Worst Blogger of the Semester Award goes to...
Good news: I survived Italy, Germany and massive flooding in Cork.

Bad news: I have 8000 words to write by the end of the semester, a housing deal to seal, lots of crap to pack AND I suck at blogging.

I promise I'll write more later. For my own memory's sake as well as for the information of others.
Three cheers for being a terrible blogger!
Hip Hip... Hooray!

Last we saw our heroine she was headed up north for a quick visit to Dublin. Now, the trip began perfectly. I found the train station without a hitch and made it in time for the good ol' 9:30 service to Dublin. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a cold, which was only exacerbated by the fact that the cars didn't have any heat that morning. So, the trip was a little sniffly but nothing too bad; I had Neil Gaiman's American Gods to keep me company so all was right with life. Aside from the crazy crackhead lady behind me who kept yelling, "How far now!?" and the oddball old man across the aisle who would respond "Ah we've just passed ____, so."

Tangent: I love the way Irish people use the words "now" and "so". I can't really come up with a comparison in "American" but nows and sos are usually tucked into sentences as space-fillers, almost. I suppose a bit like an American like, but still a bit different. Example Scenario: You're at the local Tesco, just running in to get some OJ and eggs - the usual purchase, of course. You run it through the line with a clerk because the self check out lines are just out of this world and your friendly Polish-Irish hybrid says "Now, tree euro, so!" It's just so gosh-darned cute. /Tangent.

Anyway, so the train trip was fine going up. I made it into the city without any trouble and took the Luas (lightrail tram) to the stop nearest our hostel and met up with Anna. We decided to make the Guinness storehouse our first stop (naturally) and picked up some cheap chips en route, having not eaten for the better part of the day. The storehouse was fun, even though I'd been before. This time, all of the computers and things were working, unlike last time when half the exhibit wasn't functional. I also got to pull me own pint this time, which was fun, and mine didn't turn out half bad!

After the storehouse, we wandered a bit and found a nice place to have dinner and it was after dinner that I really began to feel like crap, so we wandered back to the hostel and bought copious amounts of Halls cough drops, OJ and and kleenex, ready to tuck in for an early night. Or what we hoped would be an early night.

We were wronnnnnng. We had decided to book a shared dorm style room at the hostel, 12 beds, mixed gender. NBD, right? We'd just be sleeping there so it's not like we were too invested in who our roommates would be. Well, when it turned out that our roommates were loud, drunken Italian men in town for the big match, it mattered quite a bit. There was a bit of a bed fiasco (everyone in the wrong beds because the first people to arrive had put their things in the wrong spot, etc, etc. not that it really mattered - there were enough beds for everyone). So of course the drunken Italian men and the high maintenance English girls had to have it out at 4 AM. Of course. After much yelling and miscommunicating, everything sorted itself out.

The next morning, we went to the Hugh Lane art museum, which was AMAZING. It was free (woo!!!) and had a great collection of mostly impressionist paintings. There was some more modern stuff, too, one of which is my new favorite painting of all time, I think. It's called Garden Green by Norah McGuinness. That link is a terrible image and hardly displays the completely vivid greens and the contrast of the bright white... It was just gorgeous!
After that, we met up with the other BC kids in town, ate lunch and then I decided that the best choice for my health would be to stay in bed instead of explore more of Dublin. Plus, the places my friends wanted to go were places I'd already been when I went in March. So, I spent another lovely night in the hostel bed, sneezing and coughing and sleeping off and on. Talk about fun trips.

Since I've been back in Cork, I've pretty much fully recovered. Both of my roommates were gone for the weekend, so I spent it cuddled up on the couch with my lovely giraffe blanket and a stack of books about yea high. I finished American Gods, Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl (a really good collection of short stories. Pretty creepy, though), My Left Foot by Christy Brown and Of Mice and Men by good ol' John Steinbeck. All in all, a good weekend - much better than the one before.

I leave Cork tomorrow night for an evening in the Dublin airport and then off to Italia! I'm pretty excited and a bit nervous too. The website for the Italian train system is complete crap, so Laura and I have just decided to wing it and buy tickets as we need them. We found a nice enough looking hostel in Florence, where I'll get to see some friends from high school! It should be a nice week away, and hopefully a little bit warmer than Cork, which shouldn't be too hard to do.

Look forward to some photos and Italian tales!
We went sea kayaking

Our coordinator sent us this picture today... I can't stop lolling.
I've been in Cork how long now??
And yet I've only been to... other places in Ireland. All within a couple hours drive from Cork City. Not that I haven't had a blast, I'm just ready to start in on all my EuroAdventures, which, as soon as they start, they just wont stop.

A brief outline (it's been so long since I've made a list!):
  • Dublin this weekend (I know it doesn't really count, but it's far enough away and big enough to sort of count). Includes: Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with Fr. Leahy and a BC football game.
  • Italy 22 Oct - 27 Oct. Includes: Milan and Rome, at least, perhaps a few other cities on the way down. I hadn't really planned on going to Italy, but with the promise of a cheap flight over a long weekend, I just couldn't say no!
  • Germany/Belgium 5 Nov - 12 Nov. This is the biggest trip of my semester, I think. Includes: Berlin, Brussels & Bruges. We're flying into Berlin and then to Brussels the next day, spending the afternoon there and taking the train to Bruges (because, as we all know, it's a "f***ing fairytale land" and definitely worth seeing ;) ) then back to Berlin after a few days in time for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.
  • Liverpool 19 Nov -24 Nov. Includes: LIVERPOOL! I might throw in a short jaunt to Scotland.
And I think that will be the extent of my eurotrips for this semester, aside from my Christmas holiday in Aspiran. I'd like to perhaps go up to Belfast but maybe I'll save it for next semester. I've got to remember that I have to write a crapton this term AND that I have all of next semester to travel as well.

I'm excited
Hello, October!
Time is flying by way too quickly for my liking. How is it already October?? I try not to think about how much time is left, focusing instead on each day.

The last week or so has been kind of mleh, taking care of a few business items and getting into the swing of classes. I finally registered with the Garda. It only took, oh, 3 hours of my life. The plus was I got some reading done for my first paper for my film class (we have to compare a book version and movie version of a story... she gave us a list to choose from and nearly all of them looked terribly depressing. Hooray for Irish literature.)
I'm still kind of confused on how to refer to my teachers. I guess professor is higher than doctor here, though that seems strange. I guess "lecturer" is the safest bet, but that seems so weird and kind of like I'm glossing over their true status. Whatever. The same thing goes for the way they talk about the bathroom. They (they being Irish people) say 'toilet' and make fun of us if we say 'restroom'... toilet seems almost vulgar to me, but when in Rome...

Cork is really awesome, there is always something going on. Last weekend (i think...?) was Culture Night with tons of free tours and activities. We went on a walking food history tour of Cork (chosen because we thought there'd be free food in it for us. There wasn't.) I think I was the only one of our group that really enjoyed the tour, though. After the food tour, we went in a "culture cab" similar to the TV show Cash Cab...what a BLAST. Everyone who knows me knows that I would do almost anything to go on that show (I plan to take a long weekend trip to NYC next year and spend the whole time hunting for Ben Bailey and his Cash Cab), so this was by far my favorite part of the night. They put five of us at a time into a vancab and it was every man for himself in terms of points, so the guide lady would ask a question and we'd have to yell out our names as a buzzer, whoever yelled first got to answer, etc. Most of the questions were easy enough, though there were some that were quite tricky for Americans and other non-Irish (i.e. what year did Samuel Beckett die, who won the Booker prize twice, etc).

This weekend the Beamish Folk Festival is on, so there's lots of live music in all the pubs and a Ceili Mor down on one of the main streets downtown tomorrow. I'm not sure what to expect from that, but the music has been good so far. We saw an old man bluesy number the other night at this place called The Corner House. They were awesome, the guitarist soloed for like, a full five minutes and dude was definitely pushing 60. They played some original stuff and some covers... all in all, a pretty good night.

Next weekend the kids from BC have to go up to Dublin to visit Fr. Leahy, who is coming to visit for some reason or another. I think I'll head up Thursday night or Friday morning (I don't have classes on Fridays) and do a bit of exploring, see some of the things I didn't get to when I was there last (i.e. The Book of Kells). I hadn't really planned on visiting Dublin again, just because I've already been there and ... well, why pay to go somewhere I've been and miss out on some place I haven't seen? Seeing as it is a BC sponsored trip, though, I don't have a problem going up.

