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.