Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 2 Happenings

Tues, Sept. 14.

I walked into my 9am intro engineering class titled "Creativity in Design" and discover that the vast majority of students in the lecture theater are males. Freshmen, and I mean like 17- and 18-year-olds. A little too young for me, so don't any of you get your hopes up. Anyway, I discover that almost everyone has their class supplies, which include an oversized sketch pad, drawing pencils, and a square (ruler/straight edge). And since I'm not actually in the engineering program and didn't go to the engineering orientation, I was unaware of this, but I was informed that all these things could be purchased at the Richview Print Shop west of campus. I looked on my map I had tucked away in my planner and see that there are no buildings with such a label, but that there are 5 or 6 buildings with the name "Richview." I ask the guy sitting next to me where the place mentioned was located, and he said he wasn't sure. Ok, so I have to figure this out on my own...what's new.

Anyway, after class was let out, I went to the agriculture building for my Animal Repro lecture. I'm not sure why, but we have three one-hour lectures for this particular class on Tuesdays. They are one and two hours apart, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. I understand that they don't want to cram them all into a three hour time slot, but going back to the same room and seeing the same professor three times a day gets a little long and tiring anyway.

Between classes, I decided to venture off and find this Richview Print Shop on my own. The weather is, of course, horrible as usual. It's not only raining, but the wind is gusting enough that you have to lean to keep from falling over. So, I head west down the road and try to follow the map. When I think I'm close, I stop and ask a couple men in suits who look like they know their way around, and they point me in the direction of the architecture building. So...I head that way, only to find that the building is surrounded by a tall fence and brush. I head back east on the south side of the building and finally find a gate entrance. (I swear, nothing is ever easy here. That concept must not have crossed the ocean yet.) I go inside where it says 'reception' and there is a police guard who asks me what i need. I tell him my situation and where the professor told the class to buy the materials, but he has never heard of such a place, but he tells me that Donnybrook is like a 15-20 minute walk north when you turn right onto the main road. He said they'd probably have what I need. So...I head back west from there and come to a complex of small office buildings. I'm thinking surely someone must know. This is getting ridiculous. When I get to the main road and make a few circles to see what's around, I decide that this shop must be somewhere around these offices. I decided to walk into a small restaurant and ask a couple ladies who'd just come out. They didn't know, but told me to ask the cashier inside. She didn't know, just so happens that there was an architecture student behind me waiting to buy lunch who overheard me asking directions for a shop where I could buy supplies for my creativity in design class. He told me that it was just east of where we were. So he gives me directions to go straight east from the restaurant and then take a left where the road forks. I thank him and walk out...turn left where it forks...and suddenly I hear someone from behind me calling out. I turn around, and the same guy is waving at me and points to the right. Evidently I can't follow directions...? Anyway, I meet up with him and he says he'll take me there. I tell him I have no idea where I'm going and thank him for helping me, and he says, "well that would be awful mean of me to not say anything when I know you're lost." So we walk a ways and he points out the shop. FINALLY! But he said that they're probably closed for lunch, which I discover they are. Of course. I ask him if they take visa, and he says no, only cash. Of course...(I know I'm using 'so' a lot...sorry) so I walk back to campus and stop at the atm to get some cash so I can go back and buy the stuff I need between my next classes. After my last repro lecture of the day, I head back to the print shop. By now, the wind is getting really bad and it's starting to pour. My $1 Walmart umbrella is no match for these conditions. I point it into the oncoming wind, but it crumples against the force, and that's the end of any bit of patience I had left in me. I give up on the umbrella and basically run inside, soaked and thinking how I'm supposed to get a sketch pad home in this weather with only a purse. I show the man who runs the place what my list says, and he helps me get it together. I pay him and ask if he's got any sort of plastic bag I could use to put my things in so they don't get ruined. He gives me a small garbage bag and I walk out the door. As I do, I notice that the hours are until 4pm, and it's just now 4. So I'm thinking to myself, if I had come all that way in this weather to only end up at a locked door, I'd have been hysterical. This just was not my day.

