Friday, July 30, 2010

Ireland Day 23 - Lazy

I should just leave this entry blank to demonstrate how little I did today, but that's not my style. I like to talk/type too much.

You know who is great? Florence + The Machine. She has a song on the Eclipse soundtrack that I really like. I hadn't heard of her before then. My first week or so here in Ireland I was at a place eating dinner and they happened to be playing her album. Go forward a week and I'm in the car with Dave and she's on the radio. "She's class" he says. So I finally download her album. A great purchase. Rabbit Heart (raise it up) may be my favorite, other than her Heavy In Your Arms single from Eclipse.

This would be a good space to rattle off some of the information I've been saving up. I'm keeping a list of vocabulary differences and general observations. They're fun to spot and I want to remember them. This is by no means a complete list, just the ones that I've heard/spotted and actually remembered to write down. Here goes! I'm listing these as what I would say and then what they would say:

yell - roar
honk - blare
santa's workshop - santa's grotto
walk around/meander - potter around
bus - coach
bachelorette - hen
bachelor - stag
band aid - plasters
for rent - for let
prom - debs
loading zone - set down area
pacifier - soother
pudding - dessert
open hours - trading times
speed bumps - ramps
liquor store - off license

Here are some general things that I've noted. Cultural differences?

Customer service - When walking into a store, employees don't say hi, ask how you're doing or if you need any help. When you leave they don't say thank you or goodbye. There is no hovering when you're trying to shop, that part is nice. No one is mean and the purchase exchange is pleasant enough, but no one is nicer than they need to be.

Crazy buses - The buses frequently yield to traffic (as opposed to traffic yielding to the buses), and pedestrians don't flinch or even notice when the buses drive up on the curbs in the alley way and they're suddenly a foot away from someone walking.

Shops - They don't open on time. 10 am? Maybe 10:15. Y'know, whenever. Being early is seen as strange. You can count on the buses to arrive, but they'll always be late.

Bars - People will dance and make out but very infrequently does it actually lead to people going home together. It's a very different scene over here.

Tipping - Doesn't happen. It makes me feel super cheap. Tipping bar tenders or waiters is essentially unheard of. There's very little respect for them, apparently? Tipping them is seen as being foolish with your money. If you frequent a pub and have become a regular, you can then occasionally "buy one for the staff" by not taking your change after buying your last pint.

Internet - It isn't all that big here. Most places don't have it and popular spots don't have free wifi.

Phones - Not nearly as many fancy phones or iPhones as I expected. Most people have non-flip/or slide phones with minimal screens. I've seen hardly any QWERTY phones.

Escalators - No one walks on them, they all ride ever so slowly. It makes me crazy.

Ringtones - I'm going to estimate that 9 out of 10 people here have the same ringtone and text sound. It's really obnoxious. Everyone seems to have a Nokia phone as well.

Hats - Women wear fancy hats and headpieces here for special occasions.

So that's what I've observed/heard/remembered so far! Hopefully it's interesting to people other than me.

Everything was going very well today. I woke up at 11, chatted with Jacki until about 1, then sat in bed in my jammies editing photos and poking around on the internet. I finally got dressed and decided to go into town to pick up my camera around 5pm. I wander outside to catch the 5:15 bus. I wait and wait. No bus. They've been off lately because of all the Race traffic, so I thought I'd wait around, it may just be very late. 5:45 inches closer and closer, so I stick around to catch that. No dice. 6:10, 5 minutes shy of a full HOUR, the bus rolls up. I was incredibly irritated, what a damn waste of time.

Dramatic street! Dun dun dunnnn

Grouchy and hungry, I get off the bus and buy fries from McDonald's. They were good but too expensive. While I was eating them and walking, a group of guys passed me and one said, "Hey, McDonald's!" Not sure what that was all about. I grabbed my camera from Geraldine and Owen's place, then went back to the bus stop. A riveting trip into town if I do say so. I walk up in time to catch the 6:45 . Except there is no 6:45. So I wait and wait next to a guy that smells like pee, alcohol and cigarettes. It was awesome.

When the bus rolled up shortly after 7:15 it was packed so I stood right next to the driver. I could see my reflection in his mirror and my face was quite stony. Not a good trip.

