Saturday, February 28, 2009

a beautiful day

I missed you today, my dear Chicago. I missed your changeable weather, your steady hum of traffic, people, electricity, and crisp, lake breeze. I missed you, and you will always be mine, but today... today, I belonged to Lahinch.

Lahinch reminds me of the Ireland I dreamt of. Well, except for the surfing. People SURF here. There were cliffs and rocky beaches. There was dancing and hiking. There was a waterfall surrounded by brightly-painted homes that set a scene for the movie in my head. But it isn't a movie anymore. It's now a memory, and an experience that I won't be able to describe in this entry. It was magical.

I did things today that I have never done in Chicago, and that isn't to say I can't do them in Chicago, it's simply that it never occurred to me to do them at home. I learned how set dancing works. It's amazing. I can't actually dance, because, like most forms of dancing, a sense of rhythm is required. Ah, well. 7-4 time? What IS that?

The rocky beaches of Lahinch rekindled a dormant sense of adventure. I hopped, stepped, slid ankle-deep into wave pools, but I also got to see mussels, barnacles, shells and stuff that I never noticed existing on the shores of Lake Michigan. Are there any of these weird little ecosystems back home, I wonder?

I climbed up a near-vertical rock-face, simply because it was there. I had fun doing it, and I loved the sense of danger. I play it too safe in Chicago. Climbing is fun. So are tours.

Tours are amazing! I plan on taking every single Chicago tour I can, when I return. We were shown The Burren, which is a plot of land that looks like the Earth got angry and shoved limestone platforms up to the surface, as if to say, "I'm tougher than you think." I didn't know our planet could do that.

I didn't know our planet could have such magnificent caves. I figured everything had been discovered by now, and therefore lose its magnificence. Apparently not. I thought bats would be more frightening. I thought guided tours were lame. I thought I would get tired of the landscape in Ireland. I thought I might be able to dance. I thought I knew things, but I learned today that there is always something else to be amazed by. Thank you, Lahinch. It has been a beautiful day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

i'm a lame-ass.

i don't go out as much as everyone else does.

the status on my facebook page said, "Shama is studying." to which i received an array of concern from people asking if i was sick or if everything was okay, because it IS friday night, and who studies on a friday night? i tell you who -- lame-asses like me.

i actually managed to shame myself into going out tonight at the last-minute.

this might prove to be a bad idea since tomorrow is the trip to lahinch and that means being at the bus stop at 7:45am. then again, i AM in ireland. when in rome...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

food, glorious food

it's hard to eat here. i can't tell if my nutrition is suffering because this is college or because i'm in a foreign country.

i eat like crap here. it has to stop.

my daily intake of vitamins and minerals tend to come from the following: a box of chips (potato wedges), a capri-sonne juice pouch or two, and a sandwich of cheese and... more cheese.

i'm having people over for meatloaf on wednesday. correction, i'm having some IRISH people over for meatloaf on wednesday, namely because they said, "Meatloaf? What's that? We've only heard of it on 'The Simpsons.'" no kidding. this will be my third attempt to make one, and i'm not sure how it's going to play out. i can't seem to find the ingredients that i normally keep, and i am instead finding all kind of ingredients i never thought i would have use for. foods like: beets. they are fresh from the garden, but i don't think i actually LIKE beets.

god, i'm starving. i'm not saying i can't eat, i'm saying that i don't really enjoy food right now. it's there to provide some sustenance.

note: the KFC here does not sell mashed potatoes. so much disappointment.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

while the getting is good

i am making plans to travel.

i am making plans to travel outside of Ireland. this involves a certain amount of familiarity with Ryanair, and other 'airbus' companies. i have no such knowledge, and am therefore 'winging it,' to be punny.

first destination: Barcelona.

