Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The 1980's?

Yes, I can claim to be a child of the 80's, but a claim is about all I can lay on that decade. Being born in the latter part of the decade, my greatest accomplishment by the time the 80's expired was probably either walking or being potty trained. You would have to ask my parents which one was a more momentous occasion. Where am I going with this? Well, when I was out on the town Saturday night with my roommate Josh and a friend of his, he was filling me in on Dublin, the culture, the people, places to go, places to don't go and women's fashion came up in that spiel somehow. He mentioned how they seemed "stuck in the 80's."

At first I thought the fashion was a more urban, hodgepodge with some funky colors thrown into the mix, but now with an attuned eye - the tights, big hair, Chuck Taylors and (to me) the missed- matched neon colors started to stand out. Even the fliers (which are everywhere) for the discos or clubs have an 80's feel to them.

The good old fallback of jeans and a T-Shirt might as well be me rolling out of bed and going to class with my pajamas! I have seen more skirts and tights than I ever have at any dance recital. A look I don't mind, and think it is actually fairly modest and cute and one that I did back in the States as well, but not EVERYDAY! So I'm going to be a standout here at UCD, academically of course, but in other ways as well. I haven't busted out the belt buckles yet, wore my more reserved 'bling belt' today but looked totally American with my Ariat sweatshirt that said- "Wild West Show." :)

The flip of the coin to this issue is the double standard about the guy's dress. Coming over on the plane my seat buddy from England said something about pants being trousers instead. Jeans were fine to say though. Now I understand why he made such a big deal, because jeans are not necessarily the norm for guys as well. Athletic apparel is though. I have seen more jerseys than I ever have and other kinds of trousers as well.

This double standard is seen of the evenings as well, when groups of people leave for their "social activities." The girls are dressed up and I mean dressed up- sequence and all, that hasn't come and gone like it has in the States. Little skimpy dresses and some forgo the fashionable tights and have to be freezing! Make-up and hair done up as well to finish out the look. Then there comes the guys straggling behind them in a graphic tee maybe and then possibly a decent pair of jeans! Seems kind of strange to me, but then again, so does the extreme "social atmosphere." Monday on campus was ridiculous! Kids were in "high spirits" since 10 am with parties and such going on all day and campus was crawling with drunk kids and neon yellow-vested security. Eat, drink and be merry with the focus on the latter two I think was the purpose of the day.

Even with classes in session, I feel like there is a lack of concern for studies around campus and more socializing going on. Maybe that is because classes are just getting underway, but all of my classes have been full lectures from the words "Good Morning/ Afternoon." Granted they don't start until at least 5 minutes after the hour, but there has been none of this "Hi I'm Professor X, here is the syllabus and I'll see you later," like we do back home. Oh and another extreme difference is the type of assessment that we'll be having- almost all my courses' final grades depend either fully or at least very heavily on my finals :(!!!!!! December is going to be a stressful time!

So, I had two new classes on Tuesday- Farm Management and Introduction to Irish Folklore. Farm Management is another small class and is going to be another good one I feel. All the kids in the class seemed to have known each other already and I haven't really cracked into that yet, but this class will include a lot of problem solving and some case studies where we get to actually go out to farms!!!!!

My other new class that I had yesterday was Introduction to Irish Folklore, a fairly popular elective by how full the classroom was. I'm just taking it for attendance only, which will be one less stressor come December, but a class I can attend for the sheer pleasure! lol! Actually, the lecturer is super cool and I had a moment to talk to her afterwards to explain my situation and she seemed pretty impressed that I would still participate and take the course for no credit. I met a California girl in my class who is also a senior and I've ran into her twice now randomly on campus, so another new friend made :)

Speaking of friends- all 5 of my roommates have moved in! Gearoid, an Irishman from Cork is studying law and business. Miriam, from Germany, is a Chinese Studies major. The most recent addition is Evan, another Irishman, is a politics and film major. Then the three Americans line one side of the hall. Ally from Boston doing her post-grad studies in European Studies is sandwiched by two Boilermakers. Myself and Josh who is also a post-grad student in some sort of computer security. There is a fancy name for it, but I can't remember. I busted out my markers this afternoon and made a sign for our first house dinner tomorrow night. I kind of took initiative and going to order pizza :) I'm pretty excited for all of us to sit down as 'family' and get to know one another. Any mixers or get to know you games that come to mind- let me know :)

So my out of class activities have mainly been dedicated to working out and my body sure feels it! I haven't been this sore in a long time! I finally gave myself the day off and have been drinking lots of water in efforts to flush out all this lactic acid that is polluting my system. I have also been napping a lot, trying to re-coop that way as well. I haven't found a scale over here yet, but I kind of don't want to. If I keep this routine up, that moment I get on the scale back home will be pretty sweet! But I can tell I'm already loosing inches. Some of my jeans haven't fit this well since high school! :)

So that has been my last few days in Ireland. I want to wish my friend Sarah J safe and happy travels over here to Dublin as she is starting another exchange program through her course of study at Purdue. It'll be nice to have another Boilermaker in Dublin :)

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