Jet-Lag and Bulmers
I made it!! After a seven hour plane ride, no sleep, and lugging my enormous suitcase around international airports I arrived in Maynooth, Ireland. Our abroad adviser, Roberta welcomed us and brought us to our local apartments and then to our first Irish meal! I had Cod and chips which is french fries, and of course dabbled in others plates as well. Although we were told we would be rooming with other foreign students, we were all put with mostly Saint Mary's girls; I am rooming with 3 smicks and one gal from Boston College who is very sweet!
The first few days we struggled to get to the grocery store, buy Irish cell phones, sign up for classes. I am starting to get used to things here and all the walking we must do! The town of Maynooth is a 5 minute walk from my dorm and integrated into the campus with a mall and markets. To be honest I did not feel like I was in a different country upon arrival because it is all grey skies and small shrubbery; however the farther you drive from the inner city of Dublin, the hills start to roll and the houses become cute little cottages!
I was starting to feel a bit run down and with a sore throat from all the lack of sleep and new surroundings, but I am attempting to take vitamins and not stay out as late. Surprisingly I have not been sleeping well here, and I am a baby with sleep! I ordered my first "drink" Tuesday night, which was white wine! It is very strange ordering from a bar but I also feel grown up. My favorite night so far was the night at the "Roost" which is a pub in the center of Maynooth. All of the international students, there are about 200 of us from Europe and other continents, had a mingle night there. I met so many nice people including some Brazilians, South Koreans, French, Dutch and Irish kids! Everyone was very nice and actually more friendly than the other American abroad students I have met here. I am here to branch OUT and try not to stick with the same group, although it is nice to know a lot of girls here! My new gal pal is Srinee who lives in New Orleans and we immediately bonded and get along so well!
Saturday the group of 27 Saint Marys girls went up to a northern county to Causey Farms. Here we milked cows, baked Irish Soda bread, and learned how to Irish dance! It was quite cold and it snowed there first the first time in 10 years; but I'm not complaining because I know it could be worse! At night a few of us girls joined more of the international student for pub crawl tour around the city of Dublin. Mary and I missed the bus so we arrived in Dublin alone with no wifi, attempting to find the first bar on the tour! That was an adventure. Eventually we found it, Bull & Castle, and our tour guide Garvan who is the greatest Irish person ever. He is a 6'5 ginger with curly locks and took us to a small local bar, Trinity College bar with live music, and O'Neils where we met some Scottish folk in town for the Ireland/Scotland Rugby game. I discovered that I really enjoy Bulmers Cider! Its gluten free (Yes dad) and its wayyy better than beer. Its also 5 euro per pint which is a steal around here.
On Sunday we traveled back to Dublin for a walking tour with none other then GARVAN. He took us to Dublin Castle and some other historical places that are important... amazingly it was our first sunny day here and we really enjoyed strolling around town getting to know where things were.
Last night we went to a local club "Mantra", it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, however it was interesting to observe the culture and chat with people. I met a few super friendly Irish girls that embraced me when I lost my group of friends. One gal Catriona even bought me a drink and I ended up having a great time. They were telling me all about the nightlife and college scene here. Most people don't know who Saint Mary's girls are or where it is but all you can say is "by Chicago" and they understand. They can tell who the Americans are however by mostly how they dress, how we talk and how loud we are apparently. BUT I have been told by multiple Irish people, guys and girls, that I am the coolest American they have met, heck yes.
Classes also began (Oh yeah I forgot we have classes) but it is mostly syllabus week and its hard to tell what the classes will be like. My professors seem nice and most classes have just one or two papers and then a final exam, which I am not used to. It is slightly strange having males in my classes, but I'm not complaining. I also accidentally sat through the wrong class today but ended up meeting a cute guy who sat next to me.
I'm not homesick quite yet but I do miss my bed and about 3/4 of my closet. There is so much to say because so much is happening all at the same time, but I am hanging in there and excited to meet even more people and begin discovering more about myself and the places here!
Sláinte (Cheers in Gaelic),