Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of Class

Well, I left off with this blog on Wednesday I believe...

Thursday night we went out to the student bar on campus and got to experience some traditional Irish dancing. It was such a fun time. I got to dance with an Irish guy...although he didn't know how to dance any better than I did. Haha. But the music is so happy and energetic that you can't help but smile as you listen and watch the band play. It is such a cultural eye-opener to be at a bar in a different country and compare the dancing, music, and atmosphere to what you're used to at a bar in your native country. I personally prefer the Cactus or Jakes, but I am here to have an open mind and learn to embrace other cultures and traditions, so I'm all for new experiences. This was also the night I had my first pint of Guinness, but sadly it wasn't even in the Guinness glass. If I had to describe it, it is a much heavier and stronger beer than I am used to in the U.S., but I am not opposed to drinking it again. Bulmers is much more up my alley. It's a cider that comes in different flavors such as berry and pear, but so far I've only had the original. After we left the student bar (by the way, there are TWO student bars located ON CAMPUS...the drinking age here is 18, so you only have to show your student I.D. to get in...a few more ways in which Ireland differs from America) we caught the bus and went downtown to a few of the pubs. They had live music as well and were generally very crowded with people of all ages. We ended the night by taking a taxi back to campus. Oh, and something I must mention...don't wear heels on cobblestone streets. I didn't, but there were several who did. It's hard enough walking in tennis shoes, I can't imagine how it would be in heels...or better yet, intoxicated. Something to keep in mind when you venture to Dublin.

Friday we took the campus tour and went to the international office because some of us needed to register for different modules and get letters to take with us when we register with the Garda. We then went to the International Student Cafe and had some sandwiches and tea and got to visit with one another and students who had traveled from all across the world to study here. Later that night, Vanessa wanted to go out to the student bar because she hadn't been yet, so Betheny and I went with her. We got to meet two other students she knew from Germany, Tom and Becca. They told us about the travels they'd done around Ireland before arriving here this week. It sounded really interesting and made me all the more excited for our trip to Cork here in a couple weeks.

Saturday I got to skype with my parents and saw my dad for the first time since the airport on Monday. Vanessa, Betheny, and I, along with Tom, Becca, and Ullo (from Italy) rode the bus into town to (attempt to) do a self-guided 90-minute tour around Dublin. We got off at St. Stephen's Green and attempted to follow the red dots on the map, but one of the things that really frustrates me about this city is that the roads are not clearly labeled. Some of them have signs on the corners of buildings, but most of them appear to be nameless, except of course on the maps, which proves to be no help at all when you're a tourist trying to navigate. So we ended up along the main shopping strip, walked down the Temple Bar area, got to go into a Guinness store (where I found this awesome clock for only 19.99...I will go back and buy it when I figure out how much it's going to cost me to ship it home), stopped at the post office to buy some more stamps for postcards, went shopping at Dunnes for some pots for the apartment so we can cook (we got a set of 3 stainless ones for 15 euro...not a bad deal), stopped at McDonald's to get some ice cream, bought a 30-day rambler bus pass, and came back to campus. We dropped our stuff off at our apartments and then caught the bus to Tesco so we could do some major grocery shopping. And when I say major, I mean we brought our carry-on rolling luggage and backpacks with us. Shopping for groceries is no fun when you have to haul it all home with you on the bus. Not that I didn't before, but I feel priveleged to have a car in America after this experience. While walking back to the bus stop from Tesco, the zipper on my backpack came open somehow and out fell my yogurt, which busted open on the sidewalk...I guess it just wasn't meant to be. It was a relief when we got all of our stuff put away in the fridge and could just sit down. I'm hoping I won't have to make many trips of that extent to the grocery store, but then I remember how much I like food. Later that evening I got a skype call first from Cody, and then from Jill and Derick! That pretty much made my day. It's so nice to be able to talk to and see people from home. Thank goodness for technology.

Yesterday was a well-deserved day of relaxation. I cleaned and organized my desk (which could use it again already), and stayed inside pretty much all day, except when Vanessa and I walked to the Centra to pick up some drain cleaner (Mr. Muscle, as it was called) for the shower, which was starting to flood when we'd use it. Last night we made penne pasta with fruity curry and pesto. I'd never had either of those sauces, but they were pretty darn delicious. I'll definitely be using those when I go back to Purdue.

This morning I had my first and only class of the day, Farm Business Management. I took my netbook with me to take notes on, but no one else seemed to be using laptops, so I reverted to simply writing my notes in my spiral notebook and made a mental note to not bring my laptop next time. The good thing news was that we found out from our professor that we wouldn't be having the Monday session of lecture until later in the semester...which for me means I get to have extended weekends since I already don't have classes on Fridays!

After class I discovered there is a post office on the main floor of the main restaurant, and so I dropped off my postcards that I wrote yesterday. Then I went upstairs to meet up with Jessica because we were going to get our student travel cards, but the stand wasn't set up in the student center anymore. We were told that it was located in the library, so we decided to wait until later to do that. Nancy was also at the restaurant, and Heather met up with us as well. Jessica and Nancy got breakfast and it looked delicious for the 5.50 euro they paid.

Jess and I came back to our apartment and relaxed for a little while. I looked up the hours for students to register at the Garda, and we decided to go into town on Friday to do that. They say it takes 3 or 4 hours to complete this process, so that should be interesting. Sounds like it will be similar to the hoops I had to jump through to simply be able to move into my room on Tuesday. Just what I want to hear.

I've been looking around for places online to be able to watch American tv shows, but no matter where I search, it won't let me watch them because I am located outside of the United States. I had no idea this would be a problem, but then again I have no reason to know this because I've never been out of the states. I suppose I take for granted the fact that at home (well, more like at Purdue where we get cable) I can just turn on the television and there are a multitude of channels from which I can choose. Instant gratification. But I am able to watch episodes of The King of Queens on youtube, so that should keep me entertained for a while anyway.

Jess, Vanessa, and I did our laundry this afternoon. The machines here cost 3 euro to wash and 1.50 euro to dry! It's outrageous! I'm used to putting quarters into a machine, not spending around $6 per wash! I guess this semester will be a test of how conservative I can be with my clothes...wonderful. I'm going to go broke doing laundry.

Vanessa went to a sporting event this evening, and Jess and I stayed home and made a stir fry for supper. We went and got onions, mushrooms, noodles, and chicken from the Centra store at Merville (a residence hall on campus), and I already had some carrots in the fridge. It turned out really well considering we used a pot because we didn't have a skillet, and we didn't have any salt or pepper. But for the time and effort we put into it, it was a very fulfilling meal. It's nice to be able to cook our meals. Makes this feel more like a home.

Tonight is what they call Black Monday, where evidently all the students go out to the bars and it's pretty much a drunk festival. My bedroom window doesn't seal completely, and I'm on the first floor, so I can hear everything loud and clear. They are ridiculously noisy outside and I am getting really annoyed. If this is any indication of how my evenings are going to be spent, I'm probably going to go crazy. Times like these make me appreciate West Lafayette and good old American law enforcement. I'm sorry, but I enjoy my peace and quiet sometimes...

Good night, everyone!

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