I made it back home with my camera though, that's what matters. I took a photo of the clouds and the street. That's all I'll be doing. Too lazy to do anything more. Plus I'd like to get crackin' on the photos from the Cliffs so I can share my (photo) experience with everyone :)

Tonight I had a huge amount of pasta for dinner and a piece of butter toast. Steve was having dinner at the same time, so we chatted a bit at the dinner table. He was on his phone for part of the time and he was speaking Irish. It was fun sitting there eating and listening to him talk. I caught a few words this time, I can't remember how to spell them though -_- I need more discipline. Ta siad, I want to say.

Just a reminder that I will NOT have a blog up tomorrow! I know so many people will be very disappointed ;D I'm going to be in Dublin and without internet! I'll be posting a photo tomorrow morning before I leave and then I'll have a great double blog to share Sunday night after I get back home. Rugby match! I'll just be thinking of Friends the whole time 8B hurhurr It's going to be a bus ride this time, not a train. I wish it were a train. I enjoyed that! Oh well, new experiences!

I only have one post today from my day:

5:14 pm: walking: Lazy day, just now leaving the house. Time to pick up my camera!

Sad, right?


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ireland Day 22 - At The Races

It is feast or famine around here. I'm sitting alone, wasting time, or I am out all day and too exhausted at the end of it to actually make a proper post! I'll do my best though.

I'd like to just interject about how expensive things are here. After factoring in how crappy the dollar is doing, then adding in the currency conversion fees, then throwing in the fact that everything here is almost twice as much as it should be at home... money goes very fast.

Today we went to Ladies Day at the Races. The Races being horse races. I have never been to a horse race, so it was quite interesting. It's a week long event, but I guess Ladies Day is especially important. Everyone is supposed to dress really nice, fancy dresses for ladies and suits for the gentlemen. And also: hats. Huge, damn, hats. I was going wild taking as many photos I could of the crazy outfits and the headpieces. It was something.

You're not allowed to bring in any sort of food or drink, so everyone "smuggled" in naggins. Do you know what a naggin is? Apparently it's a measurement of drink. In America (joking, sort of), we'd call that a flask size. I think. Unless I'm completely out of the alcohol loop? I don't know. It's a flask sized bottle, so that's that. The place searches purses, but since I'm cool and wore shorts under my dress I had pockets and didn't have to worry about it. It felt very strange to order a coke with a cup of ice, then go to the bathroom and take a naggin of whisky out of my pocket and pour it into the cup. I'm going to keep the empty bottle as a souvenir. 

Dave reading about the bets and odds and favorites of the various races.

I bet on two separate races. The horse names were so ridiculous. The first horse I bet on was called Miranda's Girl. No joke! It was so exciting. That horse did not win. The second one I bet on was called Lethal Weapon. That one did not win either! I spent €10 and had fun, so I don't really consider that a loss. I will also be keeping the paper thing that says what I bet on.

While at the races today I had the pleasure of getting to know Estella a lot more. She's so sweet! I will search for her on Facebook right now. Ok, added! We shared a fantastic bonding experience over waiting 45 minutes in a queue for the toilet. It was awful. She even tried to bribe a guard to let her go up another flight of stairs to use the toilet reserved for special guests. We were doing the "I'm going to go in my pants" dance pretty hard. It was funny and not funny at the same time. We later found out there was a toilet much closer to our friends with practically no line. This was not nice information to us.

My camera was passed around while we were enjoying the races, so I have some fun and random photos that other people took! This includes one of myself that I quite like that was taken by Roger, a very nice fellow if I do say so. I'm excited to go through them all and post them. I feel like I took some good photos of my new friends :) That'll have to wait until tomorrow though. After I wrap this up I'm going to sleep sleep sleep. I'm not setting an alarm either. Sleeeep.

This weekend there's going to be a slight lapse in blog posts. Just one day though, don't anybody panic. I've been invited to a rugby match that's happening in Dublin on Saturday. I guess I'll be staying until Sunday, and I won't have internet. So! I will take a photo early Saturday morning, then do a double blog post on Sunday when I return. So much to be excited about! I've never seen a rugby match before.

In other news, my legs and butt are killing me. There's been a lot of walking/standing happening the past few days. I'm sore like I've been running! I was hoping to be active while here, so wish granted I guess.


10:35 am: 33 bus: Daydreaming about the potential pictures I can get at the Races today. I am aiming for expressive faces.

