So after a day of sleepless and stressful travel, I am finally in Ireland! Surpringly, it has surpassed all of my expectations thus far. It is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined as well as colder than I thought or prepared for. Looking back, packing 10 sun dresses and 2 sweaters probably wasn't the best of ideas.
I have had such a great time so far and it has only been two days! Yesterday after arriving at the airport I met the rest of the group of girls and we went to Blarney to have lunch and look around the shops. Unfortunatley we were unable to go to the castle or kiss the stone that day but we are looking to go back tomorrow. After spending a couple hours there we went back to Cork to get settled in our apartments. The apartment is beautiful and a lot more spacious than I was imagining. I have a double sized bed, a desk, and my own bathroom all in my room. I am rooming with Jill, Brittany, and Margaret, all of whom I love! After unpacking, finally showering, and getting settled in we had Subway for dinner which is conviently right around the corner and had a meeting about our next couple days here. After that, we hit the pubs! The main strip of pubs, shops, restaurants is about a 15-25 minute walk from our apartments so it's not that far. The first one we went to was an older pub that was family owned for three generations. The owner must have been almost 70 and was the cutest thing ever. I had a local drink called Beamish that a man suggested and was not the best to say the least. After that we went to another pub that seemed to have more of a scene, or so we thought. 20 minutes into being there we discovered that it was actually a PhD Chemistry BBQ that we had walked in on. Basically, a bunch of Irish nerds all in one place. It was fun to talk to some of the locals though and get advice on where the best places were to go and eat. After that it was time to pass out! I was so exhausted and felt like I had done Dance Marathon all over again.
Today we went on a tour of downtown Cork where unfortunately my camera broke. I was so disappointed because it was gorgeous there. Luckily I brought a second one so I will still be able to take some pictures the rest of the trip. After the tour we had some time to explore the town for a little bit. We went to lunch in a local place where we were blessed with having an American waitress! She was very helpful in telling us the do's and dont's in Ireland such as no tipping or taxing and what places to say away from. Also, all drinks are sold lukewarm so you have to ask for ice if you want your drink cold, not a big thing but weird. After lunch we went to a couple of stores around town and basically just wandered and people watched. Overall, a very pleasant day so far.
Unfortunatley, the wireless in our apartments is not up yet hence the long awaited post. They say that it will hopefully be up by tonight, however, so I will keep everyone updated. I am glad to say I am already having the time of my life and already know that 6 weeks will not be enough time. I am savoring every moment though! I love my group and am already making some life long friends. Because I dont have wireless connection, I can't upload pictures from my computer but once I do I'll upload them ASAP. I love and miss everyone and will hopefully be up on Skype soon. My address is mary_lantz so add me and hopefully I'll catch some people despite the +5 hour time difference! Tomorrow we are planning on going to Blarney, as mentioned above, and then going out with the locals to cheer on the US vs. UK in the world cup!
I'll try and keep this updated as much as possible for my sake and for all my "lovely" (popular Irish adjective) friends and family. Love you all!