A whirlwind last 3 weeks

Hello all! Once again I have slacked on my blog posting, but here we go!  Two weekends ago my dad, sister and brother decided to come visit me for four days. The first day we spent around Cork City, trying to ward off the jetlag, which had hit Sean especially hard. At one point dad parked the rental car, we took all took a picture of St. Finbarr’s Cathedral on the roof, and we went downstairs only to realize that Sean was missing. After five minutes of searching and thinking he’d gone to the wrong floor of the garage, Summer found him asleep in the car, into which he had apparently teleported after our group photo.

Eventually we got back to the hotel with great consternation, as dad couldn’t see how far left he was driving and there are woefully few road signs in Ireland (something I hadn’t noticed before because I’d never had to drive anywhere). We had dinner at the hotel and then everyone crashed at 9pm.

The next day we spent touring my campus, then going to Midleton and Cobh. We spent a while in the Cobh heritage museum which was nice. The day after that we drove out to Kinsale, where we watched the boats and had a traditional Irish breakfast, and then took the Wild Atlantic Way out to Skibereen. The drive was lovely, and dad did a great job driving a car on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road, shifting with his left hand.  They left the next day, so it was a quick trip but really fun.

Last weekend, I whisked myself off to Austria to visit my friend Emily and her roommate Anna. We started in Vienna, which was beautiful. We went to several Christmas markets and did a walking tour to get oriented with the city. Next was Salzburg, which was my personal favorite. Salzburg is surrounded by scraggly mountains with snowy peaks and adorable houses painted in different colors. The three of us did a Sound of Music Tour, which was a little cheesy but really fun and took us to a lot of key sights that were in the movie, including the 16 going on 17 gazebo (which you can’t get into because an old lady tried doing Liesel’s dance and broke her leg). The rest of the day was spent around Salzburg Christmas markets and trying to get warmth in our icy fingers (Salzburg was COLD). The next day we were off to Innsbruck, where I only had an hour and a half to spend before I had to be in the airport, but I spent that time playing in the snow, so it was perfect.

Which brings me to Thanksgiving! The Irish don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, although they have introduced Black Friday sales this year (shudders). But my roommates and a few more friends decided we’d attempt a Thanksgiving anyway, and we invited four Irish students to come along. We bought two chickens instead of a turkey because it was so much cheaper, but otherwise everything was fairly traditional, and between everyone pitching in we had a pretty impressive spread. The Irish kids commented that “if this had been an Irish party there would have been just a chicken and LOADS of cans, like.” There were 9 people in our apartment all together, which we were a little nervous about, but we brought out our swivel desk chairs and it all worked out.

And now there are only 12 days before I arrive home, which is absurd. On Monday Norah, Alison and I are going to Amsterdam for two days and Berlin for another two, and then I’ll have to start packing. But I’ll save he sappy farewell to Ireland post for later. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

And Merry Christmas!

XOXO Jackie

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London, Dublin, and Belfast

IMG_1668Hiya! So I think it’s been three weeks since my last post. Oops. Let’s get started shall we?

From October 23-25 I was in London with Norah and her two friends from Alaska. The first day we went to Stonehenge, which was 2 hours outside the city. It is exactly what it looks like in the pictures, which is to say some rocks on some other rocks. With this in mind, I’m not sure why we went other than the fact that it seems  like something you should see when in England. But the weather was perfect and I snapped some pictures. We stayed in a nice Airbnb and used Uber to get there. Both services were ones I’d never used and I think they’re both great. The next day, after ordering full English breakfasts in a French cafe, we did a London bus tour, which was great because we got to see all of the important landmarks in the city and get oriented with it. We sat on the open-air top of the bus and it began to rain, but we’re from Oregon so we toughed it out (the Alaskans gave up and went downstairs to the ground level of the bus). After the tour we did a quick stop at the National Gallery and then went to Victoria Station, which was a tube station/mall. Then Norah and I went to Big Ben to meet Emily, who was also visiting London from Florence. We got there 20 minutes early or so, so we took pictures of Big Ben and the Parliament building from many an angle. When Emily showed up, we went to Chipotle, which we were all pretty enthused about. Halfway through dinner a police van stopped in front of the Chipotle and a whole squad came in to eat Mexican food. So that was fun. After dinner Emily went to re-meet her group and Norah and I went to a bookshop and then to a pub with the Alaskans. The next day we all went on a river cruise, then toured the outside of the Tower of London (it was 20 pounds to get in so we decided we didn’t need to see it that badly). Afterward we headed back to Cork, where I succumbed to a horrible cold for a few days.

