Thursday, May 27, 2010

I am now entering Rihanna's world.

Okay, not quite. But for a couple hours last night, at the O2 Arena in Dublin with Emily and Pat, I was totally in her world. The Rihanna concert was definitely the way to end 5 months in Ireland together. After listening to Rihanna songs for the past week straight, hearing them live couldn't have been better.

Our favorite song came on

Excited. Duh.
You almost needed an umbrella ela ela ela
So I'm obviously not in Rihanna's world anymore, but I have left Galway. Currently in Dublin hotel enjoying a little family time. The past week really has been a vacation. No visitors, no commitments, just the sun and Galway. We went to the beach, went for runs, the market, out to pubs. Basically what we've been doing for the past 5 months but with nothing else in between. And the weather was gorgeous. Apparently Ireland had a bit of a heat wave. We definitely took advantage of it.

mmmm treats on the beach

Frisbee time

It's hard to get used to the fact my family is in Ireland. I've talked about my life here so much, it's crazy to think they are now going to get to experience parts of it. So far today the weather has been perfect, they've already enjoyed their first Guinness, and our week long tour of Ireland starts bright and early tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

So long, farewell....

To my friends and visitors, not yet to Galway. There are only a few of us left now. Two more left last night. Every other night seems to be someone's "last night" so we go out to dinner at one of the many restaurants we have yet to try, sit by the water, enjoying the nice weather, and then to have one last pint at our favorite pubs. Each day is one closer to when I'm leaving, but I'm not quite ready yet. I still have a few days left in Galway, and I will be enjoying every minute of them.

After finals were over, Sullivan came to visit! It was a much needed break for her, and a very very welcome guest for me. She needed a little bit of the Irish slow life put into her life. We ate out, cooked dinner, and enjoyed the market. We went to Dublin, the Aran Islands, and the Cliffs of Moher. Each of which I had done before, as you know, but we did something a little different at each.
According to John Jameson, Sullivan and I are certified whiskey tasters. I must admit, Jameson was my favorite and not just because we took the tour. Some souvenir shopping, a quick trip to the museum, and the typical tourist stops around town; we were back on the bus to Galway.

We bought tickets to go to Innishmaan, but as most Irish things are slightly unorganized, didn't get off at the right ferry stop. So we went to Innishorr instead, the small island. The rain held off so we biked around the island stopping for lunch by the sea, at the graveyard, shipwreck, lighthouse, and of course the white sandy beach.
Some poor planning let us stay in Galway the next day, enjoying one of my typical rainy afternoons eating treats, walking around, shopping, and watching a movie in the apartment.
Cliffs of Moher the last day in Galway. Everyone has to do it when they go to Ireland. I didn't mind seeing it for a third time. Its still amazing. And in a week from today, I won't mind seeing the Cliffs for a fourth time. The flowers had finally started to bloom and the grass was green, so it was whole new tour to me (almost). I sadly put Sullivan on a bus the next morning. Luckily, she took home a huge bag of my stuff. Less stuff for me to carry home.

I was happy to have such a great friend here to share what I've been doing for the past 5 months. She met my friends, saw the sites, and hung out at the pubs. Neither of us had a care in the world for those 5 days. We talked and laughed, ate and drank and it could not have been any better.

My days left here are shrinking, and with each day that passes, I love Galway more and more. the days are getting longer. The sun doesn't set until at least 10 pm, which makes you want to stay outside by the water all night long. Yesterday, we played Bananagrams and ate pizza by the water. Took a little break to change then headed over to Shop Street for a Bulmers. Burritos for dinner and a walk to the pier. My friends and I walked together and sat on the edge by the water, not talking really, just taking in the sights. We have been here for 5 months and its finally coming to an end. We've met great people who have made this time here so special. We live in a city where everyone wants to be. People are swarming, and as we walked back into town to have one last pint of Guinness with our friend Tara who was leaving, it felt like Summer. The tourists were out, strolling along enjoying every one of the street performers. The tons of locals came out from no where. It was like a block party, with plastic cups of beer and music. You couldn't even walk through the streets without running right into someone Irish. It felt like it was really finally summer, which made me never want to leave this place.

