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.
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