My two papers for Folklore are due soon and I really need to get cracking on them, so my goal for the day is to finish the one I've started before I go out to enjoy the music, or, as they say here, the craic.
the blog post in which I whine and mope about many a thing
On the very tip top of my heap of complaints sits this dreadful, evil cold. I knew it was coming, I should have tried harder to avoid it, but I figured it was inevitable as nearly everyone else had already or was currently going through the same thing. Now, laying here in bed with a heavy head and sandpaper-like throat, I'm regretting my lack of proactivity a few days ago. I slept through class today, not seeing a way I could make the hike to school without drowning in a stream of my own snot and hacking up at least one of my lungs.
I woke up to a knock on my bedroom door, which I was somewhat expecting, seeing as my landlady had told me that my direct roommate would be moving in today. Turns out it was the janitor type lady come to make up the roommate's bed. When she saw me in bed she was confused, so I explained that I had a cold and I think the poor woman is now convinced that I have the swine flu.
The roommate has yet to arrive, so I've been sleeping fitfully all morning, afraid she'll come in and see me and be weirded out, or something. Or feel like she can't be in here to unpack for fear of disturbing me. Oh well.

After attending an advisory meeting yesterday, I've decided that I'm going to change my whole plan for courses. The lady from the international students office told us that we probably wouldn't be accepted to courses that we hadn't taken before, throwing my plans for psych and/or natural sciences right out the window. But that's okay! I figured out that even if I take only my 4 history courses while I'm here, I'll be able to graduate on time, I'll just have an odd senior year. So, the new plan is to knock out the histories, take a beginner's french class (no assessment, just language!) and perhaps an intro to jazz, to see if that can count for my fine arts class. If not, I might take an art history, or something that I can only take here, like a Celtic civilization class. Who knows. Anyway, I'm feeling a lot less stressed about the whole course thing.

In other news, there really isn't any other news. Hooray.

ETA: WTF grrrr I am so mad why do all of my posts still say April 17?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
Course babble
Trying to figure out which courses will be available this semester is nearly impossible, especially because the school hasn't yet published them. We've been advised to check out last year's courses with the warning that not all of them will be offered again. How helpful.

I've been comparing the old module book with the timetables, so I think I have some idea of what will be offered. My goals for this semester, coursewise, should be fairly easy to fulfill, though. I need to take two histories, either a natural science or a social science, and then whatever sounds most interesting as a fourth class.

For the histories, I'm tempted to take either Myth & History or Politics of Church & State. I don't want to take both, because they are both higher level courses with a 4000 word end of semester essay. I really don't want to do that to myself. If I can get into it, I think I'd prefer the Myth & History, and then a mid-level course called Information Revolutions & History. I can handle 4000 words and an exam, I think.

There don't seem to be too many lower level natural science courses available, at least... not ones that I want to take. I just can't really find nat sci interesting in the classroom, which is strange because I like Nat Geo and documentaries and that kind of stuff... blech. There's a couple of psych classes that I could do for my social science requirement, though. One is just an intro to Social Psychology and the other is one called Perception & Memory. I'm not sure if I could take Perception & Memory as it is a midlevel course and I have no Psych background.

I'm tempted to take this course designed for English speakers with no background in French. It's basically all conversation, no busy work or silliness, with the goal of giving us the basic vocabulary we'd need to survive a few days amidst the French. I don't know that such a vocabulary exists, but it sounds like fun, and it would be nice to be able to get by a little bit this Christmas.

Next semester, I'll basically be doing the same. Two histories, whichever science I don't do this semester and then a whatever. Maybe I'll take art history, because I still have to fulfill that. Assuming I'm successful in getting those three cores out of the way, and the 4 history courses tucked away, that'll leave me with ~3 history and cultural diversity senior year, meaning I would have room for four or so electives, unless I'm forgetting something huge... which I'm pretty sure I'm not.

Other than all of this planning, the past couple of days have been nice. The weekend was pretty chill, we mostly stayed in and played cards and planned our trips. I learned how to play Euchre seeing as most of my friends here are some variety of Midwestern. It's pretty fun, and kind of similar to Spades, so it wasn't too tricky to learn. We bought our tickets to Berlin. We ended up planning the trip for a week because when we looked at prices on Aer Lingus, there were 0 euro flights out of Cork to Berlin, with something like 20 euro taxes tacked on. All in all, a pretty good deal.
Last night we went to a pub called Clancy's where we heard there was going to be either swing or Irish dancing. Turns out both were going on, but the swing was upstairs and the Irish downstairs. One of the musicians would call out the dance steps, so a bunch of us would go up everytime and try our best to learn them. Our best didn't turn out so well, but it was still loads of fun.

In other news, I have become a chain tea-drinker and I'm dying for some good, or even not-so-good (i.e. Safeway) chinese food.
Long overdue
The past couple of weeks have been an absolute blur.

I go to class in the morning, from 9:30 - "12:30" but we're usually let out early, so I do my grocery shopping for the day. It would be nice to not have to shop every day, but the mini fridge makes that difficult. Also, I'm running out of ideas for meals that can be easily and quickly prepared with little space and few tools. Ideas, anyone?
I'm really happy with the group of friends I've made here. Most of us are in the same early start subject and live in Leeside, so we've been doing something of some sort most nights, whether it be chatting and getting to know each other or going out to some overpriced, overcrowded pub.

Our apartment building is located pretty centrally, so that's nice. It's a bit of a hike to school in the mornings, especially when it is pouring, but that's what wellies and brellies and anoraks are for! I prefer our proximity to the grocery stores, at least we don't have to walk a billion miles whilst carting our bags of food.

The past two weekends we've gone on a mini trip of some sort. Last weekend I went to Fethard to visit my grandpa one last time before he left for home. It was great fun, the town still has some of its old medieval walls and buildings and things and we went out for a nice meal and music afterward. I came back to Cork to go to the Cork City FC match against Cliftonville, where we were roped into being a sort of US fan club for the Rebels. We joined the crowd of about 50 hooligans in all the chants, including "Barack Obama loves Cork City!" and "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
The next day, a bunch of us went on a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry, which is a road that encircles Co. Kerry. Unfortunately it was terribly foggy and rainy so we didn't get to see all the beautiful views and landscapes, but it was still a good trip. We stopped in a few small towns, ate some delicious stew and brown bread, bought postcards and acted like tourists.

Thursday, our class went on a field trip to Bunratty folk park and castle, where we visited old farmhouses and cottages furnished with their traditional furnishings, which we had been learning about in class. After touring the folk park, we went to a banquet inside the castle. It was fun although a bit hokey. The food was amazingly delicious. We had this creamy vegetable soup, ribs, chicken, vegetables and a berry mousse tart thing for dessert. We came back to Cork yesterday via Adare, Kerry, and Mucros house in Kilarney.

We only have a couple weeks left of the early start program, and then we register for the regular semester. They still haven't published the list of updated modules, so I don't know what I will be able to register for. It is quite frustrating. At orientation, they talked about this crash course in French that I kind of want to take. It's mostly focused on speaking instead of grammatical rules and the like, so it sounds like it would be both fun and useful (social AND functional, as Dr. Humphreys would say!)

We've been trying to figure out where everyone wants to go in terms of European travel. My number one goal is to get to Berlin for the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the wall. There is going to be this ceremony involving 8 ft dominos set up to collapse and I think it would just be an amazing experience. A bit of searching around on ryanair and hostelworld last night tells me that it is highly affordable, so I really want to act now before it gets too expensive. I imagine there will be quite a crowd.
I really want to go to Scotland and England, too. I'm waiting to visit Liverpool until Sarah is there, but I'll probably go over to Bath at some point to visit Laura and Lizzy. I'd like to go to London as well, so maybe I can combine that into one of those trips, or just make it a trip of its own.
Barcelona is high on my list too, actually, I'd like to go all over Spain.
I'm not incredibly interested in Italy. It'd be cool, yeah, but... it's not at the top of my list.
The coolest part about all the friends I've made here so far is that all of them are just as interested in traveling as I am, so we should be able to put together a good little group of people to visit all the places we'd like to go.

I tried to upload some photos to this post, but unfortunately my internet connection is so crummy that the loading times out before it can be published. I'll try again later when it isn't being so patchy.
Swans and the like
Today we went on a small adventure, out into the more suburby part of the city.

