I apologize for the length of this post. I have not had internet at all since I have been here and it has been making my blogging pursuits quite difficult! Here is the first few days in Ireland in a nutshell! They are pretty vague and a lot less humorous, but tying long details and pages is not my thing. I promise the rest will be updated quicker and better!!
Where to even begin! We arrive here nice and early in the morning on January 2nd. I would say bright and early but the sun doesn’t rise until about 8:40 in the morning! I slept on the bus ride to Cork because I could not keep my eyes open for one second! We finally arrived in Cork and got all of our housing straightened out. I am living with 2 other students from QU who I absolutely adore, however due to the craziness of the first few days I have not seen too much of my fourth roommate. We didn’t have too much time to spend in our rooms because we had an entire days worth of activities planned! All 70 QU students paraded through the city to go look at the campus and walk into city center. While in city center we were sent on a scavenger hunt to try and find various places and take pictures in front of them. Somehow I ended up with the map and led my group through the city. Typically I would say that was a bad idea considering my horrible sense of direction, but we did not get lost once! After the hunt was over we walked the 30 min walk back to our rooms. We had a little bit of free time before our next activity. A little before dinner time we met up and were than led in the opposite direction of the city centre to where we would be able to buy our food and other items. Our food store here is called ‘Tesco,’ our phone service that we use is ‘meteor,’ and the place we bought some bedding and other items is called ‘Penny’s.’ We got what we needed for the next few days and almost got lost on the walk back home! We were finally able to settle in for dinner and a toast to our first night here in Cork! I retired to be early because I was exhausted! Two days with no sleep and tons and tons of walking is not fun! Although, it was!
We were able to sleep in a little this day and had to meet outside our building for a tour of the school and city at 12 noon. Of course another long day of walking! Walking is a continuous theme and will continue to be throughout my entire time here. Oh but what’s the fun in walking if I didn’t hurt my ankle the first day! Yep, so I have been walking, or should I say limping, around the city and will be until my foot feels better. Oh and did I mention the absolute absence of technology that I have? My phone was supposed to work when I got here and for some reason didn’t so I had to figure out how to use the pay phone and call the states (it’s a lot harder than you think!) and then we than later found out that we would not have internet access until about the end of the week. I know I sound attached to technology but when you’re in a foreign country and want some peace in knowing that you can reach home if you needed to but can’t, it becomes a little frustrating! Anyways, we walked to campus where Mark (the international person who works for QU and is studying here with us) pointed out buildings that we needed to know. That was followed by another walk into the city to point out the police station (for the sole purpose of getting our immigration cards, not to spend the night) the bust station, the train station, and other points of interest. He then left us to have free time until we would meet for dinner later in the night.
I used my free time to stay with my roommates and another friend. We figured since we were in the city me might as well have stayed and grab some lunch. We looked to find a local café but didn’t want to spend too much money so we figured we’d go to Tesco. Good idea! We got a sandwich, drink, and bag of fruit for only 2.50 euro! That’s a bargain, and you know me and my bargains! After this we still had time before dinner and did not want to walk back to our rooms so we found a cute little coffee shop to go into. We each ordered and sat down and as we were sitting a nice Irish man who was sitting next to us started making conversation. He told us to expect random people to just talk to us, and so I have conversed with a lot of random people! We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant and toasted to our first dinner all together with my sisters and friends! After we went out to our first pub and hung out and met a few Irish fellows! Apparently here it is good to be American! Haha But we enjoyed our night despite the lack of busyness at the pub.
This morning we had to sit through some lecture but it was unimportant and not a highlight of my trip, so moving on! After the lecture we went and ate at a cute little local eatery. I felt so out of place because we didn’t know how to order and proceeded to cause a scene with the huge group of us that were there! Lunch was good and we than departed off to the health services building. Typical me, never broken, sprained, or torn anything in my life and I come to Ireland and sprain my ankle in the place where I have never done more walking in my life!! The nurse was super nice and we met some more Irish girls while waiting in line who were very friendly also! The nurse who saw me told me to ice it, so we stopped at the Tesco express to pick up a bag of frozen carrots, I figured it could at least serve me two purposes, and it did! That night we cooked dinner in my room with my roommates and hung out before we headed on over to Danielle M’s room to hang out before the pubs. The pub was a blast and like all Qu students do wherever we go we caused a scene, but in a good way. I think. Apparently they don’t seem to take many pictures here when they go out so we also managed to stand out by the insane about of flashes going off from all of our cameras, but they never hesitate to jump in a picture reguardless if you know them or not!
Today we met with the person to figure out classes. Their way of picking classes is so different than the way we do it back home. They are so much more laid back about it which was nice so we didn’t really have a reason to stress too much over this confusing process. After the meeting Danielle and I headed up to the Chaplaincy to sign up for a day trip this Saturday. While we were there we wound up staying for much longer than expected! The people in there were so nice and would not let us go without serving us a cup of tea. I think we stayed and talked with the people there for about two and a half hours! Although, we could have probably talked with them all night if given the chance! They had so many fun stories and made us really excited for the next few months ahead of us! That is defiantly a place that we will visit often between classes! After we managed to finally say goodbye to the people in the Chaplaincy (they also call it Iona) we walked back and head back to our separate rooms. I cooked dinner with my roommates and had a very well balanced meal, mommy would be proud! We just stayed in and hung out for the night getting everything together and talking. So far everything has been great but extremely overwhelming!