So a thousand times adieu, We’ve got Bono and U2, All we’re missin’ is the Guinness, and the rain

Okay. So. Here we Go. My final blog post to officially end my semester abroad. Apologies for neglecting the site these last couple weeks. With finals taking up much of my time, with any free moments I had I tried my hardest to be out of the house and making the best of my incredibly limited time. I’m currently flying 36,000 feet above the Atlantic, headed for JFK and I have no idea how I want this post to sound. But I want to start with this disclaimer: No matter how this post comes across, I truly am ecstatic to be home. If you were a reader of this blog or someone that kept in touch with me throughout my experiences here, you are 100% one of the people I am so excited to hug and see and talk to about everything going on at home! With that being said, I am heartbroken to leave the place that’s become my home over the past four months. It’s hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. The past couple of days have been nothing but nostalgia and hugs coupled with crying and laughter.

 

I spent my morning sitting out on our balcony (which is against the rules.. soo… sorry Gara and Laureth), with a coffee watching the sun move higher in the sky and trying to really reflect on my time here. Actually, that’s how I’ve spent most of my time these last couple days. I thought about my last night with the recent strangers that had become closer to me than people I have known my entire life. I thought back on a conversation we’d all had about how to describe exactly what we’re feeling. The best I could come up with was: “it feels like someone is breaking up with me and there’s nothing I can do to change their mind.” And once I thought about it the more I realized how true it really was. It’s like one of those great romance novels or Nicholas Sparks movies: It was love at first sight in Dublin. From the minute I landed to the minute I took off, I never once felt like I wasn’t home. It was so comfortable and so exhilarating at the same time. If this were a Nicholas Sparks movie, I’d have plenty of music-backed montages to show the incredible laughter and happiness and new experiences this Emerald Isle has brought me.

Just like in any relationship that comes to an end, it’s the little things that you miss the most. The walks to Tesco, topping up our leap cards, trying to make the DART on time, Dun Laoghaire and the 40 foot, the River Liffey, Grafton street and the incredibly talented street performers, Henry Street, the crazies on the corner across from the O’Connell Bridge, the proper voiced bus stop announcements in English and Irish, Temple Bar, the always interesting nights that come with Flannery’s, the communication barrier between the Irish texters, and of course our incredibly beautiful home, Ailesbury Road. This is probably incredibly boring for the readers that haven’t lived this, but that’s okay. I’m writing this for me, while everything is still crystal clear and fresh in my memories (sans the Flannery’s nights which have never been crystal clear .. sorry mom) because in the past week anytime one of the aforementioned little things came about, I’d get that tight feeling in my chest and the lump in my throat. I loved those little things and it’s important to me that I don’t forget what they are.

 

