Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fanny Pants. Part 2.

Maybe it is time for me to explain the title of my last post and this one... Sorry Grandma, it is a little crude :/
Throughout my time here I have come to learn that certain words we say in the United States DO NOT mean the same in Ireland.  For example, Pants = Underwear in Ireland.  SO, when I say, "Yay, I found some sweet green pants to wear for St. Patty's day!"... People here will think I am saying I found some green underwear.  So, I told the guys about this, and being in the state we were in, we found it hilarious.  Also, the word Fanny, while we used it is a kind way to say "Butt" as children, really means a woman's private parts here... So only imagine how odd that could be misconstrued TERRIBLY.  I also told this to the guys... therefore the words Fanny Pants came together and we used them quite often, and it really doesn't mean anything.  SO there you have it.  I am a dork.

Ok, so after that tangent, where did we leave off on the last post?  Oh yea... Making water.  After we ran into the Black Leprechaun, we made our way to a pub called Fitz Simmons but were ushered into the basement for one of two reasons, 1. The upstairs was too crowded, or 2. they put all the foreign people in the basement as to separate the Irish from all the annoying tourists (I kid you not I don't think there were any Irish people down there aside from the Bartenders and the guy playing the guitar at the front).  After paying about 6 Euro for a pint of Guinness we started to enjoy the live music... which included but not limited to, a couple standard Irish pub songs, Oasis, The Proclaimers (the two guys that sing that If I could walk 500 miles song... they love that freaking song here), and other random songs... Luckily they played "Galway Girl" (shout out to Brit-- this song is about ME!).  After we had a couple of rounds of way too overpriced beer in a very dark basement we decided to head out and check out another place.  Inside of the bar I felt like it was midnight (truly it was about 3pm), so when we walked outside I had to shield my eyes and I felt like a vampire.  (how many vampire references do you think I can make in these posts, over/under?).  So, the weekend Casey and Megs were here we met some guys from Kerry, one who happened to be in Dublin for St Patrick's Day visiting with a friend, so we went to meet up with them, because let's face it... St Patty's in Ireland, you need to have some real Irishmen around!

This turned out to be really handy, since one of them lived in Dublin, because they knew exactly where to go!  At the first bar we met them at, I went to the bar to get a round of beverages because it was my turn to get them.  A guy was totally crowding the bar, chatting with his friends, with a full glass in his hand... me being way too polite (sarcasm) just death stared at him until he got the hint and moved out of the way, and I just sheepishly smiled (thinking in my head, "you a-hole") when he said to me, "I bet you think I am a real Arse."  I just smiled and nodded... to which he announced to everyone around him how I called him an A-hole.  Real slick Alli... I think he thought it was funny though?  Eh whatever... back to the MUCH cooler people I was with...

Advice: Kebabs... NOT the best food to eat while drinking all day, especially Spicy Kebabs...

So, the powers that be in Rugby decided that St. Patrick's Day would be the perfect day to have the Ireland v. England match in the big RBS 6 Nations tournament... oh yea, get about half a million, mostly drunk, irish and irish-loving tourists together in one town to root on a team against a team that they loathe... well I thought it was fun! :)  We thought we should eat before we headed to another pub to watch the match and this is where they all wanted Kebabs... while they were delicious... the pub we went to to watch the game was insanely hot and the heavy kebab in my tummy, ickyness.  But don't worry, that passed and we went on to yet another pub to catch the end of the butt-kick by England rugby match.  Lame.

At this pub we met two Irish girls, who basically just insulted my friends for about 2 hours, one with terrible B.O. but they were nice to me and convinced one of the guys to get me a beer when I was empty handed, so B.O. or no B.O. I thought she was cool.  The pub crawl continues... Where we ended up in some weird side street with a lot of Gypsies and "Knackers" (i think that is how you spell this?)  This is where we got to hear the issue with "Knackers," apparently they are the Irish people who like to wear full track jacket/jump suit combos and gold chains and their girlfriends have 6 kids from 5 different guys... perhaps they may adorn some facial scaring from knife know like Jerry Springer types or perhaps those that live on the Jersey Shore.  Well while we were outside the pub, I am guessing 4 or 5 gypsies/knackers approached us for money... and these people were AGGRESSIVE,  but we were safe (Don't worry mom and dad).

