Not In Kansas Anymore

It’s only been a week here in Cork and I feel like I have found a new home already! I don’t even know how to describe the way I have felt here, I’m sure if you’ve traveled you would understand.

For an update I will start from the beginning:

I arrived mid-afternoon in Dublin and took a bus straight to Cork. It was a beautiful 4 hour drive through the countryside.

I checked in at my dorm, Farranlea Hall, and moved into a four room apartment with three other girls. I have my own little room with a tiny bathroom, but it works for the five weeks. We all share a living room area with a small kitchen. It’s a pretty nice set up!

My first full day in Cork was very full! We had an orientation in the morning where we met our directors and others in the program. We toured around campus and then walked to the city center where we did a scavenger hunt to help us get acclimated with the city. After some lunch we went to the eastern part of town to watch the end of some boat races. We were free to do whatever we wanted after that so my roommates and I spent the afternoon wandering all over the city center, finding coffee shops, pubs, and shops.

Here are some pictures from last weekend:

Along the River Lee
My fabulous and majestic campus!
Two of my three roommates, Jessie (left) and Morgan (middle), at Fitzgerald Park
Along the River Lee and in front of our University

My feet still ache from all the walking we did last weekend, but it was so worth finding out more about this little city I’m calling home for 5 weeks!

We’ve had a blast wandering around and stumbling upon hidden gems. The locals here are the most welcoming and friendliest people I have met. It feels almost like being in the Midwest again!

A few stories as examples: We happened upon a pub in the early afternoon where we ended up sitting for about 4 hours, talking with the owner and a bartender. They taught us about the different beers brewed in Cork, the popular sports, and the night life. Another night we attended a local soccer game, which we thought would be more competitive but it turned out to be recreational haha. After we found a pub that was having an open mic night. We stopped in and ended up staying late, talking with a few of the musicians and hearing about their stories. We met a lad from Manchester, a girl from Boston, a guy from Seattle, and a few locals they hang out with. We ended up spending most of the night with them at another pub, chatting and getting to know each other. The regular occurence goes something like this: a group of us are standing around talking, a local walks up and asks if we’re American, we all blush and say “yes, how did you know?” and they respond with either: “Your teeth are really white and perfect” or “I could hear you talking.” As embarassing as it is, it’s kind of fun and makes for an easy conversation starter!

Above left: Bartender we befriended. Above right: Very recreational soccer game. Below: coffee, chocolate and journaling before class in a beautiful garden

As far as school goes, its really different from America. The one class I’m taking is only Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, leaving me with a four day weekend for all kinds of travel. The class periods are 3 and a half hours long! But our teacher is understanding and lets us take coffee breaks often enough. My first class was interesting and I can tell it will be academically challenging. It’s mostly a lecture class with some interactive discussion. Luckily we don’t have any tests, just a few papers over the course of the 5 weeks. Even though its only 3 days a week, I can tell it will take a lot of my time, but thats why I’m here so I guess its okay.

The whole experience has been very magical and picturesque! I still can not get over how green everything is (especially because we’ve had wonderful weather, barely any rain so far) and how fresh everything feels! Each day feels like three packed into one, and this first week felt like a month already. But I’m okay with time moving slowly because I never want this to end! It feels unreal that I’m in Ireland, but I like the feeling of being in awe. It helps keep me attentive to the uniqueness of my experience.

I had my first weekend trip this past weekend, but I will update that later on, it deserves its own post.

While I’m having a blast and feeling at home, I am missing actually being home with friends and family. Slower afternoons or nights make me miss it more, but I have found alone time to be refueling and refreshing. Ireland is teaching me how to spend time with just myself and to enjoy that time. I already feel like this experience has taught me many new things and grown me in unexpected ways. So who knows where the next 4 weeks will lead!

I will continue to stay in touch!

xoxo, Sarah