This was another fast week here in Belfast, I had my birthday on the 3rd and celebrated both in the office and with my housemates and my parents have come to visit and just arrived on Sunday. I spent the first part of my week working on the CAPs which included working on the budget and ensuring all the financials were in order and overviewing the evaluation required by the funders of the program. Though this was quite dull at first, I realize that this is an important aspect of the program and without spending time figuring out these details, the project could not continue. Thankfully the second half of the week was more engaging. I went down to the city docks and visited a renovated boat turned into a museum that shows the development of Belfast into and industrial city. Our visit was mainly to scout the location for a possible showcase event in the future for a concluding youth project. This was a great way to see a new part of the city, not to mention the boat was absolutely beautiful. I also got out of the office and talked to a community facilitator about the CAPs I am working on. We talked about the development of the projects and the possibility of going out and visiting the groups. During this meeting I realized how very closed off the communities are to outsiders. I realized that I could only offer my help to David and if the youth group wanted me to come visit, I could. This was surprising since I assumed there would be no issue with me going out to the youth groups. I am beginning to see first hand how hard it is to get one on one contact with these communities.
On the weekend I decided to take my first day trip up to the Antrium Coast to see the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. I was trying to go with some friends I met but plans changed and I ended up with a trip on my own. In the end I was glad I didn’t go with friends because I met some great people throughout the day. It was unusually warm that day so many travelers were out and many locals enjoying the sunshine. I took a direct bus there and got the scenic bus back, which meant I got to see all the different costal cities on my trip back into town. It was nice to just walk around and talk with all the other visitors. While at the Rope Bridge I met a photo editor who was in Belfast for the week at a photography exhibition. She asked if she could take a picture for her instagram blog and I agreed, so now somewhere there is this picture out there. It was also great to chat with some locals about living on the coast and I realized it was a very different type of living than in rural and urban areas. I talked with a man about his experience with the troubles and he recalls a very different memory than most other people his age. For him the troubles were fairly quiet and there wasn’t as much violence or protests in the area. He says he didn’t know much about it growing up especially since he didn’t leave his village often. It wasn’t until he got older that he began to realize the seriousness of the situation. It was great to be able to talk with him about his life and I know had I gone with friends I wouldn’t have been able to talk with him in such detail. After my trip back I began to plan for my parents visit and I planned out their trip to the Anrtium Coast and Belfast. They arrived yesterday and we visited St. George’s Market, The Titanic Museum, and the Cathedral Quarter. Bit by bit I feel like the city is becoming more like my home.