The final pub we went to, because basically everyone was exhausted from a wonderful day of drinking and people watching, had two separate bars... one with more modern music, and one with death metal music!  I liked the death metal one because it reminded me of the Dungeon in New Orleans that I told you all about in my blog about Louisiana... again, I believe there were vampires in this one too (they are everywhere... 2nd vamp ref in this post alone.  I have a problem).  Some other things happened at that pub... just some things are better left in Dublin and I have a duty to 'do no harm.'  St Patrick's Day: END.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing really... my American friends had to leave to go back to the US on Sunday, but I stayed and hung out with the Irish guys.  We went and had a traditional Irish breakfast, which was 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and black and white pudding... for those of you who don't know what black and white pudding is, basically the black pudding is made from BLOOD and the white pudding is made from stomach or something equally as gross.  (Reason number 38 I think vampires live in ireland: Black pudding- ref 3) So, my waitress was really nice and gave me extra bacon instead of that gross stuff... My Irish friends thought that was crazy, but I don't eat blood.  Sorry folks.  We walked around Phoenix Park after breakfast, and after my GIANT cup of black coffee, because it was gorgeous out.  This is where the Irish President lives in what looks like almost an exact (but smaller) replica of our White House.  Also, there were about 30 deer just roaming the park, chilling out, not caring that we were all of about 50 feet away from them... and they had huge antlers.  Come to think of it, maybe they didn't care because they could just stab us with those if we got too close... unfortunately I don't have any pictures of them.  On this walk we went to see the Giant white cross that was constructed where Pope JP2 spoke and where 1,000,000 Irish people came to see him in 1979 (I think?).  REALLY random... I did get to eat some ice cream there, which was pretty sweet.

So, all-in-all an absolutely amazing weekend in Dublin, I didn't want it to end.  I am sure I missed some things about the weekend, but it was a whirlwind of amazingness and one can't remember to write every second of everyday of a weekend ;)
Ireland's version of Red Bull: Shark Stimulation... Tastes like vitamins.

Bird poop covered statue


The group... Yes I was the only girl, Lucky lady I am! Also look at my sweet green pants ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fanny Pants. Part 1.

Heya! I hope everyone had a fun and safe St. Patrick's Day!

So, I want to start of this post by saying I am really sad that I am already half way through my time here in Ireland.  This experience is changing my life and I feel so blessed that I was able to do this. :)

As most of you know I spent my St. Patrick's Day in Dublin's fair City, where the girl's are so pretty... I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone... SORRY only heard that song about 1,000 times this past weekend.  SO, where did we leave off before?  I believe it was just about my amazing weekend with Meghan and Cason?  Well before we get into the St Patty's Shenanigans, I probably should talk a little bit about work since that is the real reason I came here (right guys?? Well you all know the truth... ahem, pubs and irish accents).  As you well know I am working in the Department of Public Health with a focus on Infectious Diseases and mostly Tuberculosis and how they handle outbreaks here in the South and West of Ireland.  I had the privilege of going to Galway last week for a TB conference, which was very fascinating to me, but would be truly boring to most of you, so I will just skip to the funny part.  At the end of the day we had a panel discussion where people could ask whatever questions they want about the laws surrounding people who have active TB, etc.  One of the speakers on the panel was answering a question about something and said, "I think we need to stop looking to the UK and Australia for answers all the time but instead look to our neighbors to the West... I know we don't like them and the Americans have funny accents, but they are doing good work in TB."  So, the smart ass that you all know and love to be me, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to ask a question...

So, I raise my hand and say, in the MOST American accent I can stand to pull off, "Hey there, token American here!" and then asked my question... of course everyone laughed including the guy who just insulted our accents... But they do have a point.  Irish accents sound way cooler than ours.  They get to see "Grand" without sounding snotty.

Last week I also had to go to a daycare center because they had an outbreak of E.Coli, so we had to hand out containers to everyone to take a sample so we could test them to see if more people had them.  And by "we could test them" I mean the labs... I DID NOT test them myself.  Ew.  Anyways, this was an interesting experience because the only room that was free where we could set up our stations and meet with the parents was in the pre-school classroom.  There we no normal sized chairs, just the little tiny ones that 4 year olds fit in.  Also, we were there for about 5 hours, so naturally I would need to use a restroom... but no there were no adult toilets in here, just little midget ones.  This was the first time in my life where I actually felt like a giant... Or like I had been blown up by Rick Moranis and his faulty machine for a terrible sequel movie.

