Monday, January 14, 2013

All Good Things Must Come to an End. A long, rambly blog post.

"Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final"

Well... I'm posting this from America.  From my desk at St. Mike's in Vermont to be specific.    There's clear blue skies outside and people drive on the right side of the road, only one serving of potatoes with every meal, and no brogues. It's weird.  I'm wondering if Galway was just a really long dream that I had and finally woke up from.  Damn.  The last week there was unreal - it was just Emily, Mary and I left in Ireland for the Americans and so we rested for two days and then fully embraced our last few days in our rainy paradise before going out with a bang.  We spent the majority of the time Christmas shopping for people back home and then checking off everything on our To Do list we didn't get around to earlier - finally went to Lynch's Cafe and Carbon, discovered Napoli was actually way better than Mizzoni's, took pictures with our fave bartenders, won a few good rounds of pong against the irish, finally used that Kingshead Discount card, did the 12 Pubs of Christmas and had a lovely last lunch at McCambridges so we could enjoy the veg soup one more time.

12 Pubs was hilarious..  we were obviously late to it and missed the first two pubs, so we went straight to the Front Door (I swear it wasn't on purpose even though that was our favorite) and proceeded to down a few Bulmers so we could catch up with the rest of the group - which included no one we knew. We were flying solo for a little while but whatevs we were still happy to be there and to show off our Christmas swag.  After a few pints/pubs and chatting with people on the crawl,  Fionn from fencing showed up to join us at Kelly's Pub then we found a few more friends later in the night.  The night overall was great craic and left us in a overtired daze on Friday, so we spent it downtown doing last minute errands and buying more suitcases since we obviously did too much shopping at Penney's and couldn't fit everything.

 I somehow managed to pack everything up in my three bags and carry on duffel.. Yeah I know four bags is a lot - the little Irish man at customs gave out to me for all my luggage - "You really tend to pack light huh? Too many shopping trips?"  The flight was interesting.. I sat next to a guy named JP on my flight who drank too much - he went to the bathroom with one shoe on!!! - and told me a little too much about his ex-wife, and on/off again girlfriend and how he can't talk to men about this because they'll make fun of him but women understand and he's so glad I understand too and that he's glad I wanna talk to him too........which I didn't. I had my eyes closed and headphones on every time he interrupted me with another story. But anyways, I spent the  6.5hr  flight listening to his nonsense and reflecting over the last four months and everything that happened and how my world changed so much coming here and now how it was about to change again and I was nervous to go home because I didn't want anything to change and I didn't want to leave but I managed to keep it all together...until the flight landed and I turned on my irish phone to check the time and what pops on the screen but a text from Mizzoni's (my fave pizza place)  saying Happy Christmas!  Well maybe it was being wayyy overtired and maybe it was the Vodka Coke drink  JP bought me or maybe a bit of both but I burst into tears. and then I caught up with Emily and Mary who were a few seats away and we cried our way off the airplane to baggage claim where Laetitia was waiting for us with a camera - aka our tears forever caught on tape - and then seeing her made us all cry even harder until we finally all composed ourselves only to begin crying again when I saw my mom.

Note: I'm usually not emotional/wicked sappy. I'm gonna say it was the vodka cokes/being overtired that caused this nonsense.  Also: Laetitia you may never post those pictures on the internet. ever. and Finally: I am a really pretty crier. So are Emily and Mary, so keep that in mind while reading that and picturing it. HAHA just kidding we looked like fools.

But anywayyyyyyysss..
The Mayan Apocalypse didn't quite happen like the Mayan's hoped so Christmas and reunions happened and they were grand and then a sparkly New Years rolled on by and now I'm back up at St Mike's.  Finn and Kevin told us it'd take roughly four weeks to adjust and I'm on week three as of yesterday.. So maybe I'll post again later but I think I'll end this for now saying that the last four months were hands down the best of my life.  They were exciting and hilarious and there were some really nice, sweet moments too.. I was on my own, out of my comfort zone so sometimes they were scary, and even though I stuck out like a sore thumb with my Northface and that my accent screamed Boston whenever I opened my mouth to speak, I felt like I fit in.  And I fit in pretty well.  And the people there were so good to me. I might not see some of them ever again but I'll always remember them. Sometimes I think I'm a lot less confident than I might appear - but I went to another country and I lived there and I didn't just survive on my own, I thrived. I really did, so that makes me feel good and I think I can go back to these memories whenever I might doubt myself.  Being there made me feel so alive because it was so new and really a lot of those great feelings came from the people I met there. I can't say it was all me that was responsible for these changes. The friends I made over there are so invaluable to me because we went through SO much together and we've all gone back to our own hometowns now so I probably won't see them for awhile but I'm not worried at all that we won't see each other again. We will - I'll just kidnap them if I have to.  :)
Coming home was a bit challenging- big changes have already happened in my life, but it also was so nice to be back to my own comfortable couch and bedroom with my parents cooking lovely dinners and pets wanting to snuggle up with me :)

