Hello everyone! It’s been a busy week; there has been so much going on compared to the simplicity of last month. I’ve been kept super busy with school work and other events going on, school-related and not.
Last weekend a couple of my friends and I took the bus to Dublin’s national botanic garden. We knew it was winter and that most of the plants would probably be dead, but they had several large greenhouses that were fun to walk through, and the grass is green here 24/7 so it was still very pretty to walk through. (According to the Irish however, who follow the old Celtic calendar, spring starts February 1st, so I guess we should have expected some greenery. Don’t try to argue that spring begins in March; trust me you’re going to lose). It was a really nice, clear day, but then it started to snow on us as we waited for the bus back. It’s snowed a couple of times in the past few weeks, but it never sticks in the city. Someone managed to make a snowman though at Halls last week, but sadly it was destroyed by the end of the day.
Monday night was a charity event for the rugby team. They needed more money to get new jerseys, so my apartment went in support of our flatmate who is on the rugby team. The team organised an event based on the British tv show Take Me Out, which (I think) is similar to the Bachelor. The girls on stage all had heart shaped balloons, and one by one a “bachelor” would come on stage and talk about himself, and either tell a story or perform a talent. The girls would pop their balloons if they didn’t like him, and at the end the guy would get to pick a remaining girl to take on a date (aka the other side of the room where there was pizza). It was pretty funny to watch, especially since we knew some of the people playing.
Tuesday was Pancake Tuesday! They don’t celebrate Mardi Gras, but instead everyone eats a bunch of pancakes. One of my friends and I queued for about half an hour outside a shop so we could get free crêpes (we got the last batch they were making!) that they were making for the holiday. That evening I also went to an event my friend helped organise for the environmental team at Halls. We listened to a few speakers talk about the environment, and then they had a pancake reception afterwards.
Thursday my classes ended at noon, so a friend and I went to go visit another friend who lives in Donabate, which is in north Dublin. We took the DART up to Donabate and stopped at a chipper for lunch, since my Irish friends were appalled that I have never been to a chipper or eaten fish and chips. The food was really good, and I definitely ate more than I should have, because I was stuffed for hours.
I hadn’t really been in a proper neighborhood in Dublin yet, so it was fun to see how the layout compared to the houses back home. The houses all vary; the ones that don’t look like British townhouses look a bit like cottages on the outside, but they are really modern on the inside. One thing I noticed when we were looking for her house is that they don’t use numbers for addresses. Instead, all the houses have names, so you find the house based on the name written on the gate. Her house is named Ard Na Greine, which roughly translates to “sunny heights.” Once we found the house, we spent the rest of the day chilling with her and her little sister. They have a Nintendo Switch, which is a video game kind of like the Wii, and we competed against each other for hours. My friend had to leave early, so I traveled back into town that evening on my own.
One thing that has improved drastically since when I first came here is my ability to use the transportation and get around the country. When I first came here, all of the places were unfamiliar, and I didn’t really know how to use the bus right outside of Trinity. But now I have to confidence to find out where I need to go and how to get there, figure out what train to take or where the station is, what stops I need to take (Irish or English), and other ways of getting around that I wasn’t comfortable with at first doing by myself. And now that I’m used to it, I find it weird that I have to drive everywhere when I come back home.
Friday night was the engineering ball! My friend in engineering convinced my other American friend and me to come with her and her engineering friends to the ball, which was held at a hotel not far from Halls. Thankfully the Irish have a bunch of nice dresses, so one of her engineering friends lent me one to wear for the night. Frenchy was dying to do my makeup, so she came over to my friend’s apartment with us and helped me get ready. The ball was a lot of fun; after a Prosecco reception we went in for dinner, where we got salad, roasted chicken, potatoes (of course) and Bailey’s cheesecake for dessert. The band was really good, and one of my friends would get super excited pretty much with every song and would make me dance with her.
It was a really good week, especially since it is getting warmer as well. This upcoming week is our last week of classes before our week off, so we are all very busy with school work this weekend. Until then, I will be buried in my notes analysing sentences and pronouncing consonants that do not exist in the English language. I’ll be back once I’ve got more to tell!