I thought about saying goodbye to our beautiful house and then I thought about the amazing family that came to be because of that house: the beautiful people who made that house a home. From that mildly awkward first day at the Guinness Storehouse, to our first night out, getting off at the wrong bus stop (Sorry guys), our less awkward trip to Belfast (Helfast for some), to the family we became in Galway, to the shared looks of boredom and giggles in Marnie’s class, and the laughter till we cried in the kitchen, we truly became the family that was so hard to part with this morning. I don’t think there’s much I can say that hasn’t already been beautifully worded by one of my housemates already. I just wanted to say, if you’re reading, Nicole, Cassie, and Tara, you’re ability and preparedness to help anyone, be there for anyone, and uplift anyone at the drop of a hat has taught me a huge deal about the meaning of friendship. Ashley N.  Your hilarious stories and sense of humor brought a smile to my face every time I got to hear a recap of our Dublin nights. Kathleen and Joanne although completely opposite, you’re ability to truly be yourselves no matter who’s watching and what you’re doing is something I hope never changes. Evan and Lucas were just the brothers I needed to keep me grounded and keep me laughing at myself. Cara and Meredith, You are both truly beautiful people. Cara the energy you always have about you even when you’re stuck in bed with strep throat, you’re still able to make me die of laughter. And Meredith I am so happy I get to call you my friend and to know someone just as obsessed with the Jonas Brothers as I am. Gareth was always around with travel advice, a funny story, help with our way around town, or just for a laugh and Laura was like the big sister I’d never had, constantly there to show her support, give advice, or just listen. And then there were my roommates: Ashley and Josie, I cannot imagine this semester without you. You two goofballs taught me so much. You cleaned up after my messy side of the room, you danced with me to countless songs, you pigged out with me in the worst ways possible: Ben & Jerry’s, Pringles, Potato Chips, and Chocolates. I wouldn’t have been able to share that beautiful room with anybody else. You’ve truly become my sisters and I’ll miss our spacious bedroom with our more than comfy Ikea beds in the beautiful St. Michael’s Mansion on the breathtaking Ailesbury Road. What I would do for one more kitchen dance party. Those goodbyes were not easy. And then my thoughts turn to my tearful goodbye to the breathtaking Dublin Bay, which has proven to become an amazing friend of mine. I know only crazy people and 5 year olds are allowed to claim inanimate objects as their friends, so maybe I’m crazy, but that place was always there for me and never ceased to amaze me from my first run in January to my last one on Thursday. I always ended up there when I’d need to get away from the house, or my homework, or technology and when things got hectic a trip to the bay made everything clear, it brought me back to the present, it shut my thoughts up and let me just be. Anyone that knows me in the house knows I never shut up about that place. Sometimes a 6 mile run would take up to an hour and a half because I would find a new place to just sit and watch the waves roll in and out, or the sail boats in Dun Laoghaire blow around, or a new glimpse at my favorite bright red lighthouse in the distance. The Dublin Bay was definitely one of the harder goodbyes I’d ever had.

Living here abroad and traveling Europe has changed me in more ways than I can even think of and I’d like to think it’s all for the better. I’ve figured out how to maneuver my way around foreign cities without the help of the ever so present iphone. I’ve learned about countless new cultures, met some truly incredible people from all over the world, and I’ve learned a shit ton about myself. I know I don’t have much of a right to be so sad to leave because of how lucky I am to have been able to experience this life in the first place and I count my blessings everyday, trust me.  Just two years ago the entire scope of my world was the drive from little old Margate to the halls of Atlantic City High School, but now, 24 months later, I find myself with three different places I’m lucky enough to claim as home: My quiet little South Jersey beach town, the skyscraper and river surrounded city of Pittsburgh, and the beautiful, breathtaking, buzzing town of Dublin Ireland. I’ve said it before and I know it’s cliché, but home is absolutely where the heart is and after this four month whirlwind, I’ll always have a piece of my heart on this Emerald Island. Until Next Time Dublin town

 

So much love,

Nellie

 

 

 

PS: I also need to send HUGE and incredibly heartfelt and grafteful thank you’s to the people who are making my departure from Dublin so much easier so look fo yo name!

 

Aunt Ceil: My friends and I always knew that as soon as a post with my name tagged it in went up, you’d be the first one on there to show your support and love. They would always say: you’re aunt really loves you doesn’t she? So thank you so much for constantly keeping up with me, and keeping in touch with me. For taking time to send me cards and money on my birthday! I’m so lucky to have you!

 

Aunt Beth: Always asking for the next blog post and always just as excited for my adventures as I am! You’re visit is something I would talk about to my last day in Ireland. My friends still ask me about my fun Aunt Beth. Thank you so much for all your support and love I’ll see you so so soon!

 

Kar-mom: Every time my blog post would go up I could count on you to share it right away along with an e-mail complimenting my writing and letting me know that you’re right along this adventure with me! Also incredibly grateful for the time you took to have everyone send me individual birthday cards with updates and love. And for sending me money in hopes that I could make these four months everything I wanted them to be. And I did so thank you.

 

Aunt Ellen: My G-mom. Thank you for the e-mails and all the encouragement on facebook and the texts letting me know that it’s okay to be sad I’m leaving, but that I also have so many amazing people to come home to! You’re financial assistance is also responsible for a lot of the amazing times I’ve had here and I have no idea how to thank you!