I got back and told Jessica my story, and we made chicken penne, which was absolutely delicious after such an ordeal. Then I took a shower, got in some dry clothes, and watched Two and a Half Men.

Wed, Sept. 15

I get to my Animal Physiology class, and it's the same professor who teaches my repro class. What is this, grade school? ...I sit through two more hours of him lecturing and then go to my farm business management class for two hours. I go home to grab a sandwich, and then it's back to campus for a 4 hour creativity in design lecture. As class begins, an Irish girl named Ruth asks if she can sit next to me and introduces herself. She's a freshman in engineering, and the only person with whom I've made contact in this room, so I welcomed this new acquaintance. She seems really nice, even though I sometimes have a hard time understanding her because she speaks so softly and quick, and has the Irish accent I'm not quite accustomed to yet.

The professor has us do all sorts of activities on our sketch pads...some of them interesting and others rather lame. But I will not complain one bit about this class because for once in my life (well, the past 7 years) I get to draw in class...for class! This is without a doubt going to be my favorite class here. I already know. Plus, we'll be doing group projects that involve sketching and making 3d objects and designs. It's supposed to be a class that teaches you how to develop your creative drawing and modeling skills to be able to portray your ideas (as an engineer would need to, and also people from many different majors who take this class as an elective...aka me). Ruth and I walk to the student lounge when we are given a half hour break by the prof. She told me about places I should go see in Ireland while I'm here, and I told her about how my brother is going to school for professional flight technology. She and I get to talking about our families, and her father flies small planes (Cessnas) for fun. She's got three sisters, and thinks she wants to be an electrical engineer. After class was finished, we walked back to Belgrove, since we discovered we both live there. Hopefully we continue to talk, even though it may be hard to find one another in class, and we aren't in the same group, but we are facebook friends now.

That night, Jess and I went to a 21st birthday party for a girl she met who is from Washington state. They had a small cake, and everyone brought their own drinks. We didn't plan on going out to the city that night with them, so we stayed a couple hours and then walked back. We met people from the states as well as Australia. Someone thought I was Australian...not sure how that happened. All I did was introduce myself, and she was like, "oh, you're Australian!" ...hmmm. Nope, I'm from Indiana I said. Never gotten that one before.

Thurs, Sept. 16

Aka...FRIDAY for me!
I went to Physiology lecture at 9, and then my Food Quality and Safety Assurance lecture that is scheduled to begin at 11 was delayed by the professor one hour. So Jess and I had planned to meet up at the main restaurant. We went to the library beforehand to check out some books, and then waited at the restaurant for Nancy to arrive for breakfast. She'd gone out the night before along with Heather and the rest of the 21st birthday crew. They'd not gotten back until late, and we could tell. Nancy and Jess got lunch (I had the orange I brought from home) and by then it was time for me to go to FQSA lecture. It seems to me that this class will be kind of interesting, as we are supposed to talk about not only the obvious, like food safety legislation and quality assurance systems, but also food facility/layout and process hall design. This might come in handy when mom and dad want to build their goat processing facility.

Jess and I had planned to go to the IT center that afternoon to set up the wireless printing capability on our laptops. We get there and the guy gets hers done, but when I tell him mine's got Windows 7 as the processor, he says that it probably won't work on mine. They don't know why, but he tried to do it anyway. Well, it was a failure, as could be expected from my luck here so far. (I just now thought of this...luck...and I'm in Ireland. I'd have thought it might have had some magical effect. Well...don't believe it.) He told me to come back next week because they might be able to do it then. Ok, we go back to the library for a minute to get a book that Jess needed but someone had checked out earlier that morning on the short-term loan. Then we head over to Centra because she needed to get some groceries. We meet Betheny along the way and she walked over with us to pick up a few things. She tells us she made some no-bake cookies (because Glenomena doesn't have ovens, but microwaves instead). Mmm! Jess had never heard of them but we assured her that they are delicious. We got done with Centra, and Betheny went to her dorm while we waited with the bags of groceries outside so we don't have to carry them there and back. She came back shortly with a bag of her cookies and we walked back to Belgrove. When we got in, Jess and I tried the cookies, and yes, they were amazing. "We have to make these!" sayed Jess.

