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.