We had been in the computer lab, setting up the wireless connection for those of us who hadn't yet, and those who had... well, we were just waiting. Patiently waiting. Apparently, two of us had some huge issue with connecting to the internet, but unfortunately, the person who could help us was away at lunch. So, the girl behind the help desk suggested we take a little walk up to this bird sanctuary that had a nice place to eat lunch. So, after she drew us a map, away we went.

The pub was nice, they had fairly cheap lunch options though I specifically said no butter or mayo on my sandwich (they put butter and mayo on EVERYTHING here) and they still put both on. There was an old man at the table next to us and as he stood to leave he asked us if we were all Americans, then told us how much he loved America and that he had been to every coastal state. He then said that when he first came to America, the first place he went to was Tacoma!! It was all very exciting.

After we finished, we took a walk around the lake, which was quite small for a lake, but similar to the res at BC in terms of layout. There was a walking path covered in swan poo, a play structure for kids and several benches. Along the sidewalk, some kids had pitched a tent with lawn chairs and were fishing. When we walked by, they were posing with this ENORMOUS fish they had caught.

I also discovered the "Starbucks" on campus today. I use quotes because... well, they "proudly brew Starbucks coffee" only it tastes not quite as good as it should. Still, much better than the crappy crap they have in the dining hall.
Long overdue!
Let it be known that I have officially survived my first few days here in Cork, and not only survived them but quite enjoyed them! The past coupla days have been a total blur of names and faces and places, kind of like freshman year all over again. It's quite nice because mostly everyone is new, so it is very easy to just go up to people and introduce yourself.

Anyway, the first day we got here was quite possibly the longest day of my life. Grandpa and I left Portland early in the morning, our flight took off around 8:15 AM I believe, and we landed in Newark around 4 PM eastern with just a few hours before we took off for Shannon. Too bad the dummies whose job it was to prepare the plane for a new flight slacked off and had to double back to finish things, meaning we sat on a roasting plane at the gate for about 45 minutes before given clearance to even begin taxiing. Whoa, I don't believe that I have ever spelled taxiing before. Anyway, the flights were both bearable. Quite turbulent but obviously everything worked out fine.

After we landed, we had to wait a bit for Cathy's plane from JFK to land, during which we drank tea and ate biscuits in the Shannon airport Cafe. Laura and Jen both slept a bit but I tried to stay awake so as not to completely ruin my chances at avoiding super jetlag. The drive to Cork from Shannon was very pretty, we saw loads of cows and sheep and cute little buildings. Sitting in the front of a car on the left side is quite a strange experience, especially when enormous trucks come speeding at you around hairpin turns.

We finally arrived in Cork and found our building, wandered inside and met the landlady and were given our keys! The rest of the day was spent shopping and unpacking and running around like crazy people. That night, we had Papa John's for dinner... authentic Irish cuisine.

The next day we ran some more errands and then made our way over to the university. We got a bit lost but still made it on time for our meeting with our onsite coordinator. He seems quite nice and is a professor of Archaeology. It turns out that the building my first class meets in was built on the same plot of land that used to be home to a prison. Grrrrreat. That evening, all of us BC kids and our roommates hung out a bit and a few of us went out to some pubs. The first place we went to, Preachers, had been recommended to one of us by a friend who had studied at UCC some years ago. So we show up, order our drinks, and it turns out that the place had just been remodeled and it was their first night open! So everything was on the house!

The next day was orientation, which lasted 80109201290129340924 years and was terribly boring. The student government had planned a bunch of stuff for us to do afterward, which was way exciting. We went on a little tour, hung out in the student's club and then went to a movie (I Love You, Beth Cooper) which SUCKED soooo much, I'm so glad it wasn't on my dime. After the movie we went to this pub with a couple of bowling alleys, pool tables and karaoke rooms.. so much fun! A bunch of us did karaoke (spice girls, backstreet boys, grease, etc) and then bowled. Amazingly, I was the best bowler of our group and I got spares in almost every frame! They had us set to go to a night club afterward, at which I lasted only a few minutes.

And now I am way too exhausted to finish talking about my exciting adventures, I'm sure this is all riddled with typoes and makes no sense at all. To be continued!!
Last American blog via web? Perhaps.
A little shot of my Cork countdown widget:

In other news, why the EFF are all the dates for my posts April 17, 2009? IDGI.

Shout out to Auntie Erin who asked "what do you BLOG about???"
Goodbye T-Town
Well, it is officially my last day in Tacoma until about... May 2010.

I can't even begin to list all of the things I will miss, so I'm not even going to try.

We had a great little goodbye party here last night, all the neighbors came by and a few friends from high school and work. Mom made tons of amazing food, dad grilled some delicious steaks and there were plenty of snacks and sweets to be had. Quite a good night, all told.

Now I just have to pack my carry on bag then it is bye bye Washington. :(
The final countdown
I promise to never use cheesy song titles as update titles. Maybe. Okay, I can't actually promise that, we all know how much I love cheesy song titles.

Anyway, as said cheesy song/update title suggests, I am living out the last of my days in America for about a year. On Saturday I say goodbye to Washington and a brief hello to Oregon, until early early Tuesday morning. From Oregon it's an even briefer (thank god) hello to New Jersey and then off I go! It's sad to think that the last state I will be in is New Jersey. Gross. All this to say... in exactly one week I will be somewhere over the Atlantic, en route to Shannon airport.

So far I have packed one (1) suitcase, dumped a bunch of clothes in another and I've contemplated a box. I am not a good packer, but I'm getting there. I can't really figure out what all to bring... I know I'll end up with way too much stuff, I always do. I have too many books and too many clothes and shoes and pictures and odds and ends that I just don't want to leave behind. I'm just going to have to get over that.

This summer seems to have gone on far too long but at the same time, I feel like I blinked and now it's over.

Tomorrow is my last day at the zoo, hopefully for.. well, ever. I hope next summer I can do something a little more meaningful than sell crap to people, but who knows what next summer will bring. My boss said she's baking me cupcakes. Very exciting.

ETA: Dang, I blogged a lot in February. Have no fear, dear readers for my new location shall (hopefully) bring many new stories and whatnot.
Beachy beachy!
Funny things people have said:
"We'll tweet and blog him (Paul Allen) to death!!!"
"Matt!!! You've made a Hansel and Gretal trail of hamburger!"
"I'm not feeding SALSA to a CAT!"

In other words, the beach has been a good time so far. We've shopped, ate too much, played games, watched movies... and best of all! The house has a magical bookshelf! On it lives many books that I have been meaning to read for a great a time including In His Own Write, A Spaniard in the Works, On the Road, and a few collections of great Amurrrican short stories, etc.

I got an email today from my academic mentor guy at UCC, he seems nice. But, his name is the EXACT same name as an author of this book that was launched at last year's La Na Gaeilge. It's not the same guy, because the author one is dead, but.. it's kind of weird!

This is an incredibly incoherent post because there are 500 million people talking really loudy loud. The end.
The search is off!
That's right, guys, you heard me! No need to look any further because guess what! I'VE FOUND WALDO!

Today at work, I was at my register finishing a cash transaction. My drawer opened and, lo and behold, there was Waldo in all his red-and-white-striped glory! I was so excited that I just shoved the woman her change and receipt and examined my tray-sure. On the back was a poemy rhymey thing that said "When you find me, here's what you do: find a cool spot and hide me somewhere new! Enrichment is fun for animals at the zoo, why not for interpreters, staff, volunteers and YOU!"

Hiding things and scavenger hunts are some of my favorite things to do, so this little Waldo was like a gift from heaven. Or.. some other zoo worker. Conveniently, it was time for my lunch break, so Tessa and I went to go check on the Oomingmaks and hide Waldo. We initially wanted to put him somewhere near the Oomies on account of them being my favorite, but there wasn't a good hiding place to be found. So, we went to the Polar Bear exhibit and tucked him inside a viewcase thingy.
A follow up on the sorting cake:
As expected, the cake turned out to be a tie-dye mess of purple, pink and blues. Also, it was a little ... breadier than I expected, too. I don't know how that happened, I followed the recipe to a T. Ah well, better luck next time.

Today I made a reggggylur pound cake, with a hint of lemon zest. I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells and looks glorious. For icing, I made a quick little coffee flavored glaze. I didn't have enough sugar, so I only made a teeny bit, but hopefully the cake is flavorful and won't need too much icing.

