I'm over 3,000 miles away from home on this adventure in Dublin, Ireland! This whole travel/ study abroad thing really didn't hit me until the bus ride from the airport and realized that I was on the left side of the road, the steering wheels where on the right side and I could hear the accents all around! The driving on the left side didn't seem as weird to me as the steering wheels on the opposite side did. Overall the city is so very different than any city in the States. The architecture is old and crazy cool. The cars are TINY!!!! They make my Buick Century back home look like a Hummer! Oh and the shops- speciality shops everywhere. No Wal-Marts or big general/department stores that I've seen so far.
The flight over was good- 7 hours in all from Chicago. Watched a movie, ate a decent dinner and cat-napped. I had a nice British guy, Kevin, sitting next to me. He was visiting some friends in Kokomo, Indiana and on his way back. The flight entertainment system was pretty cool. Movies, games, TV shows, flight information (I could actually see and tell where we were at) and radio. That kept me entertained for a while.
We hit the ground about 45 minutes early at 7:45am local time. I flew over with two Purdue students whom I have never met before meeting them at the airport. We also found a girl in the customs line that was on our same flight who goes to Otterbein College in Ohio. So the four of us waited in the long customs line, not nearly as scary as I thought, and then claimed our baggage and hopped on the Aircoach to the campus. This is the bus ride that actually hit me- sweet I'm in IRELAND! So far it's just been the city that I've seen. It was really cloudy and rainy when we flew in so I didn't get to see much of the country as we were flying over it :(. I'm really excited for classes to start- that way maybe I'll make friends with the farm kids in my Ag classes and get an opportunity to actually see the country-side :)
Anyways, back to Monday. The bus dropped us off by the main campus entrance where we had to lug all of our luggage a good 1/2 mile to whichever residence you had been assigned. I was sweating bullets by the time I got in to register. No friendly BGR (Boiler Gold Rush) move-in people like from back home. But I've noticed that people don't bring as much here, even the Irish students. I don't see truck (I haven't seen a signal privately owned pick-up yet) and car-loads of stuff. As soon as I got into my room, I dropped my bags and crashed for a few minutes but got myself going again because I had to stay awake for the day to avoid serious jet-lag. So I unpacked and went on a little exploratory tour of the campus.
On this individual tour I found these weird birds! I mean like bigger than a crow, with long tail feathers and actually very pretty. They are mostly navy with some green on the edge of their wings and a white under-belly. I mean, they are common over here like squirrels are on Purdue's campus but just weird to me I suppose. Let's see- other weird things: the outlets are different but I knew that coming over and was prepared with a few converters, already mentioned the cars, the style (my cowboy boots and bling belts kind of stick out over here), the public transportation system, the grocery stores and food in general and I suppose just campus procedures and policies. I really shouldn't say these things are weird, just different. Oh and a lot more smokers here. Kids are lighting up all over campus.
These past two days have been pretty strictly administrative and trying to make sure I have everything I need and proper paperwork turned in. My friend from Purdue, Alyssa, and I took the bus into City Center on Monday night and got a wee bit confused on the way back. We thought that the same bus that took us there, would take us back. Well, it did, but coming back looked a lot different than going, so we missed our stop and thought, "It will surely loop around." Well by the time we reached the Dublin Bay, we finally got the picture that it wasn't looping around and that was the end of the line. At first the bus-driver seemed kind of peeved, but then we opened our mouths and told him it was our first day here and we were just poor little lost American girls (I didn't milk it that much, but its amazing what you can get if you're polite and respectful). So he said it was our lucky day and that that particular bus was going back to the 'carriage house' which meant that the campus was on his way home for the night. He was then super nice and giving us tips on where to go, things to do and talking about where we were and all. I offered him a tip, which he refused and shooed us out the door with a smile. Note to self- always catch the 10A back to campus!!!!
So far I have met three of my possible 5 flat mates. Two Americans and one Irish. Gearoid is my Irish flat mate and he is from Southern Ireland, not too far from Cork. He has been super helpful and nice and is a 'crack' (meaning funny) to talk to. He is a business and law student going into his third year of the program. Ally is from Boston, but goes to school in Vancouver, Canada as she has citizenship in three countries, Canada, Greece and the US! She is doing a masters program in European Studies and has spent a lot of time in Germany. Very nice and very well traveled- I'm sure we'll get along just fine! My third flat mate is Josh. He is a Purdue Grad Student here. Really random that we got put in the same flat. I haven't seen too much of him- just a few times in passing. There are two more rooms in the flat that I haven't met their tenets yet, so I'm hoping for some more Irish students :)
Indiana schools seem to send a lot of people to Ireland. I have met 3 girls from Notre Dame that are here for the semester as well. So I thought that that was weird that so many of us are here and that I happened to run into them.
Alrighty.... well I apologize for the delay in getting this post up, and I'll do my best in the future to keep this updated more often. But, I'm going to nap for a little bit and then head off for some orientation type stuff in about an hour or so. I hope all is well with everyone and wish me luck in Ireland! :)