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Learning Language thru Travels. . . Give the Sisters a Big Bowl of Bullets. . . or Ireland: a Big Bowl of Us

Sister Camille D’Arienzo (left) with 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Hume and Sister Kathleen Quinn, both members of the

Mid-Atlantic Order of the Sisters of visiting  Northern Ireland on a trip to Ireland hosted by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother


Sister Catherine Markey of the Benedictine Sisters Convent,  Fort Smith, Arkansas on a trip to Ireland at Clonmacnoise

provided by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother

Sister Camille D’Arienzo and Sister Camille D’Arienzo came to mind this week because I was invited to attend the last. . . WHY THE LAST??. . . Evening of Mercy fundraising event that the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy run each year. In 2008, I was one of the 2 lay people that are honored, along with two members of the clergy, that are presented because of their unique contribution to the world in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of Mercy.  If you’ve read my facebook page, you know that for the last few weeks I have been upside down in balancing my professional life that was sent off-kilter by unexpected moves by companies that syndicate my radio shows, Travelers411 and Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams. One Hundred Percent of my attention has been focused on sorting out the loose threads and weaving them back into a vibrantly colorful tapestry which took all of my time and attention. So being at this historic event was, regrettably not in the cards.  The good news, the best news, is that I thought out and followed a plan to keep everything on track and, with the help and support of more people in the broadcast industry than I had any idea cared about me and the radio shows we produce, we are rolling along even faster than we have ever before in the 17 years we have been on the air! But placing all the moving parts where they needed to be, as it relates to Sister Camille and Sister Kathleen Quinn whom I sent on a 10 day trip all over Ireland staying at the finest hotels and experiencing Ireland at its best, it was the answer to the Zen question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  My thinking of the good sisters was, “Thought without action,” as I just couldn’t be at the event in the midst of a tornado of activity swirling around us.

And when I think of Sisters Camille and Kathleen, I also think of another Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother recipient of a 10  day trip to Ireland and that is Sister Catherine Markey, Archivist for the Benedictine Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I hosted Sister Catherine and her traveling companion, Kathleen Jarvis, as well and, when the chauffeur I had organized to drive them all over Ireland fell apart, my husband and I flew to Ireland and, to their surprise we were waiting for them in the lobby of the hotel on the grounds of Knock Shrine in Co. Mayo the morning that their driver and guide were scheduled to be unavailable to them.  We became and ‘driver and guide’ for them and spent a week traveling around with these two people I’d never met before on the eve of the 80th birthday of Sister Catherine! And I must tell you that that was on of the very best and most memorable weeks of my life!

I thought of both of them again today as I was reviewing Episode 21 of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day & Marconi Day in Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day portion shares the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lanesborough, County Longford, Ireland with my audiences on radio, TV and online. The moderator of the parade is a TD, Minister of Irish Government, Mr. Eugene Murphy.  I was reading the closed captioning to be certain that words like “Cirque du Soleil and Enniskillen were all spelled correctly and other words that would be a challenge for an automated closed captioning system.

And then I cam across two expressions embedded into the transcription of the monologue of the moderator. I don’t know when I’ve had such a good laugh! The first one announced in the closed captioning: ” Sisters of Big Bullets” and the second said, “A big bowl of us.”

This presents us with a bit of an opportunity to learn a bit of Irish!

The moderator first spoke about the women in costume in the parade who were promoting a theater production of, “Sister Act” and the closed captioning said, ‘ Let’s give the sisters a big bowl of bullets.”

A bit later, the moderator’s comments were interpreted in the closed captioning as a float passed across the screen, “Let’s give them a big bowl of us!”

While neither, I am sure, makes any sense at all to you, that’s because the now corrected closed captioning say we should give the sisters a “big bualadh bos” as does the translation for the float going by. Pronounced “BOOL-UH-BUS,” this bit of Irish means “Applause” so a giving someone a big bualadh bos is the equivalent of the moderator asking the crowd to ‘give them a big hand’ or ‘give them a big round of applause.’

I have left a message for my very dear, and controversial friend, Malachy McCourt, that I have the title for his next book! And, instead of calling my travel guide to Ireland which I am determined to finish by September, “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland,” I think I will title it, ” Ireland: A Big Bowl of Us!” or maybe, “Ireland: A Big Bowl of Bullets,” although, with what’s been going on in Derry and Belfast lately, that might be too literal a  title for the guide.

And now that I’ve finished reading, amending and approving the closed captioning for Episode 21, I have to admit that that’s the most fun I’ve had in the last three weeks. I needed that laugh!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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