In other news,

Forever and a day
I've been terrible at blogging this summer.

The season had an exciting start; looking back I was doing fun stuff all the time (Sasquatch, Portland, etc). Now... I work. And I hate it. Everything I do in the gift shop is undone the next week, not because of any sort of quality control, but because that is just the nature of working in a shop. You have to constantly move the same few things around to get the attention of the customer. This week we have Shark stuff on display, before then it was Lemurs and Belugas pre-Lemur. It's impossible to feel any sort of satisfaction with anything you've done when you fold 150 t-shirts at 10:30 a.m. and by 4:00 p.m. they're all in a heap on the floor in the corner. When you have to pretend to be interested in what the customer is purchasing. When you have to pretend to care that there aren't any more Beluga tumblers or plush Sloths. And the word 'plush,' holy GOD, what is wrong with calling them stuffed animals? Syllables: a gift shop has no time to dilly dally with them. My boss/coworkers are sexist, I never get to leave the store because working Strollers or getting stuff from storage is for the boys. Girls don't know how to do any "real" work so just smile at the register and take the money. Fold the shirts. Make the displays all pretty. Sort the PLUSH.

August 16th cannot come soon enough.
Easy Bake Keavy
I've been trying to cook/bake more this summer so that I can have a few recipes under my belt for next year and just because it's fun.

So far, baking-wise, I've made some cute cupcakes, a dark chocolate cake with orange & lemon zest icing and chocolate chip cookies. Not anything too exciting, but it's all turned out nicely so far.

For my next trick, I plan on making what I've been calling a "sorting cake." A friend invited me to a Harry Potter themed party and said that if I wanted, I could bring a tasty treat. The plan is to make up a batch of yellow cake batter then separate it into four bowls and dye them red, green, blue and yellow - the colors of the houses in HP. I'll layer the different colors into the pans so that it looks like this. Once the cake bakes (and has cooled, learned from this mistake last time), I'll frost it a dark purpley with stars and moons and what not so that it looks like the sorting hat from the movies. Ideally, the cake will have baked so that each piece has an obvious main color and that would be your house. Realistically, it'll just be fun to look at because it'll be a crazy colorful mess.
After years of envying bank errors in my brother's favor, i found out today that i have a forgotten CD waiting for at the bank. Hollllla!!
Cell blog one
Here's to blogging via cellphone!! I'm sitting outside the zoo, half an hour early for my shift, and thought I'd give it a go.
I can't decide if it's hilarious or horrifying that children identify animals based on their character names in animated movies. For example, all clown fish are Nemo, all lemurs are King Julian or Zaboombafu and penguins, denied individual names, are called Happy Feet.

EDIT: So apparently each text is a new post. Ha, that's unfortunate.
Portmanteau Placenames
Ladies and gentlemen, a list:


And to top things off, a link.

Feel free to make any additions!
Yeah I just updated...
But, I really hate the opinion that buses are scary and impossible to understand and used only by the creepy/poor/drug addicted.
Summer time = lazy blogger
Got this gem in my email today from my good ol' study abroad adviser, Esther:

We have been notified by Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Paul Chebator, that you have had a history of disciplinary infractions that could jeopardize your application to study abroad. This e-mail is to notify you that you are in conditional status regarding discipline clearance for study abroad. If you have any more discipline problems before you leave to go abroad you may be ineligible to study abroad. In addition, the Director of the Office of International Programs may use discretion when dealing with disciplinary issues and can withdraw a student from study abroad at any time if the situation warrants. Please do your best to keep a clean record from now on.

First of all, I don't have a disciplinary record at BC! I've never been written up for anything or received any kind of warning whatsoever. Needless to say, I replied right away, saying something along the lines of "uhm, WTF?" After a bit of texting, I discovered that a few others had received the same email... so hopefully it was just a computer error. STILL. I am nowhere near the president of this lady's fan club.

In other, better news, the summer has been pretty good and very eventful so far.

I went back to work pretty much right away after coming home and then went to Sasquatch over memorial day weekend which was PHENOMENAL and needs a heading of its own.

cast: Keavy, Kelsey, Mackenzie, Max
Kelsey flew in on Thursday night and we spent all of Friday grocery shopping and getting pedicures and then Max picked us up and we went to get Mackenzie from work and hit the road. It was a long trip up because of the traffic, but it was a nice drive all together. Kelsey and I successfully pitched our tent in the dark, putting our awesome girl power to use, and went to bed shortly after. Then the drama began on Monday. After laying around a while and snacking, we decided to head into the Gorge, which meant that we'd be there all day (no reentry, LAME). Before our tickets were scanned, Max & Mackenzie decide to have a chit chat outside resulting in, Max deciding he needed to go back home to Tacoma due to heat stroke. So, Mackenzie drove him allll the way home and Kelsey and I enjoyed the first day of the festival.
We saw The Decemberists, Animal Collective, Bon Iver, Devotchka, M. Ward, Doves, The Gaslight Anthem and Mos Def. The Decemberists were GREAT, which I knew before hand, but I hadn't really heard of many of the others before and was pleasantly surprised by Devotchka, M. Ward and Bon Iver. Doves were pretty good, too, but were too close to a Coldplay ripoff for my taste, and I'm not really even a Coldplay fan.
The next day, Mackenzie made it back by noonish, by which point Kelsey and I had already waited 2.5 hours in line for freezing cold showers and were huddled in a small patch of shade with a closeted (even to himself...) gay man and his stack of People magazines. It was pretty fun times. By the time Mack showed up, we were good to head into the Gorge for the day. We saw a little bit of Jane's Addiction, TV on the Radio, a few minutes of Of Montreal, The Avett Brothers, Calexico, The Walkmen, The Submarines, a teeeeny bit of The Builders and the Butchers (wish we saw more of them!), Natalie Portman's Shaved Head (<33333333) class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_21">Avett Brothers, The Submarines and The Walkmen were particularly enjoyable, aside from NPSH, obviously.
Day three was a good day, too, aside from the presence of a pile of rotten puke that our lovely neighbor had left on our side of their tent. We decided to pack up before we hit the gorge so that when we came back, we'd be all good to go, which was a VERY wise decision. That day we saw Gogol Bordello (ruled the festival, by far), Grizzly Bear, Blitzen Trapper (SO GOOD!), Bishop Allen, ... and I can't remember who else we saw that day. I also forgot to mention that we got to meet both The Submarines & Blizten Trapper! They were all very nice :)
All in all, it was a great weekend with friends and crazy hippies! We had dinner in George, WA at a gas station Subway on the way back. The Subway had a sign that said "Sorry nl wheat!!" or something like that. It was weird.

After Sasquatch, I came home, worked a bit more at the zoo and then went down to Portland for a long weekend at my aunt and uncle's and of course, La na Gaeilge on Saturday May 30 at Marylhurst University with my grandpa.

This was my second year at the Irish language immersion day and it was even better than the first. The day is put together as a series of classes and workshops and the classes are broken down based on skill level. Grandpa and I were in Lucy's Advanced Beginner class, which was really fun because Lucy is a riot and spending time with G-pa is always worthwhile, but I probably should have been the next level up, or even at "conversations" to challenge myself. scéal é, it was a good time.
There were definitely a fair share of weirdos, though, including a fella called Hal who was the very proud owner of a concertina. The building we were using for the day had no a/c except for the classrooms, so we were quite glad to sit at our tables and learn with the reward of cold air :) All of us, except for Hal, of course. The minute we sit down he starts to shiver and pulls out a long sleeved flannel button up shirt, a fleece vest and this odd crocheted beret. It was in the high 80s. I don't even understand why the man brought the clothes with him. He also kept asking obnoxious questions which did not apply at all to the lesson we were learning.
Another weirdo was this girl Fern who described herself as a student of anthropology and druidic ritual, being a firm believer in the common ground of nature-based, paganistic tradition in all historical cultures and societies. Like I said. Weirdo. She kind of latched onto me and blabbered on and on about how much she hates English people for what they did, etc. When she found out about my year abroad next year she went CRAZY telling me all these things I have to do and places I have to go and giving me her little tips and tricks on surviving in the wild. She was a hoot.
For the workshops, they offered four different choices: Pronunciation, sean nos dancing (traditional), sean nos singing, and hurling. Grandpa and I chose hurling. It was really fun but incredibly hard. I certainly don't have the natural hand-eye coordination required to be successful at the sport, but it was cool to try. It was also hotter than hell outside, which made running around and swinging at little balls a bit un-fun.
After the workshop, we went back inside and did a bit of singing and music-playing before everyone hit the road.
It was a great day, although I was a bit sad they didn't have t-shirts this year. I love t-shirts.

I spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with my cousins, which was great because I don't get to see them as much as I like to being away in Boston most of the year. Ezrah has grown up quite a bit and is SUCH a trouble maker! Also, Grandpa and I bought our plane tickets for Cork... it's official! I can't wait. We're flying out of PDX on August 18!

If you've made it to the end of this, you're a champion. I'll try to be better about blogging the rest of my non-eventful summer and maybe I'll put up some more details about this past month - it's been a bit action packed.

Proctoring is fun?
The answer is "yes!!!"
Also, as we all know, list making is beyond fun, so let the games begin!

Why is Proctoring fun?
  • Pee man. He got up to pee after 15 minutes of starting his exam, then 45 minutes after that, with an explanation. "I drank too much water." OK. Thanks for the update, pal. 45 minutes after THAT he comes stomping down the aisle, shaking his head at himself (and probably cursing his tiny bladder). Three times in a 3 hour exam is the time to beat, ladies and gents.
  • Mental breakdown man. Not even an hour into the exam he's laughing hysterically, his whole body shaking with the open mouthed silent laughter. What's so funny about "Evidence"? Or is it that you are no longer mentally sound after days of excruciating law school exams? Or were you craycray to begin with? I'm going with the last option.
  • Birthday boy. The scantron sheet has a little spot for your birthday (who knows why) and one guy filled it out... I'll be sure to send you a card, number 3---.
  • Pee:thirty? There's a certain point during the exam (happens to be right now, s'mattera fact) when EVERYONE has to pee like crazy, so it becomes a contest to see who can do the awkward 'my bladder is full' speedwalk to the front fastest without wetting themselves. I blame the dixie cup sized free coffees that the dining hall gives out. So easy to overindulge when you're tossing 'em back to get that full caffeine effect. And that leads me to my next item...
  • Drinking dixie cup sized coffees. It's like a tea party! Pinkies out, ladies!
  • Babysitting without the dirty diapers. I get to be the boss of kids who are far older and arguably more intelligent (well, maybe some of 'em...) than I am. What a power trip. I AM IN CHARGE!!!!
  • ETA: The exam passwords. Sunny, Flower, London, Chowder. My perfect, soothing PNW blessing-upon-the-ears of an accent saying the word "chowder" to a roomful of temporary Bostonians cracked me up. Chowdurrr.
Haley House Fun
Last night was the Haley House volunteer appreciation shindig and it was a total blast. I was worried that I wouldn't really have fun because I don't really know the other BC volunteers well... but it turned out that I was quite wrong!

While I was walking there, I ran into this group of three kids about my age and they asked me where the Haley House was. They said they met DaHye (the BC senior in charge of all the Haley House volunteers) at a park the day before and she had invited them to come to the dinner. Good thing they didn't turn out to be sketchy. They're doing this year of travel thing before they go to college, going around the country and doing social justice work and what not. They seemed nice enough but left pretty quickly.

I also got to hang out with Axe, my supervisors 2.5 year old, and he kept talking about Bob Marley, John Mayer and the Cookie Monster. I asked him what color the Cookie Monster is and he said "Blue and a half."

We had the dinner on the third level balcony, complete with christmas lights, patio furniture and pasta salad. Delish. I won all three rounds of Egyptian Rat Screw, which we renamed Mongolian Rat Trap. The other pulsers were totally awesome and I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to know them earlier on.

Anyway, a good time was had by all. And I can't wait to go home.
13 days!
Turns out the Globe never refunded me the money like they said they would. Surprised? Not at all. I'm gonna have to give them a call and really yell at them tomorrow. I really, really need that money seeing as I'm quite broke and can't figure out how I'm going to send all my stuff home. Ugh. Super stress.
of course this is the weekend I've got loads of work to do...

So, in traditional Keavy style, a to-do list.

  • At least 8 pages of history paper
  • PULSE paper
  • Fill out release forms for Galway
  • translate the next few paragraphs of Peig
  • make notecards for US History
  • Spend some time outside enjoying the sunshine
  • Upload all of those CDs to itunes
  • Create a packing list: What goes home, what gets ditched, what gets sent to Ireland (?), what gets given away
  • Laundry
In other news, I saw a guy almost get arrested last night from my perfect perch of a window. Apparently Brookline cabs aren't allowed to pick up passengers in Chestnut Hill? The cop who pulled him over (unmarked cop car, btw) kept saying "you are NOT a BOSTON CAB!" In the end the cabbie tried to push it off on the kids who hailed him ("You're the one who knows the law!") and was fined a hefty $500. I don't understand the law, and I've certainly ridden in Brookline cabs before... strange indeed.

There are 4 days of classes left. Yikes.
Cray-zay time
I just typed up my sources for this research paper... 15. Ugh. This thing is seriously looming and it's driving me crazy. Despite having read a billion (err, I guess only like 8) articles and sections from books, I still don't feel like I know enough. But then when somebody asks what I'm writing about (or as it happens more often, when I tell somebody about what I'm writing...) I can ramble for ages about "Isn't this crazy?"ies and "Whoa, who knew"s. Hopefully when I actually start writing it will come easily.

I was just looking at the academic calendar for NUI Galway and it looks like I'll be starting my exams on my 21st birthday. Wooooohooooo.

I can't wait to go home. I'm a little burnt out on school but I'm simultaneously pumped for study abroad. Speaking of, I'm still waiting to hear back an ultimate confirmation from the apartment manager in Cork... I'm hoping that should come any day now seeing as dad (thanks, dad) sent the money in a while ago.

I like to blog when I should be doing homework. Limbers up my fingers, gets them ready to typetypetype for ages. Pre-typing. I'm hoping to get a few pages down before I go to Lily Allen tonight.

The End.

ETA: Just found this. Kind of hilarious.
Rain, rain
I love the rain. Really. The smell, the feel, jumping in puddles.

I know for a fact that what happens here, in Boston, is not rain.

What happens here is hellish and all kinds of unpleasant, inspiring people to tell me I look like a drowned rat. Thanks.

And now, for something completely different, a picture:

Copley Square, Boston Public Library, People.
One sentence and a Hmmm.
I've been tossing around the idea of doing a Philosophy minor and if my calculations are correct, I should have enough space in my schedule to pick it up.... I'll only need 4 electives. Hmmm.
So, even though I'm planning to go abroad next year, BC still wanted me to register for classes for next semester, so I did. Funny that the one time it doesn't really matter when I register, as I likely wont be taking the classes, I have a good registration time.

So, without further ado, here is the schedule of courses that I'll be taking if I do happen to stay at BC next fall:

HS 43201 18th Century Ireland t/th 1:30
BI 14201 The Genetic Century mwf 10 (to satisfy the rest of my natural sciences core)
PS 03201 Emotion mwf 3 (to satisfy the rest of my social sciences core)
HS 56501 American Immigration I t/th 12
EN 38901 James Joyce m/th 6:30

So it's kind of a crazy schedule timewise... I should be able to squeeze in some work hours mwf between 11 and 2:30, then t/th 9-11:30. I wanted to sign up for a fiction writing workshop but thought better of it... I don't want to take the space of somebody who really wants (and will be able) to take the class.
I think even if everything does fall through, I'll be happy with these classes...

Speaking of studying abroad, I got an email from Cork's housing system this morning, but it was completely blank. So I think I'll reply with a little "huh?" and see what's going down.
Just put one foot in front of the other...
I've figured out a way to narrow down my research topic and still write about what I want! I still have to run it by my professor, but he should be okay with it. (Last class a boy told him 'I'm going to write about Eamon De Valera.' and the prof (who has written an award winning book about the man) just nodded and asked him to expand a bit.) I'm going to write about the military development of the IRA, their tactics and strategies and just general means of getting things done, but to do it, I am going to look at the specific instance of the Soloheadbeg Ambush, which began the military revolution in 1919. Yes, that was a huge run on sentence. Whatevs.