All-in-all I am loving where I am working.  All the ladies I work with are super sweet and always love to hear my stories about my travels so far.  One of the older ladies calls me "Pet" which I think is kind of sweet... any-who, on to the interesting stuff...

A friend of mine from high school was going to Dublin with some friends of his so I decided to meet up with them!  I got there Friday afternoon and met them...  Everyone else thought that we should go to bed early, but my friend and I decided to stay out and drink more.  See, hind sight is always 20/20 because being hungover at the beginning of St. Patrick's Day is probably NOT a good idea...

Anyways,  Friday night was enjoyable, but Saturday was absolutely insane!  After I dropped my bags off at my hostel, we met up with everyone at a pub to get some coffeeeeeeeeeeee.  They didn't start serving alcohol until 12:30pm here (legally) which was a strange change from the usual 8am start in the states for st pattys.  So we decided to walk around to find a spot to watch the parade.  The place was packed, mind you, this is about an hour before the parade is even set to start.  While we were walking around we got to see the full impact of the types of people who were in Dublin for my favorite holiday.  For example, one lady had on a horse mask with her green outfit.  This confused me... maybe I am missing something but I thought St. Patrick drove some snakes out and didn't have anything to do with horses?  Or maybe she was just a weirdo... we will never know. We couldn't find anywhere really where we might be able to see the parade... and then we heard you could actually just watch it on TV!  So, we walked a few hundred feet away from the parade route and into a pub waiting for the magical time of 12:30 to get that first Guinness and watch the parade on television, dry and warm and seated... So picture this: we are literally watching a parade on TV in a bar while the parade is going past us, maybe 100 yards away... makes sense.  (My dad sent me an article a couple days later that predicted there were about 500,000 people at the parade).  Now this was no ordinary parade but rather the weirdest and trippy-est parade I have EVER seen.  The theme had to do with science, and each group had to make up a float and theme based on a science question, like for example "Why don't we fall off of the earth?' but it had to be in some weird artsy, freaky way I guess because that is what a lot of them did.  For that particular question they had a bunch of people dancing around in Clown/Mime outfits and apples... spinning around... I don't understand what Clowns have to do with Gravity, unless the purpose was to state how much they wish Clowns would, in fact, fall off of the earth and disappear forever... because that is what I wish they would do. (most of you know how much I hate Clowns...)  The floats though were incredibly elaborate which was cool to see.

After the parade, well, we just kept on drinking Guinness.  Typical.  And the crowds headed to the pubs... we stayed a O'Neills pub for awhile, but as it got more and more crowded we decided to venture off to see what the streets were like and how many crazy people, including us, were on them.  As we were walking towards the Temple Bar area we walked right past an African-American little person dressed as a Leprechaun, and naturally one of the guys I was with decided to bro-five him... I almost made water in my pants I laughed so hard....  OH, the "made water" reference.  So, I guess the guys I met up with had met people that said they had to "make water" when going towards to the toilets, so we just adopted saying that all weekend...

Ok I hate to cut it short tonight but I have to go to bed.  Part 2 will be posted tomorrow....


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun with 'Teeth and Lips'

 The past few days have been amazing but VERY busy.  My Brother, Cason, and my Sister-in-law, Meghan, came into town for the weekend!  I seriously don't even know where to begin...

They arrived Thursday while I was stuck at work so they went to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery in Midleton, which is very close to Cork... LUCKY... meanwhile I was dealing with TB, glorious.  (that sounded like I personally have TB but don't fear, I was just dealing with those who may or may not have it...I am not sure if that is very comforting either).  SO, I finally got off work and met up with the two! We had dinner, which was delicious.  Just so everyone knows, the food here is fantastic.  I think it is because it is all fresh and mostly from local farmers.  They don't have to mark things "Organic," because everything is so that would just be redundant and silly.  Take note America...

After dinner we found the amazing place, The Woolshed Baa (not a mistype).  It's an Austrailian (I think?) owned pub with an unreal amount of televisions and a giant screen with a bleacher type seating arrangement.  Also there is a giant Ram head outside so that is pretty sweet.  At this heavenly place they have this giant list of shots, including but not limited to, Flaming Gorilla Titties, Duck Fart, Shit on the Grass, etc...  Casey and I decided to take a Duck Fart.  I believe it had Kaluha, Jack Daniels, and Bailey's in it, and yes, it was delicious.  And then we arrived at the (vampire) Reity's Pub which was close to where Casey and Megs were staying.  If some of you read my postings from my time spent in Louisiana you may have noticed I sort of have an obsession with vampires.  Well good news, Casey and Megs do too!  Anyways, when we walked in there was only a group of (I think) eastern Europeans in one of the nooks and then an 80-ish year old woman behind the bar; presumably she was the owner.  Mind you, this is about 11pm on a thursday so a bit strange that a lady of her age is working behind a bar... so naturally we came up with some wild theories.  Basically, Casey and I believed that she was a vampire.  To be continued...

