The Irish adventure is officially underway! Our group of eleven adventurous young lassies departed from the Portland airport bright and early on January 1 to set out on our long journey to Galway. After creatively finding ways to pass our six-hour layover in Newark, New Jersey, the group boarded the plane for our final leg to Shannon, Ireland. From there it was a quick 45 minute bus ride through a beautiful Irish countryside complete with stone-lined fields and hoards of sheep, to our new place of residence at the Cuirt na Coiribe apartments in Galway.
Our task list, upon 7:30 am arrival, was clear: 1. Take a shower, 2. Obtain bedding, 3. Stay awake for at least the next 13 hours. After an eight-hour time zone shift and nearly 24 hours of travel under our belts, this mission was anything but simple. Our crew fiercely fought off the jet lag that pulled incessantly at our eyelids by unpacking, meeting new roommates, converting dollars to euros, and adorning our apartments with the necessities from the Dunnes apartment store across the street. By the end of the day (which fell right around 8:00 for us that evening) we were all exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep, but excited for the new adventure that lay ahead of us.
A lot has happened since that long first day. We have now completed orientation as well as our first week of classes at the National University of Ireland, Galway. It is so strange being the international students! Even though we speak the same language, there have been many moments of complete disorientation and a lot of adjustments to be made. We are all learning to deal with new money, new class sizes, new timetable (class schedule) configurations, new phrases and speech patterns, new cultural norms (everything starts at least ten minutes after it is scheduled to start), new phones, new food selections, and much much more! It is both unnerving and exciting to be the foreigner. It is like being a freshman all over again, feeling both discomfort in the uncertainty and thrill in the potential!
With a full school week under our belt we are all looking forward to a weekend of exploring!
Cheers from Galway,
Irish Phrase of the Week: Flim-Flam: Used to describe extra, unnecessary, or deterring information. Example: “This article gets right to the point without the other flim-flam”