Since the Irish do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day (obvi) Katrina and I decided to host one ourselves and have some of our friends over to join in on the festivities. The menu consisted of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn bread, brussel sprouts, mac n cheese, a ridiculously sized cheese ball, hummus, pumpkin pie, berry crumble, vegan banana and chocolate cake, and copious amounts of libations.
Although adjusting to Ireland and school was difficult at first, these friends have definitely made it much easier and a lot more fun and that is what I am thankful for this year.
Katrina and her bird
Alex using his Navy strength to mash those potatoes!
Miriam, Mahmoud, and Noora being a creep
Jonas and Noora
Miriam, Jonas, and Noora looking quite normal
Most of the group
Yassine and Jonas
Me and Alex
Yassine and Mahmoud
Noora and Jonas
the very intimidating cheese ball
EAT MORE TURKEY!
Snapping the wishbone with my roommate, Katrina
Yes I am aware that Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet but I don’t care. I love the Christmas holidays and everything about them! Lights, snow, carols, hot chocolate, feasts, parties, Santa, elves, Rudolph, EVERYTHING. As you have probably already assumed, I am one of the people that get really excited when I see Christmas lights and I enjoy the fact that they get turned on mid November and that Christmas music has already started playing throughout department stores.
Dublin has finally turned on all of its Christmas lights throughout the city and what type of Christmas lover would I be if I did not document it? Here are some photos I’ve taken throughout the past few weeks of all of the pretty lights. Too bad it doesn’t snow here to make it a truly remarkable winter wonderland!
I have developed a system of hibernation and studying Sunday-Friday and having fun on Saturdays. So far, this has been going well for me and i’ve been able to hang out with friends, get to know my school friends better, and start building some great memories here in Dublin. I know I know…took me long enough, right?!
Tonight (I know it’s Thursday and not Saturday but it was a special occasion) I had a social night and it was noteworthy enough to blog about. After a torturous 2 hours class on dissertation design and then spending about 7 hours in the library writing an essay, I headed to the village of Stillorgan with Lisa, Tim, and Mahmoud to watch a band called The Klares play. What is so special about this band that would drag me away from precious paper writing time in the oh so comfort of the UCD James Joyce Library, you ask? Well, maybe the fact that this band is a group of 15 year old Catholic school kids and the drummer is the son of one of my friends from my human rights module.
The Klares played an hour long set with songs ranging from The Killers, The Arctic Monkeys and Jimi Hendrix, as well as their original works. I am absolutely amazed as to how talented these kids are and want everyone to check them out. If you are a fan of The Arctic Monkeys (read: if you are not, I might reconsider our friendship) then you will enjoy these “lads” as well. You can check them out by clicking the link below.
In other news, things are both kicking into gear and winding down in regards to school. I only have 2 weeks of classes left. At the same time, I have 5 essays to write that average 4,000 words which is about 15 pages double spaced. I just finished one today so that means I only have 16,000 more words to write! WOO HOO! Also, In exactly ONE MONTH I will be home.
On Monday, October 28th, we here in Ireland celebrated a bank holiday which meant no school for me on Monday OR Tuesday. Taking advantage of a solid week of no classes I hopped on a plane last Thursday night and headed to Romania. Lore and Teo had invited me a little while ago to be their son Andrei’s god mother and I initially thought I wasn’t going to be able to find a free time in my schedule that would be able to work for all of us until I found out about this holiday. I skyped with Lore and they were okay with the idea of having the christening on the 27th of October so I could attend as well.
After spending the night in London by Denisa’s I arrived to Cluj around 1:30pm local time where I found Teo waiting for me. We headed straight for Singeorz-Bai and after a quick pitstop in Bistrita, arrived to Lore and Teo’s apartment around 4pm. After hanging out for a little bit, catching up, and snuggling the baby, Lore and I got read to head to the Freshman Ball that was taking place that night. We arrived shortly after the competition had started and after being greeted and hugged by every former student and friend that we passed while walking in, we finally made it to our seats. We spent the rest of the night hanging out with the professors and students and catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in several months.
