Friday, October 30, 2009


Extra, extra, read all about it!
So there has been some exciting news recently in my life pertaining to both things here in Ireland in the near future and then things in the semi-close future like this December and summer.
Let's take things in chronological order shall we?

1- I made the team for the tetrathlon competition representing UCD. It sounds like a lot bigger deal than what it is, but I'm a team of 4 with 3 others girls who are still competitive, but we're not the first ranked team, therefore not as much pressure to defend UCD's champion title. So I get to go and have fun, get a crazy good workout in for one weekend, get to attempt to not make a fool of myself jumping my first course (in my cowboy boots if the captain will let me), get dressed up for the ball and did I mention have a lot of fun? That's next weekend and I'm all paid up :)

2- Final Exam timetables finally came out! I find things here in Ireland are slightly less organized as they took forever to get the schedule posted! I have been slightly worried ever since I came over that finals would mess me up coming home in time for my brother's wedding, but dread no more- I have two days to spare! My mom's first thought, "Can you move up your flight?" LOL! I told her it would cost me too much and she'd see me soon enough! Finals are from December 7th through December 19th, excluding Sundays and I thought it would be just my luck that I would have one towards the end of those two weeks, but I suppose that 4-leaf clover I found on the side of the track one day is proving helpful :) Here's how those two weeks look for me:

- Monday Dec. 7th- ECON 20010 9:00am to 11:00am
- Tuesday Dec. 8th- AERD 20030 9:00am to 11:00am
- Wednesday Dec. 9th- AERD 40010 3:00pm to 5:00pm
- Saturday Dec. 12th- ANSC 30210 12:00pm to 2:00pm
- Monday Dec. 14- ANSC 30220 9:00am to 11:00am

All of the finals are at the Royal Dublin Society in the City Center, so that is going to be a lot of bus rides! I find it weird that they are all off campus. But, just in case a gorilla and a banana team from Purdue would want to come and streak through my finals- there you go! I think it would be epic- "Gorilla and Banana come to Dublin!"
So with all of that, I'll have two days to spare to pack, get around and say all of my goodbyes and not feel rushed when leaving for home :)

3- My summer plans have been decided as well. I have decided to go back with John Deere again this summer for my 3rd internship with them. I was looking into some different ways to spend my summer, but they just weren't working out the way that they needed to in order to make them possible. I'll be at Harvester Works this summer in Moline, IL, which is about a 5/6 hour drive, depending on how fast I push good 'ol Gerdy, from home. It'll be another great experience I'm sure to diversify myself within the company as all three of my internships have been and will be very different from one another. So that's a huge relief to have that all decided.

Oh ya... there is this little holiday called Halloween this weekend! Most of my friends went up north to Londonderry/Derry for the festivities up there, which I hear are suppose to be ridiculous, but I decided to stay in Dublin this weekend. I still plan on dressing up and doing the Halloween thing, just on a smaller scale. One doesn't have to be too creative to guess what I'm "fixin" to be. Something that is simple for me to do, doesn't involve going out and buying a costume and a part I feel I play very well. I'll let "y'all" figure it out :)

I hope you enjoyed my news as much as I did telling y'all about it! Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Taste of Home

The count stands at 49 days left, including today, in Ireland. I have been here for 58 days now- meaning I'm on the negative sloped end of my journey. Not negative in a bad connotation because there are still plenty of things to do and people to see here in Ireland for me! And its on days like today with the sun out, the leaves changing color and a decent schedule to fill my time that I enjoy!

This past Monday was a Bank Holiday here in Ireland. As my friend Sarah Jay put it- "It's like Memorial Day, Labor Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but they just don't name it." It is the only University scheduled day off- but I've taken a few more to get my traveling in ;) So with this long weekend I was finally reunited with a couple of the kids from the Ulster Peace Project Limavady- Anderson 2002. Words can not even start to describe how awesome it was to see them again and to be in a 'home.'

I started my trip early on Saturday morning and as I was about 200 meters from the bus stop, about 7 minutes early, I saw the bus I needed fly right past the stop. The next one wasn't coming for another hour- dang it- not the way I wanted to start my trip. Next course of action was to figure out the public bus system to get to the airport. I have ridden them back from the airport once, so I figured I could reverse the process. Then an angel in the form of a taxi driver named John McGennuiss pulled up saying he needed a two person minimum and would charge us the same rate that the bus I missed did! I was at the airport in plenty of time, along with a new friend who is also from America who was meeting her mom at the airport :) So, I got the bus to Belfast, on my way to meet Lucy and her dad, Basil :)

The weekend was great- minus the rain, rain and more rain. But I came here expecting it to rain, so I didn't let it 'rain on my parade' or 'dampen my spirits' at all. The North was still very pretty as Basil took me the scenic way home along the coast. The weekend basically consisted of eating, eating and then eating some more between Lucy's mom, Margaret's, home-cooking and then Lucy's and mine baking. But there was some serious hiking/ walking around Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle on Sunday though in all fairness.

