Ireland

Ireland
My favorite picture of the Irish countryside

25 January 2009

Tour of my House

I decided that it would be nice to record a tour of my house so you all can see where I live! I had to use my mic so I kind of look like a telephone operator (or like Garth Brookes, right Mike?) and I couldn't edit out the end when I set the camera down so I can turn off the video so you get a nice view of my duvet cover at the end! :)

I went outside earlier today and didn't even have to put my coat on! It was glorious! It also hasn't rained all day and the sun has been shining so let's hope that trend continues!

video

21 January 2009

And School Begins....

The past few weeks I have kind of forgotten that the whole reason I am here is to go to school. I was reminded of this yesterday. I have decided that the history department thrives on papers....I am semi-used to this, but not quite at this intensity. I will have 2 mid-term essays of 1500-2000 words and 2 final essays of 5000 words. Also, 2 classes are a little vague on the finals so I may have to write essays for those, too! In reality, this may not be so bad, I have no concept of how many words make how many pages, but right now, I'm a little intimidated by the number of words required! Another reason this makes me nervous is their semester ends in April!!! That's a very short length of time to write 4 essays.
On a happier note - I had my first Irish language class today! It's definitely different from anything I've heard before, but it's so much fun! My friends and I have been practicing since we left class. I think one thing that makes it so fun is that it's a non-credit class - we pay 40 euro and we take the class without having to worry about a grade. So far I've gotten really good at Tá mé go maith (pronounced ta meh go mah) which means, I'm well. That's the only one that I think I pronounce even remotely correctly. I'm enjoying my other classes, they're just freaking me out a little bit at the moment. I need to remember that it's only January, I have time! I really like the colliquium that I'm taking, the Mid-Tudor Crisis. I've always focused on Henry VIII and Elizabeth in my Tudor studies. This class focuses more on Edward VI and Mary I and a little bit on Elizabeth's early reign. It's absolutely wonderful!

18 January 2009

Home Stay

My home stay was amazing! I was with Breda (pronounced Breeda) and Sean Ansbro in Tuam. They have three children, their oldest, Carol is studying in Australia right now, but we met their two other children. Adam attends the NUI at Cork and was home for the weekend, and Grace is 17 or 18. Grace's friend Sarah was also staying for the weekend. Sarah is from Hamburg, Germany, and is studying in Ireland this year. I'll try to keep the chain of events in order soas not to confuse anyone, including myself!
We left Galway at 6:00 pm and arrived in Tuam at about 7:00. We were paired in two's. I was a little nervous because I hadn't seen the girl I was supposed to be with, but it turns out she's studying, through Butler, at the art school in Ballyvaughan, which is across the bay from Galway. Sean picked us up and drove us out to their house, which is just a little outside the city. Supper was waiting when we got there and was delicious! Breda always fixes something the first night that we can fix ourselves when we return to college - how great is that! We then watched tv with Sean and hung out with Adam, Grace, and Sarah.
On Saturday we got up early because we heard them say Adam had a rugby match at noon. We got downstairs about 9:30 and Sean was the only other one up! It ended up being really windy and rainy all day so we didn't go watch the rugby match, although we did you with Breda to pick Adam up. Last night we watched Mamma Mia, P.S. I Love You, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
This morning we decided we didn't need to get up as early as we did on Saturday! We went to the Cathedral in Tuam for church, which was really cool! Mass wasn't too different than what we have at home, but it was hard to say the responses because the congregation didn't really say them together. Plus, Irish people kind of mummble and talk fast (that's where I get it!) so they were probably saying what we say, I just couldn't follow it. Before Mass, Breda drove us around Tuam and showed us a plaque put up by the city for a local girl killed in 9/11 and the seat of the last high king of Ireland (which was really tiny!) When we got back in her car after Mass, I found a Garth Brooks CD! I don't think I've heard country music since I've gotten here (other than my own iTunes)! The CD also had a DVD with it (the ultimate hits collection) so we watched that while Breda made dinner. We then departed for Galway at 3:00.
I had such a good time with the family! They were a little hard to understand at times, but we got by :) I kind of wish it had been a long weekend since it seemed like the time just flew while we were there!