1:04 pm: bus: On the way to the Races! I hope it's fun.

3:05 pm: races: There's a horse in the next race called Miranda's Girl!! I'll be betting.

4:46 pm: races: Worse porta potty ever.

8:07 pm: bus home: I need a cheeseburger.

11:54 pm: Quay Street: My camera is staying with Owen and Geraldine tonight. My memory card is with me though.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ireland Day 21 - Something New

As in, "You learn something new everyday". I like this phrase and sometimes it is a good thing learned and sometimes it is a bad thing learned. We're going to file this particular knowledge somewhere in the middle. It would be that overlapping area in a Venn diagram!

This is me: I'm a Miranda! (thanks Andrew xD) I've made new friends in Ireland and I've been having a good time with a drink or two.

This is BuckFast:

This is how I feel after drinking it, apparently:

And this is how I feel about those that told me to drink it:

j/k, Dave is cool :P I didn't have to drink it. It doesn't taste great, it is very similar to cherry cough syrup, but it's drinkable (barely). I didn't have that much. With that said, I assure you that I will never be drinking it again. In terms of other people's horrible drinking experiences, this isn't even bad. It's bad enough for me though because in my drinking world I'm always fine. I forget how it came up, but Dave says, "You may feel a little queasy tomorrow morning, BuckFast does that". Good to know, I think to myself. Later Dave says, "There's caffeine, it'll be hard to sleep" and I say, "I could fall asleep right now, it is 2 in the morning". So he, Roger and I catch a cab home. I blog hastily and then go to sleep.

Now, I wasn't feeling so hot earlier in the day yesterday. It started shortly after we had lunch at Fitz's before getting to the Cliffs. I guess I am really stupid, I probably shouldn't have been drinking when I was already feeling off, but I did anyway so that's that. I get probably the worst night of sleep ever. I kept waiting up feeling like I was about to throw up. A "little queasy" my ass. That was full on nausea. It was ever so special. No, I didn't throw up, but the unsettling feeling lasted with me all through the day at work and into the afternoon. It only went away after I ate Burger King. Strange? I think so.

I tell him, "I don't like BuckFast and I don't like you". So yes, I'll never be drinking that again. It's nasty anyway. He drinks it and is fine, he's just crazy. I'll stick to my new favorite of whisky and coke, thank you very much.

Work today was fun as a result. My fault though. Didn't see that coming. But hey, I'm a responsible adult and I took care of everything that needed to be done! This is what I got to make myself feel better and ate through the day:

I've never seen half loaves of bread. I love it here!

Apparently my pairs of shoes are unfit for the races tomorrow. It was "suggested" that I purchase a new pair to go with my dress. I shuffled around some stores today looking for a cheap pair of black shoes. The girls insisted that I get flats, but I hate those! Uncomfortable and I don't like how they look on my feet. I bought these instead!:

€4. We'll see if they destroy my feet tomorrow or not.

I also bought this to go with it:

Once I meet up with Geraldine and borrow her hairpiece and shawl I'm going to be one classy lady.

I am so tired. Blog this blog that, photos photos photos. I'm ready to go to sleep. I need rest for tomorrow, horse races woo! The girls went today, Emily's not sure if she'll be going tomorrow, so they went with her. Sounds like they had a great time, so that's good! I wonder if I'll win anything :3 I need to find a good way to choose my horses. I'm thinking stupidest names.

I'm going to wrap this up because nothing particularly interesting happened today, other than feeling like I was going to be sick the whole time! I woke up to an e-mail stating I've been invited to the Cataclysm beta, but that's a subject for my other blog.


10:04 am: photo one: Never stopped feeling a little iffy yesterday. It has carried over to today.

12:48 pm: photo one: I have the constant sensation that I have to puke. This is so lovely.

1:55 pm: photo one: Justin Bieber song stuck in my head. Didn't even know the song until last night, those jerks.

3:43 pm: eyre square center: The mannequins here are so freaking creepy.

3:47 pm: Burger King: I'm hoping this food will either make me vomit, thus eliminating the queasy, or it will satiate my stomach, thus eliminating the queasy. Either way I win, I hope.

5:48 pm: walking: I bought €4 shoes to go with my much more expensive dress for tomorrow.