 

Aunt Jackie and Britt: I’m still so happy I got to see you here in Dublin. Thank you for taking your time to come over here and let me share some amazing memories with you. And for taking the time to send me the birthday card with all those pictures.. I think you can guess which one was my favorite.

 

Uncle Ed: I don’t even know where to start. Throughout all the time I’ve known you (so like… my entire life) you never ever let me make excuses or take an easy way out. You’re constantly finding the holes in my stories and forcing me to take the risks I may have been trying to find an excuse to avoid. You’ve helped me to become a better person in so many ways. I know we don’t do this sappy BS but I don’t know where I would be without your support.  You’re not just my uncle, but one of my closest friends and I constantly want to share what’s going on and my newest and most exciting stories with you. None of this would have been possible without you. So thank you so so so much.

 

Mom and Dad: For constantly supporting me, and never ever allowing me to limit myself to all the possibilities and adventures I experienced while I was here. For taking time away to come visit and allowing me to share my new world with you. I would be nowhere without your constant love and support and laughter. Another example of not only my parents but some of my best friends. I can’t believe I lasted so long without you guys around, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if you didn’t teach me how to grow and be the independent person I am. I love you guys.

And also to Aunt Ruth, Nanny and Poppy, Patty Enright, and Suzie & Carl for all the mail. Everytime I’d see a postcard or envelope waiting with my name on it made my day a little brighter. Thank you so much for keeping up with my experiences here.

Alright readers, if you’re still with me, that’s probably about it for me and my adventures, I’m headed into a summer of two jobs and then an incredibly busy school year. Thanks so much for keeping up with me during my time abroad. My blog has surpassed 10,000 views over these four months and I’m sure to real bloggers that’s not a huge deal at all, but for me that’s incredible. So thanks for reading, even through my long rants like this one. Less than two hours until I’m home, I’ll see you all soon. Sláinte

Advertisements
Standard

We swam among the northern lights And hid beyond the edge of night

Hei Verden. Jeg er forelsket i Norge!

(Hi, world. I am in love with Norway!)

Honestly the only thing I could type with out using google translator in that sentence was hi, but that’s okay because obviously I’m not Norwegian (yet).

This country is breathtaking. Although I will probably be finishing this post when I have returned to my cozy room in Dublin, I’m beginning it as we wait for our flight from Tromso to Oslo and the gallery below is my current situation. Have you ever heard of people wind skiing? I haven’t, but I’m watching it happen right now as I eat my wasabi peanuts and Ashley sips her latte from the warm comforts of the airport cafe.

I’m starting this post a bit premature as we still have another 24 hours or so to explore Norway, but with all my visitors coming to Dublin at the same exact time as all my assignments are due for my classes, I figure I better make the most of the little free time I happen upon.

When Ashley and I revealed our plans to travel to Norway a few weeks back we received the same warning from multiple worldly sources: Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Wish we knew that one before we booked our flight but our flights were cheap and we were determined to see those Northern Lights, so we bought some snacks from the Dublin Tesco and we were on our way.

We arrived in Oslo, Norway late Thursday night. We got a taxi to our hostel and quickly went to bed. We had an early flight the next morning to Tromso which is renowned as one of the best places the Northern Lights can be seen. When we arrived in Tromso at about 10 am we had some time to kill before we were able to check into our room at 3, so we explored the city and I am completely smitten. Tromso is a small Norwegian island in the Arctic circle. Although it has the same latitude as other freezing arctic locations, it’s temperatures are much higher due to its rare relationship with winds coming from the gulf coast. From the 21st of November to the 21st of January the city doesn’t see the sun at all. Although it’s not pitch black all day everyday for those three months, the sun doesn’t visit again until January 22nd and only hangs around for about half an hour to an hour; but it stays a little longer each day until about May 21st. When May 21st arrives, the sun is there to stay 24/7 and doesn’t begin to disappear again until July 21st. The wildlife here is supposed to be surreal during those winter months. Our Northern Lights tour guide told us of one tour he was on last January where they stopped the bus to view the lights and while they were taking in the beautiful sights of the lights, they could hear the whales breathing in the water.