Friday: Yes, now I am making day to day descriptions of everything we did.  You're welcome.
I had to work in the morning, lame, so Megs and Casey went to Blarney Castle.  I met them after I got off of work, half day what up, and we headed to Kinsale (yes I went there last weekend but whatever it's amazing there).  Casey REALLY had to see this fort that was "only about a mile hike," according to him, but, he declined to mention it was uphill the ENTIRE way... WTF Ireland, get it together with your damn hills.  Luckily when we arrived it was well worth the hike and was absolutely gorgeous.  It was about 4:15 pm when we got there and the place closed at 5, but we figured how long could we stare at a giant fort for really and that 45 minutes was more than enough time, even after the welcome center lady thought that we would be rushed.  We think she may have been a little obsessed with Charles Fort.  She was French (random fact of the post).  When discussing the rules of the fort to us while pointing to a map of the fort, she insisted that we "do not walk on the parapets.  They are very 'slippy' and 'danjorous'."  The fort was enormous and really pretty but I think the most fun we had was the 15 minutes we spent where Megs and I hid in these crevices off of a path in the fort and tried to time it so that Casey would get a picture as we jumped out, hopefully mid-air.  Yes we are all adults.

"Hell" Hill
                                                           Charles Fort

Again, I am apologizing for how long this post may become... A LOT happened.  I need to write more than once a week.  Sorry, friends.

When we got back from Kinsale, after a bus ride with quite the attractive bus driver (weird because I thought they were all about 80 years old and it is always frightening since they could literally croak at any moment driving around the most curvy, cliffy roads ever- shout out the Megs for that one.) We went to a vegetarian restaurant that was ridiculously good.  Who knew I liked veggies THAT much, I sure as hell didn't.  But don't worry... the drinking of Irish stouts continued so I definitely cancelled out my veggie dinner.  Obviously we went back to the Vampire bar to visit our Vampire lady.  Megs thought she was cute (she was).  Megs was obviously glamoured.  The bathroom of this place was through two doors in the way back and all the lights were off back there.  One of the stalls in the women's bathroom said "staff only."  Now tell me that isn't weird... Nah she was a very nice woman though.

Fun fact:  Irish people are obsessed with John Denver.  OK that might of been a bold statement, but seriously I heard "Take me home, Country Roads," twice this weekend and played by 'Irish' bands or singers.  I enjoyed it though since I could sing along.  We heard this song, in what now is most probably my favorite pub, An Spailpin Fanach.  Do not ask me how to say it or what it means because I have no idea.  What I do know is they play some awesome music and they have Murphy's on tap. :)  I forgot to mention that the amazing Megs brought me 3 bags of "Teeth and Lips" gummy candies from Sainsbury's in London.  This means we got a little crazy with them...

Mature and S.E.X.Y.

Like a beautiful portrait


Saturday we decided to go to Foto Island and Cobh.  Foto Island is a wildlife park where they have some animals roaming around next to you, like the Mara (see below because they are adorable) and apparently some ring-tailed Lemurs but we didn't see those.  They had monkeys, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, kanagroos, and awesomeness.  We were so close to the animals!  It was amazing but a little frightening with the cheetahs since there was really nothing stopping them from climbing a tree and jumping the fence and eating us... but still cool.  They had these night houses for the monkeys to play in where there is just some glass separating you and the monkey.  I had my face pressed up to the glass and a freaking monkey swung from the other side of the cage and banged into the glass right where my face was.  What an ass... scared the crap out of me and he was just laughing at me, mocking me... but little does he know, I was mocking him because he hasn't evolved yet.  Sucker.  And, in case you were wondering, Yes we did see two monkeys doing it.
Ugh, love Penguins

It's a Mara!

Freaking Giraffes

Cheetah... way to close for comfort but he looks so peaceful.

