My journey started in the car with my mom and aunt as they drove me up to a city I have always wanted to see, Toronto, where I would fly out of. It was sort of a nice little adventure before the real adventure was going to begin. Quickly enough though, I found myself sitting in the airport waiting for my departure. I had no idea what to expect except that I knew this is going to be a life changing experience.
So here I am, landed in Belfast City, Ireland. Alone, nervous, excited, all of it at once. As quickly as I could, I caught a cab to the hotel where all my fellow adventurers were already sightseeing. The cab driver laughed as I tried to get into the “passenger side” door, which of course was the driver side here in Ireland, and then proceeded to tell me some of the background of the city. This was foreshadowing of all the learning that we did today (May 16, 2016).
Now here we were in our cabs making stops and getting lessons on the history of Northern Ireland. We learned that this city was once not a place anyone wanted to live as it holds a hotel that is the most bombed hotel in the world. Wow, that didn’t make me feel too good to hear. Little did I know, this city is also divided between Catholic and Protestant people. There is literally a 45-foot wall in between villages. How could a place that is this striving and fun have a wall dividing the people? Well, in their eyes this wall is keeping the peace. That is not how I would look at it, but the violence has stopped, hopefully for good. It is unbelievable to see that this is the way that they live here. Divided. Strides are being taken by the people to make more unity, like having a school for both Catholic and Protestant, but this angered many. I know there is much more to learn and surprising facts waiting for me to digest on this trip and I cannot wait for what is in store.
My signature on the Belfast Peace Wall after learning about the separation of people.