Monday, December 20, 2010

The most stressful day of my life.

I waited out in the Cork aiport for the full ten hours, but I never did get to Heathrow. My flight got the go ahead at 4 0'clock, but I had no connecting flights afterward, and I would have been stranded with thousands of other passengers until Christmas day just to get home. My Dad, bless his heart, went online and bought me a new plan ticket for Thursday out of Dublin. The battle is still not over, because it's supposed to snow all week and Dublin is not missing out on all the fun. I just pray that it will work out and I make it home for Christmas.

Ya know what? I almost wish I had made a 10 hour airport blog! Eventually another American student came over and asked to share the table/plug in, and I was all for it. We both sat there, letting the other person rant all they wanted and just giving each other support. The highlight of the day was when a man came over and asked if we could watch his bags. I said sure, and so he dropped off a bag and walked off. I called after him, but he ignored me. I started panicking like crazy! You don't do that in an airport, for heaven sakes, it could have been a terrorist dropping off an explosive. The situation was completely unusual, and so I called down an employee, who acted as if it was no big deal whatsoever. If it had been in America, there would of been police all over that thing! In the end, the guy came over and started laughing (my new friend went after him and asked about the bag). I had to explain to him that "where I come from, you don't do that." After it was all cleared up, I sat down again to wait for news about my flight.

After it was confirmed that I would not be going home until Thursday, I took it upon myself to find a B&B. Then I remembered the ones right across the street from UCC, so that's where I went. However, the journey was excruciating. My bus stopped at Parnell Place, and at first I had this notion that I could walk all the way over to Washington Street, but I wasn't even 1/3rd of the way there before I just wanted to break down from all the stress on my shoulders and arm. I had to pull a huge luggage bag, and a smaller one that wasn't light, either. Eventually I made it to Grand Parade, where all the Taxi drivers sit to wait for customers. I was so exhausted to the point where I couldn't even pull my luggage up to the curb. The cab driver had to get out and walk all the way around the car just so he could get them into the trunk. I probably made at least twenty short stops along the way, because it felt like I was trying to break my shoulders off, and carrying the little suitcase with one arm wasn't working out. Yeah, I'm making this all long and drawn out, but it really was a mess, especially since the streets were crowded, and I had previously bruised my upper leg while trying to get my larger bag into the storage bin under the side of the bus (it opens up like a hatch back, only on the side).

So that was my long and probably one of the worst days of my life. I really hope it only gets better from here on out now. I passed out once I hit the bed and turned on the TV. It's nice to be in Cork again, and not having to travel elsewhere just to make a flight until Wednesday night/Thursday early morning.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I'm chilling out at the Cork Airport for about another 8 and a half hours. That is if my flight goes through at all. My 7:30am was canceled (I would be taking off by now!), and the next airplane won't be until 3:20pm. I'm very tempted to make a blog titled "Ten Hours at the Airport," and each entry would be listing some interesting sight seeing, odd gifts in the shop, and anyone who tries to steal my luggage. Oh, and all the tasty goodies I've stuffed into my mouth over the course of those ten hours. However, I'm too tired, and too lazy, and uncreative at this stage. So that idea is pretty much out.

I was lucky enough to find more money in my bank account than previously thought! I was also able to keep 5 of the 20 euro I had saved for the taxi, which helped paid for my subway. When my computer died, I meandered over to the Subway counter and found plug ins, so now I can use my laptop again. The airport computers cost euro, which I find rather ridiculous. Nothing, not one thing is free in Ireland. It always has a price tag on it. Want to eat in at a fast food restaurant? They charge you almost a full euro extra!

I'm eager to purchase a drink somewhere. I'm dying of thirst, and I have a sinus infection to boot. Coughing is not my favorite hobby. :/

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little last tidbits and snipets

Five days to go, almost four. The past few have been decent/disappointing. Monday I was out for 7 hours walking around while buying those last few Christmas presents with a friend, and ending my night at Boole 2 to watch Miracle on 34th Street. Yesterday I went to bed in dull aching pain that persisted for most of yesterday until I found out that Aleeve makes that sort of burning sensation go away. It's weird that it wasn't just a working out/sore muscle feeling, but as if my whole body had caught on fire. I was miserable, and it didn't help that I should of started on my four essays. :/

Today I was feeling a lot better, and this morning I started reading Sherlock Holmes for my Victorian paper. I'm hoping to get three essays out of the way by Saturday, but it's going to take a lot of effort and possibly an all nighter to get the job done. I plan on staying up pretty late tonight, sleeping at a decent hour tomorrow, and then staying up late again Friday night/Saturday morning.

My roommate Jayme is going home Friday around 4am. Then I'll be heading to the airport around 4:30am on Monday, and Jillian will be the last leave around 1pm. It'll be a bittersweet departure, but in all honesty, I am very looking forward to having my own room and a quiet house again. That is for one day, because 24 hours after I arrive in KC, I'll be heading to Utah, and I know deep down that it will be a rowdy, but fun reunion. :)

Some interesting Cork facts:
1. It's common for most teenagers and young adults to add "like" and "so" to the end of their sentences. Example: "That's grand like" or "Are we going to the store so?"
2. Grand is used a lot as well. It's very Irish!
3. Crepes are really popular. I just got one for the last time at the crepe/doughnut/ice cream stand in the mall. Lemon, sugar, and butter are a favorite, as well as nutella.
4. Jaywalking is illegal, but no one in the city upholds this rule. In fact, I've seen Garda (policeman in Irish) crossing the street before the light turned green.
5. Lots of street vendors full of food and crafts pop up every friday through Sunday in December to try and bank in on the holiday season.
6. It's not uncommon for dogs to walk around without a leash. Many of them are well behaved and stick to their owners!
7. Bacon is called rashers. An Irish breakfast is called a full fry-up.
8. Irish sharp mature cheddar. Oh so good. Go buy some!
9. There are trucks around here, but not as big as the ones at home.
10. College transcripts aren't delivered until February. :/

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A real goodbye.

Outside of skirts made of green,
inside, the heart of cities muff-
collide in shades of brown, yellow, and rose.

Hard pavement walkways,
tender footed sandy beaches,
seagulls call all snowy white,
and so it ends-for me.

I breath-look-ponder to stare,
blurred lines stir themselves even,
while the loud daily man echos "decO!"
He no longer reeks of annoyance.

Butter tender as the cows themselves
Cadbury's swirling chocolates wrapped in ecstasy
fried, salted bacon. Egg yolks turned to fluff.
Mmm....the dream of a lost American.

Shamrocks do not phase me,
leprechauns do not stir here.
This isn't any stereotype that I can imagine,
save what's left of the beer. Or stout.

Feisty winds of stinging pleasure,
winter's cold is doused with good measure,
and I hate it-and love it-and embrace it all the more!

Saluting ye off to a depressing start,
and onwards on, only time will tell.
So goodbye, dear Cork. Thanks ever so. Thanks a million.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paris part deux

I totally forgot to finish my story about Paris. What a dork-ack.

So the next morning, Sarah and I got up for breakfast downstairs. We had crunchy/flaky/moist bread with butter and jam. It was so so good! Before we're about to leave, Ben calls us to say he was already at Notre Dame, which surprised me because it was only 9:30am. It turns out that I had set our alarm via Cork time, and Sarah and I were running an hour late (the time was really 10:30am). So rush rush rush we went!

We started off in the right direction, and kept on walking until I started to doubt our route. I called Ben again at one of the many street corners, and he said to look for an M, which just so happened to be right in front of us! Down the steps, ticket in the machine, and to the train we ran. Then we waited...and waited. Finally, 5-10 minutes later, it came, and so we hopped on. For a split second that is.

Sarah asked for the map, and then said: "What if if this isn't the right direction?!" I then yelled: "Ok then! Let's get off!" I jumped. Her hands were nearly out as the door tried to slam shut. She pulled back, looked at me with a "oh well" before the train rode off. Crap.

I stood there in panic, wondering what Sarah was going to do. The next train came along, so I got on and looked about at each of the next three stops to see if she decided to wait for me there. I was finally at Place D'Italie, and not knowing if the train went to or near Notre Dame, I got off and started towards the next metro. It was pouring down snow, and the wind was terrible. I tried calling Ben, but at this point I had no phone minutes left, and I couldn't add anymore with my credit card. So onto the next metro stop I went, using the second to last my train tickets. I walked all around looking at my map and then at the signs, but none of the destinations matched up, and there was only one ticket left in my purse. Since the chances of my getting on the wrong train and winding up lost were high, I decided to go back to the B&B, call Ben and wait to see what would happen.

It took me 15 minutes to find the right train back to Kremlin Bicetre. Once I had made my way down a pair of stairs where an old woman sat with a basket. She spoke to me in an extremely low, battered- almost smoker like voice that sent chills down my spine. I kept on walking in a daze, trying to figure out where I was going. At one point I realized that I was about to hop on the wrong train, and turned around to find that the old woman had followed me! I waited for her to bend over to where she had been sitting before sprinting up the stairs just as a crowd of people walked on by.

Here's the deal. The train that goes to Kremlin Bicetre doesn't always go that way, for it also has another direction to go to every other time (basically there's two tracks that split off). I found the train, but I didn't know how to check which direction it was going to go. So I just hopped on it anyway, and as we were riding out, a man pointed to the map above the interior of the glass doors, running his finger from where we were to Kremlin Bicetre. You should of seen my face light up like a Christmas tree! I swear, Jesus did it. He told that man to show me the way- or maybe not, but seriously, it was a miracle.

