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 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.
Harbour Bar Bathroom
Sunset out my window
Our Fav. Brewery
On the way to Bray
Last Sunday Teo, Loredana, Vasi, Dana, Ionel, Adela, their daughter Eliza, and I took a hike up to Poiana Narciselor. We originally headed out thinking we could get there by car but a short way up the mountain, we realized that we couldn’t. We left the jeeps and decided to hike up to the approx 1,300 meter peak. Naturally, we found the most difficult trail to hike up and after 3 hours, we made it to the narcissus field which was very pretty and dangerously steep. Below are some pictures from the trip. For most of them, photo credit goes to Teo.
I’ve been slacking a little when it comes to blogging so I’ll recap what i’ve been up to since my last post which was Easter.
The Romanians celebrate Easter for 3 days which means the second day of Easter we didn’t have school and the third day of Easter (that Tuesday) we kinda had school. I got to school at 8am and realized that only a handful of students were present in each classroom and after seeing that most of their colleagues weren’t even at school they decided to leave after the first hour. All of the professors had planned on having a picnic after the school day had finished but since we ended up having an extra day off, we headed out to “iarba verde” a little bit earlier and spent most of our day in nature. There were about 30 of us that set up camp and ate, drank, played soccer and frisbee, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was nice getting together with all of my fellow teachers since it’s a very rare thing.
I spent the next day at site as well and then I was off again to another training in the south of the country. This trip ended up being very interesting due to the ridiculousness that is Romanian travel. I had bought my train ticket online two days prior and when I was in the process of looking for the train that goes from my nearest train station to Bucuresti I saw that that train doesn’t exist anymore. The closest train that I could catch to Buc was about an hour’s drive away. One of my friends was nice enough to drive me to the farther train station. When we arrived at that station we were told that the train I was supposed to get on was not running due to a break in the tracks about 100km north. After the news we headed back to Singeorz and I decided to take a route through Cluj/Sibiu that left Singeorz at 5am and finally arrived to Craiova around 9pm.
The next day I met up with Madalina and Carmen, the two wonderful ladies who work at the Craiova American Corners, to deliver my training to a group of talented young adults that plan on holding their own development camps this summer for the elementary kids in their city. The rest of the day Madalina took me around the beautiful and might I add very clean city of Craiova. We finished the night off at her sister-in-law’s place where we attended a dinner party of about 8 people. It was really refreshing being with a group of Romanians close to my own age and discussing everything from their thoughts on the country, why they haven’t left, the economy, and the future of Romania.
Fast forwarding to last night-
The Balul Majoratului or Senior prom, organized by the 11th grade, took place at the Huka Club and, as always, was a great time. Those of you that know me really well know that I love large groups of people because I can wander. I love being able to hang out with many different groups all within the same environment. We had fun, danced, laughed, and even cried. A few of my friends and students made me cry throughout the night when they kept on telling me how much they are going to miss me with which they reminded me that I only have a short time left in Romania. One of my students even told me that one of the main reasons he transferred into the philology profile was because he wanted me to be his English teacher. That absolutely melted my heart and instantly made me tear up.
Thats the recap of the last two weeks.
meeting with a group of Moldovans to talk about PC next weekend along with my first ever Romanian wedding.
Until next time, va pup!
This past weekend I met up with a group of my fellow PCVs to cheer on 4 members from our group in the Cluj Marathon. They ran as a team so each runner took one leg which was 10k. We had a great time at the race and were very proud of our team “Rompin in Romania” when the last runner crossed the finish line with a total time of 4:17. We followed it up by divulging in none other than American style hamburgers, fries, onion rings, and liter sized beers at a local brewery.
This was the last time that I am going to see several of my closest friends in Romania which means that my waterworks were flowing quite hard. It was difficult saying bye to these people that I have such a bond with and that are the only ones that know exactly what I have been through during my service. I was even emotional most of the 4 hour ride back to site just thinking of how much has happened in the past two years and some of the crazy memories that we have made. I know that I will consider every person from my group as a lifelong friend. I’m also very jealous that many of them will be close to Washington D.C. and will still have each other while I’ll be across the ocean but I know that our paths will cross again sometime.