Most of my day Saturday was spent at the some sort of cafe drinking tea, coffee, lemonade, you name it. I spent the greater part of the day hanging out and catching up with friends and even got to see some of them that came home from college for the weekend. Sunday morning we all woke up and imediately started getting ready for the christening. At about 11am, all of Lore and Teo’s family started arriving into the small apartment. A little after noon we all headed towards the church for the wonderful event of turning little Andrei into an Orthodox Christian. The christening in and of itself was fairly short, about half an hour and was very similar to what a Serbian Orthodox christening is like. Following the church we all headed across the street to the restaurant where we had our meal ready and waiting for us.
Monday I spent the greater part of the morning and early afternoon at school disrupting classes and substituting for a sick teacher. I visited every class that I taught last year and made it a point to hang out a little more with the 12th graders. After school, I headed out to lunch with my friend Paul where we finally got to have a nice conversation and catch up in private and not be bothered by random loud music like we were at the ball. Monday night Vasi and Dana invited us over to their house for dinner where we spent most of the evening eating, drinking, and just having a great time. These random little get togethers that I had throughout my visit only amplified the amount I miss Romania and Singeorz-Bai.
Tuesday was my last day in Romania as well as my travel day in Cluj. Lore insisted that they would drive me to Cluj we so bundled up the little one and headed out on Andrei’s first road trip. They dropped me off in Cluj around 4pm where I headed off to my hostel to settle in. Shortly after I called up Ioana and headed over to her apartment to meet up with her and her roommates (all my former students). That night I took Ioana, Popishor, and Tudor out to dinner at none other than Klausen Burger. It was what I consider the best restaurant in Romania with the best beer as well.
This trip could not have come at a better time. Before Romania I was beyond stressed out with school work and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. As soon as I landed, all my problems faded and I barely thought about school during the week I was there. I enjoyed chatting and catching up with everyone even though there are still many people that I wish I could have seen. I’m back in Ireland ready to face the second half of the semester. I just turned in one major paper and have 5 more to write by the time the semester is over. Hopefully I can manage my time well enough to get it all done and leave for my Christmas vacation back home in 6 weeks.
I have been in country almost two months and within these two months I have had three different phones and two different phone numbers. I had multiple problems unlocking my iphone and then it relocking again and me having to pay to get it unlocked AGAIN. My newest phone adventure happened today. I woke up with a text from Emily suggesting lunch. Friday, I walked by a Mexican place in the city center that had also gotten really good reviews on YELP so I suggested that. After the half hour walk I arrived to the place to meet Emily and we realized that there was a cooking class going on in the restaurant so it was closed for the time being. We decided to pass the time walking around Temple Bar and through the various crafts and food markets while we waited for Azteca to open up so we can eat some oh so missed and craved mexican food. (I have learned that no matter where I go within Europe, the Mexican food is just a sad feeble attempt and is rarely up to my liking). Anyways.
We wander back to Azteca and find that it is still closed so we slowly start moving down the street and get our phones out to search for other places to eat. As I lift my phone out of my pocket, it slips out of my hand and drops. It didn’t just drop to the floor. Oh no. That would make my life WAY too simple. Instead, it falls between a grate into a 6foot deep shaft. GREAT! I gasp and then just starting laughing and thinking WTF am I supposed to do NOW?!?! I go into the coffee shop that we were in front of and tell the workers to see if they know of any way we can get access to the shaft below. The guy tells us that there is a door that leads to it but it is only accessible through the parking garage of the building next to us which is a private condo association. After about 10 minute stalking the door, someone finally comes out and he kindly enough leads us into the parking garage. I manage to get to the door only to see that there is a metal square-grated door with a padlock separating me and my cursed phone. We go back to the lobby and call the management emergency line and the very snotty woman, after only caring that I am in the building unaccompanied, tells me that there is nothing she can do until Monday when the caretaker is back on site and can get my phone out. I thank her and start praying that it doesn’t rain until Monday. Emily and I go back outside and are just staring at my phone below our feet with defeat when the worker at the cafe comes back out and says “I have a long stick, if you find some tape or something maybe we can stick it and then pull it up.” I respond with “great idea! We’ll go look for some tape!”
