Hello folks! I have never blogged before, so if you’re a hardcore blogger and see that I have made some sort of blog faux pas in the eyes of the blogging community, please find it in your heart to forgive me. I have been in Cork for 5 days now, and have seen and experienced so much already I’m not quite sure how to condense it, but I’m going to give it a shot.
I’ll start with my landing in Cork, September 1.
I breezed off the plane and through customs, feeling worldly and awesome, located my suitcase in an impressively short amount of time, and exchanged a bit of money at the Bank of Ireland counter to pay for a cab to my dorm. Which of course is when I started having to flashbacks to the movie I’d oh so unwisely watched on the plane from Baltimore to London a few hours before: that’s right, “Taken.” Because what better movie for a solo girl flying to Europe by herself to absorb on the way there, right? I mean, I’d never seen it! I didn’t consider the consequences. So I squared my shoulders, patted myself on the back for not being an idiot like the female subjects in the movie, and formulated a plan. I would catch a cab, but tell the taxi driver the name of a dorm I knew was near mine, instead of the name of my actual dorm. Brilliant! On the way to the dorm, I was able to talk to the cabbie, who proved to be a really friendly and helpful man. Our conversation went somewhat like this:
Him: Harb scablarb ergspa hooglie dubs?
Me: Sorry, what’s that?
Him: HARB SCABLARB ERGSPA HOOGLIE DUBS? (Louder, but still jolly)
Me: *decides whether to take a stab at an answer or keep asking what he’s saying until I can make something out*
I tried both options, and both proved embarrassing. But by the time I got to the wrong dorm, I was able to pick out most of his words (turns out, he was speaking English!) and he dropped me off and all of my luggage off with a wave. Which was when I realized I had no idea which direction my actual dorm was. I chose a direction (the wrong one) and started off. A half hour later, having gone up and down the street twice, with my luggage and looking like a disgruntled and exhausted homeless person, I found my dorm (I’m not putting the name of it on the internet because that’s how you get taken). Check in was easy and I found my room without incidence. I put all my stuff down, curled on the bed, and went to sleep for a couple hours. Eventually, I was able to meet with my “flatmates” (doesn’t that sound European?). Norah is also from Oregon State, and I had met her once before at our study abroad orientation. The other two girls, Mallory and Marie, are from the University of Massachusetts. All three are highly entertaining individuals and a fun group.
The rest of the week was filled with orientations and errands. Which brings me to a few observations I’ve made in the past few days:
A product that has the same name WILL NOT feel/look/taste/be the same as at home 99% of the time. Whether this is a good or bad thing differs from case to case.
Nutella is cheaper than peanut butter!
Notebooks are really expensive. You know how you can get 10 for a dollar at Target? NOT SO in Ireland. They cheapest I’ve seen are around 2 euros per notebook.
You haven’t really walked until your own two feet are your only mode of transportation. Even your comfiest shoes will give you blisters or callouses for the first few days if you’re walking 8+ miles a day in them.
Anyway, today (September 5) we went to the Blarney Castle. Everything was gorgeous. The gardens, the weather, the castle, the trees, WHICH HAVE LIL KNITTED SWEATERS, and even the dungeon were awesome. We hiked up really steep, slippery, terrifying stairs to get to the top of the castle where the stone is. Alison and Nora did it just fine, but when it was my turn, I sat down and stayed there, frozen. I couldn’t get my muscles to bend me over the edge to kiss the rock. And, so, alas, I have an excuse to come back someday! Yay! Then we walked around to see the beautiful scenery, although the waterfall that everyone else was taking pictures of was extremely unimpressive to us Oregon girls. It dribbled forelorenly into a greenish pond. Give us a Multnomah waterfall! But the foliage and the whole scene was really glorious (“It looks like Jurassic Park!” –Alison). Now I’m sitting on my bed, with my majestic view and unreliable wifi, marveling that I haven’t had a big breakdown yet. I’m having an awesome time, and I’m excited for what lays in store! When I get a chance I will get down to the post office and buy some stamps. School starts Monday, so I’ll let you all know how it goes! Until then, have a great week!