So I got back to the B&B frozen stiff, but grateful none the less, and called Ben with Pellay's telephone. He decided to wait at Notre Dame and he would call me back when she got there. 20 minutes, and Pellay said I had a phone message that "she was safe." I called back, and then waited an hour for their return to come and pick me up.

So that was my Saturday morning. The rest of the day couldn't have been better. Sarah and Ben showed up, and we headed to the Musee D'orsay. I got to see Van Gough and Monet, sculptures, and all kinds of surrealism type art. The best part was seeing Van Gough's portrait of himself. I just wanted to stare at it all day! His artwork is so cool, and fresh-it somewhat reminds me of the colorful and happy things that I enjoy drawing myself. The only disappointment was that half of Monet's collection had been taken to another exhibit- in London I think-, including his work of the woman and her parasol (my favorite). Oh, and we also had a snack at Cafe' du Lion! They have the best hot chocolate ever. It was sooo good. Nom nom nom.

Afterward, we went to the Champs Elysees- which is probably like New York, in that it's a huge long street just filled to the brimful of giant shops and tiny cafes and bakeries. At the end is the Arc de Triomphe, which I took pictures of in the middle of the street! Then we crossed, and headed over to a small bakery known for their tasty macaroons (tiny oreos made with flaky pastry dough, and filled with wonderful things). Oh it was splendid!

Ben left us to go do homework, and Sarah and I went to the Eiffel Tower. Can I not say just how great-grand-stupendous-amazing-insightful-adorable-it was?! I bought our tickets to go to the very top, but the stop was on the second floor. We rode in a cart that travels up the left side of the tower, got off, and just looked down. It was heaven! The whole city of Paris just lit up with beautiful colors. I could see Notre Dame from far away, and all the other great monuments that littered the city. The cold kept us uneasy, so up to the top we went (you have to get on another cart to go there), and it turned out that it was warm and cozy (it was enclosed with heaters). That's one thing I didn't like about Paris- a lot of places do not have heat, including parts of the airport! It was 20 degrees, and I had to freeze inside half the time I was there.

Anyways, I loved it so much, and I'm so glad I went! The tourist in me was fulfilled, especially after purchasing a beret and a new hand bag. We were running late to see Ben, so there wasn't much time to stop for crepes as we had originally planned. So back to the train station we went!

Ben met us there, and as we reached the top of the stairs and around the corner- there was our restaurant. The menu outside the door had one thing on there that stood out from all the rest- Boeuf Bourguignon. I squealed and danced like a child of 5, and would not for the life of me not let us eat anywhere else. It had to be here! And just as we sat down at our table, taking in our surroundings, the waitress came to announce that tonights special was indeed Boeuf Bourguignon.

This dish is made in the film Julia and Julia, and because it looks so so tasty, I have been wanting to try it for over a year now. This place did not disappoint. Not only did they opt out on using mushrooms (I hate them-yuck!), but the meat itself was perfection, melting in my mouth upon bite after bite, until it ceased to be no more. I couldn't have asked for a better meal if I wanted too. And for desert- chocolate cake with chocolate filling and a scoop of ice cream. Down that went too, and rightfully so.

We said our good nights, parted ways, and headed back to the B&B. I didn't sleep as grand as the night before, but it certainly was a nice rest. The next mourning we met Ben at Notre Dame (this time without any issues- although Sarah nearly didn't make it on the train), and we were able to walk around and take a good look inside. Mass was going on at the same time, and we even got to listen to the soloist perform (it was beautiful). I didn't take any pictures inside, because I just wanted to enjoy it without having to stop and click my camera at an old stained glass window. My favorite thing was the tomb of a long dead Bishop, his body carved out on top of the lid with jewels in his hat, and a curled staff in his closed hands.

We walked to an outdoor crepe restaurant for breakfast, but the wait was too long, so we went inside for some pastries. I bought a chocolate eclair, which was ended up being as good as they say- but my hot chocolate was rather disappointing. Still, I was so glad to finally be able to walk the streets of Paris instead of running around lost under ground. On the way to the train station, we stopped to check out a fountain with winged lions and a man with a double edged sword ready to kill the man that laid underneath his heavy foot. The water was turned off, but the masterpiece was still grand to see none the less. This was the last thing I saw before going back to the underground and aways away to the airport.

Aside from all the hustle and bustle that was to be while catching my airplane, there was one last thing on the list- An issue of Paris Vogue. I tried getting one in Paris, but the newspaper stand didn't have one. Well here it was, for the shocking price of 26 euro! I couldn't believe it until I got a closer look at the cover: Spring 2011 Fashion spread!! I couldn't be more happier with my prize. A magazine with over three hundred pages of the newest fashions that just hit the runway! I couldn't have arrived in Paris at a better time. Perfect.

The ride back home wasn't fun- I got really motion sick, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. The best part about the plane ride back was right as I stepped on to hear the Irish flight attendant say: "Hello." ENGLISH. I love my language, I love it so. To hear those words and not "bonjour" was a blessing. It's not that I don't like French, I actually want to learn more of it, but after a long and stressful transition, "hello" was all I really wanted to hear at that point. And when I sat down in my chair, I almost wanted to cry. Not because I was leaving Paris, but because I was going to miss Ireland.

Contemplation-new doors-exhalation

As I wondered down the slippery sidewalk across from UCC, I realized how everything I took for granted day in and day out now started to pour onto me like it was new again, bringing in a sense of unhappiness, because I yearned to stay and I wanted to keep on living things just the same for as long as I could.

Suddenly I began to think strangely, and when I walked by a dirty old pigeon, I couldn't help to think: "someone loves you. I love you," and before I knew it, every little bird and gliding seagull was receiving a small piece of my heart without even knowing it. And all those worn out buildings from centuries ago, the sidewalks and the lights- I couldn't stop for them, to take a ganger and just stand there until every little detail was etched into my brain, but I wanted too. I wanted to hold onto them.

So I walked into the art store to buy some paper and colored pencils for the last time. This part didn't phase me as much as when I took another trip to Mark and Spencers, only to find that my favorite raviolis were not in stock, nor was the mac n' cheese. I found a chicken and pasta dish, which ended up being amazing- and it made me feel the gloomy concept of never eating another freshly prepared, microwavable meal again.

But then I remembered my family, and my friends. I left because I wanted to start over, I didn't feel like I fit anywhere- I just wanted to get away and live my own life without the realization that I didn't have what everyone else did. And now I know just how much I love them all,- how I couldn't live without them even if I tried. I don't care anymore that my dad isn't related to me, or that my mom is ill, or that my best friend isn't a young college student like me. Who cares if I have a relationship with two different families, despite our never having a single drop of blood to tie us together? It's so obvious how much more love and kindness I get than your average kid, and even though I feel alone and uncertain about things, I just need to keep telling myself that I have a rock, a foundation that will always be there for me, no matter what.

Coming to Cork was the second best decision I have ever made in my life. It may not have solved my problems of what I want to do in the long run, but I've come to terms with who I am as a person, and the people who have shaped me into what I am today. I love my family, more than anything in the world, and I'm so happy that I can finally say that. I've traveled over the English channel, got lost in Paris, rode my first train into a little beach town, saw my first Irish cow, walked the hide tide of Bantry, pushed my way through the streets of Dublin, burnt my tongue on my first droplets of apple cider, and ate pigs hooves all in three months. If that didn't change my life, then I might as well be shot.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Paris, Half and Half

My journey was rather scary, and stressful. I had no clue that the city was so large that most, if not everyone there takes hundreds of underground trains on a daily basis to get to wherever it is they're going. It's no wonder that a trip to Paris should be for at least a week, because you end up spending half the day through dark tunnels in unstable railway carts.

Upon my arrival in Cork Airport, an announcer informed my friend and I that the flight would be delayed for about 10 minutes. No biggie. Slowly as time passed by, there would be another announcement to say that the flight would be delayed another 10 minutes. This continued until the airplane was an hour late. After a sigh of relief (it may have been canceled due to all the snow happening around us), we finally boarded for gay Paris!

The first French I heard was on the plane, which prompted me even more to want to scream up and down that I was finally seeing a historical city, filled with art, music, and amazing food. After 1 hour and 40 minutes, we landed. Getting off the plane was hard at first, because I was somewhat motion sick. Soon after I hit land, there awaited me some slanted escalators surrounded in clear, plastic tubes. To be honest, I don't know how I didn't throw up after the 3rd or 4th one that I had to ride, but eventually I made it out of there.

Charles de Gaulle Airport is a tricky one to figure out. After meandering around for a good 15 minutes, I finally got the guts to go up to the information desk. "Je ne parle pas Francais. Parlez vous anglais?" The lady there smiled and said: "oui." Then I got cracking down to business, asked her how to get to Le Kremlin Bicetre, and she gave me a map to follow. My friend and I stopped at terminal 3, bought a ticket, and then got on the train to terminal 2. We ended up in the wrong part of the station, and one of the workers at the airport was kind enough to point us in the right direction.

Eventually we got off at Denfert Rochereau, which was marked on our map. Sarah and I had to walk from there to Place d'Itale, but since neither of us knew where we were going, I decided to call her friend Ben. We ended up waiting thirty minutes before he called us back to say he was there. So we went outside to try and find him, but without any luck. After frolicking about for 20 minutes out in the freezing cold, Ben told us to look for the lion statue, which we spotted and made our way towards with happy results.

