Today was an adventure, exploring the Lahinch beach in wetsuits.  No, I didn’t go surfing, but I did get the opportunity to see a lot of people fail at it.  I think that was the highlight of my day.

Do you remember that we had a friend of a friend drop by yesterday?  Well, his name is Ben Walter and he’s an English major at UCC.  He also happened to run into Randy Marx, who was an Irish Fellow last year, and managed to stay with us for the weekend.  Well, thanks to him, we met some people from Cork, Ireland in general, France, and Germany.  And our group found the ocean to be quite thrilling.

Sam, Ben, Kaitlyn, and Liz
Sam, Ben, Kaitlyn, and Liz

Surfboards are tall, guys.  Much taller than I am and, as you can see here, almost three feet taller than Liz.  But everyone seemed to manage well enough.  Don’t they look stunning in their wetsuits?

Other than Sam, no one in our group had surfed before (Megan has, but she was in Belfast, so let’s ignore that little fact).  I’d say it was a learning experience.  They learned that the ocean is unpredictable—I learned how to avoid getting splashed by incoming waves while carrying three cameras on the beach.

While I never got in the water (don’t judge, I’m perfectly okay with this fact), I still was quite entertained by surfing.  Maybe it’s just me, but watching people face-plant or fall backwards into the surf is ridiculously amusing.  And the wetsuits themselves—it’s an ordeal to get in and out of those things, and they’re quite form-fitting.  They have to be in order to keep the body heat in and the water out, but it was so funny watching people try to keep their balance while peeling skin-tight, soaked fabric off.  And people would change right out in the open, towels barely keeping their modesty intact.  Quite entertaining, indeed.

Kaitlyn, Sam, Liz
Kaitlyn, Sam, Liz

Post-surfing pose, for the win.  It looks that although they’re soaked, they had fun (if the smiles and thumbs-ups are any indication).  Great job, guys.  I think they all managed to at least get to their feet for a few seconds.

Kaitlyn, Sam, Liz
Kaitlyn, Sam, Liz

Surfing builds muscle, as evidenced here.  Even though we rented the suits and boards from the surf school, no one opted for lessons.  Obviously, Americans don’t need lessons.

Surfers are very friendly people, too.  I was asked more than once if I was waiting for surfing lessons, and once I declined, they decided I made an interesting conversation partner.  I learned a bit about local customs regarding surfing, and I was also invited to a traditional music session.  Sadly, it was in Doolin, which is over 20 km away (and without a car, I won’t be going, because I’m not one to walk that far and back).

But do remember that we were invited back to the hostel tonight.  I managed to meet several lovely people, and overall, it was a good experience.  There was a lantern-lighting (like in “Tangled”—and my group’s lantern was the first one to get aloft), and I found several conversation partners.

I think, as a group, and as a group of Americans, we made a few “waves” ourselves.  I had fun, and that’s generally what you’re supposed to do when studying abroad, right?


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