Heather had told me the day before that she and Nancy found and booked tickets to Rome for 80 euro, and Betheny and I decided we wanted to go as well. That evening, Betheny and I booked tickets to Rome for like 72 euro round-trip (Vanessa later got a ticket to go with us too). Score! This will be a wonderful mid-October trip! Italy is a place I seriously looked into going to study abroad, but they didn't have the semester-long programs if I remember correctly. So 4 days will just have to do. :)

That night we all went to the student bar for some event that was going on...I forget the name of it, but we paid 3 euro and got a wristband and our arms stamped, and all the drinks were 3 euro. I had Bulmers, and eventually everyone got out on the dance floor and was dancing away to the techno...not really a big fan, but I got out there anyways. It was kind of fun to just let loose and laugh together. Just us girls.

Fri, Sept. 17

The plan for the day was, since most of us didn't have class, to go register at the Garda. I looked up the times on the Trinity College website (since they're supposed to be more organized than UCD) and they said the hours for students were until 4pm. So we all loaded up in the bus and headed into the city center. The girls wanted to stop and get some lunch at this little cafe called Carluccio's, where they have wonderful hot chocolate I hear. So of course I had to get a cup. The man asked if I wanted hot milk in it, and I said yes...of course. It was probably...almost...the most amazing hot chocolate I've ever had. It was super rich and thick, and you have to stir it (they provide these little disposable wooden spoons) to mix it all up. It was quite nice. Then we walked to St. Stephen's Green to eat and drink in the company of some beautiful scenery. From there, we walked north to the River Liffey, along which is the location of the Garda. We go inside and the man tells us to come back on Monday at 9am because all of the tickets have been handed out. We would have to queue for a ticket, and wait our turn. That didn't make me particularly ecstatic, but we made the most of the rest of our! We went to several places, and as you well know, my umbrella was going to need a replacement, so I was trying to decide between the 10 euro one and and a more economical 4 euro one. I decided they both looked alike, so I went with the cheaper of the two (man, do I miss Walmart sometimes). Jess and I also picked up a frying pan, and I got a bowl and a few groceries.

We got back to the apartment and gave the it a well-needed vacuuming. Then I tried out the google phone thing first with George, and then dad. He was so surprised to hear me! He didn't know it was me until I said so. It was like 5pm and he was just getting ready to leave work, and I could hear him tell one of the truckers that he was talking to his daughter in Ireland. :) He misses me.

Then, since Jess couldn't get her google phone to work, I let her use my computer so she could talk with her mom. She tried and it worked. I was so happy when I heard her mom's voice answer the phone from the living room! Jess and I both looked at each other and had the biggest smiles as we waved our hands in the air in victory. :) Some things do work out here. What's more, Betheny stayed the night and made a delicious chocolate cake!

Sat, Sept. 18

Basically sat around all day. The weather was nasty, and no one had any plans, so I got some stuff done for school...and was on facebook a lot. Ha. Gotta love lazy rainy days.

Sun, Sept. 19

Betheny, Heather and I went to Howth on the east coast. We caught the bus into the city center, then switched to the 31 bus which would take us as far east as Ireland goes. (And as we got off the bus and were walking to the second stop, I realized I had set down my umbrella, yeah, the one I'd just bought, on the bus seat and forgot to pick it up as I left). Basically. There was supposed to be a lighthouse and castle, but the castle ended up being farther north than we thought, so that will be a trip for another day. The bus took us to the tourist center, and we got some FREE postcards (big smiles) and a map of the island. We then walked through a small farmers' market and the three of us split a hog roast sub. It was 5 euro and had applesauce and stuffing among loads of other delicious toppings. We got to sample a red velvet cupcake. The frosting was delicious, but the cake was pretty bland and kind of dry. Then we walked around and took tons of pictures. It was raining, and I was trying to stay dry, whether that be under Betheny's umbrella or under my hood. We came back and were waiting for forever on the 31 bus to come by. Literally, we were there probably 45 minutes. 3 of them should have come by then. So we eventually decided to go to the other side of the street and catch the bus going back to the city, and save the trip for another day. It was a bummer. I wasn't ready to leave at all, and was really hoping that the bus would come just as we decided to walk away. We got to the other side of the road and almost to the stop when I spotted the 31 coming around the bend. I looked at Heather and Betheny and we were all like "run!" So we raced across the road and down the our stop just as the bus was coming to a stop. Thank goodness! This was going to be a good day after all!