6:28 pm: home: How nice, the internet is out. No uploading, no blogging, no WoW beta. (this is obviously fixed now)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ireland Day 20 - The Cliffs of Moher

That should sum it up! But it doesn't.

This blog should be very long and detailed, but I'm afraid it'll be skimpy tonight and I'll be filling in the details tomorrow. Sorry!

We took an O'Neachtain day tour of The Cliffs of Moher. The tour also visits The Burren and drives through many nice locations. It stops at an Abbey as well as a Castle and a nice little pub for lunch.

I took about 500 photos today. That is going to take me a while to edit through. After arriving back in Galway from the tour I decided I really wanted a drink. Emily, Maisa and I went to the Quays and hung out, eventually being joined by Kenny, Dave and Oien (Oein?). Emily and Maisa are going to the races tomorrow so they didn't want to stay out late. I am apparently foolish, so I decided to stay out a bit longer. The evening was full of ridiculous youtube videos, such as this gem that Andrew shared with me the other day. I used to be totally in the internet loop, I have fallen out a bit. I must fix this.

The Irish people don't like my preferred music either. Apparently I suck for not liking Audioslave, but I say they suck for not liking Nine Inch Nails. We shall agree to disagree.

The Cliffs of Moher are amazing. It feels great to have finally gone out and see something monumental like that. The tour guide was great and overall it was a fantastic experience. We made a few stops on the way, as mentioned above, and had a decent amount of time at each place to take pictures. I took so many pictures. The bus was comfortable enough, but I could have lived without the narrow death wish roads. Once we arrived it was absolutely worth it. We didn't have sun, but we didn't have rain. Visibility was great and the clouds were fairly interesting. Snap snap snap. I felt like I was about to fall off every second that I was walking. It was a bit horrifying. Most places there was a decent amount of space to walk comfortably, but every so often there was about 2 and a half feet of walkway and then certain death plummeting down. I was holding the wall as often as I could. I took the video camera as well as my Nikon, so there's lots of documentation to share :)

I'm drawing blanks of the day because I'm tired. I will edit this with more detail later, as well as more pictures. For now, only one.

They were spectacular.


9:23 am: 33 bus: On our way to town. Cliffs of Moher here we come!

9:25 am: 33 bus: The cows are standing, this means we will have sun!

9:56 am: walking: The sun!!

10:22 am: On the tour bus: Leaving soon!

12:22 pm: The Burren: This is an intense amount of limestone.

1:16 pm: Tour Bus: About 30/40 minutes from Doolin. Lunch there, then the Cliffs!

1:34 pm: Fitz's: Stopped for lunch! I'm hungry!

2:15 pm: Fitz's: Stomach is feeling iffy! Hopefully it passes.

2:44 pm: Cliffs of Moher: Aaah! So great! Looks just like the entrance to the cave where the locket horcrux was. (Fun fact! That IS the shot from Half-Blood Prince! Maisa looked it up when she got home)

3:16 pm: Cliffs of Moher: Astonishing how many people are getting too close to the edges.

3:49 pm: Cliffs of Moher tourist center: That was the strangest bathroom experience.

5:15 pm: tour bus: My butt is sore. I'm ready to stand.

7:04 pm: Da Tang Noodle House: The chopsticks here are weird.

8:08 pm: The Quays: There's a Mickey Mouse head in here! Intentional? Probably not.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Ireland Day 19 - Dominos

Not a lot of pictures today, but we did eat Dominos! I had a buy one get one free coupon that I was anxious to use. Emily arrived in town today, YAY! So we had a girls night in watching Friends, Coach Carter and then Sex in the City while we chowed down on pizza. They arrange the pepperonis here. That was a funny surprise.

They arrange them per slice!

Today was sort of low-key, sort of. Maybe I just think that because I didn't make a lot of on-the-spot updates. Let's review!

Wake up! Go into town. I made a very special shoe swap (Geraldine let Maisa borrow flats so she didn't have to wear heels to the club) and hung out with Owen. We had lunch with Geraldine on her lunch break (they're so cute) and then walked around the square. We ran into Catherine at one point and that was kind of funny. I haven't just ran into someone I knew since I've been here. A little surreal.

