Classes are finally over! (For the most part). We are now in the final three weeks of study period before exams begin. At least the majority of exams, as I already had my aural exam, and yesterday I finished my oral exam. I think yesterday’s exam went well, although it is kind of hard to tell since I wasn’t the one grading. I had to speak for five minutes about the migration crisis and how it is affecting the European project (future unity of the EU), and then the next ten minutes the two instructors asked me questions about it. The entire process was conducted in French, of course, but thankfully I didn’t seem to have any problems. Guess I’ll have to wait for results to come out in June to see how I did. Afterwards I spent the next few hours in the library to help my friends practise for their German oral exams. They had it so much easier; they only had to have a conversation (about anything) with the examiners. But I guess it makes up for the fact that they have to do a German history module as well.
On Friday Trinity hosted the annual Trinity Ball, which is a ball on campus for Trinity students and alumni (and for anyone else lucky enough to know one of us 🙂 ). It is like a mini music festival, and it is also said to be one of the biggest private parties in Europe. The headline performer this year was George Ezra. I didn’t really know many of the other bands that were playing since I have a slightly different taste in music, but everyone was super excited about the lineup. I went to the ball with my flatmates and a few of their friends, and well all had a pretty good time! Thankfully it wasn’t cold, but it was super crowded. It was hard to avoid getting stepped on throughout the night, and most of us woke up the next morning with bruises on our legs and feet. It is definitely the Trinity event of the year, and some say the celebration actually lasts a couple days. I can believe it, as you could see people still in their tuxes/dresses by noon the next day. But overall, it was a pretty fun evening.
I thought I would finish this post just by mentioning a few cultural things or other things I’ve noticed living here in Ireland. I’ve probably mentioned some of these already in previous posts, but I want to kind of combine them all here.
First, it’s the food. There are a lot of food options here since Dublin is such an international city, but one thing the food seems to have in common is that it will never be spicy. It seems like the Irish get a tiny taste of spice and they can’t handle it. A lot of restaurants, instead of having salt and pepper shakers on the table, will just have the salt. The extra spicy sauce options are never really that spicy. If I buy salsa, I buy the hot one and put extra crushed chilis in it, then I have a nice mild salsa. Also, most of the chocolate here is milk chocolate. I can only eat a little bit because it’s really sweet. But that means my friends don’t eat my dark chocolate. 🙂
Other than the obvious thing that they drive on the left side of the road, cars and driving here are a bit different than back home. Many cars park with half their wheels on the sidewalk (or as they call it, footpath). And it took me a few weeks living here to realise that the reason most cars roll back a bit before driving off is because the majority of the cars here are manual shift. They’re slowly starting to add more automatic cars, but it is much cheaper to have a manual shift car, and many (mostly older) people prefer being able to “feel the car” and drive manually. There are also a couple things that make me glad that I don’t drive here. Cars park together so closely that I don’t understand how there aren’t more accidents. Just walking down the road I’ll see cars parked to close together that I don’t even think I could fit a finger in between them. Most of the parking here is parallel parking too, but new drivers aren’t tested on parallel parking. Another thing that I found surprising is that since there isn’t a lot of parking space, cars will park parallel to other cars, but put their car in neutral so that it can be pushed out of the way if someone needs to get out.
Another thing that I didn’t really expect to be true when coming here but it actually is, is the amount of redheads you see around. There definitely are more redheads here than back home. It seems to be more common amongst the guys, but you see girls with curly red hair too. Red hair isn’t the only distinguishable Irish trait though, because I have been mistaken for Irish a couple times. One of my flatmates’ dad calls me Maddie Paddy cause he thinks I look Irish. However, I’ve also been mistaken for Canadian, since I’m not a stereotypical loud, chatty American. I’ve also been asked multiple times if I’m French (probably because of my name), or if I’m Ukrainian (don’t know where people get that one).
There are so many more things that I notice or see, but I always forget about them until later. Maybe I’ll think of some more for next time. Until then, I will be busy preparing for the exams that are coming up way too soon!