Saturday, June 29, 2013

Welcome Blue

As always, click the photos for a better view!

I fought and fought with the Orange website, and I found out how to unsimlock (or whatever you call it) Red, but I can't do it now because my credit has expired and I can't find recharging cards here. So Red is now on vacation (and very pleased about it; he likes vacations) and my new Irish cell phone is on duty. I've decided to call him Blue.

Some friends I hit the streets today around 2:30 P.M. We stopped for lunch at a pub (I skipped straight to dessert and had apple pie-- delish). Then we split into different groups. My group explored a little bit. Here are some photos!

We're studying James Joyce. That's why I took this photo.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hello From Ireland!

Hello, everybody! Sorry about the radio silence over the last few days... I'm in Ireland now! I'll be studying literature and film at NUI Galway for the next month. I had to write a very stressful paper over the last few days, but I finally got it done! I hope to get back to posting regularly now.

I woke up unreasonably early on Sunday morning. My host mom drove me to the train station, and after a very sad goodbye, I jumped on a bus and headed to Paris with the rest of my group. At the airport, we all parted ways and I headed off alone. After four hours by myself at the airport, I got on a plane and soon landed in Dublin. In Dublin, I called my hotel and had them send a shuttle for me. I spent a very lovely night at the hotel and then headed back to the airport the next morning. I bought a bus ticket and rode across the country on a very comfy coach, arriving at the bus station in Galway. Then I got a cab, which dropped me off in front of my apartment.

Ladies and gentlemen... I did it.

You have noooo idea how much I'd been stressing over that stretch of my trip. You see, that part was all up to me. There was no professor or trip director telling me where and when to go and how to do things. I had to figure stuff out for myself. Add into that the facts that I had never been on a plane or bus by myself before, I had never taken a taxi before, I had never been alone in a foreign country before, and I'm afraid of talking to people (especially on the phone), and that's just a recipe for disaster.

But I did it!!! I can be a grownup when I have to! Yaaaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!!

Please enjoy a few photographs of my time in Ireland so far. Better pictures and stories to come, I promise.

After seeing the map countless times, the coastline of France looked familiar.

Hot chocolate in the lounge of the hotel I stayed at just outside of Dublin

Breakfast at the hotel- much bigger than a French breakfast!

Allow me just one ethnocentric moment... Are these outlets weird or what?! 
They even have their own on/off switches...

After not being able to get free Wi-Fi, free water, or free anything in France,
this sign made me smile.
Social not-working? Works for me!

I saw this hostel on the Internet, and then I saw it in real life.
Had to take a pic.

Some of that random art you find on college campuses.

I am back in the world of lecture halls.

The area just outside my apartment complex-- very green!

They don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing.

Ruins of a building-- a house? Someone is trying very hard to keep it propped up.

The river.

A cool-looking building.

NUI Galway -- the Quadrangle.

Another shot of the river with some lush, pretty farm land in the background.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

You Crossed A Line, Sir

Okay- I didn't post yesterday. Broke my streak. Sorry. And I might not post a whole lot today, seeing as it's my last day in France and I have things to do. Sorry again. But to make up for it, here's a comic!

You had that coming, iPhone. Quit teasing poor Red.

Translation: "You take marvelous photos!"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Moussaka Bonus

While I was typing up tonight's blog post, I thought to myself, "Moussaka... Moussaka... Sounds like Mufasa."

And then I thought of this scene:


Good Advice From Weird Al

When you go live with a family in a foreign country, chances are you will at one point be presented with a meal that you do not particularly like. This has happened to me on a few occasions.

Not tonight. Tonight we had moussaka, and it was amazing. Man, I never thought I would like something with eggplant in it, but moussaka has changed my life!

I digress.

Sometimes your host family, with all the best intentions, will put something on your plate that does not look like food. It might be purple with speckles. It might be congealed and oozing. It might be fish. But are you just going to sit there and stare at it? No! Because you are a polite guest in somebody's home, and while you are not required to stuff your face with something that triggers your gag reflexes, you need to at least try everything once. You might be pleasantly surprised. For example, moussaka.

I mean, it's not like your own country doesn't have food that looks gross/disgusting/weird/mutated/inedible. For example, take the United States. Have you seen what passes for cheese in the United States?

If you have to eat something that looks gross and you don't know what it is, don't ask. Ask only if you know you have food allergies. Believe me-- sometimes it's better not to know.

I always try to clear my plate, even if I don't particularly like something. I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to go hungry, and I think it's extremely unfair to ask someone to make something extra after they've gone through the trouble to make an entire meal. No, I do my best to eat what's in front of me (and then pretend I'm full when offered seconds). Luckily, my host mom doesn't make a whole lot that I don't like, but on the occasion that she does, I need a little inspiration to get me through the meal.

This song is my anthem.

A mental rendition of this song helps me to choke back just about anything. Except fish. I just could not finish the fish.

If you do happen to travel abroad and live with a host family, talk to them about your likes and dislikes early on. You can't reasonably expect them to go months at a time without eating any certain kind of food (unless you're allergic to it), but you can limit the number of unpleasant meal experiences. And like I said, try everything, even if it looks or smells unappetizing! You could find your own moussaka.

And if it doesn't turn out to be magically delicious... Well, I'm sorry, but that's what's for dinner. EAT IIIIIT! EAT IIIIIT!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chaumont Excursion

Today I went on an excursion to the Chateau de Chaumont. It's a pretty cool castle with a super big, really awesome, artsy garden. Please enjoy a few of the many, many pictures I took! Just so you know, it rained a lot while we were there. A lot. No hail, though!

Drawbridges... Maybe I should get one of those for my dorm.

Awww, who put the blogger in a cage? Come on, now.

I'm siiiiingin' in the rain! On some art!

All of a sudden, this creepy fog rolled in it. We didn't know what to make of it, but we blamed it on the wet, rainy weather.

And then we discovered that the source of the fog was actually this exhibit with a bunch of trees.

A pic from inside the fog exhibit. Spoookyyyyy.

"Blue lightning in my eyes"

So, yep. That was my trip to the Chateau de Chaumont.

And then, after dinner, I found a snail in the backyard.

Bonjour, Monsieur l'Escargot.