We then went back to the Woolshed to watch the Ireland v Scotland Rugby match.  This sport is awesome (another fun fact, apparently Irish people think Americans say awesome all of the time, maybe we do, but they don't, so now I am using it more).  We met a group of really awesome Irish guys there who were in town from Kerry to celebrate their friends 30th birthday.  This is where the real entertainment began... or Craic as they call it.  I won't bore you with too many details but I will tell you one story that all 3 of us just thought was hilarious.  One of the guys was telling us how he was working with a pitchfork and somehow stabbed himself in the foot with it.  He tried to pull it out but was not able to, probably because the pitchfork went through his foot and stabbed in the ground.  I guess one of his older neighbors heard him hollering and came over to him and said, "quit your whinging" and yanked it out of his foot! what the hell- crazy irish men, gotta love them!  Anyways two of the guys sat around and chatted with us for awhile until they had to leave for their party.  So we went back to the Irish pub that I can never pronounce the name.  They had a full irish band playing... and oddly enough they played "Wagon Wheel," and yes, I was the only one who knew all the words.  Thank you Florida.  We met a few more irish people there and we got them to put in some gummy teeth too!! Also, apparently the way I said "Yea" when one of them asked me if it was ok if they put their drink on my table made them think I was Irish, so when I spoke more the guy said "WTF!? You're American!?"  Seriously dude... what gave it away?  Naturally we closed down the pub, because that is how the Moores do things, so we had to go to a "late night club/pub" which was Crane Lane.  Yup, you couldn't move ATALL in there... but it was fascinating watching all of the hammered people pour out of the pubs at 2am.  I am pretty sure someone got thrown in a fountain... brings me back to the FSU days...

I almost totally forgot- at the pub there was a group of about 8 women dressed up in different outfits.  I think there was a cavewoman, a 80s lady, a slutty cop, a witch (Casey called her Gandalf), a cowgirl, and then some lady dressed in a pink super hero/race car driver outfit... was there a character on Speed Racer like that??  Anyways they were probably all over 40 years old, we believe it was a "Hen" party but we will never truly know.  I just wish I had some pictures to do it justice.  All I know is I really hope I am still out partying like that when I get older.

As you can see it was a pretty hectic weekend, so Sunday we were all incredibly exhausted.  But, we had to round out the weekend with a trip to the Cork Butter Museum... So now I know way more about Kerry Gold Butter than I ever thought I would, nor would I ever truly want to know...

I am sure I missed a lot about their visit but it is pretty long already... I will write more often and add in things I forgot!  Anyways I miss everyone at home and hope everyone is well!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Walking uphill BOTH ways...

Hola mis amigos-
Sorry I haven't been on this thing in a few days, it's been a busy few days.  So, that being said, sorry if this is long...

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, I was about to go to Blarney, Kinsale, and Cobh.  This was an interesting experience by myself, I must say, but I had a great time.  I went with the Paddywagon tour group which is basically a shuttle bus that is painted an obnoxious green color with a giant leprechaun on the side... SUPER IRISH!  I can't remember what our tour guide's name was but I am assuming it was Patrick or Sean or Liam or something like that.  Yes, I am stereotyping.  Anyways, off to Blarney we went.  The irish-mobile was full of Germans and me.  See here is where I kind of felt okay being alone because at least I spoke English.  This might sound harsh but hear me out... the Cork accent is a little odd and difficult to understand to the native English speaker, and while Patrick/Sean/Liam pronounced his words quite carefully, even I could have trouble understanding for a split second.  So, now imagine if you are German and speak terrible English... could be a little difficult to understand anything that is going on...

I have been to Blarney once before, about 3 years ago, with my family (minus Cason and Megs :( ).  Blarney is only about 20 minutes outside of Cork.  Actually some of my co-workers live in Blarney and commute to Cork.  Blarney is home of the famous Blarney Stone which is located in Blarney Castle, which is one of the best preserved castles in Ireland.  It is surrounded by vast gardens, including the Poison Garden and this weird witches area with a waterfall.  I climbed up the Castle to kiss the Blarney stone 3 years ago.  I DID NOT do it again and here is why:  to get to the top of Blarney Castle you have to climb about 1,000 uneven stone steps on a very narrow spiral staircase.  You basically feel like you might take one bad step and tumble down the stairs at any moment, or some giant tourist with a fanny pack might take you down on their way down.  Once you get to the top, however, it is absolutely gorgeous with stunning views of  County Cork.  To kiss the actual Blarney Stone you have to lay on your back and scoot backwards over a ledge while 2 locals hold your legs and you do a back bend and kiss the bottom stone on the wall, meanwhile you are hanging over a gap.  (see picture below from my previous trip).... ALL for the "gift of the gab" where you can speak blarney eloquently (or as we call it "bullshitting people well." and lord knows I don't need anymore help with that.
Blarney Castle

(Honey)Badger Cave

Part of the Poison Garden outside the Castle: The sign below says they are sorry for no plant (Cannabis) here because the Irish Garda (their police) confiscated it... hahaha.