Ashley and I walked around this cute little arctic town for a couple of hours and never really found ourselves bored. There was always a beautiful sight to see or beautiful street to walk down. We went to a pretty authentic Norwegian restaurant for lunch. I got something I was told was a shrimp sandwich but ended up looking like this

IMG_2995

While Ashley ordered the “pickled herring” sandwich which came with mashed potatoes:

IMG_9895
Each were somewhere around $20-25… Insert cringe here. But we were warned that Norway wasn’t cheap so we sucked it up and sucked it down. Although Ashley’s meal wasn’t as appetizing as mine, we were proud of the fact that we experienced a bit of Norwegian culture. The Herring fish is very common in the oceans of Tromso and their migration patterns are what brings about the large amount of whales to Norway every winter.

Once we finished our meals, we grabbed a latte and attempted to find something to do that didn’t make us weep at the act of pulling out our wallets. We stumbled upon a free photo gallery featuring an Italian artist from the 50’s-70’s. We really enjoyed it. We did a bit more sight seeing, I took some pictures of some really cool looking boats for my dad’s sake, and then we headed to check into our hostel.

After a bit of rest from the nonstop travel, we started preparing for our journey to chase the lights. Two different wool socks, and a pair of alpaca socks squeezed into my Uggs, two pairs of outdoor wool lined running pants, two cold weather shirts under a Northface jacket liner, under my Northface parka along with a pair of earmuffs and a souvenir Norway hat (which was cheaper than my sandwich..) and a scarf and gloves and I was ready for our journey.

IMG_3046

We met outside a hotel around the corner from us and boarded a bus that would take us away from the city lights and onto a “base camp” where the lights were most likely to be seen. There you had the option to purchase a hot meal, but they also had free hot chocolate, Norwegian cakes (I have no idea what they were but they were absolutely delicious) and hot coffee. They also had a fire pit and two heated rooms available if the temperatures became too much to handle.

While we were waiting around the fire pit for our glimpse of the lights, I met a couple from Dublin. The woman told me her sister was a speech pathologist and while there wasn’t much of a demand for it in Ireland, a company from Australia flew her there and pay her massive amounts of money to go work with the aborigines. As soon as I get some wifi I plan on doing a bit more research on jobs like that and spell checking aborigines.

The camp ground we were situated in turned out to be a bust. The clouds were so thick even the stars were hiding, so we decided if the lights weren’t going to come to us we were going to go to them. We boarded the bus in search for some clear skies. After about an hour drive some stars started to appear through the clouds and we found a place on the road to pull over and look for the lights again.

Unfortunately conditions weren’t ideal, but we got luckier than some. The lights appeared, but were very scarce and difficult to see behind the clouds. With some special setting up of Ashley’s Nikon we got some pictures that actually made the lights easier to see than in person. The group was a bit disappointed with the display, but Ashley and I decided we weren’t supposed to experience the full beauty of the northern lights quite yet.

I’ve decided that as soon as I can figure out what an English speaking speech pathologist can do to afford the prices of food in Norway, I am moving to Tromso and raising an adorable blonde haired blue eyed skiing champ family. Or atleast spending my honey moon there where I can take the time to really try to find the Northern Lights.

We arrived in Oslo Saturday evening. We took the subway (I now know the Oslo public transit system better than Atlantic City’s or Pittsburgh’s) to our apartment style hostel in the eastern side of Oslo. The transit systems have places where you can buy tickets but we found ourselves getting on and off subways and busses for free without issue. Our hostel was in a bit of a shadier part of the city but it was cozy so we were okay. We grabbed a delicious raw-fish free dinner at a very hipster-style restaurant and cringed at our bill again. The next morning we explored the city and obsessed over the incredible architecture. We took a bus to a peninsula with a weird name that I’m not going to even attempt to spell. It had a lot of cool museums and beautiful sights of the sea. Apparently it’s also the location of the king’s summer home. As you’ll be able to tell in the pictures it was a bit of a dreary day, but we still enjoyed it. Oslo seems it’d be a much more breathtaking experience come the summer time when their green parks are in full bloom. Alas Tromso will forever have my heart and I’m already planning my second trip back (I wish).