I've already got my first homework assignment and this blog post has gone on so long and I've rambled and gotten distracted halfway thru because of a youtube video Bernadette found and no one will probably read the whole thing so I'll finish up now.. Hope everyone has a lovely day.
Til next time, blog world! Even though Is le hÉirinn mo chroí (My heart belongs in Ireland) I'll be trying to make the best of coming home and I'm gonna start slow and try to go easy on myself and take this trip back to reality one homework assignment at a time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pegging in Galway

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We were walking thru the Farmer's Market on Monday when someone stopped us and pointed out a clothes peg that was on us.  We were super confused and kept trying to walk away but he was being persistent and so finally we asked what was going on and he explained we were on a prank youtube video that he was making.  We helped him think of the title "Pegging in Galway" and then he proceeded to Peg all of us and record it and then naturally i thought it was hilarious so I asked if I could peg someone and be in the video... and he said yes! so i'm in it!

"we came to Galway as nobodys, and left as pegging professionals..."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Two weeks left?!? Life Update

So I was originally supposed to fly home Dec 15th but I changed my flight to the 22nd to give myself an extra week.  Just one step closer to never leaving and going back to reality hehe! 

Thank you Mom and Dad for the extra week! This means I'll finish my last two finals this Thursday and Friday and then have a full week to relax and have fun and I can attend the 12 Pubs of Christmas :)  The center of Galway has been decked out and is fully ready for Christmas.  Eyre Square is usually a big empty grassy area in the middle of town but it's been transformed into a cute little winter wonderland, complete with hot dog stands (who knew BBQ hotdogs were Christmasy? I didn't) and tacky sweaters and ornaments and Christmas trees. It's really cute and all lit up and they have the best crepes and hot chocolate ever.    There's also a big beer tent with 1lb steins so you can pretend that Oktoberfest is in Galway for a little while!

My roomies and I are doing a secret santa for eachother, and I got the perfect gift for my person.. Can't write what it is on here yet in case she reads it however I'll update this again soon to let you know how it goes!    Sorry my writing is a bit random... I finally bought the new Taylor Swift album (which was stupid.. should have waited and asked for it for Christmas. Oops.) and of course it's so good and so I'm currently jammin to it and it's distracting me from blogging!!  I have a love hate relationship with Taylor Swift.  She's an annoying human being and I kind of hate her because I'm ridiculously jealous of her life, but i do love her music no matter how hard I try not to! Also currently obsessed with Ed Sheeran.. he's unreal. Listen to him if you haven't yet!  SO good!!

I had my last visitor this weekend.. Miss Christina Prudenti from Spain!! Last weekend Kate Riley was here from Paris so that was really fun too. Love me some American visitors.  On Friday we went to this little place called Hole in the Wall and were dancing to the music and having a good time when we realized that Jack, the bouncer from the Front Door, was there.  Now this story might not be as great as it was in real life but bear with me and I'll try to explain.  Jack the bouncer is maybe 35 and has a loong ponytail and a very unkempt beard and everyone else in the bar was my age- around 20 so it was just hilarious to see him there.  He was dancing and jumping up and down going crazy.. I tried to teach him my infamous little dance move but he said it wasn't good enough and so then he proceeded to spin me around a million times and dip me backwards to show me a "Real dance move" and I thought I looked like I was on dancing with the stars but christina sadly told me later that i just looked like a rag doll being thrown around hahaha.. oh well, better luck next time I guess!

that's all for now.. more updates to come later when I figure out what exciting ways I'll be spending my extra week here - I've got to go to the store and buy cough medicine, I've got a wicked cold that's making me blow my nose every five minutes and given me one of those deep chest coughs. It's really ladylike and cute.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Forgot to mention my team of bodyguards

Just realized I forgot to mention how I basically had an entire team of bodyguards last week.   Whenever we went out to a pub or to Mizzoni's (aka Heaven on earth... best pizza you could ever imagine, especially at 2am) or just walked around Shop Street.. It would be me, Adam, Keith, Sean, and Pat (who came all the way from Dublin to have Thanksgiving dinner with us and then stayed til Saturday.. so fun!!)  walking next to me.. And if you don't know them, I'd say Adam is 6'2'', Keith is 6'3'', Sean is 6'2 maybe and Pat is probably 6'0  so regardless to say I had some good company around me and didn't have to worry about any drunk leprechauns bothering me at all when we went out!!! ;-) 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