Lucy and I seemed to fall right back into our relationship with each other after being apart for so long. We would send the occasional email and then facebook was a great invention to keep us in touch during the years apart. I never thought I would be in Lucy's house someday when she came over to America. I think I'm the first one of the Americans to come over here, besides my friend Anna who studied for a semester in Belgium and my Irish friend Kevin went to meet up with her for a long weekend. I also got to catch up with Kevin as we had a night out in Limavady at The Corner Bar. The main part of the pub was your more traditional pub atmosphere I suppose and had a small group singing local Irish music. We escaped to the back room where a band was setting up to play but was quiet to start with to chat and catch up as Lucy and Kevin hadn't seen each other in a while either. I taught Kevin to two-step and Lucy and I got hit on by a couple of older local gents, but it was all in the name of fun I suppose!

The 'Northern Ireland/ local" things I did- Had Maud's Icecream, toured Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle, had to wait for sheep to cross the road, drove around the coastline, had a homemade currey, tried the local Bushmill's whiskey, walked the walls of Londonderry/ Derry, experienced a wee bit of pub life and I even have a hand-knitted wool hat, thanks to Basil's insistence and hospitality, to remember my time up North.

Last Thursday I also got to celebrate my friend's Katie birthday by going on a Trek ride with her. It was one of the best rides I've ever had. No offence Chip, I miss you and all, but this was on a Connemara dark bay named Jake who loved to run up those hills! It was raining off and on and my pretty pink Northface rain jacket now has some mud splatters from Katie's horse, who was in front of me. But seriously, towards the end of the ride there was a good long stretch where the horses know they are close to home and they are allowed to literally run full-out! I haven't been in a saddle in awhile, not to mention an English saddle, so I was a little unnerved going into the ride. But the first big run was up a hill and I wasn't expecting it and Jake just went for it- after that- I had the need for speed! It was so thrilling and after I realized that Jake was a sturdy mount and he knew what he was doing, we just had a blast! But anyways- that last stretch, I stood up in the irons a little bit and time literally stood still as well. I was riding along a treeline and then a stone fence that opened up to a beautiful green pasture and then on out to the rolling Irish countryside. Even with the sheer power that was going at full speed underneath me, I was perfectly relaxed and trying to take in the moment. It just about matched the time I took Chip out early in the alfalfa field one summer morning bareback with the butterflies everywhere. Just peaceful and perfect!

Last night we had an apartment dinner to send our roommate Josh off with style. He left for his internship in France this morning and so we had a feast last night- breakfast for dinner- pancakes (with tons of toppings), bacon, sausages, toast, eggs, juice, banana milk and probably some things that I'm forgetting. We all pitched in and got a tour book of Lyon, the city that Josh is moving to, and then a scarf as a little memento from all of us. I'm going to miss that kid, he's from Indiana as well and did his undergrad at Purdue, so it was nice have some commonality so far from home. Depending on finances, might go to France to visit him- he's been tempting me with skiing/ boarding in the Alps- how amazing would that be?

Welp... better wrap this guy up and throw some pictures in it and then get off to class. I have some down-time these next two weeks before the big Tetrathlon weekend, and I need to get some serious studying done!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some More Life in Ireland

Sorry- I'm a slacker. I have some spare time here though, so I'll update y'all on what's been going on. Last weekend was fun, differed a wee bit from my initial plans, but its all good- just hung around campus and went out with the roomies on Saturday night to a comedy club, saw Zombieland, went to church, had an amazing workout on Sunday- the usual.
Now I'm back in classes for the week and the week is almost over :) Time goes by fast when you're busy. Classes during the day- training for the tetrathlon at night- there are not enough hours to the day!

Tetrathlon training has been going well. Monday night I got to shoot a pistol! I was pretty excited. It was under the water tower here on campus. It was kind of shady actually, cuz you go through this shady looking door, down a stairwell and it opens up into this room that kind of reminded me of the Gate Room from Stargate (sorry if you don't get the analogy.) But, I did pretty well for my first time- hit the target at least with all 20 of my shots. The instructor was happy enough with it, so I was too! Then I went swimming on Tuesday night. A few of the first years and I bravely got on a bus and found this pool about 15 minutes away from campus. Me, not being a huge swimmer, found myself right with the rest of the girls ability wise, and I had a good time :) Last night was a little rough- after a hard personal run on Sunday, then a hard run with the team Monday night, swimming (which I found new muscles sore that I apparently don't use as much when I run), I decided to call it quits early instead of risking injury on a cold, wet night.

