Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well, better late than never....

If I've learned anything this semester, it is that I am absolutely afwul at blogging.  But i'll try to catch things up a little bit anyways.
I survived Halloween in Galway!  The green nail polish is slowly chipping off and, even after some intensive scrubbing, I still have the faintest trace of the letters E-N-V-Y scrawled down my left arm.  Nice reminders of a good weekend, at any rate.  Halloween here is pretty much the same as at home.  The downtown scene was crowded with masses of- for the most part- very drunk people, and all the girls dressed in too-small costumes that give boys the wrong impression (or maybe it's dead on for some...).  The club we went to (Karma) was pretty packed by the end of the night, with a guy dressed up as a box of Crayola crayons taking up space on the dance floor and another one dressed as Jason (complete with fake chainsaw) successfully making space on the dance floor as he passed through sporadically.  All in all, it really was a good time.

On Friday I took a field trip with one of my archaeology classes.  We went out to Tara, which was beautiful and really cool to see. Unfortunately it was raining that day.  Pouring, in fact.  So we walked up and down those hills in the pouring rain for 3 hours.  I have never been so soggy in my entire life (and considering I live in Charleston, where it essentially monsoons during certain months of the year and the entire city turns into a small lake, that is seriously saying something).  I think my professor summed up the day pretty well when he said "If you can leave here without harboring any serious resentment towards Tara or myself, than we've at least accomplished something here today."  Writing this several days later (sitting warm and dry in my room) I can say easily enough that I don't resent Tara or my professor, so I guess it was a good enough day.  A necessary life experience, I think.

I know I'm working backwards here, but I can't update this blog without talking about the trip to London.  It was such a blast!  I went to the Tower of London, caught some great views from the Tower Bridge, saw Buckingham Palace, went to an absolutely amazing production of Chicago (and got to sit in the front row!), spent a couple of hours in the British Museum (so amazing), rode on the underground, and got to just wander around the city and soak up the sights.  There's so much to see and do there, I'd love to live there for a few months and get to know the city.  I'm sure I wouldn't survive in a city that big over the long term, but living there for a short time would be pretty amazing.

The fact that Halloween (and that field trip) are now behind me scares me a little bit.  I can't believe how quickly time is flying by!  I'm leave here December 18th, and it's already November!  I can't say that I don't miss home and Charleston because I really, really do.  There are just so many things that I want to fit into this semester, and now that my time is running out I'm determined to cram things in.  I don't want to go home disappointed, regretting something that I missed out on.  So hopefully I can motivate myself (despite the cold and the continuous rain) to do everything that I want to!

Friday, September 10, 2010

You learn something new every day.

Lesson 1:  The laundry machines here are combination washer/dryer.  They are very small, and not at all powerful.  You can't load the dryer too full, or it won't work.  And even then it takes several hours for your clothes to dry.  My room is currently covered in articles of clothing that are still drying (after doing the laundry last night).  Lesson learned.
Lesson 2:  Classes start 10 minutes late.  The timetables all have the classes running from hour to hour (1-2, 2-3, etc.), but in reality, the class slowly filters and the professors don't even bother to start teaching until 10 past.  So that's nice, and quite a relief since it takes almost 30 minutes to get from my apartment building to the building where I have classes every day.  Nice to know that I don't have to rush (and that I have time to go get a cup of coffee).  Lesson happily learned.
Lesson 3:  Everyone here goes home on the weekend. Everyone.  Every weekend.  They go home to work, and to get laundry done and meals cooked for them by their parents.  This is something I can't even wrap my head around.  Even if I lived close enough to go home for a weekend (9 hours each way somehow seems like too much of a long haul...), I don't think I would, and I definitely wouldn't go home EVERY weekend.   College is the most fun on the weekends!  That's when we go out, go get dinner with friends, go to the movies, go to the beach...all the fun stuff.  I would be so bummed if I missed any weekends in Charleston.  Instead, they do all of that good stuff on week nights (except going to the beach of course, because this is not Charleston, and there aren't 4 beaches within easy driving distance...ah well, what can you do?).  They stay out late (very, very late) on weeknights, and then somehow manage to get up for classes the next morning.  Lesson learned, the hard way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A coherent thought for the first time in what feels like weeks....

The past week has been absolutely bizarre.  The hardest thing to process is the fact that I willingly turned my entire life uspide down and hauled myself to an entirely new continent. It's not a bad thing really, it is just the most disorienting experience I've ever had.  Things are so different here!  Obviously it's not like I'm living in a secluded forest somewhere, there are some similarities to Charleston.  The traffic here is slightly more terrifying than Charleston though, I will admit.  I have almost been run over several times (even when using crosswalks), and people use their car horns a lot more here than at home (or at least that's how it seems so far).  There's a store right up the road called Dunnes, and it's supposed to be the Irish equivalent to Wal-mart.  Except anyone that has ever been in a Wal-mart knows that Dunnes is a much, much classier place. Oh Wal-mart....I do miss people watching in that store. 
Overall, Galway is an incredible place.  There's just a nice feeling about living here, very peaceful.  And downtown is excellent!  It's not a bad walk from our apartments, so I've been there quite a bit in the last week.  Last night a group of us went to hear some traditional Irish music.  The sound was so incredible, I couldn't believe it.  I've never heard anything like before - at least not live - and I've never heard an Irish flute played before, so that was an amazing treat.  I really want one now! It's pretty unlikely that I'll leave here without one, I have definitely fallen in love with the sound.
Classes just started yesterday, and I'd say that so far things are going well.  The system at NUIG is so confusing though!  We basically get to try out whatever classes we think we might sign up for, and that lasts for about two weeks.  Then we sign up for classes, and a few days later they are "locked in".  It took me the longest time to figure out what to take (so stressful!), but I think I'm finally set  now.  Some of my classes start now and run until October, some pick up in October and run through November, and only 2 of them run the complete length of the term.  I guess it's comparable to express classes at Charleston, but I've never taken any of those so I'm a little overwhelmed.  The professors seem great, and the subjects are pretty interesting (I'm taking all archaeology over here, so it should be fun).  I even met a guy who went to my high school in one of my classes yesterday- talk about a small world!
I should probably stop now.  There have been so many things going on in the past week I could very likely ramble on for several pages, but that's a little unnecessary.