Wednesday morning we traveled to Galway, and I felt like I finally got a true taste of Ireland. We drove through the beautiful countryside and saw many sheep, especially hairy cows, and charming stone walls. We played all sorts of silly traveling games and stopped for lunch in a small town. My accommodations here in Galway are VERY nice. I live in a townhouse with 4 other girls (2 of whom are Irish, but we haven't met them yet) and my immediate roommate is American. It's really spacious and updated. The only thing that's a little less than wonderful is the heat. We're told that the Irish are OBSESSED with heating, and don't do a whole lot of it. The first night sleeping here was miserably cold, at least for me, and I quickly learned I'd need some more blankets for my bed!
Anyway, we took the 20 minute walk to campus and got a brief tour. It'll be hard adapting to such a small school--only 16,000 compared to PSU's 42,000. Just kidding! After we saw campus, a friend and I went to Dunnes, the local superstore (market, clothes and home-goods store) to get some basic food. Then I met up with a friend from the States who was in Ireland visiting her boyfriend, and they took me to the city center to buy some more necessities. It was SO nice to see friendly faces and hang out with them--they even bought me dinner! Later that evening, some kids from my program had a party before everyone headed to the pubs for the night. Unfortunately, I had developed a nasty cough and decided to stay in for the night rather than head into town. It was probably a good decision but I wish I had been feeling more up to socializing.
Yesterday we had more boring orientations all morning and then got lunch at the college bar, came home to do more grocery shopping and then made dinner. I was so overwhelmed and excited about my dinner options--tuna? pb and j? spaghetti? cereal?! I went with tuna on toast with some Irish cheese (so exciting and delicious) and then headed out to karaoke with some friends. It was so much fun! I sang "Summer Nights" with a new friend in the program and then rocked a solo with "Killing me Softly." It seemed to be a hit and I had a great time singing! I've made my Irish debut! Then we headed to the Quays pub in the city and stayed for a short while before some of us headed back. Unfortunately, I suppose I have bad luck with health stuff, because I had a wicked stomach ache during the night and woke up this morning with the flu. Charming, I know. I ended up skipping my meetings so I could sleep all day and skype a bit, which made me feel better. I feel better now, but definitely not close to 100%. I'm hoping to shake this off by tomorrow so I can take the historic tour of Galway!
I'll post some pics asap!