Barcelona promises to be a city of culture, class, and architecture. it also scares the living shit out of me. i spent the day reading reviews of hostels and travel blogs. getting robbed? no thank you. bed bugs? NO THANK YOU.

i'm scared now. i don't want to get robbed. or infested.

i booked a hostel that is located just outside of the city centre because i'm honestly frightened of what could happen in the city itself.

regardless, i'm going, and it has made me stop to think about what else i could see while i'm here.

i'm going to Venice, Italy. i want to see this city before it sinks. when i think of Venice, i consider the fact that i never got to see New Orleans before Katrina hit it, and i will always and forever regret that. I also considered Iceland because of the fact that its economy collapsed in on itself, like a lawn chair. i wonder what the country looks like now. and then, there is Greenland.

Greenland is a curiosity simply because i want to see glaciers while i still can. i watched parts of "Planet Earth" and it rekindled my love for my planet and every corner of it. i love the idea of Greenland. so does this guy. hit track 6 and have a good time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


among all the observations and experiences i have had since i arrived, the most constantly surprising thing is...


man, if only Uncle Milty could get a load of this.

this is the spoiler/teaser for "Home and Away" which is a terrible title for a terrible show. when i say 'terrible show' i mean, 'highly addictive, stupid soap opera.' seriously. it's great. and awful.

i found out that everyone here watches a lot of American television, too... from 5 years ago. since i've been here, i have caught myself up on "Scrubs," "Smallville," and "One Tree Hill" only to find that i'm watching storylines that i know the endings to. oddly enough, i think "One Tree Hill" and "Smallville" might be suspiciously good shows. (i KNOW "Scrubs" is good). don't quote me on that, but from what i'm watching here, combined with my observations from 'teaser' commercials i saw before i left, i think that my scorn and pessimism may have been wrong.

"Home and Away" is still terrible, though.

so is "Gilmore Girls," which i always suspected of being a cardboard version of "My So-Called Life." by the way, it is, but that doesn't stop anyone from watching the rapidly-delivered-dialogue-posing-as-realistic-conversation. it's baaad. yet, everyone here watches and loves it. go figure.

i do love the commercials here. there's one that never fails to crack me up.

and then there's one that will give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

on saturdays, i get reruns of Nickelodeon shows like "Drake and Josh" and "iCarly," both of which make me wonder if i am actually stupid enough to enjoy these shows or if i'm just homesick.

luckily, i can still keep up with "Battlestar Galactica," but i'm way behind on "The Office" and "Gossip Girl." yeah, i follow "Gossip Girl." don't you dare judge me -- you just watched a "Home and Away" clip.

Monday, February 23, 2009

observation #299

house parties work the same way in Ireland as they do in America.

there is a lot of beer, booze, and the ever-present "Mystery Punch." things get broken, and there are white Christmas lights strung up across the ceiling that provide just enough light to make everyone look good. there is plenty of comfortable seating and more things get broken. people you have never met before and will possibly never see again will tell you things they might not even tell their therapist.

and of course, the late-night snack-and-cigarette run. heh. it was fun.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

this weekend

i wish i'd gone to tipperary with maureen and andrea, but the bronchitis isn't gonna go away if i keep giving it a reason to stay, now will it?

here's where i DIDN'T go this weekend. oh well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

perpetual motion machine

I've never been one for politics, but I try to stay informed, which is one of the many reasons I joined the UL Debate Society. The Irish Times Debate Final was last night. It's a big to-do, and the motion made me realize how much more informed I could be.

"This House believes the partition of Ireland should remain permanent."

Whoa. It's a heavy topic. I'm going to attempt the briefest summary I can muster of Irish history now. Bear with me.

432 - Ireland is Christianized by St. Patrick whose influence lead to cultural/educational growth. Catholicism is the thing to do.

800-1100 - Vikings! They show up and say, "We wanna fight!" but then decide to hang out and become farmers and stuff. Everybody seems cool until...

One of the Irish kings gets a little gung-ho about seizing power and land and stuff, so he asks the Normans from England to do him a solid, but Normans show up at the party and decide not to leave for about 400 years. Not only do they overstay their welcome, but they rearrange the furniture, eat all the food, don't chip in for beer, and set up the feudal system which makes everybody pissed off in a passive-aggressive way.

