On Sunday my baby cousin Brody (3 months old) was christened. I went to my Auntie Anne’s house in Newry, County Down for the weekend. She lives about forty five minutes outside of Belfast. Although it is not very far, there is a slight difference in the accents from Belfast and towns in County Down such as Newry and Warrenpoint. I have met people studying at Queen’s University from all over Northern Ireland and the accent has a variation depending on where the person is from. It is very amusing because at the beginning I couldn’t tell any of the accents apart, but now I guess my ear is being trained to recognize what area in Ireland a person is from depending on what their accent sounds like.
The drive to Newry is very pleasant. Leaving the city and heading into the “country”, past green fields of cows and sheep is so relaxing. The motorways are well designed and although the roads are busy, the traffic is nothing compared to I95 or the Blue Route back in Philly. I love going to my Auntie’s house because it means a guaranteed weekend of good food and fun. I’m really close to my aunt and uncle and studying abroad in Ireland this year has meant I have gotten to see them much more often than if I were back in the States.
Saturday night my Uncle made one of my favorite dinners, called “bubble and squeak”. It is the fried up leftovers from a big dinner of chicken, stuffing, vegetables and potatoes. The name comes from the food making funny noises while it is cooking and being fried up in the pan. It ends up looking not so aesthetically pleasing, but definitely stomach-pleasing. After dinner we had a delicious dessert of chocolate sponge cake and custard. (Of course with a pot of tea between the three of us!) The Irish custom of tea and treats after dinner is going to get me into some serious trouble with my jeans if I’m not careful. (Good thing I’ve been going to the gym!)
Sunday morning was the day of the Christening and it was a beautiful, sunny day. We really lucked out with the weather since everyone was getting all dressed up and hairs done, it would have been awful if we had to deal with umbrellas and rain and struggling to keep dry while getting in and out of the cars and into the church. The Christening was set to start at noon and then we were scheduled to go out for a meal afterwards. I arrived to the church with my aunt, uncle, five year old cousin. At almost the exact same time my older cousins arrived with their kids. Friends and other family members were waiting outside the church and some were talking to the priest. Running a bit late, Rebecca and Gerard arrived with the special little man, Brody. He was dressed all in white and was fast asleep. The sacrament mass didn’t take long and by 1 o’clock everyone was taking pictures of the proud mom and dad and newly christened baby. It was really nice to see how happy and proud they were.
Irish boys will always be notorious about their passion for football. There was a Tottenham Hotspurs football match on at 2 o’clock. Since my uncle and cousins all support that team they were really upset about the potential of missing the game. So in order to appease the boys, we all went to a bar where they could watch the game and then after the game, we headed to the restaurant hall that had been organized and decorated for all the guests from the Christening to have a buffet style meal. The food was delicious. There was lasagna, sausage rolls, salad, chicken goujons and chips, and cake served.
I was so happy to get to celebrate Brody’s Christening with my family and relatives because if I hadn’t of been studying abroad this year, I would have missed out. It was a very nice weekend and I headed back to Belfast for classes on Monday morning. It’s getting to be crunch time for coursework since there’s only three weeks left of the semester!