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Published: February 13th 2005
With this weekend, I have successfully began my adventures of exploring the world beyond Limerick! I promised my Dad before I left that I would travel every weekend, so as this weekend approached, I tried to brainstorm up a daytrip for Saturday that wouldn't be too expensive or too troublesome for a solo traveler. Thus, I woke up yesterday morning, donned one of the few outfits I had room to pack, and headed on a bus trip to Ennis, which is about a 45-minute bus ride from here. Ennis is a mid-sized town almost centered between Limerick and Galway. I enjoyed my day there, exploring the quaint shops and winding streets. It was quite busy because there was a hurling game yesterday at a pitch (playing field) nearby. Everyone was decked out in their team's colors, and the city center was quite bustling. I wandered for a bit once I got there, trying to make as little use of the map as possible, and then I went to a suggested dining place where I had a bap (a sandwich with a certain kind of bread in Ireland) and a machiato. Overall a grand afternoon.
Then, when I returned home, my Spanish roommate reminded me that some of his Spanish friends were having a little get-together on campus and I was invited. So, my roomies and I hung out for awhile and then Oscar and I went over to the party with another of Oscar's Spanish friends, Hector. They tried to help me with my Spanish, but I don't think I represented my three semesters of Spanish well. They were talking rather fast! Fortunately, though, they tried to talk to me in English as much as possible.
At the fiesta, which was in honor of Carnivale, I guess, a lot more people showed up than I expected-- and loads of international students! It was incredible-- I met people from Germany, Spain, France, the US, the Netherlands, Britain, Ireland-- everywhere! And everyone was quite nice. I had an excellent conversation with a Dutch fellow (Chris) and some of his friends from the Netherlands, and they even invited me to a dinner they were having with some Germans tomorrow. They're going to be planning a trip to Galway for this weekend, and Chris invited me to come along! So, overall, it was quite a grand day, AND I've made some cool friends to boot, it seems.
I begin classes tomorrow. They told us to visit 6-7 classes before we settle on 4-5, so that's the plan for the week. I think I can swing it so I can get Mondays off each week, so I might even have 3-day weekends to travel on! We'll see how the classes go, though.
I'm still working on getting the pics uploaded. Seems they don't want me to do it on public access computers, but I'm going to try to talk to the tech people and see what they can do.
Okay, so craziest thing about Ireland so far: they have pubs on campus. Two of them. Imagine pubs on an American college campus-- the kids would go crazy! The International Student Association held an ice-breaker thing at The Stables (one of these pubs) on Friday, though, and it proved to be a good place to socialize. Plus, they gave us free food, so who can beat that?
So, thus far a good experience, and getting better since I actually have people to hang out with now. I'll keep you updated on how my first week of classes goes!
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