So It Begins (In Ireland!)

There’s something about enjoying food and drink with one of your best friends while watching a hurling game. Maybe it’s just the food (and drink), maybe it’s just my friend’s enthusiasm, maybe it’s just a break from studying for tomorrow’s exam, but whatever it is, I like it.

Me and ErinIf you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about, because yeah, it’s been forever (OK, so only 5 months), time for a few updates!

  1. I’m officially installed in Cork, Ireland for my semester abroad!
  2. My Early Start in Archeology is almost over (!!!) – hence the exam on Monday.
  3. The summer was pretty cool, but this school year is going to be AWESOME.

The past 3 weeks have flown by. I’ve seen so much, read so much, and just absorbed everything. Visiting a different country is one thing, but living in a different country is so much more complex (and beautiful).

In some ways, living in Ireland isn’t any different from living at home. I’m in my own apartment, I have to buy groceries and cook, and I have a decent walk to classes. Then again, some things are very different. I’m in a single bedroom with only one other roommate (from Dusseldorf), there is no such thing as bulk shopping and food spoils faster because there are fewer preservatives so I have to shop weekly, and it’s a 20-minute walk to campus. Maybe 15 if you have long legs.

Regardless of the differences, I love it here. I feel like I fit in fairly easily, and except for the American accent I’ve been taken for a local a few times. The Irish are very friendly and helpful if you’re a bit lost, and I’ve never seen a more diverse cuisine in restaurants. When it comes down to being comfortable and safe, I can actually call it home.

Yes, I do miss Loyola a bit, especially last week when everyone was posting statuses on Facebook about move-in. Luckily I’ve got a good friend base started here, and I’m sure that once classes begin next week and societies and clubs start up I’ll be very busy and not missing seeing people from home as much.

UCC Main QuadSpeaking of classes, in case you’re wondering what’s involved in an archeology course and why I would be interested in taking one, here are some of the (super cool) things my class got to see and do.

We visited Trim Castle in Co. Meath

Trim Castle

and Newgrange, the oldest Megalithic tomb.

Newgrange

We also saw the High Crosses of Monasterboice,

High Cross

and Christ Church in Dublin.

Christ Church

Another field trip focused on West Cork, where we saw the Garrannes Ringfort, Ballinacarriga Tower House, and Coppinger’s Court, and the Drombeg Stone Circle.

This kind of gives you an idea of the ring-effectTowerhouse

Coppinger's CourtStone Circle

Our most recent field trip was to North Cork. There we saw (and climbed in) the Labbacallee Wedge Tomb and toured the Rock of Cashel, a truly impressive medieval church.

Wedge TombCashel

I realize that was probably an overload of information, but now that I’ve started blogging again I’m going to keep posts about my adventures more focused.

For now though, I have to go back to studying, and try to get over Cork being tied with Clare for the final!

*Note: For more posts and pictures about my travels in Ireland, please visit roryroamingthegreenhills.tumblr.com.

Oh The Places I’ll Go (I Hope)!

Possibly one of the most gratifying and terrifying experiences in college is handing in your Declaration of Major paperwork.

See, deciding what you’re going to do for the next two and a half years doesn’t just mean choosing courses. It also means studying abroad, internships, and how to make yourself wanted, no, needed, by employers.

But let’s forget that super scary stuff and focus on the tantalizing idea of leaving the country. I have a map on my wall (you may have seen it, but not in detail) of all the places I’ve been and all the places I want to go.

So many places to see! And yes, I have a lot of buttons.

Focusing on Europe Yellow - States Traveled; Red - Countries Traveled; Blue/Green - Unexplored

Focusing on EuropeAs you can see, there are quite a few places I want to visit. I read about them in history books, hear about them on Rick Steve’s Travels in Europe, and see them in National Geographic Magazine. I don’t just want to visit, or spend a whirlwind 10 days driving across a country. I really want to absorb the culture: meet the locals, find the forgotten nooks and crannies, connect with the landscape, eat new foods, and just experience life in a different place.

There’s just so much you can learn from people with different experiences from your own.
So without further ado, I will share with you my hopes and daydreams of the inexperienced.

(All photos from this point onward are courtesy of National Geographic and their wonderful photographers)

Iceland

SO PRETTY

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

Because who wouldn’t want to combine insane heat with insane cold? But really, it’s beautiful there.

England – London: Home of Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and so many more inspirational people.

Norway

Norway Forest

Kongsvinger Forest, bit of a hike from Oslo

This is the perfect combination of the Forbidden Forest and Mirkwood. It looks more friendly though!

France – Paris: The Louvre + Art Student = Happiness

Kazahkstan

Astana

Astana

I picked up an NG magazine in the dentist’s office once and bright colors bombarded my eyes, so of course I had to learn more about it. Apparently this is their new capital, very shiny.

Greece – Thessaloniki: Have I mentioned how much I like lamb and baklava?

Morocco

Casablanca Mosque

Casablanca, Hasan II Mosque

Yes, I love the movie. But the culture is so colorful I’d have to stay a week to absorb it all.

Denmark – Kronborg Castle: I’m a huge history/lit enthusiast. So if I’m given the opportunity to visit the castle where Hamlet was set, you can bet I’ll be psyched.

Finland

Finland Sky

By Muoino

That. I want to see that. Stars and light and space. All open. For everyone.

New Zealand - I think I’d have to go all over the island because 1) It’s gorgeous, and 2) Lord of the Rings was filmed all over.

Egypt

Luxor Temple

Luxor

I’m not a huge hot weather person, but seeing those temples and pyramids would be fantastic. To have something towering over you that is so ancient and strong is spectacular.

Scotland – Edinburgh: There are seven (seven!!!) art fests in the summer and just think of all the fresh wool!

Turkey

Istanbul

Istanbul

So maybe I just want to go so I can sing this song by They Might Be Giants. Just kidding!

Australia – I’d have to see Melbourne, but koalas, kangaroos, penguins, and red rocks are at the top of the must-see list.

Madagascar

Boababs

Avenue of the Boababs

Between The Little Prince and Zaboomafoo memories of my childhood, I’d say seeing this island beats the Bahamas.

Ireland - ALL OVER.

It’s weird how I say the least about the place I want to go to most. If I could only go to one country on this list (and there are more pins on the map than countries listed), it would be Ireland. I’ll save my reasoning for my Study Abroad application, I don’t want to give them any spoilers!