I had some errands to run, including getting my wedding shots to Brad and scheduling my tattoo appointment :O I took in a few pictures and was very specific about what I wanted. He didn't write anything down, just a very brief description. I'll see what they draw up and obviously if I don't like it I'll have them change it. August 11th! I'm excited. I know everyone is just so curious to know what it'll be, but surprises are a good thing.

Catherine is lovely inside AND outside ;)

I've been listening to my playlist I made yesterday all day today. I even took my headphones out onto the bus with me! Made things a little more interesting. It was a good time walking around with Owen. Got to know him a bit better. Woohoo for friends! Oh, no restaurants here seems to use sliced cheese, it's all grated. Note to Ireland: it is very difficult to eat a sandwich when the cheese is flying everywhere.

Emily arrived via bus around 2:45 so we met her at the station. I was so excited to see her again! She's awesome. We mosied around and met up with Maisa. Commence more exploring! I didn't take out my camera once because I'm an idiot. A lazy one. Oh well. Just carried around a gradually heavy backpack for no reason. I'm going to be so strong after this trip.

We caught the bus back to the house and hung out over with Catherine for the rest of the night. Today was a good day, relaxing and full of friends (both real people and the TV show! :B)

Moulding around the fireplace at Miriam's.

Tomorrow the girls and I are going to The Cliffs of Moher! Hot damn, I am excited. The video camera is charging and the camera battery is going on next! AHH! The bus leaves at 10:15 and I believe arrives back in town at 5 or 5:30. That's a lot of cliff-y goodness! We also go to The Burren. Mr Martin McDonagh insists I have to go, so I'll be thinking of him while I'm there :)


10:22 am: home: The weather here is too unpredictable. It said rain and fog so I decided not to go to the Aran Islands. Now sunny and rain? Ugh.

11:24 am: home: Wearing pants that are slightly damp.

12:20 pm: 33 bus: The guy in front of me on the bus has a piercing on the back of his neck.

12:44 pm: Outside of Geraldine and Owen's place: Watching a "clamping" officer trying to determine if he can ticket a parked car.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ireland Day 18 - Nature and an 85mm

Today was a day of relaxation and loafing. I slept until around 9, which is odd because I went to bed at 3:30 in the morning. Glad I didn't wake up at noon though! That would have prevented me from chatting with Andrew from about 10-1, which was totally awesome. I finally got in the shower because I was ripe and it was awful. The wedding all day and then party/club made me smell super special. Too much information? I apologize.

My Aero dessert cup. It looks nasty, but I assure you it was delicious.

Before my shower I inspected the bath tub (who doesn't?) and made a horrifying discovery: a centipede on my wash cloth. I beat it to hell with my shoe, but it was very resilient. Maybe the treading on my shoes was too wide, it was a pretty small centipede (but it was still a freaking centipede!), so even though it was half stuck to my shoe its upper half was still moving. BLAH. I scraped it into the trash and squished it through the paper. I proceeded to make another, very thorough, check of the bathroom. I don't need unexpected visitors. I have felt as though I have had bugs on me the whole rest of the day.

I hope no one is offended by feet.

My lunch today was two small frozen pizzas. I realized too late that they were cheese and bacon, not cheese and pepperoni. Bacon. I laughed as I put them in the oven. James, Ireland snuck bacon into my food for you, your job is done. They were surprisingly good! I may buy some more. I couldn't figure out the oven though. It was very foreign. First, you must turn on the power for the oven. Then, you must set the temperature (damn you celsius!), then you must decide exactly how you want the oven to cook your food. It's not just "bake" or "broil". It's options that I don't remember that are represented by symbols that have nothing to do with their meaning! And there were 8 or 10 of them. Is that necessary?

Reusable rose petals from the wedding. I guess they're mine now?

Thank goodness Steve was home. Although, he's only at his house on the weekends (he works up North) and he doesn't use the oven very often, so we had to get out the manual and figure out how to use it together. It was funny.

After lunch I put on Harry Potter again. Half-Blood Prince is a fantastic movie, I really can watch it over and over again. I laid down and pretty much cried through the whole thing, even parts that didn't warrant tears. Then I fell asleep. I woke up in time to see Dumbledore die and proceeded to soak my pillow with tears.

Bedroom door and the keys that I love.

