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.