Ben had no clue as to where we were staying. Then he found out that the B&B was right outside Paris, in Le Kremlin Bicetre and he didn't know how to get us there. So we asked for directions in a nearby hotel. After waiting for a good 25 minutes (the receptionist kept getting distracted with phone calls), we were able to get a move on towards our destination.

Time was running out. I had told our hostess that we would arrive between 4pm and 6pm, and by the time we were finished getting directions, it was just past 7. On top of that, the couple that runs the B&B was leaving for the theatre at 8pm, and I wasn't sure if they spoke English (other wise I would of called them). About 5 minutes from the B&B, I got a phone call from our hostess, who did speak English, and I tried asking her if they were at home, but she couldn't understand me. She finally realized what I was saying, and said that they "we're not at the home." In the background, I heard her husband shout: "HOUSE!" and she repeated with: "We're not at the house." It was really cute.

So then we went to a little French restaurant right across the street from where we were staying. There wasn't a whole lot of cuisine on the menu, so Sarah and I split a pig tray that had about 6-8 different meats from one single pig! There was also a sausage that had hooves in it, which was rather bland. Ham was also on the platter, very thinly sliced with lots of salt, which I didn't care for, either. Some of the stuff tasted like beef jerky, and it was alright. The best part of the meal was the French bread, which was simply perfect. Before ordering the meal, the chief came out to help us out. He spoke some English, which was very helpful in the end. I tried asking for Coke, but he misunderstood it as wine, and asked if I wanted red or white. I couldn't help but laugh, and look dumbfounded at Ben. He finally told the Chief that I wanted "Coca." So there you have it: Coke = Coca in France. :)

Ben left, and Sarah and I made our way to the apartment on our own. I stood outside trying to figure out how to get in. I rang a bell, but no one answered. Then someone called my phone, and I picked up to hear Pellay (that's our hostess) saying they were back now and we could come at anytime. I told her we were outside, and the next thing I know, this garage door starts opening up and there she is!

The house was amazing. The garage was small, and the walls were lined with books on shelves. Pellay opened up a very long glass door into the house. The walls were either covered in books or paintings that were created by her husband and other various artists. On the ground floor was the kitchen and livingroom (it was all in the same space), bathroom, toliet (it had it's own separate, connecting room), and a small alcove underneath the stairs with even more wall covered books and an office area. Upstairs was another area with computers and a sewing machine. This branched off into two rooms, our bedroom and theirs.

Our room was the best place I have ever stayed in my entire life. Every square inch of wall spouted fairy tales, art, history, and beyond. An oil painting held up by thin boards on the ceiling hung over our heads as we laid to rest in our feathery soft bed. Next to where we were sleeping was an early 1900s sewing machine, and an old squeaky horn. I slept so well that night, that when I woke, I had no clue where I was and how I got there!

That's part one of my story. I'm so exhausted and tired from my trip, that I will have to tell more later. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

O' tidings of comfort and joy!

Two days later, and I'll be on that airplane towards good ol' Paris. I'm hoping my clothes that I just washed last night dry in time for either late night Thursday or early morning Friday packing. I swear, the washer in this house is on 24/7. Other wise I would of have washed them earlier in the week.

I finally received my Victorian Literature and 19th Century America Literature essays. I didn't do so well on the Victorian paper, and ended up with 3rd year honours (D+ or C-, I think)? The English board that grades them (not just the professor, but several), said my writing was weak and had lots of errors. It didn't phase me much, because in all seriousness, I am not trained enough to write in class essays. Give me an hour, and I do poorly, but hand me an essay with at least seven hours to complete, and the final piece will be wonderfully done.

On a better note, my 19th century paper earned me second class honours, which I would say is either an A- or a high B+. Their grading scale has different "honors", so it's difficult to compare to the American scale. First year honours is the most sought after and is very challenging to obtain. Anyhow, my paper was missing some sub-thesis points, but overall it was sound. So take that 3rd year Victorian paper. I CAN do better than that!

By the way, here's a link to the grading system, as well as other information for visiting students:

I'm almost broke, but only because I just withdrew all my money for the trip. I looked at my bank account and thought: "Oh goodness. That's scary looking." But then I had to remind myself that I'm only here for two more weeks there after, and I have plenty of food left to eat. It's been nice living on my own and having to balance how much I spend. I normally end up going over, but this time around I've been able to keep myself financially stable and not spend euro on everything I see and want. It's especially hard when living in the city, and all around you there is nothing but windows packed with luxury items glaring at you with every step. It's as almost as if I'm preparing myself for the real world.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

5 more days until Paris!

Attention: M&Ms do not taste the same. Anyways...

I just booked my Bed and Breakfast. It's in the Place D'italie district, on the right hand side of the city. The bedroom walls are covered in books, and the downstairs is simply gorgeous. Not sure if the link will work, but here's some pictures:

Leaving on Friday morning, and returning around noon Sunday. Which reminds me, I need to start on laundry tomorrow, and charge up my camera before hand. I plan on bringing my charger, because I want to take as many pictures as possible.

It's been a bit hectic over here in terms of traveling arrangements and rehearsals. My instructor decided to inform everyone that we had to come in all day Saturday and Sunday this weekend. I've already spent 330 dollars on plane tickets, which can't be refunded. So I'm just going to go on the trip anyways. My part in the play is not very big, and it's not my fault no one said anything until now. Besides, it's my only chance to go to Paris, and I've waited forever to go. So I'm not going to miss it.

Thanksgiving dinner was perfect. The Iona Student Chapel hosted the gathering, and I was able to enjoy honey ham, turkey, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, candied yams, and stuffing. All of it was very good. Afterward, a friend and I hit up Johnny Rocket's for some ice cream. I kid you not, if you come to Ireland and love orange soda, do not miss out on getting a Fanta orange float! It's the best thing I've ever had. Think of orange dreamcicles exploding in your mouth. It's that amazing.

These m&ms are disappointing. Believe me when I say I'm a pretty open person when it comes to trying out food (I've already tried a lot stuff- stuffing, mashed potato and turkey bowl, sausage rolls, Shepard's pie, etc ), but I miss my chocolate. It seriously does not taste the same over here. The only thing that came close to the American version was a Crunch Bar, and that didn't even suffice. Only three more weeks and I'll be snacking on kitkats and candy canes...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thanksgiving. A time where you can eat the best food, and spend time with your family all in one day. That won't be the case this year, but lucky enough for us exchange students, there is a feast. A 7pm feast to be exact at The New Bar in the student center. Can it please come sooner? Why do I have class on Thanksgiving, and can it come right now? I want my turkey! I should have an excuse to miss class, right? Aww, come on!!

It's strange how the weather works around here. At the moment it is bitterly cold, and after a week of clear skies, it decided to rain again. Before that we had two weeks worth of non-stop rain, which drove us all into a great depression with soaking wet shoes and complaints. Stay away rain, or turn into snow, thanks.

My roomies brought me a bottle of French wine yesterday. It's rather splendid, and very smooth. None of that too bitter of a taste, or too sweet, but perfectly delicious. If I had room next year for wine tasting, I'd be the first volunteer to do so. I still can't believe I'm a senior, and yet I have another year and a half to go. Can't wait for graduation!!

I'm so excited for France!! 10 more days until I'll be jumping around on the Eiffel Tower, and visiting the pitifully small Mona Lisa. What's neat is how we as Americans are influenced by French art at a young age, and so we grow up with this yearning to see this stuff that we hear so much about. Despite it being such a touristy thing to do, it's really apart of us as well. At least to me it is. I feel like I'm paying homage to all those famous artists who taught me about lines, balance and all the other elements that come with art when I finally go see their original paintings and sculptures. Not only is it a learning experience, but also a longing deep inside of me that's finally being full filled.

It's so nice buying good quality drawing paper around here for almost half the price it costs at home. A pad of paper typically costs anywhere between $7-$15 dollars, but here I'm spending $4.36. The crappy paper from Walmart costs $5.00, so I'm still spending less! I also got a hardbound sketch book for only $5.36 dollars, which would have been around $11 at home. I wish my suitcase had enough room for several sketchbooks, but unfortunately I'll have to limit myself with what I've already bought. Oh, and I converted the euros into dollars, so the prices I have listed are in fact dollars. :)

I'm so exhausted! I got zero sleep Saturday night due to an incident with one of my roommates. She decided to bring home three drunk men from the club, and they all proceeded to jump around to music blasting from her speaker, while periodically banging on Jillian and I's bedroom door. This lasted until 8am. I woke up around noon to find our living room floor covered in sticky beer, my clothes off the drying rack and all over the floor, the rest of my alcohol consumed, and the little door from underneath of my laptop slightly open with some wires hanging out. Luckily there was no damage done, but I was beyond mad with rage. No sleep, and the possibility of some idiot dropping my laptop on the floor (I'm sure that's what happened). Oh, and one of my pads of sketch paper had been stomped on, causing it to wrinkle and crease, so I just now had to go buy a new one.

Monday night I was up until 5am watching the K-State V.S. Gonzaga game, which was more than worth it! If anyone coming to Cork is a huge KSU basketball fan, just know that you'll probably be up at ungodly hours to watch the games. Last night against Duke started at three in the morning. I went to bed early due to my lack of sleep from the night before, woke up around 2:45am, and said: "We're going to get our asses handed to us," and went back to bed. Sure enough...

