What an amazing field trip we had on Friday! We took about an hour (bumpy, windy) bus ride to Glendalough, south of Dublin, to a place where there were ruins of ancient monasteries from the 9th and 10th centuries. The location was absolutely beautiful, even though it did rain on us, and it still surprises me how old certain buildings, like these monasteries, here in Ireland are. There is so much history in many of the buildings here, and it was hard to believe that I was standing in front of a stone structure built and used thousands and thousands of years ago. It was also a beautiful hike through the hills around the ruins; I finally got to see a part of Ireland that wasn’t just city.
Everyone has been asking for pictures of my dorm room, so I’ll put a few down below. My roommates all moved in on Friday while I was in Glendalough. Two of them are from Wicklow (south of Dublin), two are from Cork (west coast), and one is from France. They’re all super nice, and my French roommate immediately offered to help me with anything I might need as I study French this year. We all have spent some time getting to know each other while cooking in the kitchen, or eating breakfast in the morning.
This weekend is called Fresher’s weekend, which is basically pre-activities before the upcoming week (Fresher’s Week) filled with activities, and it is held at Trinity Hall, where we reside. However, as I mentioned earlier about the Irish and their communication, a bunch of us Americans had no idea what a huge weekend filled with events this was, and have stumbled upon things mostly as they come. Found out Facebook is where a lot of information gets posted (“What?? We have to download Facebook? That’s so old.”) Nevertheless, even if you did manage to find some Facebook groups with info in them, almost no one will know where the event is supposed to be (even the Irish). We have found the best way to get around is just follow people who look like they know what they’re doing, even though chances are high that they probably don’t.
Our Irish roommates already knew each other and went off to do their own things during the second day of Fresher’s weekend, so my French roommate and I wandered through the societies fair they had set up and looked around. Societies at Trinity are like clubs; you pay a couple euro and can participate in their events and gatherings throughout your time at Trinity. Many societies try to prompt students to join with free food, so over the course of a few hours I collected lots of obscure food coupons that are only usable at certain times and days of the week, random discounts for random stores, and got to eat some free pizza. This weekend is just a “pre-society fair” so you can sign up ahead of time if you want, because the real deal will be happening all next week at Trinity during Fresher’s Week. (At least that is what I am to believe, no one has told us otherwise). There is a society for almost anything you can think of. There were societies for different languages and nationalities, different sciences, sports, dance, music, film, archeology (this representative really stressed the wine and cheese event to try to get people to come), public speaking, debate, philosophy, and honestly so many more that will be available later in the week that I can’t wait to see. I didn’t sign up for any this weekend because I’m waiting for this upcoming week, but at least I got to see an example of what they have to offer. This weekend I’ve also attended house meetings, house warden meetings, a comedy show, something that was supposed to be a dance showcase but then they started making everyone do a warm up and learn a dance so we skedaddled out of there. Other than that I’ve been meeting new people and getting to know more about Irish culture. (They eat frozen waffles with melted cheese…)
I finally got some productive things down this weekend that has taken a lot off my shoulders. I was able to register Friday morning, so after the field trip to Glendalough I spent the day on campus getting my stamped proof of address letter, my student ID, and my student Leap Card (bus card). On Saturday I was able to set up my bank account and change my phone plan to a student one. Trinity was taking ID pictures for my student cards in one of the main theaters on campus, which is a historic and public building, so it was kind of strange to sit and get a photo taken while the tourists were taking photos of the walls and paintings around me. The tourists are everywhere though, so I guess I’ll have to get used to it. My American friends and I have only been here about a week, but we’re wondering if it’s technically legal yet for us to grumpily complain about the tourists while walking through campus. (I still feel like a tourist). Here are some pictures I took early this morning before the campus was swamped.
That’s about all I got for today. I’m really excited for the upcoming week, which will be filled with activities and events along with orientation. My only worry is figuring out where I need to be and when, because the timetables (schedules) are not always clear, nor do they always show were certain seminars are taking place. (But I guess I’ll have to learn to expect that. At least ten minutes late is considered early). My Irish roommates don’t seem to be concerned, however, so I guess I can go with the flow and learn the Irish way. Until later, cheers!