Rihanna tickets are bought for Wednesday in Dublin with Emily and Pat.
Surfing on Monday in Sligo if the surf is good.
One last market today.

Silent Disco Part II tonight!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh yeah, I forgot!

To tell you all I climbed a MOUNTAIN the other day! Not just any mountain either; it was Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo. I had been told thousands of people climb this mountain every July, some barefoot, as a pilgrimage. St. Patrick was said to have fasted at the top of this mountain for 40 days and then threw a silver bell down the side, banishing the she-demon Corra and eliminating snakes from Ireland. (Thank you Wikipedia) This was a pretty popular mountain so I assumed it would be a leisurely walk up to the top, no big deal.

Boy, was I wrong. It was broken into 3 different parts: A steep part, a flat part, then a really steep rocky part. All three parts were hard. I could never imagine doing it barefoot.

First part
I thought about stopping, but pushed on, knowing it would be worth it in the end. Looking up towards the final stretch, however, with no real path, just tons of lose rock, was daunting.

Hard part
We walked in and out of clouds. It would be sunny and hot, then 10 steps later, cloudy, cold, and rainy. I finally made it but was stuck in a cloud and couldn't see a thing. A little anti-climatic, but still worth it.

Then we started our way down, which was harder than going up. It took me almost as long, trying not to fall on loose rock and tumbling down the mountain side. Boys were literally running past me as I took tiny step after tiny step. Finally, we made it back and enjoyed a nice treat and much needed stretch at the visitor's center.

A little game I've played before.

A typical little get-to-know-you game that I've played at meetings and first day of classes, and just read one on my favorite new blog: Happys and Crappys. Tell us one good thing (happy) and one bad thing (crappy) about your day today. As my trip is starting to come to an end, I can't help but want to play this game, just a little bit.

Happy: I went to the dog tracks on Friday. Get the student discount. Look at the info book. Pick the dog with the coolest name to win because I have nothing else to base my decision on as I have NO knowledge of racing at all. Place your bets. No more than 2euro for me. Run down to the track. Watch as the dogs parade around, then are shoved into the starting gates. The mechanical rabbit zips by and out go the dogs. Cheer for about 30 seconds. Go collect your prize! Repeat.
Crappy: Overall, I lost about 3euro, which isn't as bad as some of my friends, who ended up losing 20, but still. I was hoping to come away a winner.

Happy: My last final is on Wednesday! After that, I will officially be a senior!
Crappy: I actually have to study for it, which as I've told you all before, is difficult here. I've even admitted to dreaming about being in Memorial Library. Who would have ever thought I would want to be tucked away on the 3rd floor, in a cubicle, with no windows, no people, no noise, no distractions, just me and my studying?

Happy: Sullivan is coming on Friday! I haven't quite made our itinerary yet, but I can promise she will never want to leave, and not just because I won't be coming home yet. Hurry up Friday!
Crappy: Almost all of my friends here are going home between now and Saturday. I can't imagine being in Galway without them. Our time here has been so wonderful, with the best people and having such a great time together, I can't believe we only have a few days left. It hasn't quite hit me completely, but in the next couple days, Ireland just won't be the same.

Happy: Meals prepared by my roommates and I, including Oatmeal Pancakes, White Vegetable Lasagna, and the most delicious Potluck dinner yet.
Crappy: Feeling WAY too full because you just can't get enough of all that good food.

Happy: Family coming in almost 2 weeks.
Crappy: That little bit of worry I have that the ash clouds will interrupt their flight plans. If they can't come (or Sullivan) watch out- I will not be happy.

Happy: In a few days, having all the time in the world to just hang out in Ireland and do whatever I want.
Crappy: ........................ nothing.