1536-1685 - Henry8@England writes: Hey Ireland! What's up? Listen, that Catholic platform you've run your system on for like, a thousand years, isn't working for me. I like this other platform, Protestant much better. Try it. No? Fine, then I'm gonna crash your system and delete a bunch of your stuff. Then, I'll send my friend Scot over to do a re-install. He's kinda like me. You'll like him. Promise.

1685-1690 - SOMEHOW a Catholic (James) gets the throne in England, but he only has it for a little while before William of Orange snags it. Willie follows Jimmy to IE and wins The Battle of Boyne. There's this Protestant organization in the North called the Orange Order that really like Willie.

1691-1793 - Oppression, oppression, oppression. Exploitation. Oppression.

1798 - The United Irishmen! Catholics, Protestants, liberty, freedom, and equality are on one side, while the Big, Bad Brits are on the other side. The Brits kick everybody's ass (sorry, I mean 'arse') and make Ireland part of Britain with The Act of Union.

1800s - Struggle, struggle. Tenancy system breakdown. Struggle, struggle.

Famine. I will make no attempt to joke about this, as it is one of the most horrifying events in history.

1912 - The Brits decide to throw IE a bone and offer up Home Rule which would give them (a little) independence. The Protestants in the North don't want to be outnumbered by the Catholics, so they say, "Um... no thank you." Then, these other guys, the Fenians, say, "Hey, we really want full independence and we're gonna fight for it. So there." They fight, but get their asses handed to them by the Brits.

1919-1922 - The War of Independence finally gets everybody's attention and negotiations between Irish Nationalists and the Brits result in the division of IE (North: Ulster and The Rest: Irish Free State) which causes a civil war. Finally, the division is solidified, and IE becomes The Republic of Ireland in 1949.

1925-1950 - But wait! There's more! The IRA! Guerilla activities against the Brits in the North are carried out by the minority Catholics until the Brits decide to send in some troops to straighten things out and make it all proper and shit.

1998 - The Belfast Agreement becomes the hesitant move toward peace by way of reform, reestablishment, and reducing the British military presence in the North. The IRA also decides to put the guns down. Phew.

Now, back to the motion from the debate. Partition should remain permanent. The debate was a history lesson from every side. I got a chance to hear opinions from both sides of the fence, and I think I learned more in those two hours than I could have in a semester of class. I hope you learned something just now, too.

The funniest thing is how this debate was structured. It was in the style of the Irish Times, which is distinctly different from British Parliamentary style. Then again, why on earth would you want to argue in the style of a country that caused the debate in the first place?

Friday, February 20, 2009

i'm having a little whine tonight after dinner

"You've heard of people calling in sick. You may have called in sick a few times yourself. But have you ever thought about calling in well?

It'd go like this: You'd get the boss on the line and say, "Listen, I've been sick ever since I started working here, but today I'm well and I won't be in anymore." Call in well." --Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Being sick sucks. Being sick makes everything a chore, even walking to the Medical Centre to find out exactly how sick I am and how to get better. I really wanted to skip class today, but that quote kept running through my head and I couldn't justify missing a class, especially when I know that I'm going to skip a class or two to travel.


Bottom line is, I made it to class, but boy, was I sick. I can't wait to skip a class on account of being well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

(crossing) the fault line

The hot water has gone out again. I think it's funny to say that it's 'gone out.' Where did it go? Is it running errands or on a date?

"Have you seen the hot water, dear?"
"No. Not for some time now. I think it went out."
"Did it leave a note?"
"No, but it never does. You know how hot water is."

While I'm busy personifying things, I would also like to mention the Launderette. The name "Launderette" conjures an image of a sweet, petite lady, dressed in a pleasantly starched apron and bonnet. She clucks her tongue at me when I try to put too many clothes in the washing machine and reassures me that powdered detergent will be fine, although I still worry about the dandruff-like flakes that may not wash off.

