Thursday, August 26, 2010

Settling In

I have officially been in Ireland for three full days. It seems like forever. The combination of the 5 hour time difference, and keeping myself busy, I have been so exhausted at night that as soon as my head hits the pillow I fall asleep.

My time has been divided between getting things to make my new apartment feel more like home, groceries, and trying to remember how to get to the new places I find.

I was pleasantly surprised that when I went to the grocery store for the first time, I didn't spend nearly as much money as I expected. I was expecting to pay around 100 euro, or maybe even a little more to get all the basics. To my surprise, I only spent 36 euro and purchased almost everything I need. Grocery shopping was basically an all day adventure.

Today was the first day of orientation. I learned where the college campus is. It took us 40 minutes as a group to walk there, but I'm sure it will take less time when I'm not walking with 50 other kids. At the college we had time to explore the building, and then had a meeting about everything that we need to know. Yes, it was boring. However, after the meetings and lunch we were divided into groups to do a scavenger hunt of the city. Everyone was already exhausted by the time we began the hunt, but we decided it would be best if we did participate. We figured that we have the time, it's a nice, sunny, day out and we need to get to know the area. So, me and my four group members started walking around the city. We weren't looking for things on the list as much as we were just taking in what we were seeing. It was nice to find places that I hadn't seen before. I found a clothing store called Penneys and their items are extremely cheap. I could buy a nice jacket for 15 euro. It's kind of like a Forever21. It was a new part of town that I hadn't seen before, but it's easy to get to.

Everything is very exciting and new. It's also a little intimidating, and definitely an adjustment. There are a few kids who are already thinking about going home, and for once a feel a little brave. I haven't had a huge wave of homesickness yet, and that's a good thing. I keep thinking about the semester ahead of me and getting more exciting. I am beginning to think about other places in Europe that I want to travel to when I have free time. Rome and Paris are on my list so far.

After exploring the city the group went out to dinner courtesy of Champlain College. I'm always up for a nice, free dinner.

Another long day has left me exhausted and ready for bed. (BTW my bed is a twin sized....excelllennnnnt). I will have to take a video of my apartment and post it so everyone can see!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The (un)Luck Of The Irish

I have a true talent; however, my talent is more like a misfortune. It may even be a curse. I have the worst experiences at airports. Every time I go to the airport, there is bound to be a problem. My trip to Ireland wasn't any different.

I eagerly arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston ready for my trip. It was raining, but I figured delays would be minimal. I was wrong. Of course I was wrong. I am not able to have a smooth flight..ever. I ended up boarding the plane an hour late. I thought that would be fine because my delay in Newark was scheduled for over two hours. Well, the plane was on the runway about to finally leave when an announcement comes over the loud speaker informing us that the plane was turning around. The reason? Not weather, but a mechanical error. Just my luck.

The plane ended up landing in Newark about twenty minutes before my next plane was scheduled to leave. I intensely watched the clock as people fled out off the plane. When I finally got into the airport I had 10 minutes to get to my next gate, so I just started running. I started at gate 80 and ran all the way to 128. I hadn't really trained for an airport marathon, so it took me, my heavy backpack, and my suitcase, 7 minutes to get to gate 128. As I'm approaching the gate, a woman yells to me asking if I'm going to Dublin. I yell back that I am, and she starts heading to the plane to see if I can still get on. Face flushed, stressed out, and three minutes before take off, I think I still have a chance. The woman hurries back out to the desk and tells me that I am unable to board the plane.

Now that I am a professional at airport disasters, I know exactly where to find a customer service desk and how to get my way. I furiously wait in a short line, ahead of at least four more people from my plane who also missed my flight. I was ready to put up a good fight and demand a new flight. Luckily, I didn't need to. I told the customer service representative that I needed to get to Dublin. I hand her the boarding pass to my missed flight. To my delight, there is one seat left on the next plane to Dublin. It leaves at 9:55 pm, only two hours away. I was originally supposed to have a two hour layover anyways. I happily accept the new boarding pass and wait it out.

I arrive in Dublin right on time. Going through customs was a breeze, even if the man I dealt with was a grump. It began to look like my luck was beginning to change. I enter baggage claim, and hear my name being called. I turned around out of reaction, not thinking that someone was actually talking to me. It was my friend Brittany! I had been in Ireland for 10 minutes, and I already saw a familiar face. What a relief. I get my bags and with my friend, we head to find someone waiting for us with a Champlain College sign. We didn't find him at first, but what you are told when you are 5 and lost stays true in the real world. If you're lost, stay put. That's exactly what we did and 15 minutes later I find myself in a taxi on the way to my new apartment.

So, here I am. Safe and sound in Ireland.

Here is a YouTube video that makes light of people like me, who get angry at the airport. Enjoy!