So last night I was talking with my roommate Josh about setting goals. Like his is to ride a motorcycle across Europe. He's a big dreamer- but he'll make it happen, I know he will. He then turned the tables on me and asked, "What's something that you've always dreamed about?" You know, I had to think about it. I have never had anything huge like that since I wanted to be the first lady president, but that is a dream/goal long gone now. I suppose initially it was to show horses on a national/world level- but that takes a lot of time to build up to and lots of money- two things that I am currently lacking. He then tried to focus me on something that could be obtained within the next 5 years. I suppose my only response to that would be to be in all 50 states- I'm up to 34 as is. But you see, I'm not a huge traveller- like I don't have huge aspirations to go out and see the world. If it happens- great- but not necessary for me to live a complete life I suppose. Haha- sounds totally contradictory compared to this grand adventure I have set forth for myself this past year (grand in my mind at least.) To be honest, I'm ready to see Indiana again. I might go stir-crazy when I get back, but we'll just see what happens when I get back. But there is nothing wrong with goal-setting or dreaming- much better than sitting around, complacent, when you can do so much more. So thanks Josh!

Alright... sorry for the short update- but I am celebrating one of my friend's bday today by going on a horse trek! I finally get my butt in a saddle again! I'm pretty excited! It might be a wet saddle, but at this point, I really don't care, I'll take a change of clothes with me ;).

I hope this finds you all well. Oh- my friend Rachel has started a new blog- "Blonde Circus" . She's a hopeful law student (which she'll get in, cuz she's just that freak'n amazing) and comments much more on society, politics and such than I do. Its pretty funny, although, I didn't really like the part of her "drooling over the Case IH website." Green is where its always been at dear, and always will be ;)


Friday, October 16, 2009

I've Got an Hour to Kill

So I was late to my Equine Industries class on Monday because of my awesome trip to John Oxx's place, which meant I missed the announcement that we wouldn't be having anymore 9 am lectures on Friday mornings unless my lecturer needed them. So I showed up to find a staff person vacuuming our usual room, instead of my classmates and teacher. Opps! But the computer lab is very quiet and I'm listening to my iPod until my next lecture at 10 and decided to jump on here and add a lovely new post.

It's been a pretty uneventful week I suppose. I had an exam on Wednesday morning that I felt went well. About the only downfall to the week was that you could measure the amount of time I spent studying on Tuesday night by the huge pile of Kleenex that accumulated on my desk, and yes, eventually the trashcan (excuse me, bin) when I tidied up a bit, from a silly little flu/cold bug trying to set in. Well I showed it! The past two days, I have taken like 4 hour naps on top of at least a 6 to 8 hour night of sleep! HA! So needless to say now, I am feeling much better and eating some yummy oranges to keep some extra Vitamin C pumping in me.

I feel pulled somewhat between really settling down here and wanting to be home. These past three weeks have been a whirl-wind with all the traveling I've been doing, but now that I'm in one place for 2 weeks it kind of makes me a little stir-crazy. Although, I do feel like I'm starting to fit in here. I have like 4 different groups of friends: My housemates, my girlfriends that I've been traveling with, my equestrian classmates and then the equestrian club members. The other day walking back from classes, I said hello to like 7 different people. Oh my gosh, I bet I could Lindsey Junk in the popularity game over here! Not really fair I suppose when considering the circumstances, but I'm sure she would find some way of knowing someone or having at least a mutual friend of someone through all those crazy connections she has and that whole thing of '6 degrees of separation.' I'm down to about 8 and half weeks left here, where I have 3 more weekend trips planned and possibly another two depending on the finances in the works. Then there are these things called finals that I will also be dealing with, so plenty to keep me busy and make the time pass.

Hmm... what else is going on? Well it is slightly painful to type this right now as Josh, my roommate (the guy from Purdue as well- still can't get over how random that is), showed me some new things on his guitar last night. It has been since Texas that I played, so like May. I was very rusty, but he was kind enough to pity me and teach me a thing or two and then loan me his guitar for practice. Its sad, because now I have say goodbye to my pretty fingernails :(. He is really good and I can definitely learn a lot from him, but he's leaving in like two weeks for an internship in France. I'm going to be bummed when he leaves as he's been a really good friend here, but this is an awesome internship where he is going to save the world- so who am I to stop that?