We rode that bus as far as it would take us and got off at a small ice cream shop. Heather asked the driver where the lighthouse was, since we thought that it would drop us off there. He pointed us down the road and said it was like a ten or fifteen minute walk. That was fine with us. We discovered that there were wild blackberries growing along the edge of the road! Yum! So that was a nice little afternoon snack. The countryside was so pretty. We saw a couple horses, and there were rock walls everywhere. We also saw a sign posted that said 10 m.p.h. M.P.H! Not k.p.h. What in the world?! They're supposed to be on the metric system, but maybe it's different in the country...

We finally caught sight of the light house, and of course had to take pictures with it. We then walked up and around to the cliffs, and oh my gosh. It was the most beautiful views I've ever seen! There was a hole that went under a cliff side where the water was rushing through, and then there was also a skinny little waterfall on the side of a cliff! All I can say is, go to my facebook page and look at the pictures and videos. Words cannot describe. The sea and the cliffs and the world felt so huge, and I felt so small. It makes me think of a line from Lee Ann Womack's song "I hope you dance": I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. It was gorgeous, even if it was overcast and rainy. I will definitely be going back.

Mon, Sept. 20

Today, Jess and I went to the city to register at the Garda. To make a long story short, we got there at 7:30, and they wouldn't let students queue until 9. We got our tickets a little after nine, and they told us that there would be a three hour wait, so we walked around the city until around ten o'clock. When we got back, we sat down and read and studied for our classes until we were sick of that. Then around 12:30 they finally got to our numbers. I was 168 and Jess was 169. I showed the immigration officer all my paperwork and paid the 150 euro (what a ripoff, the card expires the end of the year), and then we had to wait probably another half hour for the batch of cards to be printed. Then I heard over the intercom, "American national please, Megan Schnur." Only they didn't pronounce my name right, but I was ready to get out of there. I signed my card and picked up my passport and we were out of there. About time! That process was way longer than it should have been, and it definitely could have been done more efficiently. It just felt like a big waste of time...and money.

Then Jess and I wanted  to go pick up some stuff to make Betheny's no-bake cookies, and we also picked up some stuff to make egg salad and tuna salad. As we were waiting for the 46a to go back in to campus, we were informed by an old Irish lady that our bus doesn't stop there anymore as of yesterday. She knew because she lives just down the road by some hotel, she was telling us. But luckily, there was another couple who was kind enough to let us follow them to another stop on the bypass that would take us back.

For supper, Jessica and I were going to make sausage and rice with the sausage links I got earlier. We put mushrooms and onion and sweet and sour sauce with it in a frying pan, topped the white rice with it, and dug in. But as soon as I said, "I hope this is good," Jessica had taken a bite and was making a face of disgust. I felt so bad. I knew they were bad boiled, better cooked in the oven, and evidently awful in the frying pan. It's just the amount of fat in them that makes the texture horrible, and gives it a terrible flavor. So I felt bad and told her. But she was fine with it and made some scrambled eggs for her rice instead. I forced the sausage down. It wasn't too bad with more sauce on it. But that's the last time I get those pork sausages. I'll stick with beef or chicken over here.

So if today wasn't a test of my patience, I don't know what is.

Until next time! (fyi, I hope to update this more frequently so they're not as long) :)

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