You say Potato, I say Potato
I am finally getting used to my classes and going out in the middle of the week. Typically the Irish students go out Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, all with a different destination all the thirsty kids flock too. Its definitely different then going out on the weekends in the States but it gives you something to look forward to after classes and studying.
I went to the gym finally and discovered it was the smallest, strangest gym I've ever seen. Not only do all the Irish guys stare at you, everything is in the metric system, and students wear converses on the treadmill? I will be attempting to do more outside exercise, when its not pouring out, because the scenery is beautiful!
My favorite part of my experience thus far has been meeting new people. I knew coming to Ireland I would learn about the Irish people and how they live but I did not expect how many other foreign people I would encounter. I think I will learn far more by talking with people here, than I could in any class I am in! I joined the International Society club at the activities fair on campus this week. There are so many international kids that I run into them everywhere and they are very friendly. I also joined yoga, ultimate frisbee, kickboxing, swimming and rovers... as you can see I enjoy the physical exerting clubs. Rovers is a hiking club that takes you to different spots around the Ireland to hike in the hills. I also successfully got my visa! After missing the bus, catching a different bus, missing the stop, running uphill through a village, I finally found the garda station and thankfully they fit me in even when I missed my appointment.
Wednesday night some friends and I went to the Student Union Bar (A bar on campus, yes I repeat a student bar on campus) and it was international Karaoke night! Karaoke has been on my bucket list for quite some time now but of course I was embarrassed and shy. However I decided to go for it and got up there first, and sang When We Were Young, by the Killers. It was actually very exhilarating and I also got a free drink out of it so that was a bonus. I had so many people come up to my afterwards who gave me compliments! I just need to point out that I was sober doing this and I had a sore throat, that is all.
Karoake (Hopefully the link works)
On Thursday night My friends and I headed to the Roost Pub which is no doubt my favorite place because there is always live music and there's enough room to socialize with people. It is largely students that populate the bars and you must pay a cover fee to get in unless you get there early enough. The band who played was awesome and they mostly play covers of American songs but with an Irish twist which I love. I have noticed that in every single bar or pub I go into there is a bathroom attendant who is African american which is a little disturbing and uncomfortable. The Irish aren't really racist but its still different than it is in the States. There are people who are clearly Irish looking here but there is also a variety of colors and complexions no matter what nationality.
I have slowly started to realize, with every new person that I meet that yes we are all culturally different and were raised with different backgrounds, but we are far more similar then I ever realized. I don't really notice people have accents anymore and sometimes subconsciously I'll start speaking in their accent! You think that people come from a completely different country, they must be completely different, but no! Us Americans love our sarcasm and I assumed that was just our thing, but I've found everyone especially the French and Irish enjoy their wit. Sometimes Ill be talking to someone and we will use our own sarcasm and there so much wit you don't know who is witter. Its quite funny. Also I've learned some slang like, "Whats the craic?" which means whats the news or whats happening. I also was informed by a few Irish guys that my last name 'Knobloch' which means garlic in German, means a male reproductive organ in Irish.... which is embarrassing. Everyone gets a laugh at it, especially the boys. I'm still not sure if I'm being pranked or not.
I've also had the pleasure of meeting many Frenchmen who have been very pleasant and friendly with us! They have been teaching me some french, which usually I respond with Spanish, but I'm workin on it. They also have amazing style, which Americans might find feminine looking (think One Direction) but I'm started to have higher standards of dress, sorry boys.
On Friday our French friend was kind enough to drive us to Dublin, because none of us had class, to go shopping! I had a grand time (see my lingo changing) and it was also sunny which is a miracle in itself. Henri carried all our shopping bags for us, though most were mine. I bought some chocolate with Baileys in it and it was da bomb. I am attempting to dress more European, still with my personal flair. We ate at a little cafe called Cafe Togo, which was decently priced. Although EVERYTHING is super expensive here in Europe, the food is guaranteed to be fresh and most orders are made right in front of you. I have yet to have bad food here, though we all know I will eat anything put in front of me. In the evening we went to the Roost to hang out with our French friends and I met some awesome Germans and other kids from around Europe! I feel like I have not met many Irish people, but I know it will come in time.
On the weekends here all the Irish students go home and usually work so we are free to relax, study, and travel. Saturday I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep and Maddy and I went into Dublin again just for fun and stroll around because it is so beautiful. Dublin is not like any other big city I have been to because there are no skyscrapers, all cobblestone streets, double decker buses everywhere, and there are a lot of old historical buildings that have been there for hundreds of years. Riding on a double decker bus was on my bucket list but those drivers are crazy and do NOT yield to pedestrians.
Sunday I went on my first hike with the Rovers club. We went to the Wicklow Mountains which is also a National Park that is south of Dublin. I was very excited because not only do I love hiking and there's no where in Maynooth to do this, but it was scenic as well! The hike was about 4 hours long and very muddy, and I was the only one wearing rain boots. When we got towards the top it started to snow and then HAIL. With the wind it was like ice pelting your face, but thankfully they decided to turn back. From the top I could see the Irish Sea and the town of Dublin down below. On the rolling hills you could see sheep and green as far as the eye could see. So the damp, freezing hike was definitely work it, and I was able to meet more students too.
That is all for now!