I think it was around 6pm at this point and I had yet to leave the house. So, I grabbed my camera, 85mm lens in tow, and hit the cul de sac! While I was out there I didn't feel like I managed to get very much, but after viewing them on the computer I was pretty pleased. The sun decided to grace me with its presence and I had to take off my coat. I forgot what it was like to be warm outside! Once I was finished with my photographic extravaganza I went to Miriam's house to hangout with Catherine and Maisa. We had a nice time chatting and eating chips! Tortilla chips are so good.

1.4 gives me amazing control over focal points. It's magical.

I took a few more photos after returning home. I made pasta for dinner and it turns out the cheese I bought is not good at all. Disappointing. I muscled through it though. The pepper I used was ground too finely, and the salt had a weird texture. THINGS ARE WEIRD HERE! I don't think the cheese was even parmesan. I may have messed up somewhere.

A strange formation is here.

Either way. I ate it. Cassidy and mom are going to send me a care package. So far it will contain real parmesan cheese, ranch dressing, a phone card and starburst sour gummies. I did laundry today too. Everything is wet downstairs. I need to do laundry sooner so all of my jeans aren't wet simultaneously. I could have hung them outside, but I saw a huge spider and remembered when mom would hang our stuff I always found a damn bug in my pants, so no thank you.

Happy tree is happy! I can see where all of the myths and legends come from, all of the trees here look alive in ways that they shouldn't.

Today had a lot to do with music, it seems. I purchased a few songs on iTunes that Dave sent me youtube links of. I harassed him into showing me some new music and I quite liked most of it. I also bought Florence + The Machine. She's awesome. I made a playlist that I am also very proud of. I took a screenshot of it and sent it to Andrew to brag.

I'm sure you're curious, so there it is.

I am tired! I was skimpy on the updates today too, I'm sorry.

Really neat coasters that belong to Miriam. They come apart in two separate swirls.

3:33 pm: home: Loafing and resting today. Watching Half-Blood Prince again. The score is good. The song that plays for the opening scene that has Harry and Dumbledore makes me tear up, but what's new?

6:28 pm: in front of the house: I smell BBQ. I want a hot dog!

There are some very pretty fake flowers in Steve's TV room.

8:31 pm: house kitchen: I'm making pasta. You have to turn everything on before you can turn it on. There are switches that control the power to the oven and stovetop. If I want hot water for my laundry I have to turn on the immersion just like for a shower.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ireland Day 17 - A Wedding

Woke up very tired this morning, but it was important! Brad had a wedding to shoot today and I was going along as his assistant, aka pack mule.

While unloading the gear, I discovered that we had a hitch-hiker.

We met in the morning and had breakfast while he talked about the order of the day and what he'd need me to do. Weddings are always such an ordeal, they take a great amount of energy. After breakfast we bought sandwiches to eat later (which was a very good idea).

Around 10:30 (or half ten, as they'd say here), we arrived at the bride's house. Actually, first we went to three wrong houses and then we arrived at the bride's house :P Took a lot of photos there before heading to the church, a great old one in the Claddach. The bride had an amazing dress, it was gorgeous. The train was intensely long and so was her train. She was beautiful!

I like this photo, but the more I look at it the more I feel that it looks as though her wrists are broken. Thoughts?

The church was impressive, very old. I was mostly helping Brad and not really taking photos at that point. The ceremony was Catholic, to be sure. It was about an hour and a half and the priest was funny. That took me by surprise. After the ceremony we walked across the street to the long walk on the middle arch and he took bridal party portraits with the Claddach houses set as the backdrop. Looked fantastic.

They had their reception at a hotel in Salthill and that was fantastic too! We didn't stay for long, but the little I saw was absolutely hoppin'! The dinner room was decked out and all of the lights were a moody sort of purple/pink. Sounds hideous, but I assure you it was not. Brad also took a few more bride/groom only photos at a park just across the street from the hotel. Those were lovely with the woods and a small pond/bridge. All in all, a good time and a good day!

Now I am home. I'll be going out before too long because there's a birthday party I've been invited too! Should be a good time :D I hope so at least. It's for Owen, Geraldine's boyfriend. They're very nice people.

Depending on the weather, I may go to the Aran Islands tomorrow or Monday. Currently the plan is to go to the Cliffs of Moher on Tuesday. Hopefully nothing changes there. Wednesday I work, then Thursday it's Ladies Day at The Races! Horse races. So many new experiences. Friday - Monday I have off and I'll be in Cork! Cork Cork Cork. I look forward to it, I hear it's very scenic, which is funny because where I am now is scenic!

