County Kerry

Thursday morning was very productive!: I attended my two classes, got half my stitches out– the rest will wait til Tuesday to be safe, and finally got to see some family from home!!!! Around lunchtime, I was on my way to Portmagee in County Kerry with Nana and Papa. They’ve come to visit for about a week, because Papa’s niece, Kathleen, is getting married tomorrow!!!

After an afternoon of driving through scenic Western Ireland, we were finally in Portmagee (the town where Papa lived until he was 19 and emigrated to the US). We checked in at our beautiful B&B called Portmagee Heights and settled in quickly. We ventured to Papa’s brother, Michael’s house to spend an evening with them. Meeting them for the first time was so cool! It’s crazy finally being introduced to the family I’ve heard about all my life, but hadn’t ever actually met. Michael, his wife Margaret, and other daughter Shinead were so welcoming and warm. After snacking and chatting, Nana and Papa were feeling some jet lag, and we headed to bed. A semi-early morning today got us off on the right foot for a great day of touring!! Below should be a picture of my GORGEOUS room and our delicious breakfast from this morning! I felt like Richie Rich with a beautiful room to myself, but sad I had noone to jump on the bed with!

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With Papa as my tour guide, I saw many interesting sites in the area. Who better to show me around than my grandfather who spent the first nineteen years of his life here. Cliffs of Fogher, a rock quarry, the Glen area, island of Valentia, and other awesome stops on our tour simply blew my mind. Countless times I said “I’m never going home.” Honestly, I can picture myself living here. Pairing our modern technology and conveniences with the natural, amazing views of this part of the country, I don’t think a person could ask for anything more.

After an entire day of snapping pictures and quite literally having my breath taken away by the views, we came back to the B&B to brush our wind-blown hair and clean up before the rehearsal dinner. Here we met Papa’s brother, Donal, and his wife Pat who live in England. Uncle Donal is full of fantastic and funny stories and kept me laughing throughout the night. Meeting more family over dinner was a great experience, and they were all so friendly. Once again, my stitches were a great accidentally conversation starter! The pub/restaurant, The Moorings, where we ate was actually founded by my great, great grandfather, to my understanding. They had bagpipes playing for a while and moved into other traditional music where locals did set Irish dances. Being in that environment of close local friends and family all enjoying themselves was such a great experience. I couldn’t have asked anything more of my first two days in Portmagee. Can’t wait for Kathleen’s wedding tomorrow! It’s supposed to be huge, and if tonite was any indication, it’ll be lots of fun :)!

Missing home<3

homesick

Pronunciation:/ˈhəʊmsɪk/
adjective

experiencing a longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it

he was homesick for America after five weeks in Europe

 

Thank you OED for objectify-ing a completely real feeling that can’t properly be put into words.

Hello all in the USA.  I’m asking for a shoutout.  If you’re reading this and have thought about me in the past 4 weeks that I’ve been in Ireland, let me know.  I missing everyone from the CT Valley and SC, so if we haven’t talked in a while, post a comment so we can catch up!  I love UL, but at the same time December/January can’t come soon enough!

Dublin Weekend!

On Friday, after an exhausting 7 & 1/2 hr emergency room wait, my bleeding cranium and I finally were attended to.  Where are most college students at 9am on a Friday?  One of three places: eating breakfast, dozing in class, or sleeping instead of class.  At 9am Friday morning, I was standing outside the regional hospital with Amanda waiting for our taxi.  We’d have given anything to be doing one of three norms above.  Instead, my first class was starting, and I had not slept for more than 40 minutes all night.  The plan for the past week had been to take a Friday afternoon bus to Dublin with friends, and stay in the local hostel I’d reserved online for two nights.  Making a bold, drowsy decision, I took a nap from 10-11am and continued the weekend trip as planned.  Luckily, Amanda and I and our friends had a long bus ride to take a boost nap to make it through the night.  Upon arriving in Dublin around 7:30pm, Amanda, Jeremy, Ethan, Scott and I stopped off at Brewley’s restaurant for dinner.  I got the dinner special of vegetable soup, salad, and a piece of Toffee Tumbly Bumbly (or something like that) = delicious!  We settled in our room at the hostel, walked around the area, stopped by a club with a band provided by hostelworld.com, (no they’re not paying me to promote them) and called it a fairly early night (thankfully, because Amanda and I were walking zombies).