I just signed up to proctor 6 exams at the law school. Each is at least 3 hours and I'll be paid $9/hr. So, I'll be gettin' some bank to start the summer off.
It's been a while...
I've been meaning to jot a few things down in here... and well, I don't really have any excuses as for the delay. Because I'm tired, I'm going to pull out the old bullet list and avoid coherence. Bear with me.

  • I got an A- on my last history paper and recieved a $2600 scholarship from BC to study abroad. These may seem unrelated, but they are both solid steps towards getting on that plane to Cork in August. (I need to keep my GPA up and earn monies to afford to go, long story short).
  • I was thinking about my writing history topic and my experience in Dublin... people seemed unreceptive towards our service... or at least very confused by us wanting to spend a week helping instead of partying... and, well, that is just hard to reconcile with the image my history class/other experiences have created. I mean, volunteerism played such a huge role in both the revolution and the civil war (the IRA, the GAA). Eenteresting.
  • I don't really have a topic narrowed down for my paper. I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of militarism/tactics... comparing and contrasting the methods, support (both public approval and material donations). I know that's kind of all over the place. I'm also thinking about tying in how much of a young person's affair it was... and how that might have effected the outcome... Point is, I'm not sure. And I have.. oh, a little over a month.
  • My birthday is in two weeks and I'm really excited. Sarah, Kelsey and I are going to see Demetri Martin on April 10th and staying the night in a shmancy hotel in Boston, which'll be a total blast. Shout out to M&D for that one ;)
  • Going on an "interfaith day of service" tomorrow, through Laura's internship. Should be nice, I kinda dig that sort of stuff.
  • There are 25 days of classes left, YIKES.
I think that might be everything I intended on saying. I am mighty tired.
Happy birthday James Madison
For once I feel particularly helpful here at work... a student just came in, freaking out about the 1098T form for her taxes. When everybody else stared blankly at her and "uhhhhmmmmm"ed, I was able to jump in and help her. Woo, go me. I'm not completely useless as a secretary-type!

In other news, I sort of like the way my paper is progressing. I'm writing about the link between the shift in the American Dream and the growth of the suburbs. It's a short paper, strict 1000 word limit, which I don't really like. I prefer a little room to ramble, get my thoughts out. It's probably better this way, though. More succinct.

This week is shaping up to be pretty action-packed. Essay due tomorrow, Paul Rusesabagina is giving a talk on Wednesday to which I would really like to go, I have a midterm on Friday... then all of the other things that take up time, like class, 10:02, Haley House, work... Oh well, I'd rather be busy than bored.
I can't remember if I've mentioned this here before, but I've recently been reminded of ... well, reminders.

I constantly feel like my life is going by so quickly, especially my college life. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was narrowing down my choices, deciding between Fordham and BC... Or orientation last summer... It all just seems to have gone by so quickly and here I am almost halfway done with my undergrad years.

Anyway, my point (and I suppose the point of any sort of journaling/blogging) is that I keep remembering all of these little parts of my life that I completely forgot had happened... and when I do remember them I am sort of shocked that I ever forgot about them.

For example, a discussion I had with my volunteer supervisor, Doug, at Haley House the other day instantly brought to mind a bet I made with the ceramics teacher at Open Arts Studio in my senior year of high school. The radio was playing classic rock- 95.7 or 102.5, I can't remember, but a version of The Who's 5:15 (I think) came on, except the voice was totally wrong. I swore up and down it was Eddie Vedder doing a cover whereas Ty (the ceramics teacher) swore it was the original version by The Who. Now, anyone who knows me will agree that I will not let a situation like this lie... so I did what anyone equally obsessed with music and being right would do and emailed the radio station. I remember that three DJs emailed me back, all saying my co-worker was nuts and that I should rub my victory in his face.

Of course I didn't need telling twice.
What jetlag?
I managed to catch a cold while in Ireland. This turned out to be a plus for me seeing as I slept from 8:30 PM to 7:00 AM, my body forgetting to consider the five hour time difference it had just flown through. Pretty sweet.

Anyway, the trip.
I feel like a goof because I keep saying this to anyone who asks, but it was simply amazing. Everyone on the trip (well, most everyone) were great people and I got to see/do most of the things I had gone over wanting to see/do. I slacked off on my journaling for most of the trip, I was just plum-tuckered out most nights, but I'll transcribe what I did write down. Be warned: it's pretty stupid and wordy, but whatever.

"Feb. 27. Logan Airport
The flight was supposed to leave at 6.... that didn't happen. First, they tried to put us on an earlier flight, which would leave at 5, but then they realized we wouldn't make the transfer. After sending our (mine & kelsey's) luggage down to the carousel by mistake and making us wait forever to retrieve it, they told us our group would have to split up and take two aer lingus flights directly to Dublin. (Turned out that only one was direct. The other stopped in Shannon). The first left around 6:20, ours leaves at 7:20, putting us into Dublin early tomorrow morning. Not too shabby.
12:07 AM EST
Still awake, still in flight. Kelsey and I are sharing my iPod & book, Nick Hornby's (and others') collection of short stories called Speaking With The Angel, which is truly great. I'm powering through it, so I let her read a few stories.
They have shown nothing but bad TV so far (aside from an episode of FOTC)... the movie was Nights in Rodanthe or some BS... needless to say, I didn't watch. Kelsey, Ben and I played cards, chatted and avoided the (at best) dodgy food. So its been 20 hours of wakefulness and I've had raspberry chocolate chip pancakes, coffee, nasty Sbarro pizza and dr pepper. Yum. I'm going to be exhausted today/tomorrow but I can't sleep for numerous reasons.
  1. I'm on a plane (not a boat, mothaucka)
  2. I've consumed the aforementioned caffeinated beverages
  3. I'm beyond excited, one of my life dreams is coming true as we speak (well, as I write)
  4. I'm on a plane and don't you E'ER forget it!
This woman today at the soup kitchen during our post meal/cleanup reflection said something that kind of confused/upset me. The reflection question was something like "What do you want your impact on the world to be?" and she said... (not exactly of course, but along the lines of...) "Well I think there are many ways to impact... me for example, I don't want to just make people happy (both Danny and I had said making people happy was one of our goals) because you can't just make people happy. It takes more than just giving them stuff. See, what I do is I try not to react. Nothing really matters anyway so why should I react to anything?"

This woman is studying Buddhism, after what I assume to be a midlife crisis (totally speculation here, but she sold her successful dance studio, moved into volunteer housing above a soup kitchen... she wears a wedding ring but you'd think her spouse would come along, too?? Whatevs) Anyway, for whatever reason, she strikes me as a little crabby and her comment about "not reacting" was kind of frustrating. She went on to say that "the people" need to be involved in government... which I agree with, but then she was like "our" community needs to be reorganized... we have to take authority away from businesses and politicians and regreen the country!!!
What happened to not reacting? Also, let me clarify: I don't mean to imply that I think this woman is dumb... I just think in her attempt to "not react" and be 'enlightened', she's throwing around the same old shtick. Who is going to organize the community if we aren't allowed to react?!?!

Okay, rant over. A term I would like to work into my daily vocab: TTPUYL. Things that Pants Up Your Life, courtesy of Colin Firth."

"March 1st, 2009
At least, I think its March first. Good news is, I'm not jet lagged. Bad es is I've just had my first sleep in 35 hours. Yikes.
Yesterday was great fun even though I don't feel like I'm in Ireland... more like Canada.
We sat in a pub for most of the evening, the Ireland v. England rugby match was on and there were people EVERYWHERE. It was fun but crowded, obviously not too many open tables and everyone was gathered around various big screens. Sarah Kelsey and myself were content to sit in the corner at a table that was miraculously empty and we sipped our Guinness as we listened to the match.
Afterwards, we went back to BC Ireland and talked with a woman from the north... I feel bad about it, but at that point I was running on about 34, 35 hours without sleep... and her voice was so soothing... I nodded off a few times. We had pizza and fries (???) for dinner. Kinda bizarre. But oh so tasty. The coke here is funny, though.

We bought lunch at a convenience store type place yesterday and the guy ringing me up said "You're not from Dublin, are you?" Good to know I look awkward and out of place.

We also went on a double Decker tourist trap tour, which was really fun. I took about a million pictures and stayed on top of the bus the whole time, despite the wind. Aside from me, Ben & Kelsey, everyone else went down below.