15 January 2009

Random info

I've been realizing that I've been talking to people individually and leaving some info out of my blog so I think I'll catch everybody up now. I also think of things during the day that I should write, but then forget by the time I get home so hopefully I remember everything!
Our Irish housemates got here Sunday night. Their names are Marion, Maura, and Amanda. Everywhere I go, there is always another Amanda! When I went to Jr. CYO camp in junior high, the only other Amanda in the entire camp was not only in my cabin, but in my room! I was pretty excited when I got here because there were no other Amanda's in the Butler program. I then thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if one of my housemates was named Amanda?" I didn't think it would really be, but it is! The girls are really nice! They made us feel right at home so I don't feel like a squatter anymore! :D Amanda is studying English and Maura and Marion are studying science (I think....I could be wrong). It's very interesting living with them as we see the Irish culture we were warned about. One of the ladies at orientation told us that Irish students will tell visiting students that they never go to lectures, they hardly do any outside work, they just show up for exams. One of the very first conversations we heard was one of our housemates saying to another, "Do we have college this week? I'll figure out my timetable later." This was on Sunday.
Speaking of college, I've discovered I have to add another class. The Irish language course doesn't actually count for credit so I need one more to have 30 ETCS. I've decided to take Women in Medieval Society. I got the syllabus today, and it doesn't look too bad. It's hard to schedule all of my classes because each class has a tutorial you must sign up for. The tutorial is basically a study group that you discuss the lectures with. The first time I made out my schedule I didn't think it looked too bad, but adding in all of the tutorials is making it fill up fast!
We have a family stay this weekend. I'm staying with Breda Ansbro, her husband, and their three children. She is a housewife and her husband is retired. There kids are high school and college age and I'll have one other American student with me so it should be fun! They live in Tuam, which is north of Galway.
I think I shall now end this really long post and go get my laundry (6 euros to wash and dry! Not good when I'm used to $3 for that!)

14 January 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away



Taking the 15-30 minute walk to campus is not so much fun in the rain! Not that it's much fun any other time, but it really becomes terrible when it's raining. I only had one class today so convincing myself that I needed to walk all that way to stay there for an hour and walk back took quite a bit. The class should be an interesting one, though. It is Celtic Mythology, Religion, and Folklore. The lecture hall was absolutely full! Most of us in the class are visiting students so I feel kind of bad for the Irish students who are in there, too. I also don't think I dried out at all during class. My bag was soaking so my notebook paper absorbed a little bit of water. I could still write on it fine, but I could tell it was a little water-logged. Right now, my jeans are hanging over my closet door trying to dry...I'm not sure how successfully....I also don't think my bangs will ever be the same again. My hair is wavy and, when wet, will get wavier and frizzier. I may live in pony tails this semester!


12 January 2009

So, yeah...I may have exaggerated a little on the rain situation - but it does rain at least once a day! Today was a little boring because it was the first day of class so nobody was around, but I didn't have any classes today so I was the only one here. I have two classes, however, tomorrow, one at 9:00 a.m. Normally, as in Baker terms, this would not be bad, however, campus is about a 30 minute walk (my speed - I'm getting faster) and finding the building could take a very long time so I will need to leave my house, at the latest, by 8:15. Then, I sit and chill on campus (highly doubt I'll have any homework) until 1 when my other class is. Starting next week, I'll then have to sit from 2 until 5 as my seminar starts at 5. I'm used to being able to run back to my room and grab something or take a nap in between classes, but my house and campus are a little far apart for that! Also, some of my friends experienced some problems today. They have experienced everything from imaginary rooms to empty rooms that are supposed to be full. This could be a very good venting tool tomorrow...hopefully I won't need to vent!