20 Days

I will be flying back home to Boston in exactly 20 days from today.  I can't believe it.  That's really not much time at all.  Time seems to go by faster and faster every year but wow, this semester was one for the books. I think it broke a record it went by so fast.  I've started making a list of memories that I don't want to forget.. from little quotes or inside jokes to the names of people we've met here that I don't want to forget.  I've got 66 written down so far but my friends and I plan on sitting down and adding to it.  That's the scary part I think - forgetting.   I know that I've taken hundreds of pictures and that they're on my computer and Facebook and I have these blogs to go back to and reread but it's the little things like the little orange and white dog that roams around my block freely or the familiar faces we see downtown performing each week or whatever else

Coming here has been such a great experience.. not only because Ireland itself is beautiful but because I have lived life outside of the small St Mike's bubble and because I've lived on my own for four months without the safety net of friends I've known for years surrounding me or my mom down the hall willing to make my next meal and spoil me if I get hungry.  I've had to find my way around a new city, a new country, find the correct bus station and get over the awkwardness you feel when you have to approach ten strangers in a row to ask for directions because you didn't pay good enough attention the first time six times someone told you where your destination was.  Some parts have been kind of scary.. like waking up after dozing on a bus and wondering if you missed your stop and where the hell you are in Ireland (all cows and sheep and green fields look alike... no surprise there but it really makes it hard to try to figure out where you are haha) or getting ready to take my first exam after not having to work hard academically for months (yeah that's my current fear.  more about that next week if I survive..) but mostly it's just been incredible getting to know my new friends here.. especially my Irish roomies and their friends along with the lovely 13 people who came here on the API program with me who have traveled with me, been exhausted with me, put up with eachothers shenanigans,  booked and stayed in weird hostels with me, and everything else we've been through!!  It'll be weird going from living with them to us separating and being in different parts of the country so far from eachother but I have no doubt we'll all reunite at some point or another!!  Preferably in the Cape... at my cottage.. or better yet, when they come visit me in Galway after I move here forever ;-)

Family visit at Thanksgiving!

Hello Blogworld..  So I'm having a very very lazy Sunday in order to recover from my long (but lovely) week of visitors so I'm going to post a few entries right now. Get ready. 

To start, the family arrived in Dublin on Sunday morning so I took an afternoon bus to greet their jet-lagged selves for dinner!  Keith, Adam, Mom, and Uncle Joe and Aunt Sandy came.. so we had a whole crew!  It was really great to see them. Keith looked old - Stonehill is turning him into an adult, awww.   We met at a little pub and they did their very best to talk in full sentences and tried to  fill me in on how their flights went.. but it was a bit of a struggle since they were so tired haha.  I had gone out the night before so I was tired as well but I think they won the Who's Most Deliriously Tired competition.  For example, Mom was trying to tell Joe and Sandy where I'd traveled to so far... and apparently I've gone to Spance and Frain HAHA!  So we couldn't get enough of that joke and every time someone stuttered or said a word wrong later in the week, we'd blame it on Spance or Frain and say "Well that must just be what they call it there!"  Oh man, I couldn't get enough of it.  It was classs.

Keith got to drink legally and the family got to experience their first extremely drunk Irish man who told us "When you see the big cat, don't get off the elephant."  We're still not sure if we should wait to get off the elephant when we reach Spance, or if we should ride it all the way to Frain where there are no big cats.

We had the same driver all week who took us on all of the tours - his name was Maurice but it was pronounced Morris, but eventually we just called him Mossy or Mo. He took us all over, we saw the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, went to a cute little pub called McGan's in a little town called Doolin that Mom and Bonnie ate at 25 years ago!! And then to lots of other places.

Thursday we had Thanksgiving Dinner at the hotel that generously offered to make us a 3 course meal with mulled wine included!!  It was so so good.. There were a few options for meals but I  started with corn on the cob, then had turkey and ham with mashed potatoes, and then there were a bunch of options for dessert including Banoffi pie.. my new obsession! YUM I'm not sure how I survived 20 years without it.  It's amazing.  And the mulled wine was so good, it reminded me of a warm liquified version of potpourri or a warm sangria without the fruit. 

It was a really fun week and going out to the pubs with Adam and Keith was great - It was so so nice to hang out with them and have fun with them and see them in a new light/context besides a regular family party at Christmas or something.  Gotta love the bro bros.