From last trip... Yikes.  Yes, I did kiss it then, but looking at this pic jeebs me out bc the stone looks wet.

Next stop was Cobh:  Cobh is the main port in the Republic of Ireland since ships leaving the UK pass just under Co Cork it is an easy pick up point, which is why it was the second stop (after England) of the Titanic.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic so they had a museum in the town, which I was too cheap to pay for to see... Anyways- Fun Fact about the Irish and the Titanic: 123 Irish people were picked up from Cobh and only 40 survived.  Whoa.  Maybe Cobh is where Leo won those tickets only to have that beotch Rose not share her door-float with him...  Cobh was the port where the first known Irish lady set sail for Ellis Island.  Her name was Annie Moore; no relation.  They have a statue of her with her two brothers next to the Immigration museam, which I was also too cheap to go into.  I did however walk up to the top of the town to visit Colman's Cathedral, which was absolutely gorgeous and looked over Cork Bay.  Lucky for us it was very sunny when we were there, so I decided to take advantage of the sun and sit in a park on the bay for part of the stay.  Just trying to soak up the Vitamin D while I can... (it's cloudy and rainy a lot here).  Really the decision for part of the stay (after I walked through the whole town, went and saw the Statue of Annie Moore, etc) was between sun and pub, and while it might surprise everyone, I decided to choose sun and make my momma proud.      

Lastly we headed towards Kinsale, but by the time we got there we only had 30 minutes in the town so I plan to go back for a day in a couple of weekends.  Kinsale is a cute little medieval town on the water.  It is where the English fought the Irish and Spanish back in the William Wallace days (yes, I am aware Will was Scottish, but they had some of the same woes with England back then... remember the crazy Irish guy?)  The English apparently totally kicked the butts of the Irish/Spanish group, so they put up these two fortresses on either side of the channel to get into the bay.  Apparently they used to have a chain under the water, connecting the two forts, so when an enemy boat tried to come through they could tighten the chain and rip the bottom of the boat out.  Crazy medieval, knight, iron maiden kind of stuff.
Down there is Kinsale... This picture is taken from the Cathedral (I think)

The shuttle ride was great and everyone on the bus was friendly but this wouldn't be a blog post of mine without a little smart-ass Alli sprinkled in.  The tour guide had the radio on for our drive.  It was tuned to "Today's FM," but the songs that came on, while I thought they were pretty awesome and preferred them to actual today's "hits," were songs by Queen, Bryan Adams (who was commented by the DJ as the "hardest working man in showbiz," apparently he still tours? who knew?), Annie Lenox, the Beatles, etc... Kind of an eclectic group.  The song "Here Comes the Sun" came on and these two girls sitting next to me, remarking on how it had just been sprinkling on us and the sun was now coming out, said "Oh how fitting..." which, call my cynical, made me want to throw up in my mouth.  Ok, so that's it for my smart-ass cynicism for the day :)

Oh and we got to sing some pub songs... of course I knew the words... Thank you The Field Irish Pub and Eatery.  (shout out)

So, my first day of "work" was Monday.  I have an office, which I share with a girl named Rachel, with my own desk and computer! I feel so grown up.  Basically I work 9-5 M-F, kind of.  Let me explain... The people of Ireland enjoy an hour long "tea break" at 11am and then an hour long lunch break at 1pm, which I kind of dig.  I think Americans should adopt the tea break... which I work in an office of women, so it's really gossip hour.  I am learning A LOT about the Irish culture during this hour.  Also, I am learning a lot about the sexy Rugby players.  I need to start writing down the names they say so I can google them... Hmmm.  Monday and Tuesday were a bit slower, basically I was reading articles and manuals about how Ireland deals with Tuberculosis and other reportable infectious disease, but I won't bore you with any of those details.  You're welcome.  Oh and by the way- St Finnbar's is still a little creepy... No sightings yet but I will let you know.

