Sunday, May 06, 2012

settling in

Well, although I only arrived on Iona last Wednesday, it feels as if I’ve already been here much, much longer (in a nice way)! I’ve been introduced to what seems like a bewildering number of new colleagues from all over the world, but don’t seem to be able to remember anyone’s names! As far as nationalities are concerned, for instance, I’m living in a houses shared by 12 volunteers – from Paraguay, Japan, Germany, Canada, USA, Scotland, the Czech Republic (two), Australia (two) and England (two)!
My volunteering role over the next two months is working in the community shop (essentially books and “gifts”) and I’m really lucky to be with some really lovely colleagues who are sympathetic to my lack of cash register skills!
Guests are generally on the island for a week at a time and it’s rather lovely how friendships, albeit very brief, develop in that time over meals and the like (in my case, even if it was over a couple of days last week) – lots of hugging as the community staff and visitors waved guests off from the jetty on Friday!
We’ve been amazingly lucky with the weather so far, but this will no doubt change in the course of the next few days – last week’s guests all went home with suntans.
Photo: early morning view (30m from my back door!).
PS: The birdlife on the island is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, my bird-spotting skills are poor in the extreme so, hopefully (with the help of the odd reference book), this will be something I’ll be able to work on over the coming weeks. Amongst those I’ve seen thus far: golden eagle and buzzard (on Mull); curlew, cuckoo, crow and corncrake (I’m very proud of this because, apparently, although you hear them all the time here, you very rarely get to see them!).

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