Last weekend, or Halloweekend, we went to a haunted house in Cork. It was three levels and pretty fun, although Alison, who came with us despite the fact that she hates haunted houses, was not as pleased. In fact, she spent the whole time latched onto my back whilst screaming into my ear canal, which was actually more terrifying than the haunted house itself. The rest of the weekend was spent watching old halloween movies and getting my history essay written.

This weekend Norah’s mom came to town and we went to Dublin and Belfast. It was a really quick trip but we saw a lot. On Friday we took the bus to Dublin and toured the Guinness factory. At the end we got a free Guinness, which tastes the way gasoline smells. Then we went to the Trinity College library, which houses the Book of Kells. Although the book of Kells is cool I preferred the Trinity Long Room, which was an incredibly ornate room with really old books and is also the home of the oldest Irish harp, which dates to the 1400s and is the harp that every Irish mascot harp is modeled after.

That was all we did in Dublin (like I said, quick trip) but in Belfast we did a tour to a few famous Northern-Irish sites. First we went to the Dark Hedges, which is apparently an important place if you watch Game of Thrones, but I don’t so I just saw some cool-looking trees and not the Entrance to the Seven Kingdoms or whatever. The next stop was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I didn’t go over the bridge, because nonononononono noo, but the hike to the bridge was stunning. The hills had a thousand shades of green and the water a thousand shades of blue. The next stop on the tour was the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, which features a ton of volcanically-formed hexagon-shaped stone pillars. This is also a Game of Thrones filming location, which is understandable because it doesn’t look like a real place. It looks almost man-made. After Giant’s Causeway we went back to Belfast, got dinner, and went right to bed. That night my dad texted me to see if it was ok if he and Summer and Sean could come visit THIS THURSDAY. Which I’m super excited about! So I’m going to sign off to clean my room. We’ll see if I can keep it clean until Thursday.

P.S. I’m celebrating Christmas now because they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo Jackie

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Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

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The Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher

WOOOOO HI EVERYONE! Settle in with a mug of tea (no milk, we are not milky-tea people) and let me tell you about my trip last weekend to the famed Aran Islands and the rock formations adored by geologists everywhere: the Cliffs of Moher. We took the Paddy Wagon again this trip because it’s much easier than planning everything ourselves, and why do anything yourself if someone else can do it for you? But seriously, the Paddy Wagon staff are friendly and knowledgeable (except the guy who works in their Washington Street office—we figure he was once a Vic Lodge reception member). We piled onto the bus around 1pm on Friday, where I met 2 girls I’d gone sailing with the weekend before. Sean, our tour guide, played some Irish music and some American Top 40, the two varieties one  can find on a given Irish radio station. It was a few hours to get to Galway, where we were staying for the next two nights. Norah, Alison and I found a Mexican restaurant to our great delight, and then we sat in a pub to listen to some Irish music. We were back at the hostel and in bed by 10:30.

The next day we were up early to visit the Aran Islands. We drove through Connemara, which is the raw, rugged terrain some people might associate rural Ireland with. When we got to the ferry terminal, Sean realized that he wanted to write down everyone’s descriptions, so that if someone got lost on the island he could ask around for them. So he took the next 10 minutes writing down the following descriptions:

Alicia: Belgium, brown hair

Jackie: U.S., brown hair

Norah: U.S., brown hair

John: U.S., short hair

and so on for each person on the bus. As it turns out, 90% of the people on the bus had either brown hair or short hair, or both. When he was almost done, one girl asked, “couldn’t we just take  a group picture?”

Sean thought this was a marvelous idea, so he took out his phone and took a group picture of us. But it was on his phone and he didn’t come with us on the ferry, so somewhere in his camera roll he has all of us brown-haired Paddy Wagon tourists in case he ever needs to find us.

The ferry ride to the island was really nice, but the island itself was the coldest I’ve been here. But that didn’t stop us. We tromped all over the island, running on the beach, checking out the Wollen Mills and climbing over surprisingly sturdy rock walls (we may have been trespassing–oops. But to our credit there was no civilization where we were so we weren’t bothering anyone or blatantly hiking through people’s yards while making steady and unnerving eye contact). On the way to a crumbly temple on the top of a hill, we stopped and patted some friendly donkeys, and tried less successfully to make friends with some fuzzy cows. I tripped while approaching one, startling it, and Alison threw some grass at another in an attempt to feed it (apparently she’s never tried to feed an animal) and also startled it. So we left the cows alone after that.