To explain my blog title, I literally walk 3.3 km (about 2 miles) each way to work.  They have a bus system which I have been too confused to figure out, but I might have to start taking some days.  Here's the thing though, I am sitting here eating half a packet of Hobnob's and a glass of milk... not feeling guilty at all because I walked 4+ miles today.  Rock on... but now I know how our grandparents felt not having the luxury of a car to take you everywhere.

Today I went to Tralee which is in County Cork because there was a recent outbreak of TB in the area so they wanted me to see how they deal with it with testing of close contacts and how they figure out who to test and all of that (interesting to me but I am sure not to others, plus I can't say much bc of confidentiality...).  But, I did meet a lot of characters in the office who absolutely loved that I was American.  I went to lunch with the doctors I was working with in a hotel near by and I kid you not... was stared at by the locals pretty much throughout my entire meal, which, even without me commenting on, was brought on by the doctors.  They said it's because the Kerry people can sniff out a stranger.

My brother, Cason, and my sister-in-law, Megs, arrive in Cork tomorrow from their home in London!  I am very excited to see them and I am sure I will have many interesting stories for you guys about our adventures.  We already have a trip planned to the butter museum.  They have one in Cork.  Pretty awesome.

P.S.- Blarney made me miss my family since I was with them the last time I was there.
P.S.S.- I am making some friends, hopefully will be able to write some funny stories soon!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yea... I'm never coming home. Sorry, Mom!

So, where did we leave off?

Ok so last night I went out with the American couple I am living with, Maggie and Branden, who are awesome by the way.  We went to a place called the Franciscan Well which is apparently one the top 10 pubs in Cork.  They brew their own beers, or should I say ales, lagers, stouts, etc, there.  (the Irish don't like when you say "beer" because it isn't all beer apparently, who knew!?).  I had the Rebel Red beer, naturally, which was delicious.  The Franciscan Well is across the River Lee from where I am staying.  Fun Fact: The River Lee splits just above our house and then re- connects (?) below City Centre, so we are basically completely surrounded by water... which is super comforting with the amount of rain they get here.  Yea, floods are common.  Any-who, found out that "across the river" is synonymous with our "other side of the tracks" in a way, and you don't really want to be caught much further away from where the pub was when the sun is down.  Oh, I almost totally forgot the most hilarious/embarrassing thing about the night- as some of you may know, while I can be smart, sometimes I do idiotic things.  I went to order 3 pints, and when I was paying, instead of handing the bartender a 10 Euro bill I handed him a 10 pound bill.  Before I left for Ireland, my father had some extra Euro and Pounds from the last time he was here that he gave me to spend.  Yea, so basically the bartender held up the 10 pounds with a disgusted look on his face which I thought he was just being an ass because 10 Euro wasn't enough for the three beers... later to find out that I am, in fact, a moron.  So, basically in my first night out in Cork, IRELAND I am the dumb American who tried to pay in pounds when that currency belongs to a country that they really don't care for that much (to put it lightly).  Awesome.

We then walked around city centre a little bit.  It started to be a little colder and rainy.  One of the odd things I have noticed about Irish girls is they LOVE their mini skirts.  You wouldn't think that would be part of the wardrobe of someone who lives an environment that is mostly rainy and cold, but apparently it is a wardrobe staple... along with high heels.  Weird.  I was freezing in my fleece jacket, jeans, scarf, and normal shoes, but then again I am used to Florida weather so that may be part of the problem?  Maybe Irish girls have some sort of cold-resistance on their legs which allows them to wear short skirts in 40 degree weather... or maybe their skin is water-proof? Who knows. 

We went to another pub, can't remember the name, they all look alike.  Of course we took a seat right next to another table of Americans.  OK guys, while I love Americans, since I am one, some of us can be a bit obnoxious (I get there are obnoxious people in every country but since I AM an American, I can make fun of them).  There was a girl sitting there who decided to talk loudly about how she was a 3rd year medical student and how badass she was blah blah blah and how she would NEVER go to a teaching hospital as a patient, since she has worked soooo many hours in one, because the staff is just not as good as a private hospital blah blah blah I am so cool.  Oh shush.  I wanted to be like, listen lady, I am a med student too (fourth year which in cool terms makes me cooler) and WE ARE NOT THAT COOL and no one cares.  But I didn't, probably because I was only 2 pints deep.  Maybe if I had been 3 pints deep... but we will never know.

