The consistent rebuttle to the afternoon and evening’s festivities in Limerick, Ireland.
Yes, I have arrived on the island not of pure green beauty but of a thoroughly frosted environment of leave less winter trees bathed deeply in a thick blanket of chilled fog. Several of those who already know this campus as home have commented on the additional hype of the frigid air and its unlikely hood of lasting for even a few more days, yet as a Californian born and bred, this doesn’t stop the current effect of the cold from uplifting an unnatural form of [wimpy] numb pain in my system. It’s cold here indeed.
Prior to finally arriving an hour early amidst the to the ground fog causing an abrupt braking to our landing at the Shannon International Airport, I said goodbye to my parents at the SFO airport and hello to the difficulties of towing too much baggage. My double lined Marmot lilac jacket went inside out, I didn’t have everything out of my pockets, I had to somehow pull of my knee high Ralph Lauren boots, and somehow keep a hold of a passport, boarding pass, and other various forms of identification. Thank goodness that leg was over!
Through an overall smooth flight through to Newark/New York, New Jersey, I was welcomed by my traveling companion Julia where we proceeded to discover a fix to our hungering appetite. Little did we know upon sitting in the middle of a food court, overpriced chick-pea hummus wrap wrapped to devour, we would be near over 30 students about to jump our flight to Shannon as well!
Super excited to fly off to Shannon International Airport!
The United staff was uncannily energetic and ‘sunny’, a term coined by the warm enthusiasm for serving his patrons on the flight despite it being an obvious red-eye. With only about 40-minutes of shut-eye, and I literally mean shut-eye without a wink of sleep, the lights came up in the aircraft alerting our vicinity to Ireland. I could have complained for a few more moments with Julia and our two new fellow UL students eastern Erin, and sassy Gavin from Minnesota, yet we were to touch down in Ireland!
From left: Gavin from Minnesota, Erin from Massechusetts, and Julia.
The view from the top.
They even had a Vegetarian meal featuring an Indian concoction of basmati rice, and garam spiced lentils and other vegetables. Not bad for mile high food if I do say so myself…maybe it’s the jet lag talking.
I had to document the first sign of Irish culture! 🙂
We made it[documenting every moment with my wonderful camera on my iPhone 5] to our customs line where I inevitably was the very last person to pass through after the witty banter and heavy Irish tongue of an Irish judge. The baggage claim literally had stopped moving and only my two fifty-pound bags remained confirming my entry into the country officially.
Making my way on a bus [driving on the wrong side of the road] to Thomond Village, a european modern scope of wood paneled apartments each including six individual rooms[on each level] equipped with a lengthy desk, full size bed, bedside table, and own water closet[bathroom], of course I would be given the village that would drop its students last after arriving at the University. But hey, they save the best for last right? Hello view of Ireland’s largest river, Shannon River.
Every five minutes or so for the 30 minute drive from the airport to our villages(apartments), we would comment on the mind boggling fact that we were ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!
Doing California proud by yoloing. Yes, I decided to take over the bus as other students were dropped off at a village separate from mine.
The first event was to include a coffee meet and greet of the newly arrived Study Abroad students at noon marking my continuous caffeine fix somehow stabilizing my energy levels to function despite my exhausted body. Before leaving my apartment, my social butterfly instincts told me to introduce myself to the man across from my room who I heard would be there from my neighbor Kellianne[another Chapmanite]. Incredibly humble, and charming despite his lack of confidence in the English language being from Hungary[“My English is shit”], Ben agreed to come along with Kelli and I. After sharing several shaky Irish tea infused laughs with new friends at the event[when my friend Jill spoke of T.K. Maxx, I immediately proceeded to be taken aback gasping TJ MAXX??!!! They have those here?! I was very excited…] I found a group of hilarious and similar minded women to venture to ‘the city’ with.
We knew we wanted, no needed food to function at this point and quickly discovered a hole in the wall, yes literally just a doorway among the street shops leading to a downstairs featuring authentic Irish cuisine. At first I was quite apprhensive, but heaved a sigh of relief when the Soup of the Day was revealed to be Vegetable Soup and that they served breakfast related items. My final ‘linner'[it seems the Irish like to eat lunch and dinner very early as a combined meal] added two fried eggs, and a piece of toast to my order.
Ever had one of those meals where you think it could undoubtedly be the most amazing, palatable, and tasteful combination of culinary items morphed into one plate of delight despite your actual reasoning based highly on your level of hunger and exhaustion? This was one of those times.
After a regained wind of energy[going on 21 hours of no sleep], we skiddattled over to Penny’s, a cross between a H&M, and drugstore. I was able to retreive a duvet cover[UL provides the comforter], a few towels, hangers, and two well cusioned pillows. Following this fashion temptation, we headed toward Tesco, the local main grocery market featuring produce relative to Ireland’s availability[aka no resemblance to California’s lush array of produce and brands] and little competition among products mostly featuring only a few brands. Most interesting find? Rhubarb flavored greek yogurt.
With our items retreived and exhaustion setting in, we climbed aboard the back of the public transportation[after my American move of giving the driver a 20 euro bill and receiving coins back thinking that was my change…little did I know I needed 15 euros back] and made our way back to campus. Carrying the heavy bags back through the cold freezing runny icicles on the tip of my nose, I somehow made it into my dorm after the twenty minute walk past Dromroe Village.
The next expected event included a ‘traditional Irish Music Session’ at the Scholar’s Club, a local bar on campus. While debating whether I should thrust my body back into the cold and reality of using my fading mind, Kelli alerted me of our Swiss roommate, another male. Expecting to quickly do a meet-and-greet, my knock-knockknockknock-knock opened the door to an illegally attractive man sporting soft eyes, a warm smile, light olive hued skin, and a San Francisco graphically designed shirt. Um hi? Initiating a conversation lasting for about thirty minutes, I discovered the beauty within his exterior and excitement to further get to know another new [beautiful] friend.
Once we FINALLY left for the bar, I was going on 31 hours. Luckily ran into my gang of gal pals from our adventures in the city, and Katelyn[my fellow prince-seeking, fire warming, Tangled watching wing woman good friend today] recommended the Bumler’s Hard Apple Cider beer. And what a great recommendation it was! Met several members of the International Society which I hope to pursue after Allie Pangbourn and Sammi Dawson made such impressions[Chapman/UL Fall 2012], spoke with Gavin about life topics including his hopes of tattoo sleeves and the outdoor Pursuing society, and of course hung out with Julia. I love how Gavin seems to have a mini crush on Julia; he’s a witty gem himself so they’d make for a fun loving couple. Let’s see where this goes.
So I sit here having gobbled handful after handful of Tesco fruit & fibre cereal pondering the luck I’ve had since entering the nicest nation I could ever imagine possible. Did I mention the renowned DJ of the Stables club will be giving me a Tesco phone for free? Who does that? The Irish.
California time wake up: 3:21am
Current time in Ireland: 11:12pm
Total time awake: 42 hours.
Just getting on the level of the Irish.
Frozen spider webs. Beautiful and eerie at the same time.