all over charming and honest. One of the most profound performances I went to was a Thomas Beckett play, a trilogy of his 3 novels - Molloy, Malone dies, and The Unnamed. It was performed by one man, 3 hours long, with his realism and the beauty of the words and the haunting themes it was very affecting - stuntingly dark and morose and futile as Beckett generally is, a real Irish experience. After the play everyone was flatenned, stared about wide eyed, had a few angst filled discussions, then went out (to the pub) and got on with life. It's astounding how the people here can be so daunted by life and consummed with all its grand questions yet at the same time be merry and live in the moment.
In the world of the day job, working in a highschool has proved interesting, and I've learnt a lot right from the moment I was told what my job title, 'lab technician', actually means. Something to do with a laboratory apparently. I guess that explains why I was working in one, even though I was possibly the least qualified or experienced 'technician' to ever grace its fume cupboards and chemical racks.
Being an inspired place with enthused teachers and respectful students my 5 months here have passed quickly. The institutional qualities of the nine to five monday to friday system don't frighten me at all. I actually quite like feeling as though I've been on robot mode and can't differentiate between different days or weeks of the past half year. My life has flown past me like a renewable resource, which doesn't make me feel at all like an entity.
Ok enough, it has only been 5 months. But, the environment of this strict school with its hierachy and focus on discipline and objective to mould students, teach them to slot into their place in the system and believe they have to, need to, turn their little cog, that they need to achieve, achieve physical status, possesions, be ambitious, attain excellence as though academic excellence is an end in itself - well all over it's a hard environment to be in. I wonder what would have happened if i hadn't spent 12 years of my life in a state school like this,- my general knowledge would be less yes, but would i have missed anything important? sometimes it seems like a step back for children to be at a school like this, a plateau to hold them in their place and keep society the structured way it is.
So my visa to be here has finished- fear not, i shan't be extrodited just yet, i've applied for an extension, whether or not i get it is not too important, just that i may stay on until they have processed it, which takes a while. I live in hope that i will have saved enough to continue on my merry way, in a few weeks, who knows what will happen.
The rest of the country is beautiful too. It's very compact so you can travel from one end to the other in about 1 1/2 hours, passing rolling hills which the locals proudly define as 'mountains', shaggy fields with a line of trees which are then defined as 'the wilderness', and hamlets with a tar sealed street and river are 'cities.' A bit like new zealand really. The diferent perspectives are very amusing, minds boggle when someone is forced to take the grand journey south to Dublin, or more horrifying, Cork, which involves a monolithic four hour odyssey. The people overall are very friendly and inquisitive, and their world is starting to open up quite substantially with the cease fire, as more and more tourists arrive, the economy strenghtens and it is easier for them to travel.
I want to write on but would probably never stop so I'd better end here and get back to my technical ah procedures involved in my labotomy work. No I can't lie, actually it's lunch time and I want to go and eat.
So I may soon be seen leaving this place and it will be sad, to be sure, to be sure.
However I hope i can write from another place and share more, and on it goes. And I hope to hear your news,
oh and I went to Omagh a few times to go Nixon hunting, I've found a few, and some churches and grasslands - I will soon send out a full report,
much love from over the ditch, Melody
p.s.if you've seen the riots on tv, i'm sure you have, please don't worry, they happen all the time it's just sometimes they're reported. I do wish the media would spend some time on the beautiful parts of the city.......