Then CJ came on Friday for two nights from Paris! So that was great.. He got to have some real Irish Guinness and shepherd's pie and could relax for the weekend without worrying about getting pickpocketed or robbed.  Saturday we took a very long, winding and bumpy bus ride to go see the Cliffs of Moher and we got SO lucky - it was a perfect day. So sunny!!! We even got to watch the sunset go down over the Cliffs, it was amazing.  Even better? I didn't fall off the Cliffs - which I had a dream about last week!  Even better than that? I witnessed my friend Mary get shocked by an electric fence HAHAHA it was the funniest thing I've ever seen.  No, I'm not a psychopath - she didn't get hurt.  But she had jsut finished helping me climb over a wall (so heroic- probably would have fell off the Cliffs if she didn't pull me over) but one of her boots landed in a mud puddle, so she held onto the fence next to her to dip her foot into the puddle.... and as soon as she touched the water ZAP!! It shocked her. It took both of us a minute to realize what happened and when it did i DIED laughing Oh my God.. I was laughing so hard I couldn't even make any noise.  CJ and Erin were ahead of us on the path and they heard her scream so they were concerned/asking what happened but I couldn't even tell them I was wheezing and cackling so hard hahahahahah.

Anyways that pretty much sums up my week!  How was everyone else's Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vamos a Barcelona!

Hola amigos!   I got back from visiting Barcelona this weekend and it was a really great trip.. especially because NO ONE GOT PICKPOCKETED!!!  Woohoo!  First time visiting another country and having everyone return with their wallets, so that was a big success. Major paranoia pays off!   I went with Jo, Betsy and Laiken (Bacon and Letsy as I often accidently say) and we got there pretty late on Friday, around 10pm probably.  But it was grand cause Spain/Barcelona people are such night owls! We checked into our hostel and found a tapas place for dinner that was still open by the time we got ready and went out, which was around midnight. We all got three small plates of food - I got nachos and guacamole, a potato casserole/cake thing, and then teriyaki chicken - it was pretty good!  Then we set out to find the bar crawl that our hostel was hosting.. Their first stop was a bar called Grand Foc, which means Great Fire but got us some raised eyebrows and laughs when we asked people where the Grand Foc was.  
When we got to the bar there were a ton of people there - turns out there are 3 Sant Jordi hostels in Barcelona so all three met up together to do this bar crawl, which meant there were a ton of people my age there! It was really fun. We met guys who were walking around Europe from Denmark, Australians who were traveling for 7 months, people from Scotland, Ireland, England, the US, and a bunch of other places I can't remember! We all were happy to go out and everyone was super friendly and excited to meet eachother and find out why they were backpacking/studying abroad/traveling or whatever. Two Australian guys were wearing tiger costumes (never found out why haha) but they were obviously the most easy to pick out of the crowd so they led the whole hostel group (probably about 50 of us!) from Grand Foc to our next spot, Soventa, a nightclub that was on the beach!! At one point the Tigers decided they needed a dance move to lead the group with, so naturally I had to teach them mine and Lindsey's (down down up up around around) and they loved it! So Lindsey, our dance move is officially international!! Everyone in the group was dancing their way to the club and I became known as the dance teacher, it was hilarious. The rest of the night was fun, we danced our little hearts out and then went out the back door of the club and onto the beach where we splashed in the ocean and yelled about how cool our lives are that we're on a beach in Spain at 3am haha. Never saw the Tigers again unfortunately but we got some good pictures!


The next day we walked around Las Ramblas and bought souvenirs then went on a free walking tour of the Gothic area of Barcelona and saw a lot of places Gaudi designed.. the architecture was really pretty!  Our tour guide was nice, she was from Australia but has lived in Barcelona off and on for the last 4 years.  We also met two Americans on our tour who met on and had been dating for awhile now, and they just decided to quit their jobs and move to Australia so they were traveling all around Europe on their way to their new home.  How cool is that?? They were really nice, we had lunch with them after the tour.
Later that day we went to La Sagrada Familia but it was closing so we couldn't go inside unfortunately. So I'll be google imaging pictures of that later haha.  Then we took a little siesta in the hostel after walking around all day and went out again later that night with the hostels again.  Since the Tigers weren't there, I felt I had no choice but to continue the dancing alone hahaha so I led the group this time.  The two men leading the bar crawl were so funny, they were dancing with me the whole time too.   One's name was Hernan, but when we first met him he told us to meet on Roger Street, but his accent was so thick we thought his name was Roger, so we called him Roger all night  and he thought it was a riot. We didn't find out his real name til we were halfway to the club we were all going to. 
The next morning we woke up ridiculously early and went to Park Guell, which was beautiful, but we were so tired we were pretty much delirious throughout the whole tour. We kept taking ridiculous pictures and had a serious case of the Sleepy Hahas because we were so tired.  That was the last thing we did in Barcelona then we made our way back to our beloved Galway.
I was so glad I got to go to Barcelona - it was a much different trip than my trip to Paris.  In Paris we did a lot more tours and didn't really go out at night, so it was really cool to go out late and see the club life and the beach since obviously we have nothing like that in Galway. 
Mom, Keith, Adam, Joey and Sandy are coming next week!  So that should be great.  I'm ready to go out to a few nice restaurants again, hehe! :)