Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things I'll Miss About Dublin!

Since I've been talking so much about all the great things I'll do when I get home, I thought it only fair to talk about all that I will miss in Dublin, cause there's a lot!

First and foremost I will miss all the wonderful friends I have made here.  They have made my time 
in Dublin so fun and memorable and helped me to not be so homesick.
 Big shout out goes to Inge who not only was super nice and  friendly, but also introduced me to her awesome friends - Sadhbh, Jenny, Eoin, Riley and Michelle. I had so much fun hanging out with them. We've had lovely dinners, hung out, drank tea and watched the Hills.It will definitely be weird not to see them on weekends, as it has become part of my life.    And I'm sure they'll miss all my wonderful picture taking skills and quick facebook posts!

Obviously I came here to "study" and while I was,
I met some  great people at school. There are just two many great people to name, but I gotta shout out to my EU group - Lisa and Philip and my fellow American Bianca.  I've had fun partying with everyone at Proby, really brought me back to the college dorm days back in undergrad.  It was actually Philip who brought me to my first Proby party, so thanks for that buddy! The Smurfit Fancy Dress Party was super fun, as was introducing flip cup to the UCD peeps, and celebrating classes being over at the Howl at the Moon. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming, its just been so great. I will be sad to not come back next semester, and to not be able to go on some of the trips and activities that everyone is planning.

I will definitely miss the traveling and the handiness of being so 
close to so many European cities.  Its fantastic how you can just hop on a one to two hour plane ride and be in a whole new place. I will miss my traveling buddies - Katherine and Carol, who were also my neighbors in the Gasworks.  We've been 
traveled on the weekends, explored new places and tried new food. Edinburgh was an awesome trip, we had Haggis, fried mars bars and did a lovely afternoon tea.  Brugge, which was most recent was absolutely LOVELY! The city was so cute and quaint and we had a great time eating chocolate, mussels, frites and delicious fluffy buttery Belgium Waffles.  Thru Kathy, I also became friend with Lydie, a wonderful and superfun French Girl who was nice enough to not only show me around and take me to great places to eat, but also let me borrow her TV so I could watch movies and do my Taebo Videos. Thanks Lydie!

Other things I'll miss:
  • Being able to walk or take public transportion and not having to drive 
  • My very cool apartment - the Alliance
  • The non pressured school life as I took all my classes pass/fail
  • Koppaberg and Bulmers (hard to find cider at home)
  • Cadbury Chocolate
  • Lunches at Google
  • Dinner parties at my apartment
  • Shopping on Grafton and Henry street
  • Being able to go out and no one having to be the designated driver
  • Just living in a cool city like Dublin

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

California Here I Come!

Believe it or not, but I'll be home in one week! Crazy! Time has FLOWN by sooo quickly!!I have had an AWESOME or as the Irish say Grand time here. I can't believe its ending already but I have to say I am excited to be going home. I've started a running list in my mind of things to do when I am back in sunny California. So here is my list of things to do, people to see and places to eat when I get home (in no particular order)
  • See Alexis!! That's actually #1 
  • See my friends and family
  • Eat delicious and cheap Chinese food in MPK, and of course my daddy's yummy food
  • Drive my car!
  • Have my mom make Pho for me
  • See the SUN and get some color!
  • Go to: In & Out on the way home from the airport,  Don Antonio's with Susan and Gina, Father's Office with Megan, Salad with Amanda,  Dim Sum with Mike Roth, 
  • Eat good Japanese food - Katsuya, Todai, Orrochon 
  • Wear flip flops
  • Get a mani-pedi
  • Store all the clothes I've worn here away in the closet
  • Hug and play with Alexis; pinch her cheeks!
  • Watch TV
  • Go to the gym!
  • Get a massage
  • Wear scarves, gloves and ugs for fashion, not necessity

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving, Irish Style

This was my first year spending Thanksgiving away from home. Luckily, as I previously mentioned, I have met loads of WONDERFUL people here and I had not one, but two fabulous Thanksgiving dinners. Because Thanksgivng was and always is on a Thursday, it was a bit difficult to host it on the actual day. I had class until late that day, as did many of the other students. And unlike the States, we don't get the day off. So on Wednesday, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my apartment with some of my UCD/Google friends, four of which were Americans. We did  it potluck style and I was in charge of the Turkey. I had reserved a Turkey at Superquinn near Blackrock (UCD Campus), but Euro Spar, the market near my place said they could get me one for cheaper.  I figured it's be easier to get it at Spar, so I wouldn't have to carry a 12 lb turkey from the market to the DART and ride the train five stops. So I cancel the Superquinn Turkey and the day of, go to Spar to pick up my turkey.  The butcher was like, the delivery guy isn't here yet, he's usually here by 11, but is running late today, come back at 1. I come back at 1 and apparently it is still not there. I give the dude my number and then get a call 20 minutes later saying that the delivery guy won't be coming today. He's like, he'll be here tomorrow, Thanksgiving's not til tomorrow rite? I was like, well, I am having my dinner tonight. Long story short, I had to improvise, went to the butcher down the road and got an Irish chicken, some beef and a stuffed turkey leg.  Bianca, a fellow American came over early to help me cook the turkey. Unfortunately she had food poisoning the day before and still wasn't feeling well.  She ended up having to miss dinner :(  So, I cooked my assorted meats and got things ready.  