All this talk about money and expenses always brings a bit of worry and anxiety to any normal college student. I just wanted to take the time to give an extremely heartfelt thank you to my Favorite partner in Paleo crime, Uncle Eddie for making all the amazing things I’m lucky enough to experience over these four months possible. Anytime there’s even a little bit of hesitation in considering a pricey activity he’s there to say “don’t worry about it Nell, go ahead. Whatever you need.” I don’t even have to ask. I am so lucky to have someone like him whose only worry is that I am safe and having the absolute best experience that I can. So thank you thank you thank you thank you to my amazing Uncle Ed. Who would’ve thought 15 years ago when I was making egg rivers out of my dippy eggs and French fries that’d I’d now be living in Dublin and traveling the world and so much of it is thanks to you! In return for your kindness I will make sure that when your so old that not even your Paleo diet can save you, you will have the hottest hospice nurse in your nursing home. 🙂 But seriously I really am forever and ever grateful to have you in my life and so very excited for you to get here in just one short week!

Uncle Ed ed 2 ed 3

Talk to ya’ll next week with updates on my visits from Aunt Jackie, Brittany, Ashley, Uncle Ed, Momma and Poppa!!

Inntil neste gang! xxxx

(Until Next Time!)

Standard

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.

Hi world!

I’m writing to you from my bed, where I have been for the past 48 hours because I figure, meh Ireland’s cool and all but, watching 2 and a half seasons of How I Met Your Mother is like wayyyy cooler. Jokes. I’m sick. I have the Plague and I am dying. Jokes again. I have the ever so persistent strep throat. It feels like a burning hot curling iron is lodged in my throat and I haven’t been able to eat or talk at all, but don’t cry for me people. I will be okay I will make it out of this alive I promise you.

Welcome to my Pity Party! We have snacks!

Welcome to my Pity Party! We have snacks!

BUT there is good news (besides the fact that I can eat pints of Ben and Jerry’s without the usual self loathing that follows): Before the strep really kicked in I had the opportunity to do some super cool Irish stuff on Saturday (and it was all paid for by UCD. Win!) So we started our day at the Newgrange passage tomb in Co Meath. If you’re like me and you had no idea what that is, I shall tell you what that is.

Newgrange

Newgrange

The Newgrange passage tomb was built in 3200 B.C. Before the invention of the wheel, before the pyramids were even a thought in egyptian minds, and… Before Christ? (I couldn’t think of a third one). Anyway the fact that this thing was built before the invention of the wheel is pretty impressive because the stones they used were only available in other Irish counties. These stone age people had to carry these rocks from places miles and miles away to build this thing. The Newgrange tomb went unexplored for thousands of years until the 60’s when an archeological team was put together to do some excavating. Before then, Cows could still be seen grazing on the grass on top of the tomb. Something else incredibly impressive was the window-type structure above the entrance to the tomb. During the winter solstice, when the sun is rising, this window structure was carefully placed where it was in order to capture the sunlight to shine directly into the tomb. We could only see a reenactment of the event, but still very very impressive. While it is still unsure as to what exactly the tomb was for, it is believed that these people would cremate their dead, place the ashes in the tomb, and when the winter solstice arrived, the beam of sunlight (if they were sun worshippers) would carry their souls onto their afterlife.  While we were inside the tomb, the tour guide was sure to let us know that we were standing under thousand of tons of rock that were placed there without any adhesive assistance. Comforting. But still an incredibly cool experience.

