Cooking with no microwave

I didn’t think I would experience culture shock until it happened. Turns out I have no hot water, a microwave, toaster oven or coffee maker. (I know what you are thinking…first world problems)

If any of you know me that well, you know that I cannot cook. My skills included placing things in the microwave and then taking them out. I am the girl that fucks up pasta. NOT ANYMORE! These past weeks have taught me a lot about fending for myself when it comes to food. I found myself cooking chicken, pasta and rice with ease. Soon I was adding vegetables (if you consider potatoes a healthily option).

If you really know me well, then you know my obsession and addiction to coffee. I am used to my personal Keurig, but I found myself heating up water in a tea kettle and pouring it over some instant coffee. At first I was pretty repulsed by the taste, but caffeine is caffeine I guess.

Also I have been pretty sick over the past days. This is when that tea kettle came in handy (to be honest I really might buy one here, they heat up the water in seconds and it stays hot for hours). I ended up going down town to try and get medicine. We walk into a “pharmacy,” only to find out that a “pharmacy” in Ireland does not sell meds. Instead it sells cosmetic and cleaning products. In Ireland they call “pharmacists” “chemists.” So I took a trip to the “chemist” and got some sedated. I am still not 100%, but I am doing a lot better.

On the bright side though, I bought a warmer coat, extra towels and an extra blanket to keep warm. Also I started to plan some side trips. The first one coming up is a day trip to Galway this Saturday. (There will be pics and blog post, don’t worry!) Next I will going to Belgium and Amsterdam in late February then over my Spring Break I will visiting Prague, Budapest and Croatia.

This week starts my first full week of classes and we have sign ups for clubs/societies tomorrow night. So much to do!

Freshman year all over again

Sorry it’s been such a long time, but here are the updates!

This past Sunday I had time to walk around the city of Limerick. A bus from campus takes you straight there. I had one of the best meals of life (posted below). It was a beef and Guinness stew! On the side is a “toasties,” or as us Americans might say, “grilled cheese.”  The dessert was not too bad either. A sticky toffee pudding with hazelnut gelato.

And some more food porn
And some more food porn
Some food porn
Some food porn

After the amazing lunch we went into a Sweet Store.  Thinking they would have some Irish candies we went inside. Turns out it was full of American junk food. Yes, I am talking Pop Tarts, Cheese-Its and Hershey’s. (I guess the stereotypes of fat Americans are true).

We then went over to the local museum (The Hunt Museum) which is the picture of the two horses. It was small and very nice. Then we walked around the Shannon River where you get an amazing view of St. Johns Castle. (Also pictured below) We are touring St. John’s Castle in February so more to come on that!

River Shannon and St. John's Castle
River Shannon and St. John’s Castle
The Hunt Museum
The Hunt Museum

I officially started classes on Monday. For the moment I will be taking Irish Folklore, Irish Traditional Music and Dance, Film Studies and Early Modern Ireland History. For the music class we have a choice between signing, dancing, the Bodhrán (Irish tradition drum) or the tin whistle. The choice is hard because I play the drums, but I really want to learn the penny whistle solo of My Heart Will Go On to whip out at parties. (I know my life is so rough)

Also it is strange how different everything is in terms of social life. Many Irish students go home for the weekends and instead go out to the bars and clubs Monday – Thursday. Most clubs in Limerick have all their specials on these nights. For example if you wear a hat to the bar on campus on Monday you get a 3 euro pint.

The biggest problem is feeling like a freshman all over again. I was the dork holding up the campus map, frantically searching for classes while holding my Limerick Orientation bag. Someone could tell I was an international student just by the panic in my eyes. Although scary, I did find all my classes and the main buildings.

Later in the weeks we get to sign up for clubs and societies here at UL. I already signed up for the International Society and the Outdoor Pursuits. The outdoor one allows you to use the indoor rock wall and go on outdoor trips such as climbs and hikes with friends. Tonight I think I might join the kayaking club. Other ones that peaked my interest were the Comedy Society and Tea Appreciation. (For obvious reasons)

This weekend I hope to go back to the Milk Market and explore Limerick. Who knows, maybe I’ll check out those Thursday deals at the clubs.



London and the start of Ireland

So just to update everyone we spent 3 days and 2 nights in London and arrived in Limerick, Ireland safely two days ago. We arrived at the London airport bright and early not knowing a sole trying to find our way through. Once the driver dropped us off at the hotel we wandered around a bit. Everyone arrived at different times so it was hard to coordinate. We all went to a place called the Streaky Gin for dinner and drinks. The night ended super early due to jet lag.

The next day we did a bus tour of London. Not one of those double deckers with the top open though. The bus dropped us off at certain locations while our tour guide told us the history. We went everywhere from Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament and Hyde Park.

Visiting the London royals
Visiting the London royals
AKA the sight of the new Night at the Museum movie.
AKA the sight of the new Night at the Museum movie.

We then had free time where we rode the London Eye. I finally got to use the suction cup on my GoPro. I placed it on the glass and part of the video is on the link below. The view was unbelievable and hard to even show on a camera.

We then went to some pubs and bars that night since we only had one night in London until we flew to Shannon. Something we learned quickly was how expensive London can be. Incase you go just know how much money you will need to spend just on food and transportation.

Finally we landed in Shannon! We live in an off campus housing called Plassey Village. I think it looks like a Keebler Village (you can determine that from the photo below).

Plassey Village
Plassey Village

It feels like I time traveled back to the olden days. We have to turn on the immersion heater 30 minutes prior to a shower in order to get hot water and then turn it off immediately after. Same goes for the heaters. You manually have to turn a knob to turn it on and off. Just to show you the frustration this creates you can enjoy the link below that Limerick sent us about it.

The campus is amazing as well. As anyone would think, the entire campus is green and covered in shrubs with vines overgrowing the buildings. The crazy part is that there are two bars on campus. At any point of the day you can go to the pub and grab some beer. We went a couple times and the atmosphere is awesome, not to mention walking distance to everything. (Don’t worry classes don’t start till Monday)

Also hear are some fun new Irish words:

“Craic”  – Not the drug! It means fun or good time. For example, in a sentence…Where is the craic tonight? (I know it sounds a bit suggestive)

“Cat” – Not just your furry friend! It actually means bad or something that you don’t like. (Might explain why I hate cats so much)

Hopefully I can post more soon!

Watch out Nigel Thornberry

Hey everyone,

Thanks for following my blog while I am abroad. I just got a GoPro and the straps, so basically I will be that person as I walk around Europe. The good news is that you guys can see what I am seeing without having to walk with me and be embarrassed by the GoPro strapped to my head. I leave on the 17th for London and after three days I will be in Limerick, Ireland. Keep checking after then for updates and awesome pictures and videos. Marianne get the camera!

GoPro head strap

My Bonnie lies over the ocean…and other parts of geography you can travel over!

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