Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Becoming a Prolific Blogger (aka, The Art of Procrastination)

After my semi-fiasco uploading the video, I thought I’d stick with wordy blog posts for the time being…I’m much better at writing than at compressing videos, as it turns out! Please forgive the insane length…


I have some random commentary on life to start, and then some specific stories about life, so stick with me for a bit!


It’s funny how similar life is here compared to home, and yet also how different…a lot of the clothing trends are exactly the same (jeans and boots about), and students here love Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch (popular brands at home, which I’m not particularly a fan of).  I always laugh a bit when I see those shirts because they usually say “NYC” or “SoCal” – yay for America!  But then it’s also a bit different – girls really like wearing shorts with tights underneath (especially bright or patterned tights); I don’t see that so often in the states.  Also, I saw a Guinness Truck driving around on our campus today, loaded with barrels of Guinness – that would not be so normal on campus at home!  I mean, the fact that we have a Student Pub on campus (between the business school and the international building) speaks to the differences between Ireland and Baltimore!


A huge difference I noticed is in regards to my lab/practical courses – in each of my three classes (I’m just going to call them all labs, because the practical is just a shorter lab…), I am required to wear a lab coat – think, doctor in a hospital, white lab coat.  However, I am not required to wear pants or closed-toe shoes!  If you walk into a lab on Hopkins’ campus wearing open-toed shoes, you literally have to go home and change into sneakers or boots.  I wore flip-flops to two separate labs last Tuesday, and no one said anything!  I actually couldn’t believe that one…it seems like they care about keeping the students shirts clean, and that’s about it (goggles are also not required or even available for use, as far as I could tell).  Very strange…


Alright – story time!  This past weekend was pretty full, and very fun, regardless of the weather.  It was chilly and rainy on Saturday, but Sarah & I hopped on the bus to go to a farmers market in Temple Bar.  We got apples and veggies for our fridge, as well as lunch (she had quiche and I had a scone – hers was better!), but a lot of the vendors were leaving/already gone by the time we got there around 1:30 (my fault – I didn’t want to get out of bed…dangit!).  I’m excited to go back next weekend – she went the weekend before and said it was much more crowded, with much more cool stuff to look at, when it wasn’t raining.  On our bus ride home, we stopped at Tesco for other groceries like peanut butter.  Sarah was the one keeping an eye out for Tesco and she nearly panicked when she saw one because she had zoned out for a second, so we ended up at some random street going to Tesco; it worked out because there was a bus stop right down the road, so we were ok with getting back.


That night we had invited Hillary and Alex, both from the IFSA program, over for mac & cheese (Sarah found a fantastic recipe for stove-top mac&cheese with nutmeg, yum!)…however, the timing got a bit messed up because we were doing laundry by the boatload, and because our roommates were having a dinner party, also!  We ended up starting the cooking process at 8 when we had said dinner at 8:20, so there was a lot of running around the kitchen going on for those twenty minutes…but we got it done, and it was delicious!  So much food…I swear that recipe must be for 12 portions or something! (Score one for having a million Tupperware containers for leftovers!)  We had a great time hanging out with them – they both commented that we (Sarah & I) act like an old married couple, which brings me back to a slightly amusing story from earlier that evening – we didn’t have enough coins to do laundry (six washers-full, four dryers) so we went to Centra to get our bills changed into coins.  The guy at the counter was the same one Sarah gave two 20s to earlier in the year, so he definitely remembers both of us (I’m pretty sure he thinks we’re hysterical).  We asked him to change the money, and he said sure so we simultaneously said, “Thanks so much!” He just looked at us and laughed…


DETOUR! I just remembered another story with the Centra guy – I was there with Sarah the other day (we always end up in there together), and she was paying for everything. I zoned out for a minute and thought that she was completely done and ready to go, so I started to walk out.  Sarah said, “Where are you going?!” and I turned back around, so completely confused.  The guy behind the counter was already laughing, so I responded, “I’m leaving you!” to which he said, “At least she’s being honest…”  I swear this guy must think we’re just ridiculous – we always have crazy encounters in Centra! Man…


Back to the weekend!  Sunday was spent at a free event hosted by the UCD International Office – the Dublin Adventure Tour!  Wenjun, one of my Chinese roomies, came with me (Sarah had a trip with one of her classes, so she couldn’t join us) which was awesome – more bonding time!  The group was originally supposed to be 20 but it ended up being 12 instead, so we stayed as a single group (instead of splitting into two), which made the day way more fun, I think.  We started the day with a hurling lesson on a nearby field – the two tour guides and an older gentleman taught us how to play the traditional Irish game of hurling.  I learned how to hit the ball (sliotar) with the stick (called a hurley), and how to pick it up off the ground without using my hands – however, it was the first time I had worn clothes-toed shoes since smashing my toe so I was a bit uncomfortable.  I sat out the rest of that portion, taking pictures instead of the little competitions that the other students played, which was actually really fun (so no worries, I don’t feel deprived or anything).  After hurling, we got on the bus and drove to Brennanstown to see the Brennanstown Dolmen, which is similar to the Brownshill Dolmen we saw on the Paddywagon tour.  However, the similarity lies only in the physical building – not in the manner of getting there.  We had quite a time getting there – really put the “Adventure” in the “Adventure Tour!”  We had to climb over a fence, walk alongside the Luas, go under the Luas, and then walk down through what looked like a rainforest (someone said “Oh my gosh we’re in the rainforest of Dublin!”) and over a little river to get to the field where the Dolmen was hiding.  The river part posed a pretty large problem – it had flooded quite substantially because of the rain, so we had to climb on tree branches along the water, over rocks, and through bushes to get to the other side!  The Dolmen itself was a magnificent structure, so I’m glad we made it through!  Coming back was even more interesting…there was a swing on the side of the river we were going back to to return to the bus, so some people thought it would be ok to use rocks to get halfway across the river and then swing over the other half.  It worked for most of the people, but Wenjun actually ended up knees-down IN the river!  Whoopsies…the decision was made to bring us back to UCD to allow everyone to get changed (Wenjun wasn’t the only one who got wet, but she was definitely the reason we stopped to change) before heading over to the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire to visit another farmers market for lunch!  The same booth that Sarah bought the quiche at on Saturday was present at this market, so I got the quiche for lunch that time (yum – such a good decision)!  It was great to be in Dun Laoghaire because it’s right on the sea, so the smells really reminded me of home (where I can see the Long Island Sound from my front door) – made me miss home a bit, too.  The last stop of the day was at the Dalkey Castle for a theatrical tour, which ended up being hysterical!  Two characters – a queen and Rupert, the archer – led us through the church and castle.  When the queen greeted us, she demanded, “Will you not curtsy and bow before me?!” so we got pretty involved in the whole production – going under a door in the church, we each had to shout “Good fortune!” so we would have good fortune in our lives.  When she brought us into the castle, she inspected each of us for diseases – first by listening for “spirits” in the hair of the visitors while we were singing.  When she got to one of the Chinese exchange students, JJ, she announced that she had heard spirits rattling and then said, “It is widely known, Lord JJ, that spirits enter through the hair. The only way to get rid of them is to cut it all off!”  JJ’s response was hysterical – as she was pretending to sharpen her scissors, he goes “Is it free??”  We all started cracking up – including the actress!  Rupert also demonstrated the terrible hygiene commonly found in the time period in which the castle would have been active – including cleaning a plate by spitting on it, and cleaning clothes by dipping them in urine. Gross!  It was a great tour, and a fantastic end to the day. J


Alrighty I’m going to let you fabulous people get on with your life now – hope you didn’t get too bored…enjoy the pictures!



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