Last night, long after we had gone to bed (8:30 PM, woohoo) I woke up to hear yelling in the street. There was a guy and a girl out there, having some argument and it was just so tragically hilarious, loaded with F bombs, naturally.
"It's effing three AM and you're out yelling in the street!"
"You don't understand, Darren! I LOVE YOU!"
"You're drunk. That's the alcohol."
Absolutely the worst chinese food today. Wanted to gag and die."

"March 5th, 2009 (maybe the 6th)
So I've been really bad about keeping track of my thoughts during the trip, but I've honestly been super tired every night. So I'll do my best to remember things tonight.
My placement turned out to be at the Dominick Street Community Center. Ends up Slí Eile is just the name of the organization and not an actual place at which to volunteer. So, Sarah and I went to Dominick Street where we met the director, Derek, an employee, Phil, and a volunteer, Peter, as well as a few others, including the housing rep Gerry, who asked us our opinion on "the Indian"...
The first day was hopeful. We hung out, drank tea and played video games. Some background info: the center is located on Dominick St behind rows of rundown apartments. The goal is to provide a stable, safe type place for kids, teens & adults who live within the community. They have several programs and "clubs" for the younger kids.

Anyway, the placement was okay at first. We ended up playing Wii and other video games with each other and sometimes Irish kids would play with us. It was more exciting after school hours when the youngsters would come in. They gave us some cool fleece jackets that say "Dublin City / Baile Atha Cliath / Community Development" We gave the guys BC Ireland t-shirts. We got to know some of the little kids a bit, but not much... the center seems to be more of a way for them to get away from home life stuff, so they weren't too chatty about that. In the end it just sort of felt like the directors didn't really know why we were there and didn't have anything for us to do.

So all of that meant that Sarah and I got a lot of down time and got to know each other fairly well. We walked ALL over Dublin (including what turned out to be super dangerous no-go zones...). We got to see Croke Park on our own, which rocked so much. I wanted to buy a hurling jersey but I couldn't bring myself to shell out the 60 euro for one.. so I just looked. The museum was really cool, and really cheap, and we had it to ourselves at we got there as it opened.

I've had a really awesome time on the trip but I feel like things were very poorly organized. The leaders are both very nice people but I don't really understand their point. We all have spent every day at our placements then we come back to BC Ireland for dinner (always vegetarian...) then hear a talk from some person or another who don't really seem to know why they are talking to us. And people are always making assumptions about the similarities between the US and Ireland... I just feel like most people on this trip have no experience in working with people in poverty in the US or any of the other issues we have seen here, so they assume the problems are unique... which is obviously not true. And kind of an issue I have with service trips."

Okay, if you made it through that, super props. If not, you aren't reading this either. I posted pictures on my flickr account (name: ksgilbert07) so check those out, there are more to come :)
Last pre-trip post!!
I'm pretty sure this'll be my last post before I leave for Ireland tomorrow, so I'll be sure to make it a good one.

My midterm went well today, aside from a few tricky fill in the blanks I feel pretty confident about it... so, hooray!!

After history, I got to have lunch with 20 or so delegates from Northern Ireland and the Republic and it was just... SO COOL. They got a grant from BC to get together to discuss the peace process and reconciliation and what not, so they're here in Boston for part of the week and Washington DC for the rest. Anyway, we (the service trip group) got to chat and eat with them and it was quite possibly the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. They were all so awesome and nice and gave us their cards, telling us to email them or stop by their office if we ever wanted to look around or get a hold of documents or just to chat. All three of us from the service group who were there (me, ben, sarah) are history majors with a focus in irish/uk history so all of these politicians were just going crazy offering us names and tips and... AHH. It was amazing. One of them women actually works for Eamon de Valera's grandson.

Also, they convinced Kate (the leader of the trip) that we should go to a hurling match at Croke Park.... WOOHOO!!!!!

All I've really got to do now is pack, clean up my side of the room and get through tomorrow (haley house, class)
an update update
My list is slowly shrinking. Very slowly. Here's where I stand:
  • US History midterm Thursday
  • Haley House Friday morning
  • Regular things (classes, work)
  • CVS - travel shampoo, etc.
  • sell the rest of my t-shirts ( Sold two more, only two left!)
Pam, my friend Mackenzie's mom wrote on my facebook wall* about wanting a T-shirt to help send me to Ireland, so that's pretty cool.

I picked up my application for Galway yesterday and it looks fairly simple. The actual application itself is only 10 questions, things like last name, first name, parents names... etc. The hardest part will be putting down what classes I want to take. Of course, it won't be binding, but they want to have some idea what you'd like to take. I'll also have to get two academic references and one character reference, all from BC faculty. I think I'm going to ask Lad, my writing professor from last semester, and Prof Troxell, my PULSE professor, to do the academic references. I'll ask Phil for the character reference because he's said he'd be more than glad to do one for me many times. So that's pretty much straightened out. I think we have to write an essay of some sort, as well. A How Will Studying Abroad Tie Into Your Other Studies At BC type thing, which will be a piece o' cake.

I've got to look up the last 200 miles of the Yangtze and Mekong rivers for my history midterm... blech.

* I still stand by it not being OK for parents to have facebook
Hello, week from hell
This week is going to be full of insanity and headless-chickenness, specifically me running around like one.

So, to keep me happy, a list:
  • meeting with Glynn today at 3
  • US History midterm Thursday
  • Haley House tonight and Friday morning
  • Regular things (classes, work)
  • CVS - travel shampoo, etc. Converter? Disposable camera?
  • sell the rest of my t-shirts
Another list:
  • Crabgrass Frontier
  • Clothes
  • toiletries
  • camera (digi & disposable? disposable only? what say you?)
  • camera charger
  • iPod
  • fun book
  • towel
  • journal & addresses for postcards


I feel better now. Also, good news! My package from my momster came today... well, sometime last week, actually. Turned out they delivered it to my old building, for reasons unknown. Also, I got an email from study abroad and I'm approved for the Galway program... which is AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING. Now I can start the application process.

I fixed my settings so that I can comment back to people... finally!

In other news, out of the 6 t-shirts I have to sell, I've already sold 2. Also, I may have convinced the leader of my group to make sure we visit Croke Park while in Dublin.

All in all, a good day.
Funny things
I was selling t-shirts today and sold two to prospective parents:

mom 1: Yeah my son is a junior and trying to figure out where he wants to go
me: Oh how exciting! Is BC his first choice?
mom 1: No... well.. he's being kind of laissez-faire about school right now.
me: ....


mom2: Oh these are great, I'll get one!
me: Thanks so much!
mom2: are they one size fits all?


selling cookies in the dining hall tonight...

me: cookies for a cause! $5 from your meal plan, support our service trip!
crazy accent guy: What?
me: Would you like to buy cookies? Only $5 from your meal plan!
CAG: I don't really like cookies... and we have better chocolate in Switzerland.

Ouch, gotta admit that one hurt a bit. I wanted to tell him that if that's how he feels about it, Switzerland is just dying to have him back. This is Amurrica and don't you err forget it!
I just saw a man peeing outside in the bushes on my way to work.


In other news, this weekend was action packed and fun - a nice break from the crazy amounts of homework I've been doing lately.

I met a guy from Belfast at Haley House on Friday and that kind of put a downer on my morning... he was just so sad! I was chatting with him about how long he's been here, if he thought he'd go back, etc. and he said that he and his mom (he's probably just a little older than me) had come here three years ago and didn't have anything to return to. I suppose I probably should have expected something like that, but his tone of voice and the look on his face... so sad. Then he said that it wasn't really something they talked about in Ireland and I apologized for bringing it up... and he started talking about the conflict, saying it was no use for anyone to apologize anymore because it had already happened and apologizing just brought up the old feelings all over again.

The rest of my weekend was much more cheerful. We had Relay for Life on Friday night/Saturday morning... nothing too out of the ordinary happened, just a bunch of fun and exhaustion.

I got to see Katherine yesterday and we had burritos at Felipe's in Harvard Square and saw Neil Gaiman's book-turned-movie Coraline, which was amazing. And in 3D so double amazing.

One of the ladies just came into the office here at work talking about the paint she chose for her house... "Well it's called Meditative Blue... which I liked. I thought about going one step down, but that one was called Languid Blue and I thought NO WAY am I having anything LANGUID. That's such a negative word..."
I wonder what she thinks languid means?
Just got this email from An Siopa Leabhar, the Gaelic League's bookstore in Dublin:

Caoimhe a Chara,

Cailíní Beaga Ghleann na mBláth is out of print I'm afraid. Do not hesitate to contact us for any other book enquieries.