I spend a lot time on facebook- it is an addiction I suppose, but I have a lot of spare time here. Classes aren't really that demanding I feel, or maybe that's a sign I should be doing some more individual study? So that's been a good tool to stay in touch with friends back home. Feel free to drop a message in my inbox or slap something up on my wall and let me know what's up! I'm actually doing a really good job of updating pictures- for some reason I have much better luck uploading pictures here than I did in Reno- so take a peek at those as well. So two things that I've been really good at are updating pictures and keeping up this blog- got to keep my priorities straight you know- just figuring out what's important!

Weekend plans include going to a movie tonight "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" with Josh, then just hanging around Dublin, maybe do a little sight-seeing? I have still to make it out to Howth, which is a peninsula not far from here that is suppose to have some amazing views with the cliffs and the ocean and fancy smancy houses :) Church on Sunday- I've been missing that with all these travels- so it'll be nice to get back to that. I've been feeling a little disconnected recently and my friend from Texas, Shiney, posted a video yesterday that was extremely good and was something that I needed to hear. Thanks for that Shiney- sending your love all the way from Texas!

Well I've successfully killed 50 minutes, not bad, although my lecture won't start for another 15 to 20 minutes. I hope this finds you well and I'll talk to y'all later!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

England... No big deal!

My friend Katie went to London two weekends ago and her facebook status was something very similar to the title of this post, "London for the weekend, no big deal!" Obviously being sarcastic as she was completely stoked about her trip, the same as I was for my trip to England this past weekend. It still blows my mind that in the past three weeks I have toured the Ring of Kerry, kissed the Blarney Stone, and have finally been to England after my entire family has been there. I used to make fun of my brother for being such a freak about England, but now I see why, and I could join him in that boat.

England was incredibly beautiful! This wasn't a 'touristy' trip like my others have been, even though I still snapped some pictures along the way, it was really neat to hang out with Brett (the friend I was visiting from Camp Tecumseh) and his friends and experience more of the culture from the locals! Brett is from Carnforth which is in Northern England and he was nice enough to drive me around the Lake District and the countryside. I finally saw all of those stone walls I've been waiting to see and lots and lots of sheep!

Let's see... the "English" things I did- ate fish and chips, had a lamb burger, went to a rugby game, watched more rugby on TV, had my picture taken by a huge yellow submarine and became a temporary member of the Leeds library to print my boarding pass home. Having a name like 'Brittania' brought on some attention as well- "Hail Britannia" came out a few times which I thought was great! We played some poker as well- which I broke even on- not bad for a Yankee :) About the only thing that I was bummed out about was that the Liverpool airport didn't stamp my passport, so no English stamp to remember this experience by, just my pics and my own good memories.

Overall I found England to be more like home- just the feel of the cities, the people and even the stores brought back a more 'homey feel.' Maybe it was because I was hanging out with British people that also made it feel more homelike. Brett has some really great friends that I got along with really well.

Back in Dublin now- no rest for the weary. I was on a field trip yesterday to John Oxx's farm, he's the trainer for the Thoroughbred racehorse Sea the Stars. Sea the Stars has won every major European race and still may be shipped over to the States for the Breeder's Cup coming up in early November. John's son, Kevin is in class with me, which is how we got the invite to go. They were breaking or starting, whichever you prefer, 35 new colts and fillies in two days. Typically the breaking process takes up to 6 weeks, a very gradual method is used. Not with these guys- I watched a trainer and his assistant/ jockey/ rider/ insane person for getting on these Thoroughbreds break 3 colts and 1 crazy chestnut filly in 2 hours! It was really awesome to watch. He used a mixture of the different methods out there and I'm sure it will be a good conversation for class today on what we thought about their methods that were used. The trip was topped off with being invited back to the house and eating a great lunch hosted by the trainer's wife and Kevin's mom! I wish everyday of class was that great!

Last night we had 'Canadian Thanksgiving.' I had never heard of it before, but my friend Erika who is Canadian and an amazing cook had a wonderful meal for me and my friends last night. Thinking about it, I was celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with a girl born in Germany, but now from New Zealand, a girl from the UK originally, but now from Ireland, a Canadian, a fellow American and an Australian girl whose mom was visiting. I find that slightly amusing and incredible as well.

