June 9, 2014
Senior-to-be Sachi Sugiyama will be providing MGoBlue.com with weekly updates during her month-long study abroad trip in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. In this final entry, Sachi reviews one last caving experience, the presentation of her art pieces in the final day at the studio and touches on the last four weeks as a whole.
Additional Photos (Facebook)
My study abroad trip has sadly come to a close. This final week was jam-packed and hectic, but above those two things, it all went by way too fast.
We had one final caving trip, this one with a little less crawling. We had to squeeze and do some maneuvering, but this was a river cave, so our timing had to be right. We had to go during low tide otherwise the water would have been up way too high. Essentially, we would've been swimming. Once the cavern opened up, it was the widest and most spacious cave we had been in. It was also much warmer! Yes, the water was still freezing, but we got used to it pretty quickly. Something that made this cave unique were the living things in it -- trout, eels, small bugs and spiders. The trout were blind and lethargic. They wouldn't move unless you went up and touched it. Of all the caves we saw, this one was my favorite. It had beautiful geological formations, a lot of really nice flow stone, stalactites and curtains. At the end, though, we had to climb a really long rope ladder. We had climbed some before but had yet to climb one this long. It was tough, but I think Lew (our team's strength coach) would be proud of my effort! Tim and Terry, our guides for every caving trip, made everything run so smoothly and were awesome people!
Once we got back from Dublin (which was amazing, by the way), we had a couple of free studio days where we all were ferociously working on our artwork. After a couple of late nights, I was luckily able to finish my final project before we held our exhibition last Thursday. Most of that day was spent cleaning our studio spaces, putting the finishing touches on our pieces, printing final images, reorganizing and setting up our work to be presented. As you can imagine, there were several of us who looked like chickens with our heads cut off. Fortunately, all of us were able to get our work done before the exhibition started at 5 p.m. Our time was from 5-7 p.m. From 7-9 p.m. was another visiting artist who used the main gallery space to present her art to an audience. Luckily for us, that audience migrated to our studio spaces and seemed to be pretty impressed with all of our work! We chatted with them and explained our processes and ideas, along with the usual small talk.
Last Friday was our last day and we had our final critiques as a class. I can honestly say it was very stimulating, helpful and productive. Everybody was so proud of each other's work and how much we were able to get done in this last month. It was bittersweet at the end. There were some tears and lots of hugs as the impending feeling of our trip coming to an end was hitting us. We had all become a big family and I couldn't have asked for a better group to have gone with on this trip. I will never forget this place, from the Burren, to Dublin, to the Aran Islands, to Galway. We always looked at a beautiful landscape with the mountain and sea right outside our back door. We had the flat rocks at the top of the mountains, the folktales and superstitions, the lush green and spots of colors from flowers. And then there was the fresh air, the gloomy mornings that turned into sunny days and the clear nights with stars abundant in the sky above.
This trip was so inspiring, beautiful and so much fun! I hope to continue the work that I started from this trip and use it in future works. It was a great month and great experience, but I'm excited to get back to Ann Arbor and get back in the gym!
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!
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