This is my last blog post from Ireland in 2013. In two days, I will be flying home to good ol’ Graham, WA. These past three months have been some of the greatest of my entire life, and I would not trade my experiences for anything. I know that the people I have met here are going to be some of my best, longest-lasting friends in the world.
Last Friday, the Americans had our last big group outing. Most of the ones from Stranmillis and Queen’s went to Winter Wonderland in the city. We were given free vouchers to ice skate, for food, and for one ride. The ice skating a was a bit dodgy because the skates were rubbish and the ice was not very clean. I cannot complain much though because it was free! The food definitely made up for the ice skating. I had a German sausage which was to die for! The rides were pretty basic; they were like anything you would find at your small local town fair. It was nice to get together with everybody one last time before we all have to head back to America. I am the only one staying for a second semester so it was our final group outing. Hopefully we can all stay in touch in the future because they all are really great people!
Vicky’s boyfriend Peter unfortunately had to leave on Monday, but the time he was here was grand! We spent a lot of time relaxing around the flat just talking about random things (and watching Strictly Come Dancing!). We went out one night while he was here and it was so much fun. It was not anything major like going out to a club, but we went to a local bar called the Parlour. We just sat around the table “shootin’ the shit” and enjoyed the moment. Sometimes, you just need a simple night out with the people closest to you.
Our flat decided to do a Secret Santa for Christmas this year. Last night, some of us exchanged our gifts and I found out that one of my closest friends – Danielle – had my name. She ended up getting me an Irish teddy bear and a Guinness mug. If any of you are not aware, I am a pretty sentimental guy so it really meant a lot to me. I will definitely be taking Arthur with me to WSU next year!
The last week of classes for 2013 has been pretty good. Two of my lectures have been cancelled and I have been given massive clues as to which subjects will be on my exams in January. One of my lecturers actually gave us the six questions that are on the exam so we know exactly what to study for! The exams, or “finals,” here are quite different from those back home. I am used to a final being a set of multiple choice questions on the most recent topics covered in the course (which happen to like). Here at Queen’s, exams are administered over the course of two hours, and in those two hours you are to answer two of six questions in an essay format. A good majority of the modules at Queen’s follow this format for their exams. I have been fortunate enough to have lecturers that drop strong hints as to what I need to prepare for, so hopefully I will do alright!
In my mind I keep thinking that I am leaving for good, when in reality it is only for three weeks. That goes to show how much I love this place and the people I am with. The thought of being away from them for the greater half of a month upsets me. They really are family. And I do not want to leave them.