The best part of the trip was the stop at the Cliffs of Moher, which we drove through the little town of Doolin to see (although unfortunately we didn’t stop there Mr. and Mrs. Doolen). The cliffs were overwhelming, and my fear of heights kicked in (“ALISON STEP AWAY FROM THE EDGE” “NORAH AT LEAST 3 LIMBS ON THE EARTH AT ALL TIMES” “MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM SELFIES THAN SHARK ATTACKS” “SOMEDAY WE WILL DIE BUT LET IT NOT BE THIS DAY”, etc.) But the cliffs were gorgeous, and we were blessed with dry weather the whole weekend. This week I also had 2 midterms and I think they went well, so it was nice getting those over with. Tomorrow morning I am off to London, so I will be sure to take notes of all the weird stuff the Brits do so I can shamelessly make fun of it here.  Also, in order to blend in, I will strut about and say in a spot-on British accent, “quite right,” “jolly-o” “I DO say” and “capital!” as one does in England.

Have a good rest of the week everyone!

❤ Jackie

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Jackie Goes Sailing: A Misadventure (also Jackie visits an abandoned insane asylum)

Alrighty! It has been far too long since I have written a post. My apologies!  I guess I have been too busy studying and bettering my education (I am an angel). Anyhoo, 2 weekends ago I went to Cobh and Midleton, both of which are cute towns not too far from Cork by train, but both are small enough that they didn’t need more than a day of exploring. Last weekend Alison, Norah and I hiked up to St. Kevin’s Asylum, which I can see from my bedroom window and stands on a hill overlooking Cork, looking like the beginning of a horror film. Black birds circle it in a sinister sky almost 100% of the time. So naturally we decided to do what anyone in an actual horror film would do: hike to it! (But unlike horror film characters we did this in the daylight). Here’s some background: http://www.abandonedireland.com/skv.html. To our great outward disappointment and inward relief, the building is no longer accessible since huge metal sheets block every door and first-level window.  But we got to wander around the asylum and look into upper-level windows as best we could, which still had tattered curtains in them. We were also able to get into a tunnel which was used to transport the crazies to the chapel and to the regular hospital, which is the longest building in Ireland ans half of which is cushy apartments while the other half is still derelict and undergoing construction. It was a fabulous time.

This weekend I noticed that the UCC sailing club was having a beginner’s day, so I thought I would go. I set my alarm for 6am, and when it went off the next morning I decided that I would rather sleep. But then I stared at the wall for twenty minutes wondering if I had made the right decision, and since by this point I was fairly awake I decided to go after all. The facebook page said to bring warm clothes and water. Then I walked to the city center to catch a bus to Kinsale, which is where we’d be sailing. Here’s a fun Ireland fact: nothing is awake before 9am, especially on a Saturday morning. This might be in part because it doesn’t get light until almost 8am this time of year, but is probably more because everyone was drinking the night before (Except me Grandma Sal) so I had the whole city to myself. When I got to Kinsale at 9 (it takes about an hour to walk to the bus station and another hour to get to Kinsale) there was hardly anybody there, because “The lads were running late” so the growing group of beginners such as myself continued to play horrible icebreaker games until the lads finally showed up around 10. Ireland is fairly laid back about punctuality. When they asked where our life jackets were, they were shocked to find that none of us (we were mainly exchange students) had thought to pack life jackets when we were packing our semesters into one suitcase. It ended up being fine as we just switched off life jackets with whoever happened to be in a boat. After the “the lads” (the experienced people) got the sails up and the boats down to the water, half of us went on a big boat to get into the little sail boats and the rest of us, myself included, went on the dock to watch. They had told us to bring warm clothes, but I foolishly brought only a hoodie and sweatpants. It was freezing. Luckily some of the lads had brought extra jackets and lent me one, which was a huge blessing. While on the dock I met a girl from Belgium and a couple from North Carolina, so that was cool. When it was my turn to be shipped out to the middle of the bay to transfer into one of the sailboats, I got in with a lad who was at the helm (all of the beginners were paired with experienced people who worked the rudder or “roadher” in an Irish accent, and they called us the crew  which I thought was funny since these were two-man boats). Anyway as soon as I got in the boy started naming a thousand boat-terms, and I nodded along, muttering the occasional “mmhmm.” Midway through this lecture he asked, “so, do you speak English?” which was just a tad embarrassing since English is indeed my native tongue and chosen major. So I said something like “Yes sorry I do, I just don’t know these particular boat words” and he said “okay, I’m Jack.” “Jackie,” I said, introducing myself. “No, Jack.” he said. So basically that’s how that went.

