Only Slightly Overdue
Alright friends, so I’ve been putting this post off for far too long. There’s been so much happening here that I’ve had trouble finding time to sit and write it all down, but I’m to do my best to keep up with it from now on. So, away we go!
The goodbye was tough, as I knew it would be. Dad came down with the stomach flu the day I left, so I had to say goodbyes to him at the house and mainly from a distance. Not so fun, and tearful. The rest of the family and I got to the airport almost 3 hours before take-off to get a time cushion, but all went smoothly so I found myself at the security gate more quickly than I would like. Another goodbye, and more tears.
Now, here I should clarify what the original flight plans were: O’Hare to Manchester, UK and then to Shannon. I should’ve been at the university by 11 AM. Simple. Easy. Wrong. Apparently O’Hare doesn’t plan on having the proper overseas plane for a flight, so things got complicated. What should have been two flights turned into O’Hare—>New York—>Manchester—>London—>Shannon, and over 24 hours of travel. Thankfully, I met some other people going to UL on the plane and we bravely (and jet laggedly) banded together. Finally, at 11 PM we arrive on campus and collapsed in bed.
The next two days were orientation in the morning and the pub at night. Friends from the flight and some others decided to go exploring in the city to gather groceries, sheets, and other necessities. That first weekend was pretty much spent settling in and getting to know the campus.
Monday I started checking out my class options, which they let us do for two weeks until we officially register. I had already confirmed my choices with Illinois State, so my schedule is now set up. Here’s the line-up:
Irish Cultural Texts, Cultural Theory, Irish Folklore, Renaissance Literature, and Augustan/Restoration Literature.
Thursday was my lovely friend Nichy’s 23rd birthday, so we all got together for a party that night. I opted out of going to the bar after the house party, and later heard many stories about getting kicked out of the pub and having jackets stolen. Many shenanigans ensued.
The next day was my first castle adventure! Let me clarify right now—you may find yourself thinking, “I always see pictures of castles in Ireland. There really can’t be THAT MANY of them. Sheesh. Tourist trap.” You would be false, these babies are everywhere. This one in particular is about a 15 minute (muddy) walk from my house and I’ll let pictures speak for themselves.
But this was only a prelude of the sights we were to see on Saturday at the Cliffs of Moher! We took a day tour north up the coast and saw some absolutely breathtaking views. Along the way we stopped for lunch (delicious clam chowder, beef, potatoes, etc.) and photo ops. Here are a few of the results, in chronological order.
This trip was exactly what I needed to feel like I made the right choice in coming here. The view, and sitting on the edge of that “smaller” cliff, was completely liberating. I should make a small shout out to my friend Austin who lent me his camera charger, without which these photos would never be taken. Also, Jessica Carroll should know that her gift was bought here.
Sunday night was the Super Bowl, so we Americans naturally headed down to a pub where it was being played. While I normally couldn’t care less about the Super Bowl unless the Bears were in it, it was nice to participate in something our country is pretty invested in. Sidenote: I’m happy that I have great friends who tell creepy drunk men to back off.
The rest of this week has been school mostly, with some fun interjections. Karaoke, fish and chips, and the company of friends continue to make me feel at home here. (Officially getting my visa tomorrow can’t hurt, either).
Coming up in the future: hill walking in Glendalough, the City of Cork, Dublin a few times, Paris, Italy, and possibly Greece. So incredibly pumped.
Until then, Slainte!