The past two days we were lucky enough to have 80-degree weather in Maynooth! My International Marketing teacher even taught our afternoon session outside. As I basked in the sun while running errands and hitting up local bakeries for custom birthday cakes for my new friends, I realized that I only have 9 days left until I’m back home in America! My schedule has been hectic since I’ve arrived and I think I’ll take a moment to savor the last of Ireland while I can, starting today with buying one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had from a bakery in town. Seriously, this cupcake from Elite Confectionary was AH-MAZING. Here’s a quick insight to how my “typical” day goes:
Thanks to sunlight flooding my room at 5am, I have naturally been waking up early. I take advantage of the early mornings to video chat with my family, boyfriend, and friends, or I’ll go for a run around Maynooth, or more recently work on homework. Maynooth is a great balance of rural and small city. If I run one way, I’ll be running past cows and wide open pastures. If I go another way, I’ll find myself running along the city, through parks, and along the canal.
My tea intake has drastically increased since my arrival; I have a cup or two for breakfast than another one or two with lunch, then maybe some more with dinner. The dining hall always has it out so I can’t pass it up! I normally just drink green tea with honey back home, but here I drink Irish black tea with milk and brown sugar. I honestly use the milk as a cooling agent so I can drink it in time, otherwise it’s too scalding hot for the longest time! Thanks to the dining hall breakfasts, I also have a croissant a day with my morning tea. I feel like I’ve had more croissants these past two and a half weeks than I have my whole life!
Classes have been a ton of fun. I love the small, interactive discussions we have and I enjoy talking with students from across the US and hearing about their hometowns and different upbringings. Our field trips have also been great outlets to network with Irish business people. Yesterday, my Managing in international Environments class went to SAP, an IT company. Today, my International Marketing Class is going to LinkedIn and Jameson, which has a Graduate and Brand Ambassador Program for University students.
In the afternoons, I’ve been doing homework and hitting the town to go grocery shopping. When I do homework from my room, I love hearing sheep baa-ing. This past weekend I bought an Irish/Aran shawl while we were in Galway, and it still smells like sheep! To some people that might be gross, but I quite like it. The smell adds to the authenticity of an Irish sheep sweater. It’s so wonderfully warm too; I can’t wait to wear it during Bellingham’s chilly and windy winter. Each week I’ve participated in the Irish cultural activities that our university has hosted, such as traditional Irish Ceili dancing and Irish football (GAA). These have been so much fun and I love learning about Irish cultural and history.
Each weekend we go on a different excursion with our program. The first weekend, we went to Causey Farm, Washington-like Glendalough, and coastal Bray. This weekend we went to lively Galway, the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, and gorgeous Connemara. We cover a lot of ground on these trips and I always make sure to use bus travel time as the perfect opportunity to nap—the motion of the bus naturally lulls me to sleep.
My favorite part of the trip so far would have to be Connemara. It was such a peaceful, secluded, and beautiful area. I thoroughly enjoyed the boat trip along Killary Fjord, Ireland’s only fjord. Although chilly and windy, it was gorgeous and felt adventurous as our hair blew in the wind. Connemara seemed like the perfect place to hike and bike and do other adventurous activities, which I would’ve loved to do if we had more time. I guess I’ll have to come back sometime… I did, however, run in the water while we were there, and it was actually quite warm! Much warmer than when I ran in at Bray last weekend. I’m happy to say that I’ve jumped in both the East AND West coast waters of Ireland.
This weekend my friends and I will be doing our own tour to Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and Game of Thrones locations. I will be staying Saturday night in Belfast and heading to the Titanic Belfast Museum the next morning. I can’t wait! I’ve seen pictures and heard amazing things of everywhere we’ll be going this weekend.
Before I came to Ireland, I pictured myself biking out to the countryside and relaxing in a field of sheep near a castle. To some degree, this has happened: I hear sheep from campus, where I can also see Maynooth Castle. However, I simply have not had the time to lay out near a field of sheep! I run past cows and sheep but the local fields aren’t rural enough for me to hang out on someone else’s property.
I have also learned the difference between Irish English and American English, which I will be talking about in my next blog!
That’s all for now folks, I’ll post again next week before I leave!