Sweet as she is, she costs quite a bit for her services. I have to use tokens to do my laundry. It's approximately 5 euro per wash and semi-dry. 7.10 for one wash and two dryer tokens. In U.S. dollars, that's about... $9.00. Yikes.

"It has to be done, dear," she says to me.

And she's right. Since I've been here, I have tried to maintain my personal sense of style while being aware of youthful, Irish fashion. It's tough. I wasn't really prepared for the onslaught of dresses, tights, ballet flats, scarves, and jewelry that dominate a young lady's wardrobe. Despite packing a moderate amount of clothing, I find that I have too many clothes, yet too few options. Is it silly to worry about appearances? Sure, but I always have, and I'm not sure how to stop now. Oh, you didn't know? I'm superficial and a little vain.

So, for the sake of vanity, I do laundry once a week, and this particular week I did something I thought I would never do. I'm so sorry, but I had to use the dryer before they locked the doors.

"It has to be done, dear," Launderette said. She winked at me and clucked her tongue at you for leaving your things in the dryer for FOUR HOURS. I just want to apologize for handling your personal items, and I sincerely hope I don't have to do it again. You had some questionable attire.

Hey, Launderette? I have a few favors to ask of you. Next time you see some hot water, would you tell it to please come home? Thanks. You're great.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Private Correspondence Between Us: Letter Three

Dear Ireland,

I was touched by your last letter, but why did you have to steal my bank card today? When will we learn to trust each other?


The Private Correspondence Between Us: Letter Two

Dear Shama,

I am sorry for treating you unfairly. I was trying to be thoughtful when I made it snow here for the first time in years. I thought you missed your home, with all its snow and cold. I won't do that again. As far as your living conditions go, I am also deeply apologetic. I was a little hurt when you arrived and assumed that I was a drunk and uncouth. I suppose I did want to hurt you after I watched you spend your evenings at the pubs instead of with me. I have a lot of history, you know.

Have I been vindictive? Yes. But I'm trying to be better. You have a cozy home now, you have your computer back, and I will try to get that package delivered to you. I am also sorry for all that I've cost you this month. I just assumed you were another rich, ditzy American, looking for a good time.

Let's do start over.

Your friend,

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Private Correspondence Between Us: Letter One

Dear Ireland,

Please give me a break. Looking back on this past month, I realize now that we had unrealistic expectations for each other. I wasn't very sensitive to you -- I looked at you and thought, "This is gonna be fun! She looks like she knows how to have a good time!" I know now that I was wrong to make those assumptions. You have much more to offer. I am so sorry.

Can we please start over? I really want us to be friends. I still think we have a good chance if we can start by trusting each other. What do you think? I'm hopeful. Please don't break my heart anymore.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

I need an IV after the IV

It didn't occur to me the these tournaments are referred to as "IVs" until I got back to my house in Limerick and desperately wanted fluids to replenish what I lost over the weekend and to soothe my aching throat.

Debating requires talking. A LOT of it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top Secret

What happens in Galway, STAYS in Galway.

End of story.

Happy Valentine's Day. I'll be back in Limerick tomorrow.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hostel Environment

I'm going to Galway! I'm excited about this trip for a few reasons:

1. I'm competing in my first debate tournament with
2. My new favorite people: the UL Debate Society, who
3. Promised me that Galway is a beautiful city with
4. Loads of things to see and do!

I'm also staying at a hostel for the first time, and despite the bad reputation hostels have gotten due to a certain movie I'm feeling adventurous. Sure, things have been a little rough, but when the going gets rough, the rough get going, right? Ah, something like that.

some hours later...

The hostel is BEAUTIFUL. It's clean, bright, and has plenty of comfortable community space for sitting, eating, and chatting. I have already heard at least four different accents/languages, and it's located in the center of town! I can't wait to go exploring! There's Nora Barnacle's house, and the Spanish Arch, and Eyre Square... so much to do, so much to do...

some MORE hours later...

