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Archive for March, 2010

I was pumped for the big day. However, I made my way through the city throughout the week. The population went from 2 million to WHO KNOWS? Tourists flooded the city and since my backyard is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, tourist buses lined themselves up next to my apartment building. I have never seen it so crowded.

St. Paddy’s Day started off very early. I woke up at 7:30 to prepare for the festivities. In preparation, I bought orange, white, and green face paint along with green hairspray, shamrock antenaes, and a green guiness shirt. Now, I will talk later about the increased popularity I had for the face paint.
Anyways, the group was out the door a little after nine o’clock with a skip in our step. We were excited to say the least. The first thing we accomplished was having a traditional Irish breakfast at little restaurant near our apartments. Heads turned when we fashionably entered the restaurant in full out green. It was a site to remember. I did not notice, but one of the girls showed off the look on one of the customers when we walked in. However, three things happened to me while in the restaurant:

1. One my study abroad friends said I looked like on of those actors from braveheart with the painted face.

2. A local Irishman claimed I looked like an Avatar from Pandora. RAWR.

3. A 45 (or 48? cant remember) year old Mongolian woman initiated a conversation with me, which half the time I could not understand, in telling me how she loved when she was our age. Sandra, the Mongolian woman, came up to me after the chat and two things happened.

She gave me a hug.

And then handed me a container of grapes for the group.

Now, a container of grapes? She along with the rest of the restaurant is either eating an Irish Breakfast or drinking Guinness at 10 in the morning and she for some reason had a container of grapes? I will not further acknowledge what happpened. But the grapes were delicious.

Wherever she got them from.

Now the day was perfect. The warmest day so far with 60 degree weather and bright blue sunny skies. We walked around the city through various sites to see the parade. Kids and adults everywhere were decked out in green. Face painting and hair coloring stands were everywhere (I looked better than any of them!). It was an excited time. The place was PACKED. No where to manuver as rows deep of people were waiting for the parade to go by. Little children nestled on top of parents shoulders, people on ladders, on statues, and on rooftops just to see the parade. Since we knew we were not going to see anything, we decided to head back to my apartment, which is right next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to watch the parade.

However when the parade came by, I could not really see it from the rooftop because the parade was a few hundred feet away, so I left the rooftop and made my way towards it. Slightly better being close up, but again we were blocked out by people being the way from getting a good view. During this time, I met three Russians from Moscow who decided they wanted a picture with me (I know I am famous. My crazy face paint works wonders on my popularity…now if I had known this in high school….). Two of them were also practicing their English and used me as their guinea pig, which was awesome. I am pretty open with talking to anyone. I had a fun time!

The rest of the day consisted of getting sushi for lunch (first time having Sushi and it was very good! It had salmon and cream cheese in it), parading myself through the city, going to a pub, and making my way through the dance floor at a night club (washed the face paint off because I knew it would be rather disgusting with sweat mixed in and some were disappointed I took the face paint off….o well).

One of the best days I had in Dublin thus far. I met people from Mongolia, Russia, Ireland, and the United States. However, people were from all over the world and St. Patrick’s Day was an awesome experience to be emersed in so much culture and with people from all over who just wanted to have a great time and celebrate what makes life special.

St. Paddy’s Day was a site to see and I am thankful to celebrate the holy day in the greatest city to do so.

Dublin.

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Sorry for the delay of posting. This should have been in last week, but I am back! Two weekends ago I took the train to Belfast. Belfast was my first experience being in the United Kingdom… seeing as Northern Ireland is it’s own entity from the Republic of Ireland. Belfast is known for it’s civil unrest between the Protestants and Catholics. In fact, I was told to stay away from certain places when I went to Belfast seeing as I would definitely meet trouble between the religions. Thank fully, the only trouble I had was moi versus the torrential down pour of rain. The first thing that my study abroad mates and I noticed was the rain. I mean how can you not? We exited the train station and had to walk a quarter of a mile down a road that had only a few feet of sidewalk between the road and wall that entrapped us in. Every time a car or bus drove by, we were splashed with waves of  water. You would think it only happened in movies. No way! After being soaked multiple times by vehicles who did not give a hoot, we were miserable. I remember running down the rest of the street when a bus was coming apon us. I made it from the water that would have drenched me. But, the squeals behind me as I ran prove that we all did not make it. My friends were hit.

Thank you Belfast. What a welcoming city.

The people were great and were friendly enough. All day Friday was dedicated to keeping warm in the pubs. We were soaked to the bone as it was. However, Belfast proved to be the first and worst time spent in a hostel. I was to stay in a twelve person room with no one I knew (but you know me, I probably would have gotten along great with random people). However, my friends gratefully were able to switch me to their room. The twelve person room would host mostly drunk students who came in after we went to bed. In the end, I was not able to sleep for long as some random people decided to wake the whole building up at 3:30. For the longest time, we heard people chasing other people through the building as they were playing “hide and go seek”. Now, the only places that were available to hide were the bathrooms. And for some reason or another, there were things left in the bathroom that I will not disclose in this blog.

It was pure disgusting.

The second day in Belfast proved to be our last. We decided not to waste our money on the Titanic tour as we were still pretty moody from the day before. Belfast is known as the city who built the Titanic. You can hear locals saying that the Titanic was in perfect shape when it left! Do not blame us!

Overall experience…I did not enjoy the rainy weekend. I think we visited the city on the wrong days. However, the city is too industrialized (not even close to Dublin’s beauty). I feel as though the city is still climbing out of the difficulties it has between the two religions. We went to the city just days after a bombing that went down between the two religions.
Maybe in the future give it another shot? I dont know…

I was super excited to get back in Dublin. I was practically skipping when I came back. It’s just the warmth of Dublin that brings me in. I feel more at home in Dublin when I am over in Europe. Not like being in my hometown in the U.S., but for the last couple of months it has been my true European home.

I embrace the city and am having the time of my life. Two months down and two more left. Has it really gone by that quick?

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