Anyway, sailing was really fun despite the cold and horrible awkwardness with which I conversed. My job was simply to pull different ropes and switch sides of the boat when I was told. It was a little exhausting anyway though, and I went to  bed almost as soon as I got home (around 5pm) and got up around 10. So now It’s 11:45 and my sleep schedule is a little funky, but I think I can get back to  sleep. Also, I don’t have any photos of me sailing which is a bummer, but I didn’t want my phone to get wet. Also there really wasnt a time to take a sailing selfie. So I’ve put up pictures of the insane asylum instead. Oh well. next weekend we’re going to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, so expect another blog post then!

xox Jackie

Kinsale and some observations about the Irish

Hi there! For this post I’m going to talk a little bit about Kinsale, which is an adorable coastal town about 45 minutes from Cork, and the rest of the time I am going to describe some of the silly things the Irish do (or don’t do).

Alison, Norah and I went to Kinsale this weekend, and the weather couldn’t have been better. We arrived by the local Bus Eirann around noon and spent the rest of the day exploring, going in and out of thrift shops and art galleries, getting Kinsale’s famous fish n’ chips, discovering fish n’ chips aren’t that good, and capped the day off with a hike to Charles Fort. There are a gazillion shades of green in Ireland, and most of them were displayed at Charles Fort, which was situated on a hill overlooking the bay. We met some Spanish au pairs who are also living in Cork who loved our names and accents (“You sound just like the movies!). When we got back to town we decided to catch the bus back and waited patiently where we were dropped off. When we saw the bus coming, we smiled and stared unexpectedly, our smiles only fading when the bus whooshed past us and stopped way down the street. And that’s the story behind the three girls flapping their arms and sprinting behind the Cork-bound 7 o’clock Bus Eirann. We caught up to the bus though and it turned out that he was going to turn around and come back for the people going to Cork, so we were fine. Overall it was the best weekend excursion we’ve had so far.

Now I’m going to completely switch gears and list some of the downright silly things I’ve noticed about Ireland and it’s crazy and wonderful people that I haven’t been able to slip in to other posts.

  1. Literally EVERYTHING infrastructurally is the opposite, causing everyone who isn’t Irish to look like a fool. I’m 99% sure this is intentional and meant for the amusement of the locals. Example: You want to walk to the store. You’re walking down the sidewalk, hugging the right side, which is how normal people do things. You see someone walking towards you. In America, this is not a problem. They pass you on your left, and you continue hugging the right. In Ireland, the person walking toward you is also hugging the right, which is his left, because NOTHING CAN BE SIMPLE. So you both move to the left, and then to the right again, and then no one knows what to do and you run into the street so that you can get past this fiasco and get hit by Bus Eirann. Next you make it to the store and you aim for the entrance door on the right. WRONG IT’S ON THE LEFT AND YOU CAN’T GET IN. Once in the store, you aim for the escalator. The one going up will be on the right, correct? NO! It’s on the left you nincompoop, and now you’ve tripped and been sucked into the escalator.
  2. The Irish are just quieter than the rest of us. Perhaps I’m in the same store with all its leftness and my friend Norah is excited about a pair of jeans she sees. In America, she’ll exclaim happily, “Ohmahgawd, look at these jeans!” and the rest of the store will ignore her because they are also busy finding treasures. In Ireland, Norah does the same thing, but the Irish stop and stare, because apparently department stores deserve the same silent reverence that the cathedrals do.
  3. The Irish are just quieter than the rest of us, except at night. You might find yourself out in Cork at 9:30pm on a Wednesday. Everything is as it should be, and you go to a pub to listen to some live music. When you come out at midnight, the world has been transformed to a ghoulish place. There are four girls crouched in an alley like gargoyles around a pizza, and on another corner a boy’s head dangles outside of a rickshaw on his way home. French fries and vomit are all over the sidewalk. It’s chaos, but there are no police.  Then, the next morning, like magic, there is no evidence of the pandemonium the night before. I’m pretty sure this happens every night.
  4. Everyone in Ireland is friendly and helpful except the reception staff of my apartment complex. As Mallory said, they must have gone on a search to find the worst people in all of Ireland and asked them to work at Vic Lodge. They would be laughable if they weren’t so scary; the backs of their shirts say in bold letters, “We’re here to help!” and then they turn around and their dour faces are the things of nightmares.
  5. They are obsessed with California. Their shirts, backpacks, decorations, etc. all say “California” with a surfboard or a palm tree or something on them.