After we finished our tour at Newgrange, we bussed to a place called Causey Farms. First we partnered up and learned how to make Irish Soda Bread (Psh I already knew how to do that). While we were waiting for our bread to bake, we went into a barn where we learned an Irish Dance and learned how to play an Irish drum a.k.a bodhrán. In case you were wondering, I wasn’t very good at either. We still had some time to kill so the farm owners took us to look at some baby lambs that had just been born where I fulfilled the long sung prophecy: Mary had a little lamb. Those things were so freakin’ cute I came so very close to sneaking one home with me. At that point the strep was really kickin’ in so I didn’t get to try our Irish Soda Bread, but I heard it was great.

I’m hoping for a speedy recovery because Beth, Liv, and Emily get here Wednesday!! I’m so excited to have my first visitors in Dublin! Hope all is well at home, or wherever you’re reading this from! Miss everyone a lot a lot a lot!! I’ve had my good laugh with writing this, now it’s time for a long long long sleep.

Sláinte!

 

Standard

Playing Catch-Up

Hey peeps,

Haven’t posted in a week or so, so I thought I’d do that now! Not much to report this time… Last week was our first week of classes. I’ve already talked about my music and words class, but I’m also taking a class called Life in the Republic. The class is a look at the transition from the Irish Free State to the Republic of Ireland up until the bank failures in 2008. I’m feeling a bit in over my head on this one, but hopefully I can keep up.

Last week we saw another band at Whelan’s. This time a local group called Mojo Gogo who put on an awesome show. We also went to a club/pub inbetween called Flannery’s which we all loved. My roommate Ashley found a more European-style restaurant called the Winding Stair right across the river from the Temple Bar area. The food was amazing and the view was gorgeous.

The Winding Stair over looks the River LIffey

The Winding Stair over looks the River LIffey

IMG_2420

Ashley also found a cute little cafe called the Bell & Pot so six of us ventured there this afternoon and as my friend Tara put it, if Anthropologie had a restaurant, this would be it. We spent the rainy afternoon drinking tea, eating soup, and just talking about everything from ghost stories to family aspirations. Then we searched for a Gluten free bakery Tara had heard about called Antoinettes.

Clearly not a super amount of interesting things to report this week, but most of it was spent trying to get acclimated to the city. We’ve almost got the bus system mastered! My Irish friend from Duquesne, Harry, asked me yesterday if I’ve noticed any differences between Ireland and America. Although there definitely hasn’t been anything major quite yet, there are some little things:

1. People here drive like maniacs and would probably belly laugh at the term yield to pedestrians. When you’re crossing the street you better look left and right three times over before taking a step. Those cars come out of no where and the busses will kill you before stopping to let you cross.

2. The students dress differently here. Showing up to class dressed in clothes from the work out section of TJ Maxx (TK Maxx in Ireland for whatever reason) is a huge no no. The girls dress so adorably. I’ve seen a lot of black booties and white converses, Cigarette style skinny jeans, and over sized sweaters among other fashionable tops as acceptable class wear. I’ve been keeping up so far, but it’s likely I will return to my TJ maxx attire soon because putting together cute outfits is just too much damn work. The boys however still seem to be living in 2008. Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch are everywhere you turn. Remember DC sneakers? You don’t have to reminisce too far back over here because they still seem to be a thing. But obviously the accent makes up for any and all fashion faux pas.

3. The houses here. The houses I have seen in Dublin are absolutely beautiful. No one house looks like the next. They all have their own character to them and none of them are made of the cheap plastic type material you’ll find in the states. Sometimes I’ll switch up my runs from the bay to the streets just get a better look at all the gorgeous detail put into each home.

4. Dogs without a leash. The dogs here are so ridiculously well behaved! More often than not a dog is walking alongside his owner leash-less. I don’t know how they do it. If Rudy was off his leash for a second he’d be jumping on the first person that passed him or chasing the first squirrel he saw. These dogs could care less about any one else. All they want is their owners and their tennis ball. The dogs without a leash used to make me nervous, but now I find myself less trusting of the ones with the leash.