Time to read Huckleberry Finn and Sherlock Holmes. I seriously should of started on these books a long time ago, since I decided not to read anything else. Oddly enough, I don't feel like a bad student, because I write one essay for only one book instead of having to take quizzes on each story or having to write an essay that links them altogether. Unless you have a deep passionate love for 19th century literature, then there's really no point in reading a book that bores you to tears. Seriously! I tried to read Kim, a novel about a British boy in India, but twenty pages in and I couldn't take it anymore. I did read most of Fredrick Douglass's Slave Narrative, which I do find rather interesting, and I do plan on finishing it. I understand the need to get students to read classics, but with all the materials and resources out there today, I feel like we should get to pick what we want to read as opposed to being forced to open up a novel that some scholarly professor deems as "brilliant and a must read." I don't consider myself stupid for preferring Truman Copote's short stories over Tess of the D'urbervilles. Yes, it's completely different and they have nothing to do with each other, yet when I start having to force myself to reread each page in Tess 3-4 times in order to absorb it's boring content, I find it rather pointless and more work than enjoyable. My point is, we all have different interests, so why not let us the students pick from a wide range of material to discuss instead of just what the professor would like us to read? /end rant.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's the little things.

You know how we call those little extra things that come from with using a credit card "rewards?" Well here in Ireland they're called "treats." Odd, huh?

And don't go into Mcdonald's asking for curly fries (they have those here), because it's Twirly fries, and if they say crisp, don't be surprised either. Crisps = fries, chips = chips or fries. It's a complex thing.

Holy. Mother. of. Pearl. When they say "Big Tasty" they actually mean it! When every single thing around here comes in tiny cups and little boxes, it will blow your mind once you actually see this sandwich. Oh, and expect a medium fries when you order a large. That's just how it works.

What's strange to me is how they try and get you to buy things. Chips, cola, beer, etc. will have "20% more!" or "35% extra." Lots of percentages are used, but what gets me is that I don't really fall for it as much as I do when I read "Buy one get one free" or "50% more." 10%-40% just doesn't sound like a lot to me, so I don't feel eager to buy the item as much.

This past week I tried my first Swedish strawberry-lime cider, and it was heaven. Tastes just like strawberry soda pop. I also had my first wine cooler, and that was pretty good as well. For those of you who are not 21 yet, it might be nice for you to know that the drinking age is 18 around here. The only thing is, most pubs will only serve drinks to people between the ages of 21 and 23. Not all of them, but don't be surprised if you're denied alcohol.

Just a side note: If you want hamburgers, go to Burger King, but if you want chicken, hit up either Mcdonalds or Hillbillies. Mcdonald's has the worst hamburgers around here. My Big Tasty was charcoaled black, and the last few times I've had a Quarter Pounder, it was dry and tasteless. Super yuck and disappointing. Also, in the afternoons Mcdonald's is so packed that you have to wait almost 20-30 minutes to eat, but if you go right across the street to Burger King, it's nearly empty. ;)

I'm currently thinking about taking a pastry class from a little known shop called Petits Fours. The website is:
I haven't looked at their courses or anything yet, but I always walk past them on my way to UCC (on Washington street), and there are chefs rolling out dough every morning. It looks and smells amazing! Oh, and if you buy their hot chocolate, you can get marshmallows that they made themselves! It is a bit expensive for hot chocolate (3.75 euro), but that's what I normally pay for chai and the occasional mocha, so it's not too bad.

I've spent the last few days coloring and sitting around the apartment while listening to French music. I now have three day weekends, so tomorrow I'll be hanging around, too. Wednesday Morning there's a free Thanksgiving breakfast, and on Thursday there's a dinner as well. The free dinner is located at the Iona chapel, and in addition to that there's also The Bar, which is serving turkey, ham, and hot dogs (lol) for a fee. I'm so glad I won't have to miss out on my favorite holiday! There's no way I was going to learn how to bake a turkey all in one week.

12 days till Paris! Did you know that the Republic of Ireland is more expensive than Paris? Which makes life so much more awesome, because I really want to bring back some amazing souvenirs. And yes, do not be fooled into thinking Cork is going to be cheaper than other European countries. Although England tends to be expensive, my guess is that you end up spending just about as much here as you would outside of London. In fact, here's a price list of what one would normally pay for basics:

Bread: 1.50 euro
Starbucks coffee: 3.50 euro (medium/grande)
2 litre soda: 2 euro
Tooth paste: 2.50 euro
Chips: 3 euro
Meal for one person: 3.50-5 euro
Canned veggies: 1.35 euro
Candy bar: 1.50-2 euro
Pound of ground beef: 3-5 euro (2 euro at English Market)

Pricing for some essentials:
Comforter: 30 euro
Pillow: 10 euro
Sheets: 15-25 euro
Headphones: 16-35 euro
Blanket: 5 euro
Shoes: 9.00-200.00+ euro
Shirt: 5-25+ euro
Pants/jeans: 25-40+ euro
Colored pencils: 15 euro+
Drawing paper: 3.25-8 euro+

Anyways, that's all I've got to say. Time for some music and pastry class searching. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Only three weeks till Paris!!

Bonjour mes amis!

Actually, it's only two weeks and six days away. I'm super pumped, as I have been wanting to visit France for a good two or three years now. Anyway, I was looking up places to visit, and I found a video about really cool toy and crafts store that's just for adults. Here's a link:

Here's the website if you don't want to watch the video or have an interest:

I really want one of the wind up toys, but I'm not sure how much it's going to cost. Some of the boxes are 100 euro! I also really like some of her bags as well.

I haven't really done a whole lot of looking up information on Paris, since my friend's friend is going to be our tour guide the whole time we're there. Aside from the usual attractions (The Louvre, Champs Elysees, and the Eiffel Tower), I hope to see at least one French castle, and tackle a really fancy chocolate shop. Maybe even grab some real champaign, and gorge on all that delicious food. I haven't figured out where I'm staying yet, but it will either be a Bed and Breakfast, or a hostel. Hotels are very expensive (I think it would be about 200 euro for two nights stay), so that's probably out of the question.

Irish food facts of the day!:
1. Mounds candy bars are called "Bounty" in Ireland.
2. Ritz crackers are known as "Tuc."
3. There are no saltine crackers.
4. Lots of stores have deals on large tins of candy everyday.
5. Regular sized soda cans are not sold in packs. Only the small ones are!
6. Capri Sun exists.
7. Anything gummy (gummy bears, gummy worms, etc) is called "gums."
8. Whoopers are called "Maltesers."
9. Lifesavers are known as "Polo."
10. In Ireland, they make Rolo pudding, and Rolo doughnuts!
11. Nestle Crunch = Aero
12. Frosted Flakes are simply named "Frosted."
13. Lays chips have been renamed "Walkers."
14. BBQ sauce in the pubs is called "Brown Sauce."
15. I can't think of anything else. Haha. :P

Friday, November 12, 2010

Has found sweet nectar once again!

There's a place called Bradley's, which isn't too far from the Cork Gate Cinema around the corner. Guess what they got? Dr. Pepper!! I was looking for it in all of the little grocery and convince stores on my way back home, and there it sat not more than three feet away. Sadly enough, I love it more than Coke here. Coke is waaaaay too sweet! I can't wait to go back to the Americana version. It will be glorious and tasty.

Today I came to the conclusion of why people argue with me: Trust. If I say something, it is not right. If I say that what someone is saying is incorrect, they do not trust me and continue to jump down my throat until I hush. Stuff that's not even political or all that controversial even. Every time I open my mouth, it's as if it has to be attacked until I am proved to be in the wrong. Petty stuff like knowing that some outlet stores sell clothing that is not sewn properly or the fact that the movie theatre is only twenty minutes away. These are actual things that I have been technically told: "No, you're wrong, the clothing is rarely sewn wrong, or it's a 25-30 minute walk." I've bought garments that were not sewn correctly, and I have walked to the movie theatre. I know these things, and yet people are basically saying I'm too stupid to know this despite having experience. Makes me angry and upset more than I should be.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ten things I like about Ireland.

When I first came to Cork, I noticed several things that I didn't like, but there was also somethings I truly wish I had back home. So here's the list I've complied:

10. Year round sparkling grape juice: You see it in the grocery store just before Christmas and around New Years. Well here in Ireland, they've got it permanently stacked on their shelves. It's called Shloer, and it comes in four flavors: Grape, Berry, White Grape and Apple, and Rose. I like the White Grape and Apple myself.

9. Tax free food: Oh the money I could save if it was like this in America!

8. Wildlife park: Kansas City and Topeka have pretty nice zoos, but nothing can compare to Fota Wildlife Park, where lemurs roam free, and giraffes stand very close near to you.

7. Easy access: Most towns and cities in Ireland keep shops and grocery stores close together, so you can walk wherever you'd like to in 5-15 minutes, as opposed to the 30 minute walk to Walmart in Manhattan.

6. Hillbillies Fried Chicken. 'Nuff said.

5. Ready made meals: In the US, we do you have refrigerated prepackaged meals, such as mac n' cheese or potato salad. But if you want a full meal, such as raviolis or burritos, then you have to get it from the frozen foods section or in a can. However, in Ireland, they have a whole store devoted to these types of meals from the refrigerator. Thai, Chinese, Mexican, American, and Italian straight from the Mark and Spencers fridge. Takes only 2-5 minutes to heat, and tastes better than frozen!

4. Year round Cadbury Cream Eggs: That's right. You can get them for Halloween AND Christmas aside from Easter. I guess not all the time, most certainly not during the summer months but it exists longer than it does at home. I know I said I was tired of Cadbury, but their eggs taste slightly different from their candy bars, which makes a whole lot of difference. I just finished one, in fact...

