Wednesday, October 3

Oh, Happy Day

It's Wednesday- by this time I've been up for several hours, planned some dinners, and gone to the open air market. I've bought a copious amount of produce, some cheese, and fresh bread. A quick stop at the grocery store and I've got chicken to feed us for dinner. It's just a typical Wednesday for me now- who knew? In three days will be the official 1 month mark for living here in the United Kingdom, and I love it. I know it's been a while since a post, but between schoolwork and travel, I've not had much time to sit down and reflect. Seeing as it's been quite a while- this will be lengthy, and you've been forewarned.

Many already know that I spent the past long travel break in the beautiful country of Ireland. We arrived in Dublin Wednesday evening, went out to dinner at a pub in the temple bar area that had great live music and probably the best fish and chips I've had since I've been across the pond.

Thursday morning we hopped on a bus- the now infamous Paddy Wagon, and started our tour of Ireland. Our first big stop was the Cliffs of Moher, although there were several stops at castles and ruins along the way. Let me just say, I was most looking forward to the Cliffs for the pure reason that they are the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride- one of the greatest movies of all time. When we got there, it was breathtaking- even if only for about 10 minutes. They weren't joking when they said the weather changed on a dime. When we first arrived it was sunny and beautiful, 15 minutes later we were soaked to our skin. All worth it for the views, however.

 From there we went to the County Kerry, spent the night, and headed out the next day to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney stone. For those of you who don't know, the Blarney stone is supposed to give you the gift of eloquent speech for 7 years, and after you give it an hour our two (and maybe a pint or two, according to our tour guide, Sean Murphy), you'll be blabbing away. Needless to say, to his chagrin, it didn't work in making all the girls from Texas sing songs for the bus over the microphone. I don't think any kind of stone or rock (regardless of the karats) could make me do that.


 After Blarney Castle we made the long drive back to Dublin, where we spent the night in the Temple Bar area again- enjoying the excitement of "culture night". We also spent the next day in Dublin, checking out Trinity College, where the Books of Kells is held. It was beautiful, and I wish pictures had been allowed, although I completely understand why they aren't. We walked around dublin taking in the sites and helping our friend Kalyn climb on a rock to sit with an Oscar Wilde statue, saw some street artists, and caught our flight back to the UK. All in all, it was a great trip- and if Ireland isn't on your bucket list- it definitely should be.

Fast forward a bit, and I've made my way to London as part of a class assignment- I spent most of my morning in Camden Markets, which is a very self-expressive place. Lots of tattoo shops (I'll be honest, I was tempted to get a number 2 on the spot), piercing stands, and illegal drugs- which for some reason, were openly advertised and I saw not one officer while I was there. It was just an interesting dynamic- I'd love to go back and spend more time there- I feel like I could people watch for days on end and never get bored.

Then, that night- we got to see Wicked. Yes, the play, the always amazing play. It was fantastic! I don't even know how to begin to explain it. The voices were better than the soundtrack, the effects were the best I've ever seen, and it was just an all-together fantastic night.

That's all the highlights of the past few weeks that I can think of at this moment. Next stop: Spain. I'll be heading out with the rest of my classmates on October 11th, and We will be staying in Spain till the 22nd. I'm definitely looking forward to it, and can't wait for the experience. After that is about a week of classes, then off to Croatia with 5 other friends for a few days. I'm definitely blessed!