Dia duit, pronounced dee ya gw-itch, means hello (literally, Got be with you) in Irish!
After my somewhat harrowing travel experience to Dublin, I finally made it! The flight over was nerve-wracking but otherwise just fine. The plane had to have its winds de-iced, which I've never experienced before. I was reminded of a large and terrifying robotic monster billowing smoke as two beady little eyes (the lights of the truck) stared at me through my small window over the wing. It was weird. Anyway, I touched down smoothly and got through customs without a hitch, picked up my bags (the first off!), took out a hella lot of euros and bought my bus ticket. It was really disconcerting to be driving on the wrong side of the road--also, seeing snow and ice. I thought it didn't snow here?!
I arrived at the hostel with my two huge suitcases, checked in and got to my room. Our room is actually quite nice--just me and one other girl. Apparently other rooms are 6 girls squeezed in with no room to walk between beds. However, my roommate was not there when I arrived around 8pm, Ireland time. I basically hung out in my room, unpacked and walked to McDonald's for my first true Irish dinner...not. I didn't want to go to a pub alone my first night, I was too scared. I plan to travel by myself some weekend because I want to and Katie and Dad recommend it, but I didn't want to eat by myself in some cheery pub when I could wallow in my misery scarfing down a happy meal. I did, however, make a few new friends who were looking for my hostel (not hostile) mate, so that was good! They invited me out with them but I opted to get some sleep after my long journey and skype with M&D and Caleb.
The next day was our official orientation day, and I was really excited to wake up early and shower, get ready and what not. We were supposed to be on the bus at 8:30, and naturally my alarm didn't go off and we woke up at 8:31. I threw on clothes I had laid out the night before (thank goodness) and ran to the bus. We had about four hours of meetings, and it was exciting! I caught up on meeting tons of people, had lunch at the hotel where we had our orientation and then got on a "hop on, hop off" bus. Two other girls and I hopped off at St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was beautiful and I was completely amazed by the handwritten version of Handel's Messiah. I drooled over it and took a bunch of pictures for about 10 minutes straight. Total nerd. Then we hopped back on and toured the Guinness Warehouse--SO COOL! It took a good chunk of time but it was awesome! I learned how to do a taste test (and got to taste test) and learned all about Guinness. THEN we got to exchange our tickets for a free Guinness at the Gravity Bar, which overlooks all of Dublin. Pretty sweet views! Then we hopped back on and went to the hostel and got mobile phones--not cell phones here. I got the cheapest Nokia I could find--everyone in the program has it haha. Then we got dinner at the pub next door--the 5euro special of a ham, cheese and onion 'toasty' and bowl of broccoli soup--YUM. THen I FINALLY got to shower--it felt so good to be clean, you have no idea. Then we went back to the pub and I got a Bulmer's cider and then we went to Temple Bar! It was so fun and packed with a ridiculous amount of people. There was live Irish music, too, which was super cool. Then we walked home and slept!
TODAY I had more meetings about really boring academic scheduling stuff, and I definitely found myself nodding off about 4 times. I felt really badly, but it's the jetlag! Then we had a shnazzy lunch and I had my first mystery meal--I ordered the fish cake. It resembled an oversize crab cake roughly the size of my face. It wasn't particularly flavorful but I ate most of it. I definitely tasted potatoes and onions and some sort of fish, though I have no idea how many different kinds were in there. Oh well! The chocolate fudge cake was delicious and fabulously presented. Then we had a funny Q&A session, came home, bought sheets and towels (2 fitted, 2 flat, 1 duvet and sham, 1 bath towel and 1 hand towel ALL for 31 euro! Shocking!), skyped a bit, got dinner and went to see the Seafarer at the National Theatre. It was great! I highly enjoyed it.
Well, off to Galway tomorrow for more overwhelming information and a tour of the city and campus! I hope to meet up with a friend from the States, too! Adios!