But alas, the strangeness of some of the things I’ve seen here are all part of the Irish experience, and none of it takes away from my study abroad trip; nay, it makes it more memorable! I’m having a fabulous time here, and I can’t believe I’ve almost been here for a month! Hope everyone back in the States is doing well!

❤ Jackie

Hello all! Sorry it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, but I’m going to make it up tonight with an extra long one.

Let me start with our Ring of Kerry tour two weekends ago. Alison, Norah and I hopped on the Paddy Wagon, a big green tour bus with a smiling leprechaun on the back. The bus took us on a very, very curvy road on which I felt rather nauseous the whole hour-long drive to Killarney. The tour guide sang a traditional Irish tune about the Great Famine however, which was a good distraction. Once we made it to Killarney (vomit-free!) I felt immensely better and we got to tour the town, which is absolutely darling. It reminded me of Ashland but older and more Irish with fewer weirdos, as far as I could tell. We had an hour in Killarney, and then we got back on the Paddy Wagon to drive around the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is basically a gorgeous drive with lots of viewing points onto the rugged coastal southern landscape, so we got lots of pictures, mostly thanks to Norah who has a nice camera. On one stop we got to hold a lamb, which was arguably the highlight of the trip, and on another we got to see the Wild Atlantic Way, a viewing point that was named the most beautiful place on earth by National Geographic a few years ago (the Irish are VERY proud of this). Another great spot was the Killarney National Park, which we saw on the way back from the Wild Atlantic Way. We got to go on a little hike to see a waterfall, and there was a bagpiper playing in the middle of the woods, which is about the most majestic thing I could’ve imagined. As we were getting close, a said to Norah, “I wonder if he takes requests. Like could I ask him to play ‘Amazing Grace’? I was joking, but apparently he heard me because as we passed he winked and started playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes in the middle of the woods in front of a waterfall. It was awesome. We got back to Cork around 8pm. The next morning Alison and I went to mass (I say morning—it was actually noon) at a church near the dorm. I had dressed up, but no one else had, because apparently they had read the weather report. So I sloshed through puddles in heels while the rest of the congregation was in pants and raincoats. But now I know for next time! Alison and I are trying to go to a new church/chapel/cathedral every Sunday, because there are so many gorgeous ones in and around Cork. I didn’t get to church this Sunday though, which brings me to my next recap:

Oktoberfest. This weekend I met my friend Emily, who is studying in Florence, in Munich for the opening weekend of Oktoberfest. I flew into the Franz Josef Strauss international airport in Munich, and was feeling dandy. Every airport I’ve ever been to has free wifi, because it just makes sense, what with the number of people these days who skip the kiosks and just check into their flights online. Every airport, that is, except Franz Josef Strauss. “It’s fine, though,” I thought, “because I’ll just get a cab to the hostel and use the hostel’s wifi to let Emily know I’m there.” This was not to be the case. Here’s a travel tip: when you book a hostel, look up how far it is from the airport RIGHT THEN. I did not do this, so when the cab fare was up to 35 euros and we didn’t even seem to be in the city, I asked the cab driver, all casual-like, how far we were from the hostel. “Oh, 20 minutes or so,” he replied. “How much is that going to cost, do you think?” I asked, a little worried now. “75, 80 euro” I was not willing to pay this, even though I was in the middle of nowhere, Germany, so he drove me to the nearest U-Bahn. As I paid him and got out, he remembered something. “The last train leaves in 2 minutes or so. Goodnight!” and he drove off, leaving me in full-fledged panic mode. I ran to the dimly ticket kiosk and tried to read the microscopic german instructions, but as I was doing so the train roared in. I now faced a choice: run onto the train with no ticket, or be stranded at the station in the dark with no phone or internet. I got on the train, wracked with guilt and fear. At each stop, I was sure a ticket nazi was going to take me to a German jail. But alas, I was able to ask a nice English-speaking german how to get to the hostel. I got off at Marienplatz and onto another train (I paid a little more than I had to in order to ease my consious about the last train) and made it to Arnulfstrasse, where the hostel was. But now I realized that I didn’t know which way down the street to walk. I was able to ask a hotel clerk and get the right direction. After walking about 10 minutes and not seeing it, I started ugly-crying in the middle of the street, and was just composing myself when I stopped into another hotel to verify directions. The scary Deutsch receptionist scoffed at me when I asked for directions, because apparently it was only a block away at this point. Which of course I took extremely personally, and which sent me over the edge again. But alas, I saw the A&O Hostel sign gleaming in the distance, and felt a sense of joy probably akin to that of Lewis and Clark when they found the Pacific. The hostel was really nice, and I was able to meet up with Emily and YAY WIFI was able to let my parents know I was ok. So that was a valley, but the next day was a peak. We woke up around 9 and bought coffee and dirndls on our way to Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is like a huge fair but with more beer and traditional Bavarian clothing. There was a parade, a bunch of rides. a huge cheer as an important person (the mayor?) opened the first keg, and enormous beer tents. First we watched the parade, and then we wandered around looking at the things for sale at the many stalls. We tried unsuccessfully to find a table in one of the beer tents, but people who had finagled a spot were never going to give it up, so we ended up having lunch in a small restaurant on the premises, which was nicer because we could actually hear ourselves think. Emily couldn’t convince me to go on any of the rides except the famous one with the chairs that spin in a circle. Around 4pm or so we decided to leave and see Marienplatz. We shopped for a bit and were able to see the famous clock, and had dinner at the Hofbrauhaus. The next day we walked around Munich, and I lost track of time a bit. I hopped a Lufthansa airport bus (something I would have known about earlier had I done any research at all) and made it to the airport 40 minutes before my boarding time, which is much less time than I usually give myself, but I got to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. Landing in Dublin was the first time Ireland has really felt like home to me. I prefer it immensely to Germany. It’s not that I didn’t have a good time there–we saw a lot of great landmarks—but the Irish people are just so friendly and willing to go out of their way to help. Anyway, sorry for this lengthy post, and I’ll be in touch next week! ❤ Jackie

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First Week of Classes

So I have now undergone a week of classes, and I’m feeling really great about it. Perhaps partly because three of my five classes don’t start until next week, but you know. I’m still killing it. From what I’ve seen so far, the Irish school system is much more relaxed than its American counterpart. Of the two classes I’ve had so far, one will have a midterm exam in the middle of the semester and one final paper, and the other will have a final paper that the entire grade rests upon. I can tell who the Americans are in each of my classes, because they’re the ones who show up to class 10 minutes early with their hands clasped over their notebooks expectantly. The Irish students and professors start trickling in on the hour or a few minutes past it. I thought that accents might be a barrier, but my professors have been perfectly understandable. What I have noticed though is that all of the Irish students take notes in pen. Their confidence is unnerving. Also unnerving: the reading lists here. The professors pass out two reading lists: a primary one (required) and a secondary one (recommended). Each list easily has fifteen riveting titles like The Politics of Ireland: 1798-1998. I’m not entirely sure how one goes about tackling the lists, but I’ll figure it out. A more fun fact is that no classes start before 10 am and most of mine don’t have starting times before noon, which means I don’t have to wake up to an alarm! I’ve also discovered two on-campus pubs. There may be more. For every coffee shop in Oregon there is a pub here.

I also went to Clubs and Societies Day, and signed up for Orienteering, which means I’ll be given a map with a few obscure points on it that I’m supposed to find around Cork and other parts of Ireland and take a picture of. I also signed up for sailing (“Do I have to have any experience?” “Nope.” “Great, sign me up”) and film. I can also go to different events even if I’m not a member, which is cool. Meetings will be held in pubs.

It started raining here last night for the first time since I’ve lived in Cork, but it’s supposed to stop tomorrow when Alison, Norah and I go to Killarney. I don’t know a lot about Killarney, but I think there are some quaint shops among imposing castles, so it should be pretty rad! That’s all for now, but I’ll let you know how I’m doing when the rest of my classes start up!

Cheers, (<—   I’m so Irish!)

Jackie