5. Alcohol is expensive as fug. (sorry mom). But really a pint here is usually between 5.50-5.70 euro. Which converts to about$7.80. A handle of Smirnoff is about 51 euro which converts to about $68 (we’re trying to find the Vlad equivalent, but no such luck so far). I’m definitely going to have to start looking into some more free/cheap activities to do here in Dublin before I spend everything I have on pints and cabs.

All in all I love it here. My views on my runs never get old and I found a yoga studio half a mile up the road. We’re hoping to plan a trip to Cork for the weekend. So I’m sure I’ll have some slightly less boring stories to tell after that. Until then here’s some more random pictures I had no where to place in this post!

Standard

“In Dublin next arrived, I thought it such a pity, To be so soon deprived, A view of that fine city.”

Hey all,

Thanks for all the responses! Its nice knowing I can share this with you guys!

(+10 points to anyone that knows the song I took the title of this post from!)

So since I left off last, I have had some beautiful runs, visited my school, and continued my strict diet of soup, popcorn, and Heineken. Josie’s finally made it to Dublin! She arrived around 10 this morning and all the girls in the house took the day to shop around Grafton Street. It’s a gorgeous pedestrian only area with an overwhelming amount of amazing sales. I got some new shirts to go out in since I’ve seemed to burn through my wardrobe already.. oops.

Friends and family, I’ve come to a sad realization in my recent nights of meeting people from all over the world: The world seems to think everyone from New Jersey is Snooki. I can’t tell you how many times the response has been a wide eyed gasp followed by “New Jersey? Hey guess where she’s from? New Jersey!” when I answer the deadly question of where I’m from. I might start saying Canada so I don’t have to continue with my now perfected “Jersey Shore Disassociation” speech. Although there is one exception: one saintly Irish person’s immediate response to New Jersey  was “Oh! Bruce Springsteen!”  He has given me hope. I won’t try to pass myself off as Canadian just yet, but if I come home saying “aboot” I think you can guess why.

I have a million pictures to post, but I still suck at this blog thing so there may be an easier way, but bare with me. If you’ve been following me on instagram or facebook (so everyone except my mother) then you’ve probably seen some of these, but for my mom’s sake, I’ll post them on here as well. I ran about 7 miles today and came across the most beautiful trail ever. My run ended up taking over an hour cause I couldn’t help but stop and take a billion pictures and also because walking dogs without a leash seems to be incredibly common. Hopefully that proves to be therapeutic. I ran past two today without stopping to cautiously walk! Running seems to be very popular here. Every time I step outside I seem to see at least three runners, but even more during the night time. I would much rather run during the day however. My mom always tells me I’ll breathe better if I keep my head up and stop looking at the ground and after you see these pictures, you can understand how easy those directions will be to follow. (mom, if you click on the pictures, they get bigger).

Last night may have been the best night of the week. My roommate Ashley and my resident director laura and two guys living with us went to a place called Whelan’s. Which can be seen in this little clip of P.S. I Love You. (the one with singer that’s not Gerard Butler). If you are one of the few coming to visit me and you don’t yet know every word to Galway Girl, it’s time to change that. The sooner the better because that song is everywhere over here.

Unfortunately a cute Irish man did not dedicate a song to me, but rest assured, I have not given up on my P.S. I Love You dreams quite yet. But we did see Deer Tick who put on an awesome show. Apparently the lead singer of Deer Tick was also on his Honey Moon with “A Thousand Miles” singer Vanessa Carlton who came out to perform a duet. Kind of a cool surprise. What made the night even better was how unbelievably kind these people were. Normally at shows I’ve been to in the US, people are elbowing, pushing and cursing to get up to the front of the stage. At this show however, if my shoulder so much as grazed another person’s, that person responded with an immediate “I’m sorry” even when it may have been my fault. My resident director is about an inch or two shorter than me, and when the tall man standing in front of her noticed, he immediately offered for her to move in front of him for a better view. I could barely believe the difference between the concert etiquette. I definitely want to see some more shows there.

