Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tales and adventures from across the pond

So Tuesday seems to be the day where I actually get time to update this! Therefore, tune in every Tuesday for an update on my life :-)

Last post I mentioned that I was about to head out and go to kayaking practice. Oh man, was that an experience. Most of you know that I own a kayak and often go out paddling on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where my family owns a house. I absolutely love kayaking on the peaceful bay that looks like glass most of the time. But wow was this evening an experience. The first thing we learned to do was capsize the boat and get help. Once you flip over, you are supposed to bang two times on the front of the boat and then push yourself out with your knees. It was extremely intense for me and people were doing flips and tricks with their kayaks in the pool. There were two other American girls there too and they felt the same way I did. We all walked out together and started laughing hysterically at how ridiculous all of the guys were. But then we got a pint and felt much better :-) However, the next day I woke up and my right leg was really hurting me. I was thinking to myself "oh man, what happened?" Then I looked in the mirror and saw that I literally had a bruise the size of Antarctica!!! I swear, I am not kidding. I am not uploading a picture because I hate looking at it haha It is getting a little better now that it has been a week! Must have been all of that capsizing and almost drowning...I mean, what?

Holy cow, have I really been here for three weeks already? So surreal...anyway, Wednesday I had lots of class! I had a lecture in my agriculture class and then my 2 hour lab. This week we planted marigolds! A little more exciting than last weeks soil endeavors I suppose. Then I had my economics tutorial. My professor for public policy economics at Georgetown this past summer hit the nail right on the head. "It takes a very 'special' person to be an economist,' and that 'special' person is.not.me. After class Vanessa and I ventured to print out materials, which is a chore in itself. You know, being here has made me highly value A LOT of things about good old America. Things are just so much more difficult here! For instance:
A) LAUNDRY...my first time was a fiasco here. Keep reading for more details on that lovely afternoon project.
B) my meal plan at school. I can't cook, end of story! Which is surprising considering everyone in my family (both mom and dad's side) are all absolutely amazing cooks!
C) having a car and being able to bring groceries back in the trunk and not lugging them on a hot crowded bus filled to capacity and then 20 minutes across campus. (yes, I realize that was a run-on sentence. exaggerations are a necessary part of life)

Thursday was an extremely long day of classes. I had classes straight from 9am - 5pm with no break! I tried out a magazine journalism class which was absolutely amazing. I loved it! I can tell it's going to be my favorite class. It will be a ton of work but I'll really enjoy it. I met a girl, Taylor, who is studying at UL for the whole year. She was super nice AND she lives right across the street from me! Wahooo :-) On Thursday evening at 6 p.m. I was supposed to have my immigration meeting and get my Visa for the next 14 weeks. The 5:15 bus did not come, for this reason I am assuming...

So I caught the 5:30 bus instead. It was absolutely freezing and pouring rain, but I finally found the Garda (police) station, only to see that it was closed. Hmmmm....the international office had scheduled appointments for all of us, so why was it closed? I ran into a guy named Dan (I now know literally his entire life story, I kid you not) and we stuck to together, wondering why there was no one there for our appointments. Turns out they cancelled the Thursday night appointments but UL had neglected to get the message out to me and my new friend Dan. We ran back to the bus stop in the pouring rain (not before Dan stopped to buy massive amounts of alcohol for his night out) and we finally arrived back to campus around 9 p.m. Long, long day that was.

Friday I woke up feeling terrible, not surprising considering the amount of time I spent running around in the freezing cold rain. The weather here is honestly the strangest thing I have ever encountered! I had two classes Friday and was done by noon, and then I set off to do my laundry. Doing my laundry consisted of the following:
1) Me buying fabric softener instead of laundry detergent
2) Me trekking across campus to get real detergent instead of softener
3) Me then putting the detergent in the wrong place
4) Me shutting the door but forgetting to "lock" the door so the machine subsequently eating my coin and not starting
5) Me going to village reception asking them to please give me another coin--which they did after much explanation of my inability to complete a simple task such a laundry
6) Me FINALLY doing my laundry...phewww
Let's just say that I won't be doing laundry very frequently because, as my friend Morgan says, it costs "an arm, a leg and life of your first unborn child" 5 euro for a wash and 5 euro for a dry?! No thank you!! Looks like I'll be buying some new clothes...

Friday night Vanessa, Sara and I ventured into town to go to our (new) immigration appointments at 6 p.m. which worked out well. We did some grocery shopping since we were already there and then headed back to UL. We got back and Vanessa's roommates, both of whom are from Sweden and very cool, made a homemade Irish beef and carrot stew. It was amazing! The base was Guinness (need I say more?) and paired with some nice red wine it tasted magnificent. Afterwards Vanessa and I tried to watch the new episode of Grey's Anatomy, but internet here is slow that after an hour of it pausing and loading, I finally called it quits and headed home.

Saturday was an incredible day. We left at 7:50 a.m. and headed to the Cliffs of Moher. It was absolutely breathtaking. We went on the "PaddyWagon" tours and our driver was absolutely hilarious. Although it was rainy/foggy the entire time it was still an awesome day. Here are some pictures :-)

You get the idea...next we went to the Burren, which is a huge accumulation of Limestone overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It was amazing.

We went for lunch in Lisdoonvarna where literally EVERYTHING was closed. We walked a mile at least to find a bit to eat, and we wound up going to SPAR (kind of like WAWA but obviously not as good) and getting some bread and cheese for sandwiches and a some water. Only in Ireland will the bus drivers go into the pub during lunch and have a pint haha. After lunch we went to the Aliwee Caves which were beyond cool. The pictures don't do it justice.

We headed to the town of Bunratty after the caves and did some shopping and walking around. On the way home the bus driver was telling us some crazy stories and not even paying attention to the road that was about an inch wide. It was SO scary haha but we made it back safe and sound. We relaxed Saturday night after our long day and just watched some movies for the evening.

Sunday morning I still wasn't feeling too great but as the day went on I was a lot better! Sunday night Vanessa and I went into town and attempted to find a pub with live traditional Irish music. After walking into literally the most expensive bar in the entire world (7.70 for a rum and coke...NEVER AGAIN) and about 2 miles later, we found an amazing place called Dolans. The music was fantastic and it was an awesome evening.

Monday was back to class and usual grind. We hung out with Morgan and Vanessa's roommate John who plays guitar and is awesome. It was a really fun and enjoyable night. We drank some cheap wine in our sweats and just listened to him play for a while. We are actually headed to hear him play tonight at Hurlers pub, which is about a 25 minute walk (it will be worth it). He is hilarious and they do covers of all sorts of bands...Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, The Script, RHCP, etc. It should be amazing!

Tuesday I had class from 11-3 and then caught up on some homework...there is such a thing over here? Just kidding, mom :-)

Okay, we are headed to hear John play now! I miss you all so so much, I don't think you can even imagine!


1 comment:

  1. first, your laundry skills are worse than my technology skills. hahaha
    next, is vanessa your new bff now?? jkjk she looks like a nice girl.
    third, i love and miss you!