11 January 2009

Life in Ireland

It rained yesterday for the first time since we got here....I don't think it will stop raining until I leave. Now to understand my dismay at this, you have to know that I spent at least 16 years of my life in drought. Rain to me is 30 minutes of drizzle, not continuous all day and all night. I've given up on thinking I will ever feel fully warm or dry again!
With all the problems with the heat and hot water and rain you would think that I am miserable, but I'm not! I absolutely love it! It could get old really fast, but currently I am really enjoying myself.
School starts tomorrow....I forget I'm not just on vacation and that I actually have to work while I'm over here! I don't actually have any classes tomorrow. I want to take an Irish language class that's offered on Monday, but it doesn't start until next week. My colliquia doesn't start until next week either so I'll only have 3 classes this week! How awesome is that! The classes I am planning on taking are:
Intro to the Irish Language
The Northern Ireland Problem
The Mid-Tudor Crisis
Celtic mythology, religion, and folklore
Rome and the Conquest of the Mediterranean
I don't think I'll die. Now, the challenge is going to be finding where these classes are. Rooms here are not set up in a typical manner. There really is no rhyme or reason to where things are located. Also, the class schedule set up is very different from what I'm used to. There are no set days like MWF classes and TR classes. Classes are just on two random days during the week. And just because it's the same class on two different days does not mean that they are in the same room. I'd better never forget what day it is because I could very easily get myself lost!

09 January 2009

School

Today we had advisory sessions with NUIG staff. I found out the history course that I really wanted to take (The Tudor Conquest of Ireland) was cancelled. The only other Tudor course was a colliquia (The Mid-Tudor Crisis, 1547-60) which is worth 10 ECTS credits instead of 5 and will probably be twice as much work. My philosophy right now is if I survived 20 hours my first semester of college, I can survive this....we'll see how that turns out! They usually only accept 3 or 4 visiting students in a seminar or colliquia and I was fifth in line for the Mid-Tudor Crisis so I might or might not actually be in it.
I'll put some of the better pictures of the Cliffs of Moher on here. On the way there I saw two tractors and lots of cows so I felt at home! :) I was really excited because on the way to the cliffs last year, I took a picture of the Irish countryside that I absolutely love! We rounded a bend while we were headed to the cliffs this time and I thought, "It's my picture!" I'll also include that picture! :D







07 January 2009

Finally!!

Ok, Ok, sorry I haven't posted on here yet, but today was my first day to have free internet!

I made it safely to Shannon Sunday morning at 10:00 AM. I only got about an hour sleep on the plane, but I took two naps later in the day so it was ok! When we got over Ireland a lady called across the aisle to her husband and asked, “Can you see Irish?” I don’t know why, I just thought it was neat! I sat next to a girl on the plane who is studying at Galway as well, but she was directly enrolled so she wasn’t coming to Limerick to do Butler orientation.
I got to Limerick shortly after noon on Sunday. There were about 10 of us on my flight so we were able to figure out the bus schedule and how to get to the hotel together. We came into Limerick and passed the Jury’s Inn, and then kept going and going and going until we got to the bus stop. I’m glad I packed as light as I did because some of the girls were having a really hard time lugging all of their luggage.
We had a welcome dinner at the hotel that night. It was kind of strange because the Butler people never actually introduced themselves or welcomed us so we only met the people at our table. So far, I haven’t met anyone from Kansas, but my roommate is from Colorado and I’ve met a couple of people from Missouri, so at least those are close.
Monday and Tuesday we had orientation at the Marriott hotel (I know - orientation is not only not at our city, but not even at our hotel!) We learned a little about registration at our university and registration with the police. Then, that afternoon we went to the Cliffs of Moher (this is also kind of ironic because they are actually closer to Galway, but we came back to Limerick!) The Cliffs were absolutely beautiful! Last time I was there I didn’t walk up to the tower (there’s a lot of stairs and I had a big boot on at the time) so this time I went up and got some really good pictures of some cliffs I didn’t see last time. Some of the pictures didn’t turn out because the sun was just above the cliffs – it looked really cool in person, but didn’t turn out very well in pictures.
Today we got to Galway! It is absolutely wonderful. Currently, my roommate and I are the only ones in our townhouse and it is COLD inside. It's sad when you feel like it's warmer outside than it is in! We'll have 3 more Irish roommates come back on Sunday - I can't wait to meet them! We had a tour of the campus today...I'm not sure how effective it was, but at least we know where the campus is and we do have a map!
Ok, it's now 1:15 in the morning (even though the post time says 5 in the afternoon - I can't figure out how to change it) and we have more orientation tomorrow so I will try to write more on here then...