3. Three hour classes: You're probably wondering if I'm on drugs or if my brain went slightly askew, but there's more to it than that: Three hour theatre classes! Intense, lots of exercises (yoga in particular), and lots of human interaction. I love it, and wish my theatre classes at K-State were the same way.

2. Wine in the pubs: Most bars in Aggieville do not have wine. So I have to flutter around completely sober until I do find a bar that has some decent stuff. That's not the case with Irish Pubs at all! Every single place I know has wine in one form or the other. Usually it's not Chardonnay, which is a downside, but White Zinfandel and Rose wine work perfectly well.

1. Politeness. The one things I know that will sting me more than anything else when I return home is how impolite most Americans can be. It's not a stereotype, and certainly something I know more about considering the fact that I am an extremely polite individual. I felt right at home here when I heard the amount of "Thanks a millions" and "Your very welcomes" from random people on the street, to the cashiers at Supervalu. They don't even stop thanking you for purchasing groceries until you've left the que! Now how many American employees can you say do that even once?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The things I miss about home.

So I haven't really been faithful to the blog. I've posted here and there, but not as regularly as I would like too. Anyways, it came to my attention the amount of complaints from teenagers and young adults alike about the USA and why it's so terrible, or why they don't want to live there. After living in Ireland for a few months, I've realized just how lucky I am to be an American. Here's a few things I'm looking forward to when I return home:

1. Warm water. Most facets here have a cold water and a hot water sprout, not one that's together. If there's only one, it's still separate water, just coming out of two different sides. I often burn myself washing dishes, because the hot water often escapes the wraith of the cold.

2. Reliable dryers. In my apartment, our washer and dryer are one and the same. The only problem is, the dryer doesn't get the job done. So we have to hang our clothes on a rack.

3. Dr. Pepper and Rootbeer. Now I did find Dr. Pepper in the small town of Bantry, but no where else has it caught my eye. Rootbeer doesn't exist as far as I know, which makes me one sad consumer.

4. Food true to the expiration date. You will find your milk going bad three days before it expires, as well as other dairy products. Cream cheese that's supposed to last forever can go bad in a matter of weeks after opening it. Same with bread.

5. 24/7 internet. Most apartments do not have very reliable internet. There will be days when it won't even come up, or it decides to be extremely slow to the point where you can't even use it.

6. Hardcore education. Now I can't say that I don't like having only two papers per class during the semester instead of lots of quizzes, homework, and tests, but the reality is I feel lazy. Now there are plenty of clubs and societies to get involved with, but the 25 minute walk at 7pm when there are hookers around makes it less appealing. I also feel like I've lost reason to attend my lectures, because even though they're helpful in understanding the material, the essays are really more about what you find within the book and not what they tell you in class.

7. 24/7 library. The UCC library closes at 8pm during the week, and around noon or so on Saturdays and Sundays. There's also a one euro fee per day if you don't turn in your book on time. I really miss studying and checking out books in Hale at one in the morning. :(

8. Walmart/Target. There, I said it. Even though Walmart is not my favorite place in the world, I do crave it's massive stock of cheap goods and tasty snacks. There's Tesco, but it doesn't even compare to the greatness of Wally World or Targe' (is that you spell it)?? It's just so convenient to have everything all in one place, instead of scrambling to hop from one store to the other, just so you can get milk and colored pencils.

9. Chocolate. Particularly milk chocolate. It tastes so different here, and I'm actually getting tired of Cadbury and digestive biscuits (chocolate covered cookies). I was disappointed to find my kitkat bars were not the same flavor as the ones at home. It tastes more like a dark chocolate, only less bittersweet.

10. Mexican food. I miss it with a dying passion! You can make tacos, but it's just not the same as Manny's or any other authentic restaurant on South West Blvd. Rest assured, I will eat my chicken tacos the day I come home. George, if you are reading this, plan on going to Manny's. Oh, and that new Jack in the Box. I gotta hit that up too...

Tomorrow I'll post ten things about Ireland that I wish we had in Kansas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Best processed fried chicken EVER.

You know that post way way back, when I was still in the US, and it had to do with Hillbillies Fried Chicken Express? Well, there's one not very far from where I live, and for some reason or another I just didn't have the temptation to try it out. That is until tonight, and oh boy, I was in for the treat of my life! Forget KFC, it doesn't exist. These juicy, tender strips made with good greasy spices has won my heart over all the other chicken out there, including Mcnuggets. So the next you're in Cork, or any place else in Ireland and have a hunger for some good 'ol fast food chicken, try Hillbillies. Just do it.

This past Friday I went shopping with my roommate's friend from Minnesota. I ended up finding a few last minute Christmas/souvenir gifts, which was really nice. Saturday I finally took it upon myself to see the Blarney Stone, and it was totally worth it! I had no idea that there was so much to see there. Lots of rock formations, wishing steps, waterfalls, fairy stones, Witch's Kitchen, and tons of other stuff. It was the most gorgeous place I have ever been too, and now I know why every knows about it. :)

It has been raining cats and dogs for over a week now. Saturday was the only day that there was a couple hours between showers, but the rest of the time it's either pouring, or sprinkling. If the rain continues on as it has been, Cork could flood again for the second time in a row. I live right by the river, so I'm not sure how bad it can get if it were to happen. Luckily I'm on the third floor, so I should be ok.

My Victorian Literature class got canceled this week, which is good because I was going to skip class in order to finally get my immigration card. I'll probably get yelled at for bringing in the paper work so late, but there's not much else I could have done. I just hope there won't be any complications, because I really want to go to France in December...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Searching for the perfect chai latte.

There are plenty of coffee shops and cafes in Cork, and as someone who dearly misses her Radina's sweet chai, it's taken me awhile to find something similar or tasty enough to satisfy my cravings. Here's a list ranking the best and the worst chai in and around the city:

5. Cuppa Cafe: This little gem is just around the corner of Copley St. Judging by the large crowd that builds up during lunch time, it's certainly safe to say their sandwiches are pretty good. I'm kind of torn about this place, because the first Chai I had was too sweet, and the second time around it was very, very bland. It certainly isn't the best choice compared to the other places.

4. Kent Train Station: I don't know the name of the coffee place, but that's where it's located. On their menu is a chai latte shake, which of course I couldn't resist ordering. The texture was perfectly smooth, not too thick and not too thin. The overall affect was sweet, but the flavor was more cinnamon than honey tea with the added spice. If you want to try something new, but not too picky about chai, I recommend this tasty treat.

3. Coffee Station: Located right across from the main entrance of UCC, this is one of the best places around. Their chai tastes very similar to Starbucks, and the only reason it's number 3 instead of 2, is because they make it scolding hot. It took a good twenty minute walk before it cooled down, and by then I already made the mistake of burning my tongue.

2. The Coffee Desk Cafe: You will find this tucked inside the first hallway on the left in the ORB/O'reilly building Building at UCC. They serve Starbucks coffee and chai tea, which I've always liked to an extent. The spices do tend to over power the tea flavoring, but in a good way. Plus, you get more bang for your buck. A large is only 5 cents more than a medium, although the sizing is different from our own. A medium = our small, and a large = our medium. So for a little more (unlike the other cafes in town), you can get what you paid for.

1. Cafe Depeche: Today was a great day! I finally got around to entering this little espresso bar, located on Washington street, and I literally found the perfect substitute. Creamy, smooth, with a honey tea taste and a little cinnamon on top, this little guy was HEAVEN. The downside was the size. A medium, which costs 3 euro, is an extra small. So the next time I go, I'll probably shell closer to 4 euro for a regular cup, but it will totally be worth it.

Fun fact: There aren't very many billboards in Cork. There are also no advertising polls with the billboard on top. All the ads are pasted up on the walls of buildings. The same goes for street signs! Instead of a poll stuck in the ground, each sign is nailed into the walls of brick buildings throughout the city. It's actually quite difficult to find your way around with a map because there's so many streets, and the signs are hiding.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stress Stress Stress

Today I was supposed to finally get around to visiting immigration to finish getting paper work and obtain my card. But I made the mistake of leaving my statement letter in one of my notebooks, which by the way got left behind in class yesterday.

I planned on going last Friday morning, but my alarm didn't go off. I don't really have time now to go get it done, and I'm very late in doing so. I might skip class next week just to get it over with, but at the moment, I'm pulling my hair out and simply can't understand how I can mess up twice in a row.

I have my first exam today for 19th Century America. I feel pretty prepared, since I've gone over more than one book, and we only have to answer one question pertaining to one book (except for Herman Melville, because we have to write on Bartleby and Benito Cerano). 50% of this test will count towards my grade, so I'm hoping very much so that I pass. I do have confidence in my ability to write essays, it's just choosing reasonable answers that makes things difficult. Oh, and the opening few sentences. I get stumped sometimes...

My milk went bad three days before it was supposed too. I suspect my fridge is getting old, and isn't keeping things at the correct temperature anymore. I'll need to call my landlady and see if she has any advice, because I'm tired of wasting food. Just the other day I had throw out my hamburger meat because it had gone bad the day before expiration! For now I guess I'll be making more trips to the grocery store than I would like too.

As scary as this sounds, there are prostitutes on our street at night. Yesterday on my way back from auditioning for Snow White, one of them spotted me up ahead and started yelling. I walked past her, not sure why I was being yelled at. She said: "I don't understand you," "Yayaya, whatever," and then: "Ok, goodbye!" Perhaps she thought I was invading her own turf? Strange though, considering I was dressed in layers with a peacoat and a teddy bear hat...

