I’ve been in Ireland for almost a week now, so its probably time to let everyone know I’m alive. Obviously I am, but there’s much more to tell.
We arrived in Cork on Sunday around 5:00 when our bus from Dublin dropped us off in the middle of Cork. Literally in the middle of Cork. Thank God Marlene (one of the girls that also came from Marist) had a map and is way more direction savvy than I am, or I would probably still be sleeping on a bench somewhere. After dragging my metric ton of luggage (okay, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit) through random city streets and little alleyways we found the building that we had been staring at on Google Maps for the past few months, except this time it was real. Our building is close to the River Lee and only about a 5 minute walk from the city center. After we unpacked a little bit we met up with the other girls from Marist and headed out on a mission to find food. After almost a full day of traveling we’re ready to start gnawing at our own hands but I’m sure Cork has food that tastes better. We ended up finding a pub that was televising a professional darts competition on tv on several huge screens (some screens were even in 3D) that served its Guinness with a side of food, so we figured that would be a good place to go. Sadly, no one had Guinness at our first meal, but a lot of the tables actually had taps in the middle of them. Throughout the entire meal we watched the darts competition and tried to understand it. Everyone else understood and was cheering, but we just pretended.
The next day we explored the city and our campus to try to get a feel for things. I was not aware that I was going to school at Hogwarts. Seriously. The school is beautiful. I mean, Marist is gorgeous, but some buildings at UCC look like castles. Some of the buildings are very modern but some others are quite a few years older. On my tour I learned that one of the buildings used to be used a site for public hangings, but they eventually had to be outlawed because too many students were skipping class to watch. I’m going to guess that this building is probably haunted.
Our first day walking around the city had me totally confused and convinced that I would never be able to find my way around alone. The city is beautiful. Its exactly what I picture when I think of a typical Irish city. A lot of winding little alleys, colored houses, pubs, churches, and of course, a little bit of rain. The rain actually isn’t that bad; aside from today it has barely rained at all. Although my apartment is 25 minutes from the campus, it only takes around 5 minutes to walk to the city center and I’ve already taken complete advantage of that. I’ve gone off on side streets to find little shops and restaurants and I feel like I’ve never passed the same places twice. I could probably walk around forever and keep finding new places.
Although I’m still carrying my trusty map from the tourist center that highlights every McDonald’s in Cork (I’m not sure if I should be offended by this), I’m starting to learn my way around a little better. Today I even went to the grocery store by myself (gasp!) although I had to make a few loops around a section of the city to find it. One thing that I’ve noticed, and that I really enjoy, is that people here are so much more friendly. At first I was a little creeped out by strangers striking up conversations with me, but now I realize that people here are just genuinely friendly, and that not everyone you meet is trying to steal your purse/wallet/iPod/cellphone, as I suspect with all suspiciously friendly New Yorkers.
Classes here are very interesting as well. I’ve only had one so far, but we have one paper and a final exam. Most classes have one paper and a final or just a final. I’m so used to Marist, where every class has several papers and projects on top of a few tests. I feel like I’m going to have so much free time. But hey, I’m not complaining.
Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll do some sightseeing this weekend and have some interesting things to share. For now, I’m going to be super American and catch up on Jersey Shore while eating some ramen-esque soup. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!