Deer Tick at Whelan's

Deer Tick at Whelan’s

We also had orientation at UCD. The campus is insanely pretty. Very, very modern. There are a million clubs available to us as well. I’m looking into the boxing club, which stresses that girls are welcome to join, but I’m still feeling a little intimidated so… we’ll see if I get up the guts to do that one. Tomorrow morning around 8 a.m. we head to Belfast for the night. I’m sure I’ll have tons to write about after that. In the mean time if you haven’t tried a Baby Guinness shot, I highly recommend it. Kahlua on the bottom, Baileys on the top. Sooo good. That’s all for now folks! Slán!

Lunch at Bewley's on Grafton Street today. My coffee came with a biscuit :)

Lunch at Bewley’s on Grafton Street today. My coffee came with a biscuit 🙂

Standard

The First 48

HI WORLD!

(More like Hi mom, I started a blog, are you happy?)

So I have arrived in Ireland. I have slept off the jet lag. I have toured the Guinness Store House. I saw a Trad Band. I think I’ve covered about 75% of the Dublin tourist requirements. It’s funny being a tourist as I’m so used to rolling my eyes at the embarrassingly revealing tourist questions that I am now asking.

I landed in Dublin after a unsettlingly bumpy flight around 4 am Dublin time and hung in the airport until the Duquesne transport arrived around 10 am. We pulled up to the house we’re staying in and this place is absolutely beautiful.

St. Michael's

St. Michael’s Mansion. It comes with lotsa history and ghost stories I’ll write about later! I’m rooming in a quad with only two other girls. One in my good friend from Duquesne Josie as well as a senior from Duquesne named Ashley (coincidentally my bestfriend/roomate in pittsburgh’s name). Josie is set to arrive on Thursday so it’s just me and Ashley in this giant bedroom so far. We actually have the master bedroom of the house and it’s huge and beautiful. We got lucky.

Monday we slept off the jetlag and grabbed dinner together. We were all still pretty exhausted from our flights so we took it pretty easy. Tuesday we got to do a tour of the Guinness store house. I am now certified to pour a “perfect pint.” The store house also has a gravity bar at the top with a gorgeous view of Dublin that I tried to take pictures of but they came up incredibly short. The tour guide asked if we knew the Gaelic word for cheers/good health. I was the only one that knew it (thanks Irish alcoholic family members: you know who you are.) I’m still not a fan of the beer itself but the storehouse was an awesome time.

Pouring the perfect pint

Pouring the perfect pint

After the storehouse Ashley and I needed to grab some essentials we weren’t able to pack so we walked to a Tesco,  which is their version of Pathmark. As a part of our meal plan we receive 100 Euro a month in a gift card to buy snacks and other necessary items. The only reason I’m writing about a boring grocery trip is because as I was walking through it, I noticed that they don’t refrigerate their eggs. This revelation is effecting me more than it should, but, like, why not refrigerate eggs? I don’t get it.

Anyway, last night we went to the temple bar area. We grabbed dinner at this place called Quay’s which was so so yummy. Then headed to the downstairs level, which was packed, and listened to an extremely talented guy singing some hit songs. Mostly American. Then we ventured to Temple Bar which also had live music, but this time it was two men putting an Irish folk twist on some Johnny Cash and John Denver. I think I was the only one under 27 singing every word (thanks dad).

Picture from Quay's

Picture from Quay’s. On my right, with the brown hair is my roommate Ashley.

So I woke up this morning (about 6 am your time, 11 am mine) feeling a little weighed down from all the pints, but our resident director told us about this amazing running course right down the road from us that parallels the bay. I am so ready to run off all the beer. I’ll try to post at least once maybe twice a week on here with lots of pictures and stories (Disclaimer: not all stories will be interesting; see egg refrigeration story) to keep everyone at home updated with what I’m doing and where I am. Miss you all tons and for those coming to visit I’m already so excited to show you Dublin!! Until next time, Sláinte!

Standard