Alright... I have written another novel of a post- my friend Sarah Jay who is also a blogger has given me crap about having my posts so long- but there is just so much to tell! :) I have an exam to study for tomorrow- wish me luck y'all- time to earn my "A's"


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Put a 'Cork' in it"

That's just what I did this weekend! I put Cork into my Ireland experience! Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and my friend's roommate planned this massive trip for like 17 of us to go down for the Folk Festival, which meant lots of live music!

It was a lot of fun and we filled up our entire weekend with day trips to the near-by cities of Blarney and Kinsale. Both were very beautiful in their own ways. Blarney is where we visited the Blarney Castle, which was awesome! Kinsale is a very pretty harbor town that held a lot of its own unique history as well.

Take a wild guess at what we did at Blarney? We kissed the BLARNEY STONE!!!!! I was sooo excited for this! Who cares about Swine Flu, H1N1 or whatever you want to call it. So apparently I now have the gift of gab, although my parents would probably like to claim that I had that before kissing the stone. A neat little fun fact for me was that when my mom and dad came over here about 30 years ago- my dad kissed the stone as well. So we did the same thing, about 30 years apart. It was neat to think that I was taking in some of the same views and in the same spot as my parents, would have been better if they were here though!

Kinsale was a cute town and we had a guided tour and the guide was very informative and all the stories of the town were neat to hear. We then tried to hoof it out to the fort, but didn't have time to really get to see it before the bus left back to Cork, so we could catch the bus back to Dublin. But, we got to see some amazing views in our attempt.

The vote is done on the Lisbon Treaty as well, so that's something else that one can put a 'cork in.' All the campaigning, while not necessarily as bad as campaigning back home can get, got a little old. In the end, the "Yesses" had it, as over 60% of those who turned out to vote checked Ya over Na. Basically, this strengthens the EU and Ireland's ties to it. Honestly, I didn't pay that much attention and didn't really form my own opinion about the subject. It was interesting though to see all the signs and how they changed from down-town Dublin's "Yes" signs, to the country side's "No" signs.

School is picking up hardcore. I have found myself out of the system far too long, and a little hard to get back into it, especially being at another school. But, I'll find a way to deal, I always do. Friday morning I'm flying to Liverpool, England to stay the weekend with my friend Brett from Camp Tecumseh! I'm really excited about this, but not necessarily having to be at the airport by 6 am :( But I suppose that's the price I'm willing to pay to maximize my time over there. That last sentence sounded like I'm in an Econ class or something, wait, I am and it starts in about 20 minutes- better run!

Friday, October 2, 2009


I don't care how old you are- everyone loves going to the zoo! I know I sure do, especially one that's not the Indianapolis Zoo. Don't get me wrong the Indy Zoo is great, and I'd go there anytime at the drop of the hat, but its always great to go somewhere new.

The rebel in me came out a little bit when I crashed another class's feildtrip. The Animal Health and Behavior Class was going to the zoo and specifically checking out the renovations done recently to the Elephant House and their techniques of training and care. My Equine Science friends were in this class which is how I heard about it. When they said their lecturer wouldn't even notice and that she wasn't even riding the bus but meeting us there, I said, "Why not?"

I did email her though, trying to do the right thing, but when I got no response, I just went anyways. The worst that could happen would be I would get there and have to pay my own way in to walk around the zoo for awhile. I had a bus pass, so I could always get back to campus alright. Sometimes you just gotta go for it and I did. I wasn't there to make any trouble, so I didn't see the harm.

I was totally in the clear- no attendence, no nothing. Just an enjoyable afternoon at the zoo learning about elephants! (FOR FREE!!!!) We got to go inside the Elephant House and the keepers talked to us about their training and overall maintance of the elephants and their facility. It was quite interesting to see all of the extra enrichment that they think of in order to keep the animals happy and give them an environment that resembles their natural environment as much as possible. They have five elephants at the Dublin Zoo, two sisters who are 19 and 25, and then their offspring which includes a brother and sister, 6 and 1 and then a half sister that's 2.

When I got home I was just hanging out with my roomies and the idea to go outside and play a little game of friendly American Football came up! So we went out on the little lawn in between the apartments and had ourselves a great craic! I've missed Football so much and it was great to get out there and stretch the arm a little bit :) I'm hoping the best for my Boilermakers tomorrow for Homecoming. Unforuntally I'll be travelling and won't be able to listen in the game. Here's a shout out to PASE and PASE BoD, Motar Board, Alpha Zeta and Wesley for all of their Homecoming festivities- I hope all goes well for you!

I'm headed off to Cork in a little bit! Another weekend out with the girls and then some other people! Its going to be a big group but should be a really good time! I'm excited to see some more of Ireland! Have a great weekend y'all and BOILER UP!!!!!!!!