Saturday kicked off with continental breakfast provided by our hostel.  We definitely booked a great deal with accommodations this weekend: shout out The Times at Camden Place!  We then joined a group of tourists on a free (AKA tip-based) tour, also provided by our hostel.  Our guide, also named Amanda, was energetic and knowledgable.  Though she rambled a little, she told us interesting facts as we walked by cool buildings and dashed across crosswalks.  We traveled through the Temple Bar area, Christ’s Church, a ‘haunted’ alley, Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, city hall, Dublin Castle, the tallest building in Dublin (which isn’t very tall at all), and many other sites.  It was pretty neat to get an insider’s perspective on the area, seeing as she’s lived there a few years and knows the city.  After the tour, we got a late lunch at the Boxty house where I devoured the lunch special of baked potato and salad, yum!  The UL traveling pack then headed back to the hostel.  I’ll take a minute to explain here that European hostels, or the ones I’ve seen, are nothing like the sketchy ones in the U.S. or the terrifying one featured in the movie Hostel.  Basically, a person can rent a bed in a room of bunks when booking a reservation.  There can be anywhere from two to twenty people in a room, gauging the price also.  Depending on how motivated the searcher is, one can figure out which hostels are the best deal using online ratings of cleanliness, location, facilities, etc.  Upon arriving back at our hostel, we cleaned up, rested, and began playing games in the dining area.  Slowly people started to trickle in and join our card games.  We found a trivia board game called SmartAss, and since there were no directions, Amanda and Jeremy invented our rules!  It worked pretty well, and we made friends from Seattle, New Jersey, Canada, Israel, Austria, Germany, and a handful of other places!  It’s amazing how the hostels work not only as a pillow to lay our heads on, but a means of gathering youth who often have similar traveling interests.

We ended up going out and exploring the city night life with a group of people from our hostel, and it was fun getting to know all different people from wherever!  Mostly kids we met were in small pairs or groups like we were, but there we a few people traveling solo, which I think is awesome, but crazy!  Saturday we made it our goal to hit a bunch of different pubs and meet some people!  We started off at a pub and microbrewery that Jeremy’s dad had recommended: Porterhouse.  It had a cool atmosphere, and the boys loved their unique beer.  We even ran into some friends from the UL slow-pitch softball club that Amanda, Jeremy and I have been playing in on campus.  Some of the other places we stopped at included Fitzsimon’s, a beer garden, The Village, and Temple Bar.  It was an adventurous night that ended with a fun, tired game of our version of SmartAss.Sunday morning we woke up early in order to get the pancakes downstairs before they were all gone = college kid priorities!  Because I’m not supposed to get water or soap in my stitches, Amanda put a chair outside the shower and she made a great hairdresser!  After saying goodbye to our new friends, we traveled back to Trinity College.  Half our group napped outside on the green and the other half paid admission to go inside.  I got to look at the Book of Kells and the huge Hogwarts-like library!  The videos and displays on the Book of Kells brought me back to last fall semester when my HEL (History of the English Language) class at SC was making our own manuscripts written on old paper with quills Prof Lartigue made us.  The beautiful font on the old books on display looked just like my class’s display that was put up in the library for a month ;)  I’m proud to say I remembered most of the information on how the books were made and how long it took scribes to create the perfect letters and intricate pictures in the margins.  I even mustered the courage to illegally sneak a pic of the library! Though we were graced with warm temperatures Friday night, and sun our entire Saturday and Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon turned to characteristic Irish rain sure enough.  We spent the rest of the day popping into tourist stores and walking around (I’ll brag here and say I was happy I packed an umbrella, while my friends were very soggy).  Although we wanted to play in the slow pitch softball tournament that was simultaneously going on in Dublin this past Saturday, we hadn’t registered in time.  However, because there was a bunch of UL people also in Dublin, it gave us a free, quick ride back to Limerick!