I was told to put my camera away. I was told that, "What happens in Galway, STAYS in Galway." I am here, but I am not here to explore a city. I am here to compete, and compete I shall. There were 2 rounds of debate tonight. It occurred to me during the first round that I have no clue as to what I'm doing. All I know is that I MUST debate. I'm not opposed to debating (pun intended), but I didn't realize how taxing this weekend promises to be. To be continued...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adventures in Wonder-What-Will-Happen-Next? Land

Ireland was the center for the Dell corporation for several years. Then Dell moved out. All that remained, was a land of PCs...

I have a Macintosh, darnit, and I need someone to fix it. Now.

I ended up taking it into town (i.e. downtown Limerick) to a 'Comp U B' store, specializing in Apple products. They said they could fix it. They said it would cost around 50 euro. They said it would be ready by Friday or Saturday.

I tried very hard not to dwell on the negatives. I walked around the city. I had lunch and a nice conversation. I visited some of the city's landmarks. People's Park was lovely. The Art Museum wasn't awful. Tait's Clock was exactly what I expected. And the tiny, run-down magic shop was appropriately hokey.

Sigh. I just wish that I didn't have to write this post from the cold memory of basic recollection. I wish I could write this withthe clarity and energy from a recent experience. At least the pictures are nice.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So what if it's snowing for the first time in years? The cold isn't that bad.

Who cares if I haven't got heat or hot water? I can just heat up a kettle and wash my hair over the sink.

Does it matter if my wallet seems to be hemorrhaging money? I knew this trip wouldn't be cheap.


Traditional Ceili Dancing (pronounced kay-lee), to be exact! It's been a dreadful week overall, with a smattering of joyful interludes. I am so excited to see this and maybe even try it out! When the world gets you down, dance!

several hours later...

My computer broke down, and then I almost did too. This must be the worst string of luck I have ever experienced. I don't know what happened, but it looks like I got some kinda bug. It's kinda funny, actually. After nearly a week of icy showers and no heat, my computer is the one that caught a virus instead of me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Arguing for the Sake of Argument

I joined the University of Limerick's Debate Society. I still don't know if it was a good idea, but I wanted to join a club other than the International Society. No offense to the International Society, but I came here to meet and mix with Irish people, not other Americans.

It's one thing to argue with someone when they're pissed (drunk), but it's an entirely different thing when you argue with someone who is drunk AND well-informed. The debaters are exactly that. The type of debating is specific to EU, being British Parliamentary Debate. I may have already described it in a previous entry.

Tonight's topic: That this House believes (it always starts out like that) that Darwin is greater than God.

It's a ridiculous thing to argue, but argue we did. We argued over the wording, we argued over the concepts, we argued semantics, and we argued everything there was to argue until someone said to Team Darwin, "Nothing you say really matters because you're all going to Hell."

How do you argue THAT?


Monday, February 9, 2009

observation #283

not much to report today.

still no heat or hot water. i woke up early only to brush my teeth, wash up, and dive back under the covers before they had a chance to get infected with the nasty chill in the house. and then i read.

for 8 hours.

can i complain about the cold? sure. on the other hand, i just spent the day reading, napping, and snacking. in Ireland. bliss.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

something old, something new

UPDATE: Still no sign of heat or hot water. Is it possible to see mirages in the cold, i wonder? Bought a tiny, electric heater last night. Wish I hadn't had to spend the money, but I'm much more comfortable now.

It hasn't quite been 3 weeks yet, but I am starting to feel slightly more than nostalgic for my sweet home, Chicago. Nostalgia indicates a wistful longing for the past. I do not long for the past. I long for my life to be back in order. I wish for a schedule that makes sense to me. I miss the little things that I once took for granted.

I miss working. Though it isn't a prestigious job, I feel that waitressing can have a certain sense of nobility to it. I believe that can be said of any job, as long as one takes care to do it well. I am a good waitress. I miss the rigorous schedule, and I especially miss the weekends. Brunch.