People started to show up and brought an array foods. We had everything from veggies to mashed and sweet potatoes to minced and pecan pie.  We drank wine and ate until we were stuffed, because that is the way Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Everything was sooo good and of course, I had seconds.  The pecan pie that Stephanie made was super delicious as was all the wonderful desserts that people brought. I tried minced pie for the first time and it was pretty tasty. This whole time I thought they had meat in it, since they have minced meat pies here and of course Shepard's pie.  But it turns out that its just this little delicious tarts with raisin and other sweet fillings.

So the day of Thanksgiving, I had a full day of classes. My one Tech & Innovation class was extended an extra hour since the prof was not here last week.  Obviously he didn't care it was
Thanksgiving. My professor likes to talk and talk until you think he can't talk anymore, but he does.The class is already boring and excruciating, but was way worse with an extra hour added on.  But it was good because it was my very last class.   I went home that night, had some yummy leftovers and ate myself sick because it was Thanksgiving and that's what you have to do. Some of my Google friends were going to Woolshed's in town because they were serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and playing football.  So I went and met up with them and had a drink.  

Friday was my Thanksgiving Dinner with Inge and her crew.  Inge was thankfully bringing the Turkey, so I decided to make some traditional American sides. I went to the Tesco that day and tried to find all the ingredients. I gotta say, it is tough trying to make Thanksgiving food in Dublin.  I was able to buy sweet potatoes, and got some strange form of marshmallows. I wanted to make a green bean casserole but they did not have those French's onion crisp things.  So I decided to make my famous butternut squash mac and cheese instead.  Of course, 
they had no buttersquash, but I was able to find butternutsquash, sweet potatoe and pumpkin soup, which worked. Everyone showed up around 8 and everything looked and smelled delicious! We all grubbed til we felt sick, at least I did. After a bit of rest, Sadhbh presented us withher BEAUTIFUL desserts. She is a pastry chef and was actually able to get pumpkin to make pie! She's my hero. And the pie was mouth watering DELICIOUS!! I was seriously so stuffed I wanted to curl up in a ball, but instead, we decided to meet up with some of my UCD friends at Howl at the Moon. Everyone was celebrating the fact that classes were over.
I had missed the prepartying at Proby and when I got to the club, everyone was pretty hammered. The club was pretty interesting, as were the drunk Irish dudes.  And so, we all tried to dance off the loads of food we ate.  I could barely drink a glass of wine, I was so stuffed.  But we all had so much fun. Overall it was a fabulous Thanksgiving week.  I am still eating leftovers and I have to say I am pretty turkeyed-out.  Had turkey fried rice today for dinner...will probably make some sort of turkey soup tomorrow.  One thing I won't be eating when I get home is TURKEY! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Irish Peeps

So, since I've been here in Dublin, I've met a lot of really cool people from various parts of the world. So I thought I'd introduce you to my friends here in Dublin, to let you know who I've been hanging with.  Here's an introduction to my peeps in Ireland. 

Sarah Gay was nice enough to introduce me to Inge Dorman, a very cool and really sweet Irish girl, who is a dentist here in  Dublin.  We met up for dinner during my first two weeks here and she's introduced me to some of her grade school friends, Jenny and Sadhbh, and her cool dentist friends - Riley, Eoin and Ciaran.  Riley from Calgary, but has been living her for eight years, so he has a strange Irish/Candadian accent. They are all super nice and fun to hang with.  They've been awesome about getting me accustomed and helping me get around since I don't have a car. I'm super grateful to have met them! So thanks Sarah!

And of course there are the UCD kids that I go to schoolwith. They are a bit younger and they sure can party. I've been to a couple of "Proby"dorm parties and they brought me back to my undergad days. Usually the pre party starts at Proby and then it moves on to some club/pub in the city. Bianca, a fellow American and I 
introduced the Irish kids to flip cup.  I think they really enjoyed it and will play the games for years to come. I have had lots of fun partying with the Smurfit peeps and they make school a lot more interesting.  Its good craic!!