The strange thing about living here so long is that I stop learning new things or rather, the new things don't come to me as fast. I still wish I could compile more lists of interesting stuff, but there really isn't anything that comes to mind these days. The thing about Ireland is that it's similar to the US, but it's not in it's own strange way. The houses, the language, and night life are very different, but most everything else is similar. So in effect, there's not a whole lot to say.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Today is a pretty crummy Halloween due to the hard pouring rain. Last night my roommates and I went to a Halloween party downstairs, and our way to the liquor store (we had to stock up!), the rain came down and eventually turned into a real storm of disappointment, and has continued to be the same throughout the today.

I bought myself a Crunch bar a week ago, and have now gotten around to munching on it's American chocolaty goodness. I rarely if ever purchase candy around here, because as I've said before, it's very thick and packed with tons of sugar. Especially their soft drinks, which can be very tiring after sometime. Oh, and huge note: If you buy the juice drink Mi Wadi, do note that you're supposed to add four parts water to one part juice. I learned that the hard way and ended up with a very sour expression on my face.

I've finally got my schedule for next semester done! I was originally going to tackle 18 hours, but then I found out my future roomie and good friend was taking Biology, and I decided what better than to take it now and have a study buddy? I've been wanting to get out of the way for the longest time anyhow, so now my hours are cut down to 16. My original schedule included Intro to Fiction Writing, and Improv, but those got cut out in the final drafting. I really, really want to take improv, but graduating on time is much more important. Here's what I'm taking next semester:

Theatre Forum
Intro to Philosophy of Religion
Fundamentals of Technical Production
Intro to Theatrical Design
Principles of Biology
Intro to Womens Studies

I feel like a Freshman more than I do a Senior! I guess it's because I haven't been doing my best here at UCC. I have two written exams, and despite trying to answer questions on the novels I've read, I just can't seem to understand what they're asking me to write or coming up with antiquate answers. Oh, for those of you who are not extremely fluent in the complex language of English (and I'm talking about big words like ambiguity or aesthetic ambition), do note that the questions they want you to answer are no walk in the park. Not because the answer is difficult, but the actual question is ridiculously hard to unscramble. I know that most people in college are genius or have a very wide range of knowledge beyond my very own, but it's still frustrating not being able to do this because I'm a little on the slow side. Ugh. Double ugh.

Wednesday night was a blast! UCC Dramat and all the other societies have what are called "Mystery Tourers." Usually the meeting place is at Bailey's Bar, and everyone hops on a bus to an unknown destination. The place in particular will be a pub or a club, where every drinks and has fun. Since this was for Halloween, everyone dressed up, danced to live music, played bobbing for apples (on strings), and cheered for those who won costume prizes. My first try at biting the apple on a string turned out to be unsuccessful, with the apple breaking off the string! The second time (which was more of a competition), I managed to swing the apple on my shoulder and get a slight bite on the upper part near the stem. My prize? A swig from the chilled bottle of Yeager, which I had never had before, but was most delicious. Yeager is a chilled German Liquor that should be tried once in everyone's life time. Unless you're opposed to alcohol, which is fine, too.

I learned something last night: Never push my limits with wine. At the Halloween party, everyone was playing drinking games, and I just let myself go. Normally I wouldn't, but since my apartment was upstairs, I saw it fit to have some fun. I managed to down three glasses of wine in an hour, and I ended up getting really sick. I had this happen during the summer, although at a much slower rate and with a larger alcohol content. After last nights episode, I've come to realize the importance of knowing when to stop and to be responsible. Drinking games are fun, but no one would take it too far, especially just because everyone else is doing it. They might just have a higher tolerance than you.

Guess what? I've got my K-State basketball tickets!! The sad news is I will be missing the first six games, hindering me from possibly attending the KU game. I went to every single game, and one person in my group didn't go to very many (maybe 4? or 5?), and we got seats in the second to last row. I don't even know if anyone will add me to their group, let alone have enough points to balance everything and allow us entry. Hopefully so.

Welp, I need to continue my studiousness and answer practice exam questions before the real thing on Tuesday and Wednesday. I also have to read for my voice class tomorrow, and figure out how I'm going to warm up for tomorrow's audition for Snow White. It's going to be a Pantomime show for kids. I'm not sure when the dates of performance are, however, so I might not get to do it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Irish food suggestions

If you want to know what to eat around here, please read this. :)

1. Bacon. It is an explosion of goodness! You have never tasted bacon until you've had Irish bacon. I had my first tasty morsels at a B&B in Bantry, and let me tell you that both myself and my companion couldn't agree more that this was the best piggy we've ever had.

2. Bailey's Haagen Dazs ice cream is scrumptious. Smooth, silky, and best of all, Bailey's flavored. I haven't looked at the label yet, but I'm wondering if I could get drunk off this tub of ice cream...

3. Irish breakfast. I guess all you need to do is revert back to my little convo on bacon. It consists of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and tomatoes. I don't like mushrooms, and putting that aside, this breakfast is still very enjoyable. I recommend it to anyone in passing or staying here for long periods of time.

4. Mark and Spencer's pastries. I just bought a caramel eclair and a round doughnut that has pink frosting and sprinkles. The best part is that this isn't just pink frosting, but actually raspberry flavored! Cap that sweet tooth with tasty doughnuts.

5. Cadbury hot chocolate is your friend. Now I've grown rather tired of Cadbury chocolates, mostly because I'm so used to munching on Hershey's, and simply because it's very, very rich. However, I noticed at a restaurant in Bantry, that they served me hot chocolate using Cadbury cocoa mix, and I have to say, it was very good.

NOTE: Do not, I repeat do not buy a Cadbury Crunchie bar. I don't even know what's used to make it honeycomb like in the center, but it doesn't taste so great. It doesn't hurt to try it, but don't spend lots of money on it until you do.

6. Sausages ahoy! They are juicy, flavorful and down right amazing. There's a place inside the English Market that sells them on a hot bun. Now I'm sure other parts of Europe have even tastier pork, but it doesn't take much to love the ones in Ireland.

7. Chocolate croissants are the best thing ever. Yes, it is a French creation, and yes, the label on the packaging does say "Cuisine de France", but let's face it- you don't get this stuff in the States, and if you come across it while in the local convince store, do not hesitate to buy some! Also, the Mark and Spencer's bakery has their own version of this tasty treat in a four pack for 2.30 euro.

8. Honey glazed ham is superb. Now I'm not talking about the lunch meat, because it's just the same as in the States. They make it here with a slightly crunchy/flake like texture and sweet, sweet, honey. Oh so good!

9. Paisley, buttered mashed potatoes. You will find this instant meal in the Tesco "ready to go" isle at the front of the store. I was surprised at how yummy they were, considering it was sealed up in plastic, resembling the lame tasting TV dinners we so often indulge ourselves in.

10. Tacos with refried beans. Again, not Irish at all, but if you love Mexican food and have that special craving, I highly recommend not just going with meat and tomatoes as I normally have been doing. The taco shells usually taste stale (I have no clue why), but by adding that extra filling, it can turn out rather nicely.

11. Sparkling grape and apple juice is oh so delicious! Just saying. :)

Somethings to take very careful note of:
-Milk expires before the expiration date! Sniff, look, and take precautions. I just took out a jug that expired yesterday, and let's just say the content inside wasn't liquid anymore. The jug before that didn't smell right on the day it expired as well.

-Butter/sour cream/cream cheese lids are horrible. They don't snap back on unfortunately, leaving your goods to expire way before they're supposed too. Yesterday I had to throw out half a thing of cream cheese because it was already molding due to the lid not staying on. Buy some plastic bags to put the containers in if you want your spreads to last.

-Buy bread by the half. Put bread in the fridge! I have some bagels that expired five days ago, but they're still good because I put them in the fridge. If you keep them in dry places, they will start to mold the day it expires!

-Most things with sauces will be bland. Make sure to purchase lots of salt and pepper, or your mac n' cheese, and chicken alfredo will be very disappointing. Spaghetti should be good, however.

Monday, October 25, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a Narwhal.

Back in the Cork of things.

For all of those who love cheese on their fries: Don't order it in Cork, or any place in Ireland for that matter. Forget all that amazing, gooey hot cheddar dripping all over those tasty hot fries, because believe or not, this doesn't exist. When you go into a line peeping up at that sign that reads: "chips with cheese" do not be fooled one-single-bit. Instead of what your taste buds desire, those fries will come with shredded cheese sprinkled on top. Yep. There goes 50 euro cents down the drain, and not to mention, your hunt for melted cheese still persists.

This weekend I spent two nights and three days in the lovely town of Bantry. There really isn't anything to do in Bantry, except for a good two hours spent in Bantry House and some jumping around on stones near the ocean. There's also this amazing restaurant called The Brick Oven, which is a must go to place if you miss American pizza. Their pizza is the best thing I've ever had in so so long! They also have dessert, which is very tasty and includes Bailey's cheese cake, and chocolate fudge brownie sundae in a large glass. My friend Sarah and I ended up dining there twice, because their food is seriously amazing!