Go raibh mìle maith agat

So I guess I don't get my book after all. Curses.

ETA: Well, I just sent the guy an email back asking if he knew of any bookstores in Dublin where I might find the book on the shelf... I'll be there in a few weeks and it doesn't hurt to ask!
Not the first time...
Got an email back from the history museum contact person today...

It was addressed to Kevin. So yeah, that's kinda lame. And funny. I figure it means one of two things: a) she wasn't paying attention, or, b) she assumed Keavy is a nickname for Kevin and decided to go all formal on me and call me by my "real" name.

I can't decide which would be better.
Busy busy... dizzy.
The study abroad grant application is due Friday and I've asked Phil, my Irish professor, to write a recommendation for me. All I have to do is write a 500 word essay about my goals for studying abroad and how it will tie in to the rest of my time at BC. Pretty e-z-p-z.

While I was in the Connolly House yesterday, I picked up one of the Irish Studies newsletters and lo and behold, there was my Irish history professor right on the cover. Turns out he's got a weekly radio show on RTÉ 1, the Irish radio station. Kinda crazy, pretty awesome. I'm definitely going to give it a listen when I'm not at work.

Tonight is our service trip pasta dinner fundraiser. I'm quite nervous about it because I don't think we're going to make very much money. We were all given 10 tickets to sell at $5 per ... and I don't think anyone has sold the full ten. I've sold 5 and will maybe sell a few more at the door, but it doesn't look like it's going to be the money earner we thought it would be.

Oh, and... check this out. I'm on a boat, and don't you ERRR forget it!
Decemberists at Sasquatch?
My meeting with Prof. Rob Savage of the Irish Studies dept. went well... he seemed eager to help me out and make this double major thing happen. He said there's only one Irish Studies major at BC right now... kinda crazy! Looks like all (hah.) I have to do is write a proposal, including what I want to do, specific classes, etc for the next couple years and submit it to him and the other director, Marjorie Howes, and then after a bit of revision submit it to my dean. No biggie.

It should be do-able, I think I'll be able to finish up both majors... I have 7 history courses left, 4 of which I can take abroad. Prof. Savage said that the Irish Studies major would be equivalent to the History major in terms of number of courses... so I've finished 4, I'll be able to take 4 abroad, then 4 senior year. Not a lot of wiggle room, but totally possible. I think I have 4 core courses left (nat. science, soc. science, art & cultural diversity)... I'm not sure if courses can double count, but if they can then I'm in business. If not... I might have to overload at some point. Yikes.

Now I'm stressed.

In other news, the Sasquatch lineup should be out soon and word has it The Decemberists are likely to be on it! Woooohoooo! If so, I'm definitely going.
My respek for (far?) Coldplay has just skyrocketed. They are awesome, their Sgt Pepper rip off costumes are sooo cute (and acceptable) and they keep making nods to "boss" Paul McCartney.

Kid Rock, on the other hand, can DIAF.

ETA: Whhhhhy do Robert Plant & Alison Krauss keep winning things?!?!?!?!

And, for some stupid reason, I cannot post comments on here... ROAR.

M.I.A officially wins creeper of the night... polka dot preggers belly is NOT okay.

I think Paul found a time machine because he is magically de-aging. Or he's just had SRS plastic surgery.

Neil Diamond is creepy.
Time flies...
20 days until Ireland! I am so so so excited. We still haven't heard back about which placement we'll be at, but my first choice is this teen club place called Slí Eile (literally "Other Way"). The other placements are a preschool and a family center, with parenting classes, daycare and all that good stuff.

What with fundraising, Relay for Life, Haley House and just regular old school-y things, these next few weeks are going to be crazy...

Haley House yesterday morning was pretty good... it was SO cold on the way there, though. My little weather dashboard widget said it was -2 degrees when I left at 5:20 and boy did it feel like it. When I was walking through Copley Square on the way there, right by the train station, I saw a guy approach a man sleeping saying "You okay brother? You awake? Wake up, brother!" and it was kind of reassuring... it usually freaks me out to see the guys who come for breakfast sleeping on the streets, covered in a only few blankets and tarps.
I had my hair in french braids from the night before and everyone kept telling me they liked how my hair was "decorated," kind of a funny way to put it.

We talked in PULSE discussion about that article I posted the other day, about the Nazi doctor. We're supposed to be a collaborative class, so each discussion is decided on by a vote (how democratic) so I suggested we talk about redemption and forgiveness as related to this Dr. Death fellow. It was pretty interesting to hear what everyone had to say... I really love that class, there are a handful of us that are always talking and sharing, so the discussion can get pretty lively.

I'm supposed to be writing my FDR paper right now, but I'm about halfway finished so a little break is alright in my book. We're supposed to write about what we think of Roosevelt's presidency based on this book, Debating Franklin D. Roosevelt's Foreign Policies 1933-1945 by Justus Doenecke (what a name) & Mark Stoler. It was a good book, comprised of two essays, one arguing that he was messed up and his foreign policy reflected that, the other saying that sure, he made mistakes, but he was better than anyone else around at that time (Churchill, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, etc).
The essay prompt asks "Was FDR a warmongering interventionalist? A hypocritical isolationist? A...?" and I'm taking up the third option, arguing that more than either interventionalist/isolationist, he was a "Rooseveltist" i.e. his reputation/public opinion of him/america's standing domestically &internationally were what drove most of his decision making.
I feel like I'm being a little risky here, especially because I really want to do well on this paper (new professor with seemingly impossibly high standards)... but as Kelsey pointed out to me, it isn't about regurgitating information. I'm feeling pretty confident about the way it's turning out so far, so hopefully it'll be okay. Also I plan on bringing it into the prof's office hours monday.

With all the paper writing I've been doing lately, I've been thinking about setting up a little peer review/writing circle group amongst my friends and classmates... I really found classmate feedback handy last semester in my creative nonfiction class, so maybe some people will be up for it.

In the meantime, I've become addicted to Pandora. I'm currently listening to "Oxford Comma Radio" based on, you guessed it, Vampire Weekend's Oxford Comma.

also, check out this youtube vid... Hilarious.

Okay, back to FDR.
Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon & More!
Today in Gaelic we came across the word slua... which was cool because I could define it and impress the whole world. All because I included it in my awesome blog title yesterday.

In other news, I guess Indiana Jones, TinTin and all those other "omg there are Nazis in the Middle East!" conspiracy theorists were right. Kind of makes you wonder how hard the "Nazi Hunters" were really looking. Err... maybe that was too soon. But... I mean, how obvious a hide out is Egypt?

I printed out an application for a study abroad scholarship. It's reserved for kids who get finaid (COUGH, dad, do the FAFSA stuff NOW, COUGH) so hopefully I'll be able to get some dinero to help out with next year. I've just got to write a 500 word essay about my study abroad goals, how studying abroad will tie in with the rest of my BC education, yaddah yaddah. I've also got to get a recommendation from a prof, so I'll ask Phil... he'll definitely put in a good word for me.

I had something else to say... something meaningful. Oh well. Haley House tomorrow morning, time for bed.
Did you know "slew" comes from the Irish word slua?
I just sent out a slew of potentially life-changing emails including:
  • one to WSHM about getting an internship this summer
  • one to the co-director of the Irish Studies department, seeing about switching from History to an interdisciplinary Irish Studies major.
  • one to confirm my study abroad choice of Cork in the fall, Galway in the spring.

... now all I have to do is sit back and wait. Which is no big deal. Only the worst part of sending out potentially life-changing emails.

I realized in US History yesterday, as my professor was rambling about all his great achievements, that I want to be an active historian. As in the dig-through-smelly-old-barns-in-hopes-of-finding-groundbreaking-documents type of historian. The kind that writes letters to dead peoples' relatives so that i can get my grubby historian hands on their precious family heirlooms, exposing those dead people as the wily people nobody ever realized they were. Of course, loads of fame and glory will ensue.

Because my dad said so...
Every time I tell my dad about something funny that happened to me, he asks, "Did you write it down?" Every time, I say, "No.. but.. whatever." He'll say something along the lines of "When you get to be my age (pfft.) you'll regret it!!"

So, as a late New Year's resolution, it's my goal to Write It Down.