Published: January 8th 2009January 4th 2009
I MADE IT! After my parents were teary-eyed leaving me at security (and after taking plenty of embarrassing pictures! haha love ya both), my adventure finally began. Security was quick and painless and we finally made it to the gate. Oh, and on a side note, my checked bags were not overweight, thank goodness! We finally boarded the plane around 5:55pm (EST) and the plane was HUGE! Forty-seven rows with two seats on the left, two on the right, and four in the middle. I popped 2 Dramamine when we boarded and by the time we were taking off I was quite drowsy. Although I slept for about an hour (through take-off, surprisingly), the rest of the flight I just could not get comfortable. Plus the bright screen of the TV (and the lights on the plane..SO ANNOYING) kept me awake. We got pretzels that were a genuine "American" recipe and then a choice of chicken or pasta. The chicken wasn't too bad. It also came with a salad, mineral water, cheese, crackers, a roll, butter (REAL Irish Butter), rice, veggies, cheesecake and a milkyway!
We finally landed around 1am (EST) a.k.a. 6am "Irish" time. It took at least an hour for all 55 of us to get through customs and get our luggage. We then walked outside with our 2 bus drivers and our "leader" Mark. The bus ride from Shannon to Cork was about 2 hours and was quite beautiful. We saw some castles and lots of green grass, but I ended up falling asleep for about another hour cause I just couldn't stay awake anymore!
We finally arrived in Cork around 9:30am (again, "Irish" time) and had to unload our suitcases from the bus (38 students + 2 checked bags + 1 carry-on + 1 personal item EACH) which must have been a funny site for the locals. We then had to drag our luggage across a pretty busy road to get to our apartments. My apartment has 3 bedrooms, each with a bathroom, and a common room/kitchen area. The kitchen was fairly clean but some of my friends have VERY messy roommates. After unloading all of our luggage, the whole group met back up for the LONGEST walk OF MY LIFE!
We walked into Cork City following our leader Mark and got to see some of UCC's campus. We then continued walking and had to squeeze through this little steel gate that worked like one of those automatic rotating doors except for the fact that it was manual and could've used a little WD-40. The huge group of obnoxious Americans continued on in our "Q" (slang for line) until we got to some very important discount stores (Penney's and Guinney's) where we purchased our bedding, towels, and other essentials. Of course I bought the wrong size sheets!
After grabbing some food, Megan, Kristina, Brianne, and I walked all the way back to our apartments (about a 30 minute walk, if not longer) when I discovered my sheet were WAY too small :( Instead of napping (since I had no bedding), we walked to the grocery store which is about 10 minutes from our apartments. It's called "Tesco" and apparently it's starting to pop-up in the U.S. in competition with Wal-Mart. Anyways, it was pretty overwhelming, but pretty awesome to buy WINE at the GROCERY STORE! Haha :)
We then had to carry our super heavy bags/backpacks back to our rooms after almost getting hit by various cars while trying to cross through the "round-about." Even after spending 80 Euro (about $120 U.S.) I STILL have to buy more groceries! I hate the exchange rate :(
After being awake for about 36 hours, I finally met my roommates..who are both Irish and SUPER nice. I felt disgusting though and could barely communicate so I finally passed out after being a little home-sick since the room was FREEZING 'cause the Irish do not understand the concept of heat!