Time functions differently in Chicago during brunch. People relax and enjoy their eggs and coffee without a smidgen of pretension. I miss that. So, after going to Maureen's for a hot shower this morning, I invited her to have brunch with me. Cheesy eggs! Bananas! Capri-Sonnes! French toast with strawberry syrup! (Is it simply called 'toast' in France?). Quite a successful brunch. Appetite and nostalgia -- cured.

During the meal, we both realized that we hadn't really done much landscape-exploring, so we decided a walk along the River Shannon would suffice. Suffice, indeed. The path was gloriously muddy, and the forestry was straight out of a fairy tale. The prize was coming upon some ruins. Honest-to-goodness-Days-of-Yore RUINS. It was like walking into the Secret Garden. We stumbled along overgrown pathways, meandered through destroyed chambers, and climbed through forgotten history. It was, in every way, a ruin. The five-story tower was missing a wall, but the spiral stairs were intact... so we walked up them.

For the first time since I arrived here, I felt truly happy and invigorated. I came here to experience something new, and today I really did. The day began as a walk down memory lane, and wound up being a trip off the beaten path. The best part is how the new path becomes a memory that I expect I'll feel nostalgia for.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Castle In The Air

Bunratty Castle is an intimidating, expansive, frightening castle. It strained my neck to gaze up at it. Bunratty Castle has an air of aristocracy to it; as if it purposefully keeps its nose in the air because it simply can't be bothered with anything on the ground. The castle stands high enough to see mountains. It is, quite simply, an extraordinary building.

And it is not in walking distance, as I initially thought.

Maureen, Sarah, Randi, and I spent approximately 2 hours trekking to where I thought Bunratty was. After much deliberation and a mad dash for a bus, we made it.

We all agreed that it was worth the trip. Even though we had visited King John's Castle the weekend before, this castle inspired a whole new feeling of awe and wonder in us. It was so much more than a castle -- it was an entire village, preserved and authentic.

We went from dungeon to tower, stopping in at rooms that were gated or glassed-in. Rooms that would have housed clergy, cooks, maids, and nobles. I sat in a throne. For real. The view from the top was indescribable. I saw mountains and the quintessential Irish patchwork of fields. I got very dizzy. And then we went back down to explore the village.

The village was more of a theme park. It allowed visitors to see the tiny cottages, smell the burning coals that provided heat, walk the paths along pastures where we saw elk, sheep, goats, and got to pet a donkey.

Hmmm. Let's see. Took a long walk in Ireland. Visited a castle. Pet a donkey. Even bought a tin flute. I can squeak out "Mary Had a Little Lamb." It has been a good day.

EDIT: It HAS been a good day, but I still don't have any heat or hot water. Damnit.
EDIT: Photos from today's excursion have vanished. You can view pictures here

Friday, February 6, 2009

best served cold

there isn't any heat or hot water.

i repeat, there isn't any HEAT or HOT WATER.

at least, there isn't any to be found in my house. i'm not sure what to do about it. there are a few little buttons on the heat control panel labeled "BOOST." i pushed those, but found no change in the radiators or water temperature.

the reception desk is closed. they will be closed tomorrow as well. i am up an ice-cold river without a paddle, so to speak.

i'm telling myself that it doesn't really matter. people don't shower everyday here. it'll be fine by sunday, worst-case scenario, monday. i have blankets. i'm from chicago. cold? what is that, anyway? bah!

on a different subject, i am finding all the little differences in language charming and funny. there is cough syrup specific to "Tickly Coughs" and "Chesty Coughs." as mentioned, the "Boost" button refers to a temporary surge of power for heat or water. even the way Irish people spell and pronounce their names intrigues me. the name "Eoghan" is actually "Owen." i met another girls whose name is "Mairead" and it sounds like "parade." i think i've already mentioned the use of the word craic (sounds like 'crack,' means 'fun'), but there are a slew of other terms that i'm trying to insert in my conversation.

