The last two days have been absolutely ridiculous, but in the best way possible. First, to explain the title of this post: things are so expensive here. Thank god for my mom’s clearly outlined budget for my weeks here, otherwise I’d be blowing through my banking account faster than you can say “Guinness.” Cab fare, drinks, food, water… It all can really add up over here. I’ve also heard the song from which I stole my title a surprising amount of times this past week, so it all seems kind of fitting.
Anyway, a few things I’ve noticed about life over here –
1. The sayings are kind of funny, but I’ve already noticed myself saying the word “toilet” instead of “bathroom.” A list of differences I’ve found so far:
- Timetable = class schedule
- half ten = ten thirty (or any other hour)
- pre-drinking or “prinking” = pregaming
- jumper = sweater
- wellies = rainboots
And many more…..
2. Driving on the left side of the road can be so confusing when trying to cross the street. I have to look both ways about fifteen times before I can really feel sure enough to cross the street.
3. Although Galway is technically a city, it’s got a very cozy village-like feel, which is really comforting and welcoming to a traveler like me. All of the Irish people I’ve met have been so friendly, nice, and helpful to me if I have any questions. They’re such a hearty and hardy bunch of people: they’ve been through rough times, and their current recession is a present day example, but they’ve all got a positive spirit and confidence that they’ll push on through just as they always have.
My apartment. Just kidding.
I also set up my timetable for the semester, and I finally get to celebrate the fact that I have no Friday classes! Class schedules are pretty confusing – one class can meet once on Wednesday at 2 in one room, then again on Thursday at 4 in a completely different building. Not at all like America. I’m taking five classes: The Rise of Modern America, Medieval Ireland c. 5-9th century, Aristocratic Women in the Medieval Era, Study of the English Language, and Human Geography. I’m actually pretty excited for these classes; they all seem really cool (sorry History nerd geeking out). The first couple of days have gone okay.. there was some confusion yesterday on where and when my first class was meeting that ended in me walking around campus for half an hour having no idea what I was supposed to be doing. You know the whole part about how Irish are supposed to speak English, and I wouldn’t have to deal with learning a new language? Yeah. Well all the buildings on campus are named in Irish, so I can’t even pronounce them when I’m walking around campus looking for them… so it can get kind of frustrating. But I suppose I’ll survive.
After classes on Monday, I took a bit of a Kat nap and woke up just in time to get ready to go out. My apartment-mates, Amy, Rachele, and Orla, asked Katie and me about five times each if we were going out that night, and we eagerly nodded yes. Apparently, the first Monday night of the semester is huge in Galway. We decided to do what everyone was going to do that night: go clubbing. So I donned some high heels and a hot outfit for my first real night in Galway. Our roommates took Katie and me to a pregame at some of their friends’ apartment, and gradually more and more girls came, all of them dressed to the nines. They all looked so cool, so I was a little bit intimidated. However, they were all really nice and friendly to us and were very intrigued about fraternity and sorority life over in the States, asking me a lot of questions. After a while, we piled into the cabs to take us to this club called Carbon. However, literally every other student in Galway had the exact same idea to go to Carbon, so we decided to skip the insane line and go to another club called Coyote’s. Even though everyone and their brother had gone to Carbon, Coyote’s was still pretty packed. After a while though, I got bored and lost interest in running away from aggressive Irish boys, so I took a cab home and went to bed. I woke up at 5 am to my roommates’ friends talking loudly downstairs and couldn’t fall back asleep. They burst into my room, one of them asking,”Are you the blonde American?” Why, yes. Yes I was. Three of them stayed in my room to chat while I snacked on popcorn for a while. One rather flamboyant friend of Rachele’s, named Gavin, entertained us with some pretty funny antics, but then I kicked everyone out at 7 to sleep. I woke up an hour later, severely regretting my decision to have a 9 am history seminar, but I forced myself to get up and go. It was actually an interesting class, but by the time it was over, I was exhausted from last night and slept for most of the day. Earlier tonight, our group of API students went to Monroe’s pub for pizza and Irish set dancing. We listened to traditional Irish music and watched people do some funny dance moves, but I went home early to sleep. My legs and ankles are exhausted from walking so much, so I’m really physically exhausted as well as potentially still getting over jetlag.
Overall, I’m loving it here. My roommates are so sweet, outgoing, and love to have fun, so I know I’ll get along with them really well. Our apartment is set in a townhouse style, with the first floor having the kitchen/living room and a bathroom, and the second and third floors each have two bedrooms and a bathroom. The building is pretty new, but Katie and I seem to be having trouble really figuring out the whole idea of having to physically turn on the hot water heater set to a timer, which has resulted in some brutally cold showers.
The weather here has been nearly always grey. The sky seems almost always covered by one massive, misty cloud. There are three stages of misty Irish weather: low hanging fog, misty rain that is super light but seems to be coming from all directions, and slightly heavier rain that definitely comes from above. Everyone got a nice treat of seeing the sun today for the first time in a week, a really welcome blessing. Also, if you are to learn one lesson from this post, know this: never try to keep up with or outdrink an Irish person. They will always win. While thankfully I have yet to make this mistake, I definitely found out how hard people go in this country last night. It was a lot of fun, but I’m not sure my body could handle drinking as much as some of the people I saw last night. Time to catch some z’s and get ready for more classes tomorrow! Cheerio.