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. :)

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