Those roses were hands down the most fragrant flowers I have ever had the pleasure of smelling.

We will see.

At the wedding, Brad let me use his 85mm 1.4 lens. :O :O It was awesome. Then, surprises abound, he told me to borrow it and have fun! :O :O :O So now I have an 85mm 1.4 in my employ and boy will I be using it. 1.4. Delicious.

He also lent me a DVD set called Father Ted. I guess it's big here in Ireland? Everyone watches it and thinks it's hilarious? Dave sent me a link to one episode and it was very strange. Now I have the whole three seasons and I'm going to give it a whirl. The one episode I saw reminded me of Monty Python, but funnier? I dunno, I've never found Monty Python to be all that funny. Either way, Father Ted, I'm going to watch it.

I got to talk to my mom on the phone today! I guess Brad has great rates to the states, so he said I could call her after we were done with the wedding. It was nice to dial her number and have her answer, just like when I'm home :)

They were a lovely couple. Congratulations to them!


8:20 am: 33 bus: Almost missed the bus. I was at the corner when it pulled around the bend. I ran at it looking panicked and it stopped. Can't be late today, there's a wedding to tend to!

8:37 am: GBC (a cafe): Blink 182 - What's My Age Again. I haven't heard this song in a long time. I am 24. Yikes.

8:43 am: GBC: This station has played four songs in a row that I like. Unprecedented! It's I 102.4 and they have an iPod/iPhone app.

10:01 am: Gas Station: Irish gas station toilet- just as bad as the ones in the States.

11:16 am: Bride's house: Brad is letting me use his 85mm 1.4 today. Mmmmm. I want one of my own.

2:46 pm: Church: Catholic Wedding! Quite different than any ceremony I've ever attended. What an experience!

4:58 pm: Stalhill Hotel: Jessica's Irish doppleganger!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Ireland Day 16 - Grocery Shopping

What an event, right?

Frosties? Is Frosted Flakes not a good enough name?

Imagine you walk into a Safeway. You feel fairly secure in what to do. But then you start walking the aisles and you realize you suddenly have no idea what you're looking for. You walk to the milk section, it took you a while to find it. Once you arrive all you want is a small carton of fat free milk. But it all just says MILK. You grab the tiniest one you can find, and boy is it tiny, and with a shrug you put it in your basket. You turn a corner and there are suddenly chips. Only variety packs though. "Where are the full bags" you wonder to yourself. "All I want are some cool ranch Doritos!" You spot another brand you're familiar with, so you grab that and run even though it's not your favorite.

Logic dictates that you need more than milk and chips to survive, so you go to the bread section. "Why are the slices so huge", you ponder. One brand is Irish Pride. "Sounds good" so you take that too. Your entire trip is like this, stumbling down aisles labeled 'Tinned Veggies' and 'Baby Goods'. There are Sale tags everywhere but you don't even know what the regular price is. At one point you wake up delirious on the floor after having passed out trying desperately to find the parmesan cheese.

This had better be good or I will be angry.

Finally, your shopping basket overflowing with supposed 'goods', you creep to the front of the store. Paralyzed with fear, you can't tell which aisles are the '10 and under' and which aren't. You step cautiously into a slow moving line, figuring that gives you enough time to step out if you've done something wrong. Almost a minute too late you realize that you have to bag your own groceries and you thank God that you brought a reusable bag. You fumble with your change, unable to tell the difference between a 1 cent a 2 cent, a 1 euro and a 2 euro coin. The woman takes pity on you and accepts €22.16 instead of €22.17 because you can't figure it out.

When you've finally left the store it occurs to you that you're squeezing your loaf of bread like a life line. You quickly slacken your grip and attempt a normal pace back home, breathing deeply because you made it out with food and you just want to go home and eat.

Teeny tiny milk container.

That was my experience at the store today. It was intense.

So here I am, eating my peanut butter and jelly, banana and coke. If that isn't comfortable homesick food then I don't know what is! I miss my friends :( Having fun! But I miss my friends. Oh, and family too :P

I made sure to take pictures of all of the items I bought at the store to show everyone what the packaging looks like. It was incredibly disorienting.


