Convenience stores really are so convenient…
Hi again! So d’you remember when I said in my video that we were going into the city to register with the Garda? Well that turned out to be one big failure – apparently the Garda had double-booked all of our appointments, so we all get to devote seven hours or so to going by ourselves and “queuing” (at least “queuing” sounds nicer than “dying waiting around in a line”…). The Garda registration process sounds scarily similar to getting your drivers license, at least in the part where you wait around for literally hours to sign a sheet of paper and move on. So silly.
The Adventure Weekend was excellent – an adventure from start to finish! I went to my vet class, where we dissected a chicken, and then hustled back to my dorm to do some last-minute packing before I was supposed to meet Maria from the IFSA-Butler Dublin office in the city. She called me before I left, however, and offered to come pick me up – of course I jumped at that option, so I went to wait outside for her. Twenty minutes or so later (darn traffic!) she showed up, and we booked it back to her residence to pick up her sister Isabelle, who joined us for the adventure weekend, before getting on the road forreal. We headed to Galway, which is just about directly across Ireland from Dublin horizontally; we were planning on picking up another girl who couldn’t skip class Friday in Galway. The poor student, though, was going to take a bus into Galway (she’s studying at the University of Limerick), and the bus never came! So sad…so we ended up just driving around Galway towards the final destination, The Killary Adventure Centre. (Side note – you know you’re assimilating into a different culture when you start adopting their spellings à I just typed “centre” on the first try instead of “center” ahh!) Most of the ride was pretty laid-back, minus the part where a car with four boys in it pulled up alongside us, then dropped back behind us, and then pulled up alongside us for a second time – with one of the boys mooning us! Insanity…but after that Maria, Isabelle, and I stopped for dinner at a pub in a small village – I got chicken in gooseberry sauce. Yay for new experiences that turn out well – the gooseberry sauce was excellent.
Here’s where my silly blog title comes into play – after dinner (and delicious apple-blueberry crumble with ice cream for dessert), the three of us walked right across the street into Centra. Centra has to be the best little convenience store ever, because everything is super cheap and pretty delicious. I had to laugh a bit that such a small town would, of course, have a Centra…so we went into Centra to get bottled water, because (according to Maria) the water at the Adventure place was going to be pretty awful tasting (she didn’t lie!). I misunderstood her when she said we were buying water – I thought we were picking it up for everyone, but she actually meant for the IFSA-Butler staff (but she bought me a bottle, too!). Score for having to go late in the day – I got delicious (free) dinner and a huge bottle of filtered water out of it! J
We pulled into the Killary Adventure Centre at right around 9 pm, after some crazy driving on insanely windy/small roads (it was very similar to the roads in North Stamford, but without trees – just brush – on the sides of the road). Maria actually asked if I was getting nervous, so I explained to her how my brother, James, wants to be a fighter pilot for the Navy (for which he will start training the first week of November!), and how I used to drive around with him all the time, so basically no one else has the power to scare me in a car any more…anyways, the first activity I participated in, then, was the “table quiz” (aka trivia) up in the dining room. While it was pretty fun, and I met someone from Bridgeport (this is one insanely small world, seriously), it took way too long so everyone basically gave up around 11:30 and bounced. Bedrooms for the students were similar to what I expect to find in a hostel – six people to a room with three sets of bunkbeds, with a bathroom inside the room – but the staff member rooms looked more like a regular hotel (lucky)…one of the perks of being older & wiser, I suppose.
Saturday was jam-packed with awesome activities that have left me sore pretty much all over (and this is Monday morning – jeez!). I joined Sarah and four other girls in Clay Pigeon Shooting/Archery in the morning – we had Gabriel from Chile as our instructor. The shotgun we used for the clay pigeon shooting was the first gun I’ve ever held; it was really an interesting experience. I managed to hit three of the targets (once Gabriel told me to cover the pigeon with the little dot at the end of the shotgun, it got much easier) – pretty decent for the first time using a gun, I think. It was really cool, but also difficult, so archery was a nice break – the targets are a) huge and b) stationary! In our points-counting competition, I came in fifth, so I don’t think I’m going to become a master archer any time soon…but it was the first time I’d ever fired a bow, too, so I can now check off two things from my bucket list. J After lunch back at the centre, I headed off in a group of 15 (four boys, eleven girls) to engage in Laser Combat Sports! Such an epic game of laser tag has never before been played (or, at least, I’d like to think so) – we all suited up in one-piece camo cover-alls and painted our faces green and black, and headed out into the woods. Thank GOD for rain boots (excuse me, Wellies) – they saved my leggings underneath from destruction via mud. The first game we played was supposed to be a free-for-all (we had already been split into two groups, but they told us to wait on the group part)…however, with eleven girls, that had no chance of happening. Most of us soon formed one big alliance against this one guy who had THE biggest gun, and had positioned himself atop a hill, acting as a sniper and picking us all off. Seven or eight of us ended up storming the hill and taking him out – it was hysterical. After that we started playing a real game – green team versus red team. I was on the green team, which had eight members – four of whom were boys. The red team was pretty upset about that (their group was composed of seven girls), but the guys running the games reminded them that feminism means that they are “equal” and thus they did not give the girls team any guys. It was pretty hysterical…so we began the game, and ended up winning (of course!) After playing a couple more games and getting absolutely covered in mud, we called it quits for the day and headed back to the centre for showers and dinner!
Saturday evening involved a bunch of waiting, because there was to be a disco of some sort but no one knew when it would start. After playing a few games of spoons, we went downstairs and listened to some people jamming on their guitars – there were three guys and a girl who were all really talented playing. We hung out downstairs for a while (sitting on a pool table), and then went back upstairs to see if the disco was starting – it was. Funny note – when we went upstairs, “Marry You” by Bruno Mars was being played both by the guitarists downstairs and the DJ upstairs! We danced around to all the awesome songs that the (rather old) DJ was playing for a while; I ended up going to bed at midnight, but I think I may have been the first person in the entire centre in bed! (I’m so boring). It was quite a fun day…
Sunday was very chill – woke up at 9:15 to get breakfast, and then hung out at the centre instead of doing any activities (because it was raining and foggy outside, and we wouldn’t have had enough time to shower before leaving for Dublin again). I played a lot of solitaire (with actual cards), and a bunch of people ended up watching me – everyone was so tired that it was the most fascinating thing going on in the room for a while. We had sandwiches for lunch around 1, and then headed out at 2:30 on a coach bus back to Dublin. The ride was about five hours long, and they dropped us off right in the city centre, so we had to catch bus 39a home to UCD. It was a wonderful, exciting, full weekend – I’m so glad that I got to go!!
Sorry for the delay in posting this – I’ll try my best to be faster in the future! J