Lastly we have my Google friends. I have been living in the Gasworks, which is right by the Google Europe buildings. Jen Peng,  a friend and sorority sister, who I went to Davis with, works at the Mountainview Office. I met her friend Carol a couple years back when we celebrated New Years in Vegas. Carol's working here in Dublin for a few months, as is Katherine,  who normally works in Santa Monica.  Lydie, who is from France
been working here in Dublin for three years. The girls are super cool. I've traveled to Edinburgh with Carol an Katherine, and we have one more trip to Belguim in three weeks.  We try to have weekly dinners. Lydie is awesome and has shown us 
some great places to eat, and has introduced me to some good Irish music.  

So, just in case anyone back home was worried about me, have no fear! I am surrounded by great friends that have made my life and experience here GRAND!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Countdown Begins...

Believe it or not, I have exactly one month left here in Dublin! Man, the time has gone by so quickly! I am both sad to see this end, but ready to return home to my family and friends, my niece Alexis in particular, who is just growing up so fast and is getting so cute! I can't wait to play with her and pinch her chubby little cheeks.

I just returned from Madrid and have been gone for the past three weekends. The travels have especially made the time go by quickly. I now have two more weeks of classes, a "dead" week to study for finals, then I'm off the Belgium for the weekend, come back, and take two finals, one day to pack and say my goodbyes, then on December 18th, I'm on a plane back to sunny California!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Galway & Cork

So I crossed two of Ireland's "must visit" cities off my list last weekend when I went to Galway.  My new friend Amanda who's from LA which I met here in Dublin, is doing a law school program in Galway.  She knew Talia's brother and came over to our place for Rosh Hashana. Anyways, long story short, I went to visit Galway and stayed with her.  I took a three hour train there on that Friday, which was relatively painless.  Got into Galway around 5:30 and we went to dinner and had drinks. Galway is a pretty cute city, kind of a smaller version of Dublin. Much colder tho! 

The next day we decided to take a bus to Cork for the day to see the Jazz Festival.  
Galway is in the Western region of Ireland while Cork is more South West.  So we hoped on a bus at 8:30 am and took a 3 hour bus ride to Cork.  Seems a bit crazy looking back but we were all game.  We got there and it was raining, sadly.  We had lunch and then tried to figure out where this big festival was taking place.  Alas, everyone we asked said that the festival was everywhere.  I guess pubs just hired jazz bands to play and that was pretty much what the festival was. So we had some coffee at a shop and learned they would be playing jazz at 4pm.  So until then we figured that all we could do was drink...and so we did! 
Funnily enough we ended up having drinks at Captain 
America of all places. The staff was super nice and there were 
great drink specials. We had kamaze shots and made em blue for the "craic" which is Irish slan for fun.  I also had a fabulous
 strawberry mojito for only 5 Euro.  We got fairly buzzed and had a good time! We went back to the coffee shop and listened to a great jazz band.  

Afterwards, after being full of food and alcohol, we took the bus back to Galway. Me, being thet motion sick person that I am took two dramamenes.  The bus ride there wasn't bad but oh the bus ride back was HORRENDOUS.  There were millions of potholes and overall a very turbulent drive.  I seriously wanted to die. It was way worst then the Kilkenny bus ride.  The driver had stopped and I asked to get out and ran to the Supermac's to use the bathroom. I started getting dizzy in the middle of the street and made it in the door, but had to sit down.  Got up to use the restroom and ended up throwing up.  Got back on the bus for two more torturous hours.  Right as the driver was pulling in to the station, I knew that I had to get out. I asked him to open the door and the moment it opened, I projectile vomited on the floor. (Sorry for the graphic details). It was kinda gross and I felt bad for the onlookers.  It wasn't even that I was hungover, it was just a bad bus drive.  My friends who don't normally get sick said it was bad. 

So, after a nice sleep, we had a lazy sunday in Galway. I like the city, its very beautiful.  It is  however way colder than in Dublin, so I was more appreciative after getting back.  My umbrella which I used for two months in Dublin was destroyed after a week in Galway.   Overall, I give Galway and Cork two thumbs up.  Don't know that I need to ever go again, but I'm glad that I did.  The Cork Festival might have been more fun if we had stayed there for the night, but what are ya gonna do?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Packing in all the TRAVEL!!

So I've pretty much stayed around the Dublin area so far, and met a lot of cool people and gotten to know Ireland fairly well...but starting this weekend, I'll be traveling a bit more and seeing more of Europe. This weekend I'll be going to Galway, which is the countryside of Ireland. Should be fun, some friends from Smurfit are going and possibly some of my other Irish dentist friends. The weekend after, I will be in Edinburgh with my Google peeps. Then I'm here in Dublin for 3 days, cramming in as much school work as I can before I'm off to Rome to meet Candace. The week after I will be visiting Madrid and seeing the Denises and Mike Roth. I'm here in the Dublin the next three weekends, which includes Thanksgiving, then I'm off to Brussels! Woo! Talk about squeezing a lot of trips into two months! Can't wait tho!!! The studying will have to be secondary to the travel, but as they say, when in Rome!!