While I think we saw a handful of the main attractions of Dublin, with the Book of Kells and Trinity Library as big points, I definitely want to venture back to Dublin again this semester and see the Wax Museum, Writer’s Museum, James Joyce Museum and other more nerdy sites that I’m sure I’d enjoy!  Aside from having royal blue dental floss in my forehead, I made the best of my situation and had a great weekend :)

Pogo Sticks and Stitches

A few posts ago, I compared my life to a movie.  This past week however, the only way to make a meaningful comparison is saying my life is a Pogo stick.  Sometimes, I feel as if I’ve splurged on the fun, safe, bright neon version– the kind I saw smiling kids advertising in cheesy commercials when I was younger.  Other times, I feel like I bought a knockoff Pogo stick from a junkyard sale– the kind that lets its springs sink too low when I jump, then gives me whiplash on the bounce up..

Weeks are flying by here, moving almost too quickly!  Classes are going very well, interesting topics, and cool, yet tardy professors.  I’m taking four modules: Irish Literary Revival, Literary Theory, Irish Folklore, and Sociology of Media.  It’s a great mix of challenging courses that are all transferring to either Gen Ed, my EDUC/ENGL majors, or Social Justice minor!  I’m thrilled with how the classes here have worked out!  Week 3 of modules brought the start of tutorials, which are basically an hour a week with our lecturer in a normal sized class of 15-25 students like at Springfield (as opposed to the hundreds in my lectures).  This meant an added four hours of class time to my schedule (later this week, I’ll explain more about how modules work).  Realistically though, it’s nothing compared to my Springfield schedule. [bounce UP]

Averaging 17 credits at home, working between 8 and 15 hours per week with my Print Shop buddies, playing softball for three semesters, and pressuring myself to get straight As was taking its toll on me.  Chilling out here and enjoying myself and light course load is awesome, but I actually miss being really involved in school.  However, it will definitely be a wake up call as soon as January rolls around and spring semester starts at SC, where classes, homework, extracurriculars and work pick up all over again. [bounce DOWN]

Because my workload and schedule are not nearly jam-packed as at SC, I’ve been filling my time getting involved in a few various activities.  I’ve joined the Literary Society, the slow-pitch softball club, International Society, and have been going on and planning trips with friends! I’ve been meeting all sorts of new people, and just enjoying where I’m at. [bounce UP]

Thursday night I fainted, went to the hospital, and needed eleven stitches in my eyebrow.  Yes, I just managed to say that nonchalantly, but unfortunately it’s a true story…  I don’t really want to talk about it; it was quite traumatic for me, especially being so far away from my parents and people who have a large stake in my well-being, and completely out of my independent comfort zone.  Basically, to make a long story short, my left elbow and left eyebrow were destroyed by the pavement, as this towering, dehydrated little lady crashed unhindered to the stone sidewalk.  I’m so thankful for my friends Cam, Cian, Ethan, and especially Amanda, who stayed with me all night.  They really saved me from an even more awful alternative situation that would have been inevitable without them.  My friends acted amazingly fast, responsible and mature, bringing me immediately to the hospital and taking good care of my bleeding forehead.  Amanda and I ended up being at the regional hospital for nine hours, and essentially pulled an all-nighter.  I’m doing just fine now, though pretty sore.  I do only have half of my left eyebrow at the present time, the rest of my eyebrow is skin that’s a bloody mess (pun intended) held together with blue thread that will have to be removed sometime later this week.  Though the bad-ass appearance I’ve been rocking for the past few days with my scars, blood, stitches and all has been a great conversation starter,  the other downside aside from the discomfort they’ve caused, is I’ve found giving my dirty looks is insufferably painful! [big bounce DOWN]

Being the trooper that I am, I held fast to my travel plans to Dublin this weekend with friends Amanda, Jeremy, Ethan and Scott.  Tomorrow at some point, I’ll be putting up another post to detail what we did there this weekend!  While I was away with my bloody eyebrow and purple and yellow eye, my blog reached above 1,000 hits! [bounce UP!]

Did I mention I’m not fond of Pogo sticks or stitches?