Emily and I head off down the street to look for a pharmacy, convenience story, grocery store, anything that could possibly sell duct tape or something of the sort. After going to several places and toying with the idea of possibly using denture adhesive cream, we come across a Tesco where we enter, split up, and start looking for tape. I find a salesperson and ask him where they keep their tape. He shows me but only scotch tape. I tell him my story and in the meantime i see his colleague giggling at my misfortune a few feet away. The Tesco employee ends up being really nice and goes in the back to see if he can find some duct tape for us and get the number for the Dublin City Council to see if we can get them to remove the grate somehow. He comes out with a roll of duct tape but can’t give it to us so he unravels a 6foot strip and gives it to me.
Emily and I head back through Temple Bar to the cafe as I am carrying this ridiculously long piece of duct tape and stretching it out trying to not let it fold in on itself/run into the hordes of tourists that are aimlessly wandering the streets. We make it back to the cafe is a near sweat and I walk in triumphantly holding up my tape when the girl looks at me, smiles and says “yeah so we used a stick to get it out shortly after you had left. Here is your phone.” I stood there in shock. I had no idea how they managed to get it out and was even more in shock that there was not a single scratch, dent, or break on it anywhere (it wasn’t in a case).
Since about 2 hours had passed at this point, we decided to try our luck with Azteca and, low and behold, it was open. The first 10 minutes of our meal was spent by me still being in shock as to how the phone didn’t crack or break, how the hell the cafe employees managed to get it out, and how amazingly friendly and helping Irish people are (except for the lady at the management office but I am willing to overlook that). I’m hoping that this is the end of the drama with my phone but for some reason, I have a feeling it’s not over. I wonder what my phone’s next adventure will be…
I had some errands to run this morning and since it is so nice outside today, I decided to randomly walk around the city. I headed towards the center and then past the center towards the water and back. These are the pictures I took.
This past weekend was filled with somewhat random outings and lots of fun.
A PC friend of mine’s cousin is moving to Dublin at the end of the month and was in town this past weekend to look at housing options and just get an overall feel for the city. Saturday, after walking aimlessly around town in the cold rain that initially started out as a school supplies search, I headed over to the Brooks Hotel to meet up with Emily. We then walked over to the Old Storehouse for some traditional Irish food, beer, and music which we then followed by making our way through the rain and cold to the Royal Dublin Society where we spent the rest of our night sampling some great drinks at the Dublin Craft Beer Festival.
Sunday, Emily and I met up around noon and took the DART train down to the sleepy town of Bray which is about a 25 minute ride south of Dublin. We stumbled upon the Harbour Bar which, coincidentally, was named one of the best bars in the world by Lonely Planet. Since we were there around 1pm on a Sunday, we didn’t get to experience much of the awesomeness. The bar, however, did have a very cool, rustic, atmosphere with lots of random rooms and sitting areas as well as a large lounge with a stage in the back where there is live music every Thursday-Sunday night.
After our short visit to Bray, following the advice of the very knowledgeable Rick Steves, we got back on the train and took it all the way in the opposite direction to the other end of the line in Howth. Howth is a very cute fishing town which we unfortunately did not get to see enough of during our visit there. We did stop into a random restaurant where we had some amazing seafood including steamed mussels, salmon, and fisherman’s pie while watching the local hurling championship.
Today marked the first day of classes and they honestly could not have gone better if I had dreamt them up. My first class that I had was from 11-1 and is about the Theory of Human Rights. The second class I had, from 4-6, is one of my core classes, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, which is taught by my program coordinator who is this fabulously passionate woman that seems extremely knowledgable within her area. After the syllabus breakdowns in both classes, I am more at peace with the workload even though I have a 150 page book that needs to be read by Monday.
On that note I can say that I’m finally okay with the fact that I am here and have faith that I’ll do well.
On the way to Bray
Our Fav. Brewery
Sunset out my window
Harbour Bar Bathroom