Also, the sad plan truth about living here is not being able to drink Dr. Pepper. However, out of all the places I've been, included the two largest cities in Ireland (Dublin and Cork respectively), Bantry, a tiny town filled with fish and amazing American pizza just so happened to have them in stock at the local Centra! You should of seen my face. In fact, I will later post my picture in this blog just to show you how relieved I was of my cravings. I even planned so much as to grab three or four bottles of this mana of life, but my bus was early and I didn't have time. So I pretty much had my one and only bottle of Dr. Pepper until I go home or find more of it in some teeny tiny middle of no where town. Please, oh please, let me find it in another teeny tiny middle of no where town...

Funny story happened while I was in Bantry. As the sun started going down last night, Sarah and I head for the beach. We were making our way around the outskirts, trying to get to the other side of town, when we were warned by a nice couple that the tide was starting to rise. Thinking nothing much of it, we kept going along. Eventually, we ran into a bush filled with bees, and since we didn't really want to go walk in the water, we turned back. After twenty minutes of hoping around on large boulders, we finally get back to the sandy beaches, where the tide has almost engulfed them completely. We make it alright until we hit a rather large branch that ended up in our way, and even further down the coast, there was still water in our path. So basically we had to pull off our socks and shoes, roll up our pants, and spend five minutes walking in freezing cold Bantry ocean water. At the time I was crying about how much it hurt, while Sarah was getting amused by it all because she's from Maine. In the end we made it, and I'm kind of glad it happened, because it really is a fun story to tell.

Well, I have more homework than time, and my mac n' cheese awaiting me. So bon voyage I go!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An emotional rollercoaster

Hello world!

As I mentioned several days ago, I went on a Sunday to visit the small fisherman's town of Cobh. This was the last place where the S.S. Titanic anchored it ship to pick up and drop off passengers. However, it never really did stop next to the dock, because it had to beat out all the other ships when it came to delivering mail. So in order to save time, passengers had to wait on an old rickety wooden dock, board a smaller ship, and ferry away towards the Titanic. There were over a hundred passengers from Cobh, and only 20 something survived on that deadly night when she sank.

After the tour, Sarah and I went to a local cafe for lunch. If you take the Titanic Tour, they give you a complementary tea, and oh boy is it complementary! We were given our own pot with a side of milk and lots of sugar packets. It was delicious! I ended up getting a BLT on a toasted bagel with a side of potato chips. What was interesting about this sandwich was that the bacon was very thick, and meaty, unlike how we normally do it crispy at home. I enjoyed it very much, and I have to say, it was one of the best BLTs I've ever tasted.

The best part about visiting Cobh was the trip to Spike Island. The same man who does the Titanic tour has campaigned for ten years to allow people to visit the island because of it's rich history. It was only this year that he was able to give tourers, and I was very lucky in that the tour ended in September, but he asked for permission to keep it going until the end of October.

Spike Island was used by Monks during the time of the vikings. It continued to be a sanctuary for these holy men up until the 20th century, when it became a place to hold temporary prisoners. However, there were periods in which prisoners were held there for 36 and 19 years, which isn't so temporary. Stationed on the island during this time period as well was men of the Navy. Each man and his family was allowed to live in a small cottage or share one with others depending upon his rank. The houses are still standing, although they're crumbling on the inside. Up on the top most hill is where the forts and prison cells sit, along with a very fancy house, but I can't remember who lived in it. If you ever visit Cobh or have any interest in it, I highly suggest looking up Spike Island and getting to know it's history.

I've been feeling horrible about my studies. My theatre classes conflict with my other lecture courses some of the time, and I'm just afraid that I'm not being a very good student by allowing this to happen. I could change my schedule, but I've already bought my books and read some of them for Victorian Literature and 19th Century American Literature. The other issue is that we don't even know when the times of the rehearsals are. The professors pick times that don't conflict with the classes that students have to take that year, so for those of us international students who take whatever we want, it becomes quite difficult. Also, I haven't been keeping up with the readings. I still have 13 pages left from the first book for Victorian Lit, and I'm already supposed to be at least 100 pages into Tess. I've been so caught up in planning trips and not sticking around during the weekends that I've neglected some of my studies. I've been pretty good about going to class, except when I had a cold the week before last and I skipped Victorian literature and 19th century to rest. I have two essays on November 2nd for both of those courses, and I just don't feel prepared as I should be. Balancing out the fun and work is such a hard thing to do, and it makes it even more difficult when I wasn't in school for nearly 4 months! Ahh. /end rant.

I have to say, I totally misjudged Tesco grocery store. Before I said it was very like Walmart, and I didn't like it at all, but after taking another late night trip over there (all the other stores close around 6pm, and Tesco is open until 9), I've changed my mind. Firstly, the prices are amazing! Secondly, they have way more variety in food. I was so happy to find canned soup (all the other stores carry it dry in plastic packets), as well as sparkling grape juice, Nestle Crunch Bars, Capris Sun, LAUGHING COW CHEESE!! *jigs*, mac n' cheese (they don't have Kraft in a box or anything in a box, but they do have it in the refrigerated isle), and eight packets of hot chocolate for only 3 euro (it was on sale)! The downside is having to carry it all back, since it's further away, but the savings are great. I was able to get several meals, cereal, snacks, and stuff to drink for 41 euro. If I had gone to Supervalu or Mark and Spencers, it would have cost double that more than likely.

I haven't been so happy lately, because my roles are so tiny in the class production. I'm usually one who will take up a part without complaint, but I feel like the roles were unevenly distributed. Also, the lady who teaches the class kept forgetting me when she was telling us who got what roles in what play. I have three lines between my two parts, none of which are funny, witty, or really have an important meaning. I'm willing to speak up on my behalf, because I would like to do something more than just ask if so and so is home, or give a simple nod when answering a question with two lines of speech.

On a better note, I visited my voice instructor yesterday, and she helped me find my natural way of breathing. I was also able to get my voice down low in a state of peace and calm. That's my natural voice, and now I'm going to be working on not talking in such a high pitch. I'm just so grateful that I finally have this opportunity, because I've been wanting to do it for so long- 5 years in fact. I have specific exercises that I'm supposed to be doing daily, and I plan on working as hard as I can. I can already talk in a low pitch, it's just difficult for me to do it seriously, because whenever I do, I'm usually imitating someone who speaks that way.

Guess what! I've finally booked my flight for Paris, France! I'll be traveling there from December 3rd-5th. I have no clue what the plans are yet, but Sarah has a friend who's studying there and will be hanging out and giving us a good tour of the place. I'm really hoping that The Louvre and The Eiffel Tower aren't closed when arrive, since there's a high terror alert around those areas...

Facts of the day:
-Sometimes I find that Cork people are some what ignorant when it comes to the confederate flag. They wave the old Southern symbol during rallies and times of celebration, and just today I saw someone wearing it on a T-shirt, who was clearly not American. I don't really take offense to it, so much as I'm puzzled as to why they promote the flag. I tried looking this up, but nothing relevant is appearing in my searches.
-As I stated before, there is NO MAC n' CHEESE! I almost cry every time I go down the isles and realize there will never be such a thing in the pasta section. They don't even have ravioli in a can, or Speghettio's. Some stores carry mac n' cheese in the refrigerated isle, but it's very bland.
-Something I learned from an Irish woman yesterday. Never tell an Irish boy you want to have dinner. Breakfast and lunch is ok, but never dinner. Why? Having dinner means you want them to meet your parents and get married. Also, Irishmen are quite shy! Most of them will talk to your friend instead of directly asking you out.
-Irishmen will also leave you at the pub. They don't really "leave" you there, but they'll sit you at the bar, order a few pints and hang out with their buddies out on the dance floor. You can join them, I suppose, but I find it very odd that the guy wouldn't want to court his lass throughout the night, ya know?
-Have you ever noticed that most people stop breathing when listening in on a conversation? Random fact. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

When all good things come to an end.

These past few minutes have been a mind numbing wake up call. Out of the blue I couldn't help but confront the very thing on my mind: I don't want to do theatre anymore. I've said it before, many times in fact, but for once it's different. Those past moments were followed by failed attempts at getting parts in a show or not having the skills to impress in drama class. However, I have a strange feeling that after taking my second voice class session, that the desire I once had has flown away, maybe never to return.

Now the big question is, what do I do? Hundreds, if not thousands of college students change their major more than once, but now that I'm a Senior, it's kind of hard to change course. I fought so hard for a dream that just doesn't exist anymore. For years I've pondered what to do with myself, and yet nothing comes to mind. I really thought this was it, but now I'm certain it's not at all. If there wasn't so much debt tied to being educated, I would be more than happy to change things the way they are, but I can't now. It's so frustrating, and I can't just pick up graduate school on a whim, either. It's a very serious thing.

What's ironic is that I came here thinking that I'd have better opportunities to expand, and now that I do, it's made me realize the inevitable. At one point I even thought that I was running away from my problems, but somehow I've embraced them even more here, making sense of my true self. Would I still jump at the chance to do a film role or join the cast of a television series? Of course, but you see, I no longer have the desire to keep training for years and years, for the work ahead doesn't interest me anymore. I've become content with who I am, and I wouldn't change it for the better. Theatre is all about change, developing a new sense of self that I'm just not cut out for. So there you have it. I'll still continue with my classes here with just as much passion to work harder, but unless something new comes along while I'm doing it, that will probably be the last of it all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Honey Ham, and Everyman

It's been awhile since my last blog. For once this week didn't fly by, but rather took it's time to end. On Wednesday I went to 19th Century America class and found out the book I read wasn't due until next Wednesday, but the other book we have to read is due on Tuesday. So I was a little bummed out about that, since that's 70 pages to get done on Monday in addition to some extra work for my Victorian Literature class.