Today, I explored the city with Maggie.  It was absolutely incredible, hence the title of this blog post.  This city is gorgeous. (see pictures below which will be better than any description I can offer).  We walked around University College- Cork.  Imagine going to school in the medieval times/harry potter land but in modern times, because that is what it looks like.  We also went to St. Finbarres Cathedral which had a creepy cemetery around it and since for some reason I am currently obsessed with possible haunted places, I took many pictures of the cemetery hoping to find orbs or ghosts or whatever those paranormal people find.  I, sadly, didn't capture any ghost-like figures.  

The landscaping here is wonderful.  While it is pretty cool and rains a lot, the sun did come out off and on all day, and when it does it's absolutely amazing.  Everything is so green! (I know what you are thinking... Duh! It's Ireland.  They call it the Emerald Isle for some reason.)  Anyways, long story long... I am having a blast exploring and I am loving my experience here already.  I imagine it will just keep getting better from here on out.  Tomorrow I am taking a day tour to visit Blarney, Cobh, and Kinsale which I am very excited about!  

BEST hot choco ever- Dark and Milk mixed with peppermint oil... like melted chocolate in a glass. (O'Connell's)
St. Finnbarre's
Pretty Gold Angel on the Cathedral

                                                 Me! At UCC, you can see a lot of Cork from up here.

You can see how hilly it is

Creepy Cemetery.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to Ireland!

Hi All-
So I have decided to again attempt to blog about my fourth year rotation adventures.  Also, I figured it would be easier to keep you updated on my comings, goings, and shenanigans through this rather than repeating myself through emails.  So, here it goes... hopefully it's witty and charming, like me.

Let me start with the plane flight... long story short- turbulence, 60 year old American female talker next to me, 3 movies, no sleep, no cute irish boys sitting next to me... NEXT.

So, as you know I arrived in Dublin yesterday morning at about 7am and then had to take a bus from the Dublin airport to Cork City Centre.  According to google maps, driving "time" (see time is in quotations here, this will make sense throughout the month but time is sort of a loose term to many people in this country... which I actually adore) from Dublin to Cork is about 2.5 hours.  Anyways, my bus left (on time) at 8:30am from Dublin but... I arrived in Cork at about 1pm.  "WHAT!?" is what you might be thinking.  See I was a little confused myself.  I pretty much had passed out to a point where I was either snoring like a freight train or people were probably staring at my chest to see if it was actually rising and falling (therefore not perverted but rather seeing if I was breathing).  I would sleepily wake up about every hour, and seeing as though I really had no idea how to get to Cork, I had no way of knowing how far away we were.  Once I got to Cork I had to call my landlord in order to find out how to get to my house.  The telephone numbers here are odd and are 10 digits long and start with a 0.  Soooo the genius that I am I couldn't figure out how to dial it on a pay phone.  Yes, by "genius" I mean idiot.  But, the silver lining to my stupidity was I got to see how charming the Cork residents really are.  I went into a coffee shop and one of the workers used her personal cell phone to place the call for me.  SO sweet.

I made it to my house which is located across the street from University College Cork on Western Road. It is a 6 bedroom house with 6 other people besides me living in it.  Everyone seems really very nice.  I live downstairs across from an American couple, Maggie and Branden.  Branden is studying at UCC for his PhD in medieval history focusing on female saints and awesomeness.  Upstairs lives Eiream, an Irish medical student, David, an Irish Law student, John, a Scottish/Austrailian professor (apparently he is from Scotland but has an Austrailian accent... ? No clue), and Martin who is from Botswana and is an anesthesiologist at University Hospital.  We have our own international Real World up in here.

Today was my first day "at the office."  The office is located at St. Finbarr's Hospital which is about 800 years old.  No, I am just kidding, it's about 260 years old.  Did I mention it's haunted. Yes, haunted, but I will get into that in a second.  I have my own desk and computer, baller style.  Everyone is really nice there too... so I have decided that all Irish people are nice.  Simple deductions really.  My walk to work is about 40 minutes but it is very brisk outside so it's a nice walk.  On my way home I almost got ran over by a construction worker who then decided to chat me up for about 10 mins... not entirely sure of what all he said but I have decided to take it as flattery.

Oh yes, the haunted stuff... So the offices are located on the top floor of one of the buildings on campus. This floor has been uninhabited for about 60 years and when I jokingly said, "I bet it's haunted" my coworker said, "Yes.  It is." Very serious.  I will let you know if there are any sightings.