I've been catching the 8:45 bus and that's fine, except there is a very large group of exchange students that catch it at the same time. They are loud, they are inconsiderate, they are teenagers. It makes for an obnoxious ride. I was in a bad mood this morning, so when I got off the bus I didn't take any pictures of the empty streets. Instead I went to The Chocolate Box. They're next door to Butlers Chocolate Cafe. I heard they had good hot chocolate as well. They don't. It was better than the crap I had the other day, but it was nothing compared to Butlers. While at Joyces (the grocery store) I saw that they sell Butlers Hot Chocolate mix. I shall send money to Dave and have him send me boxes once a month!

I got to the studio very early and just sat around. The whole day was kind of like that, very slow and not a lot to do. A lot of people came in asking questions but no one wanted anything. For lunch I tried a pick-me-up by going to an Italian place I'd heard good things about. It was absurdly expensive. I don't know that I'll be going back there. €13.95 for a smallish plate of cannoli. It was good, yes, but not €13.95 good. I think the whole experience would have been better if a huge family with multiple children hadn't been seated right next to me. I was really distracted and the dad kept glancing at me. It was awkward. I was kind of on edge, I really wanted to say "Why do you keep looking at me", but there's no need to be hostile.

The bread is very large. I couldn't see what it looked like because all of the packaging is opaque. 

The streets here are starting to get really full for the Arts Festival and the upcoming weekend. I practiced alternate paths the other day and they've come in handy.

Catherine and Maisa went out to dinner tonight, not sure if they'll be out for a long time or what. I'm assisting Brad on a wedding tomorrow, so I want to make sure to get enough sleep. I was going to do laundry too, but Steve just did laundry so he'll have the drying rack. Phooey. I'm not in crisis just yet, it can wait another day or two. I did go to the grocery store though, that was important.

I felt better after consuming this.

I have another story for you.

On the bus ride home I was being held captive by a frightening looking black wasp. The 33 was very full and traffic was slow. As we made our arduous way around the Square, I took a glance around the bus. To my great horror, I noticed said wasp almost directly above my head between the two open windows. I made a jerking motion and the older woman sitting next to me turned her head toward me ever so slightly, and then shuffled her paper. My eyes darted around the bus and I took in the woman next to me, the people standing next to her in the aisle, the impossibility of my ability to get away from the wasp, and how close the wasp was to me.

I continued to stare at it as we snailed down the road. It would walk along the ceiling toward me, then make an about face and head toward the other window again. A few times it took off for a second before landing again and I would jump horribly, ruffling my seat-mate repeatedly. I was white-knuckling my phone wondering if I'd be able to aim true enough to kill the wasp if it came down any lower on the window. My mind started to race over what would happen if it started to fly at me. Would I knock the woman into the aisle? Are the Irish afraid of bees and wasps? Would they understand? Would someone help me? What if I got stung?

We inched forward and my eyes were glued to the flying beast. I looked down every few seconds to take in the scenery and reassess just how far we were from my stop and how agonizing the ride was going to be. After one such thought I looked up and the wasp was gone. After thoroughly searching the perimeter, I determined that my tormentor had finally gone out the window and I relaxed into my seat.

During my walk into the studio a bird pooed on me a little. Got my hand and my shoulder. I told you all I felt like it was going to happen soon. I was so stunned and amused that I just stood there staring at the crap on my hand before wiping it on my pants.

What a day!


9:15 am: shop street: I think a bird just pooped on me but I only got a little sprinkling.

9:38 am: photo one: Butlers Chocolate Cafe has better hot chocolate than The Chocolate Box.

12:52 pm: photo one: A kid just walked by and ran his slimy fat fingers down the entire wall of windows at the studio, making a very awful screeching noise. He then turned around and walked back, doing it all over again.

2:05 pm: Milano: Trying another Italian place I've heard good things about. I am a pro at eating alone. I wont' know how to hold a conversation over dinner when I get back home.

2:46 pm: walking: I feel very awkward and cheap not tipping.

5:36 pm: but stop: Natives of Ireland are unperturbed by the cold but they still all use umbrellas.

6:49 pm: walking: A little grocery shopping! Should be interesting in its own way!

7:16 pm: walking: Maggie's Irish doppleganger!


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