I just booked my Bed and Breakfast. It's in the
Sunday, November 28, 2010
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
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: http://www.petitsfours.ie
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.