CLASS: as in, "that dress is class!" meaning, good, nice, well done.
PISSED: as in, "we got pissed in Galway!" meaning druuuuuunk.
DRINK LINK: is the term for an ATM. for real.
GRAND: as in, "that's simply grand(like)!" meaning, good, perfect.

those are just a few terms i've picked up so far. the Irish kids get a kick out of hearing me say, "awesome!" and "gotcha."

i just realized how cold it's gotten. i hope i don't get any tickly or chesty coughs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

multi-cultural ireland

i went salsa dancing tonight.

salsa dancing in ireland.

it reminded me of this weird restaurant i never went to when i was growing up. "Carlos Murphys". mexi-irish. i never actually got a chance to eat there, it being a pub and i being underage when i first noticed it. i still wonder what would have been on the menu.

i met some nice people and i danced very poorly. such is life. i realized while i was in town that there aren't parts of limerick designated to certain countries, not like it is in chicago.

there isn't a greektown, or a chinatown, or even a latino district. it's all very irish. the realization made me think about my courses and how ireland seems to be a country in a constant identity crisis. i wonder how can they willingly lose their language, but hate the people who insisted they lose it? how can they say "A Thousand Welcomes" when they don't show much diversity in culture? i love the history and what i learn about the culture, but more often than not, i miss the multi-cultural aspect of chicago. i miss being able to walk down the street and know that i blend in by being a minority; i miss being myself.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

it sounds better in Irish

a fairly uneventful, but pleasant day.

went to stables to watch karaoke. it was, of course, terrible. but i really enjoyed Billy Joel's "Piano Man" much more with an Irish accent. it just sounded... authentic. we went to scholars for the traditional irish music night, where we almost got kicked out, because we were told we 'had to buy something.' i can dig that, but honestly, we just wanted to listen to real music. had to purge our ears of the karaoke.

made plans. i like making plans. bought some tickets to paris. so very very very excited. also plotted out a tentative route for my last 10 days in europe. it gets a little taxing, but the result is more than satisfying.

karaoke is inevitably terrible. here's a snippet of "Piano Man." thank you, and goodnight.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


it snowed today. big, beautiful, frozen pieces of lace. and it was cold. but it was a novelty for the Irish kids. they ask me why i take pictures of every rainbow i see, and now i can say, "it's a novelty. like snow."

i made a cross in my irish folklore class today. it's a saint brigid's day cross. there's a picture of it. it required a certain amount of dexterity and even though it isn't terribly well-crafted, i'm still quite proud of it.

went out to charlie chaplin's bar with the international society. i don't fully understand why there is a pub dedicated to charlie chaplin, but i'm learning not to question these things. it seemed like an alright place, but i'm starting to feel extra awkward around the company i keep. they're so young. or maybe i'm just very old.

it's time to buy some cheap shamrock things for st. patrick's day. novelties.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Latest in Modern Inconveniences

It has been a horribly annoying day.

It is cold here. Colder than I suspected it would be, but not as cold as Chicago. At least there's sunshine glittering off the mounds of snow in Chicago. Ain't no sunshine when she's gone, or at least in Ireland, eh?

The campus smells like crap. Literally. I'm not sure why, but there have been horses everywhere, which of course means that there is manure everywhere.

My attempts to register for modules (classes) were repeatedly thwarted by the computer system not recognizing my password or username. I asked a librarian for help, but I think librarians are required to be cranky and mean.

My ATM card said that I had insufficient funds. That is a lie. That is all manner of untrue.

I took the wrong bus into town and wound up in some strange strip mall. I walked a mile before I found my destination. I eventually purchased some much-needed groceries and hustled back to campus to make it to the UL Debate Society meeting. I waited for 45 minutes before realizing that the meeting probably wasn't happening.

It's been a stupid day. I'm hoping tomorrow is better.

The Greatest Love Letter Ever Written...

... came from the dearest and sweetest little lady. She's 2 and I miss her very much.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

observation #266

it is February 1st. in Ireland, today is St. Bridget's Day, as well as the first day of Spring.

Spring, my arse.

i would also like to note that my blogs for the week will most likely be posted on Sundays... because NOTHING is open on Sundays.

observation #265

i saw this image painted on a wall yesterday and it reminded me of this.