That afternoon I purchased some amazing fruit from the English market. For five euro I was able to buy 2 plums, 3 bananas, a container of strawberries, a coconut, an apple, and a tomato. Later that day was Victorian literature, and then I spent the rest of the night reading for class.

Thursday morning was spent going to my three hour theatre class that's working on the play Misery and Fear in the Third Reich. I got two parts in the play, a small role as a maid in the one act called "The Spy" and my other part is a physicians assistant in "Occupational Disease." At first I was somewhat disappointed with the roles I was given, but I've learned to just roll with it and enjoy what I've got and work as hard as I can.

Afterward, my friend Sarah and I went to lunch at a really nice restaurant, although I cannot remember the name. It's right by Waterstones Bookstore on St. Patrick street. I ate my first real Irish meal, which included honey glazed ham, coleslaw, potato salad, mayo and tomatoes, and some amazing whole grain soda bread. Ever since I got here, I haven't really had anyone to go out with, and I always felt weird going to restaurants by myself. So I was really happy to finally go out and taste what Cork has to offer. When were done eating chatting, we went to Waterstones (I needed to order a book, but unfortunately they were out of stock), and then to Penny's for some clothes. Sarah got a dress for her Halloween costume as a Pride and Prejudice zombie, and I bought a turquoise sweater dress to wear with leggings for my yoga class (I've been wearing jeans, and I got told I couldn't). I also got some much needed socks, and a really cute skirt to match a shirt and sweater I got on sale at The Gap. Oh yeah! I was so excited. The Gap had a 60% off sale, and I managed to buy two sweaters, one of which was originally 70 euro for only 20. In total I got the two sweaters and a really pretty navy shirt for 55 euro, which is about 60-70 dollars. Not bad for great quality, and certainly cheap for The Gap. :)

From 12:30pm to 4am, I was up watching the K-State V.S. KU football game. It was worth every minute, despite almost falling asleep an hour and a half before it was over. 59 to 7. Such a beautiful thing! It felt really good, especially since we lost to them at K-State my Freshman year.

Yesterday I had my French film class, and we watched a really good movie about multiple love triangles. It was really funny, especially towards the end of the movie when all of the husbands/lovers starts fighting each other and the women are screaming and throwing themselves on them to stop.

Later that night I went to see a play called The Silver Tassie. It was performed in The Everyman Place Theatre, which is located about a block from Mark and Spencer's. I didn't care much for the play itself, but it was really fun sitting up in the balcony. I was to the very far left, so I couldn't see that side of the stage very well, but I did love getting to watch the show from up above. The actors spoke in a middle lower class Dublin accent, so it was funny to find that even my Cork friends/fellow acting students also had a bit of a hard time understanding everything that was being said. The most fascinating thing for me about Ireland is that each county has it's own accent, as well as an accent for each class! Someone who's rich isn't going to sound the same as someone who's poor in Cork or anywhere else for that matter. So basically each county has 3-5 different accents. Crazy, no?

That's been it for the most part. I've been really tired and sore today, and I went grocery for a lot of things. I'm making my first meatloaf tonight, and I just baked some really good chicken tenders from Mark and Spencer's. I've found that if you purchase a 2 euro bag of honey chicken tenders from Tesco, they'll last you for three meals. The chicken tenders I bought from Mark and Spencer's cost twice as much and only lasts for two. However, the quality of chicken is way better and it's so tasty! I haven't shopped at Tesco since the second or third day I got here, because it's so far away, and I didn't like shopping there at all. I actually panicked because I thought that all grocery stores were exactly like it. It was twice as crowded, they didn't really have a whole lot of prepackaged goods, the bread was wrapped in wax paper instead of in a plastic bag, and the isles weren't very organized. So yeah, Supervalu and Mark and Spencer's is the way to go for me. :)

Facts of the day:
-Healthcare is a pain. The free health clinic at UCC is usually booked for two weeks when you come in. Unless you're dying, they won't accept you any sooner than that. My roommate told me about it yesterday morning, and I was disappointed because I needed a prescription for a cough suppressant due to my constant coughing at night (I have a sinus infection).
-Every Monday morning there's a guy who plays beautiful music on his guitar out on Father Mathew Quay bridge. At night, there's usually musicians out and about with their guitars, accordions, and banjos, playing for money near most of the shopping districts.
-Get involved! I've found that most people don't make friends here because their lecture classes are so huge, and there's really no other way to meet others. There's hundreds of societies and clubs, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find something to do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bon Appetite!

After searching endlessly through four bookstores, I finally managed to obtain Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I've wanted a copy ever since I saw Julie and Julia a year ago. The great thing about this book is that it has several recipes that I could easily make, such as an omelet or simmering chicken in a cream sauce. Well, it will get easier with practice, since mastering such an art is not a simple thing to do.

Yesterday I dragged my sick self to my first Kristin Linklater session. It's a technique that focuses on breathing and learning about ones inner self. I am truly honored to be taking this course, considering the fact that our instructor is the only one certified to teach it in Ireland! Also, learning about my voice is something I've really wanted to focus on, because I never liked it's high pitched sound. I don't expect to change it over night, or maybe even change it at all, but perhaps I'll learn to appreciate it's uniqueness and individuality.

Here is something very important that everyone who wants to travel should know: You can't purchase anything with an American credit/debit card online. American stores will deny the card because they can detect that you're from another country and everything has it's own copyright law. Stores in Europe or in this case Ireland will deny the card because it's American and the site will tell you it's invalid. This also includes itunes and movie downloads from Amazon. I've been trying to purchase a book for class on three different irish/uk websites, all of which denied my card. I'm crossing my fingers that Waterstones can order it for me, because other wise I'm doomed.

I finally found art supplies at a place called "Cork Art Supplies," located on Princess Street. If the artist in you is dying for colored pencils and drawing paper like I did, or any type of paint/pastilles/charcoal/whatever, they've got it. :)

One of the things I'm having trouble with around here is spending my money wisely. I still have more than enough to get by, including my 400 euro trip to Paris. The problem is buying food without spending too much each week. You end up spending more money buying the ingredients for tacos or spaghetti than you do for a 3 euro sandwich at the local convenience store. There are leftovers, but they spoil fast. Food around here does not last long, which makes it hard to cook for just one person. It's nice that there's the English market, since I can probably get food for much less, so I plan on doing more shopping there. I'm starting to figure out a budget plan, so hopefully that will work out.

The one thing I miss about home is having space. Shopping for things makes me tense and uneasy, because there are so many people wiggling their way past me or trying to get whatever it is that I'm standing in the way of. I can't shop for a thing of milk without there being two or three people coming my way for the same thing! Eventually I'll get used to it, but for now it's driving me bat crazy.

I do miss watching American television, too. All of these copyright laws hinder me from watching The Office, Project Runway, and Family Guy. I could watch South Park if I had a TV, and we should because we have free cable. It's difficult living in another country, because it feels like everything that keeps me updated with what's going on in America is being blocked from my viewing. I was lucky enough to have Yahoo! Ireland switch back to Yahoo! America after I cleared my computer's cache. My Google homepage has decided to turn into Google Ireland, which is actual a plus, because I'm always searching for Irish stores and terms, but then it gets complicated when I want to check out something from the states and it won't come up first thing like it normally would back home.

It's getting to be like Fall around here! There's this gorgeous lush tree that stands tall near the entrance of UCC, and it's already shedding it's leaves, which have turned into beautiful shades of orange and red. I keep meaning to take a picture of it, but it's just so much nicer walking underneath it instead. I haven't seen much change aside from that, but I assume it will come around soon enough. There's also lots of Halloween shops opening up around here, and I bought my costume already. I'm going to be a nurse that cut up the body parts of a dead cat and sewed them to her face/head/behind (cat mask/cat ears/cat tail). I'll also add blood and stitch marks for special effect. It's really weird and makes no sense whatsoever, but I always wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, and I've always wanted to be a cat. So why not do both?

But yes, Halloween is a big deal around here. There are many different shops that sell costumes, decorations, and accessories. All of the pubs have Halloween balls with food and drink at discounted prices or for free! There's also contests and just some good old rock n' roll music. The dramat society is having a mystery Halloween party, but that's before the 31st, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do just yet.

Facts of the day:
-Cookware is not cheap in the least. I had to spend 18 euro on a baking sheet, which I plan on bringing home with me just because it was that pricey. FYI: 18 euro = 25 dollars. The good news is that it is a great baking sheet with a lifetime warranty.
-Buying things in liters is much cheaper than buying them from a can or a bottle. A bottle of Coke costs 1.50, but a 2 liter of Coke costs 2 euro, sometimes 1 euro if it's on sale. Also, a can of soda costs 1 euro or more, depending on if you purchase it from a pop machine or a convince/grocery store.
-Tesco is the equivalent of Walmart in terms of pricing, but it's not as nice of a store. If you want decent prices with quality food, I highly recommend going to Supervalu. Mark and Spencers is another great grocery store, but their stuff is more expensive. Also, buy meat from Supervalu, you'll get more bang for your buck!
-If your roommate gets snippy at you because you asked them not to move your stuff without asking, stand your ground. I never stand up for myself, but today I did and even though the result was not a good one, I still feel like I did the right thing. This trip has given me more confidence than I normally have, and it's something I'll always be proud of. It's certainly true when people come back from a foreign country and declare that they've changed simply by moving far away. I've only been here for four weeks, and I can already feel it. :)