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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Turn and Face the Strain!

I have been in Ireland just about five weeks now and it feels as if I have stories that could last a life time! I always knew that studying in Ireland would be one of the greatest experiences of my life, and so far I’d say it is living up to my high expectations. I have considered myself very lucky to have encountered certain people on my journey, those including my housemates, their friends, and even my classmates. Through some of these people I have met many other students and they have exposed me to things that I could never find at home. And one of my new friends has even brought me to her home in Limerick where I have been treated with the utmost hospitality. I had assumed that the Irish were kind and welcoming people and the ones I have met so far a proving this assumption right! Not only have I met great people but I have already seen some magnificent locations in Ireland as well. In the first six weeks of my adventure abroad I have seen parts of Galway, the Aran Islands, Dublin, Limerick, Kerry, Clare, and obviously Cork as well. Each of these places held their own secrets, displayed their different histories, and presented their individual beauties. There were things that I saw and did that I will cherish forever in my heart and one day I hope to share some of the things I have seen with the people I love.

Although I have had this opportunity to see these beautiful things and meet a number of fantastic people not everything has been a dream. Upon first arriving there were many logistics that I had to work out and it was much harder than I expected. I had to register for classes, go to immigration, open a bank account, but one of my main concerns was filling my cabinet with food. One Monday after class I decided to make my way to the local Tesco, which is approximately a fifteen minute walk down the road. I had assumed walking there and back would be no problem, except at home I am used to having access to a car to get not only me, but my groceries, to and from my accommodation. I made the mistake on my first trip thinking that I would be fine walking home with my groceries. Unfortunately I was proved very very wrong. I’d say it took me more than twice as long to get back home and I was punished even more when I woke up the next day to find that my arms were quite sore. I have learned now that I can walk to the store and wait for the bus to take me back to my humble abode!

Oh and the weather… don’t even get me started. One thing I will never forget is to never ever underestimate the weather in Ireland. There are many days where I wake up and the sun is shining, I walk to class with a light jacket but when class is over and I have to return home it is dark, dreary, and raining. Other days I wake up and it is foggy and cold but hours later it has warmed up and it is bright and clear. It’s no wonder why the Irish speak of the weather so much!

There are many things here that have taken a considerable amount of time to get used to. This could include something as simple as understanding the accent to figuring out transportation to a new location. There are many things you are forced to figure out quickly on your own and at first it is difficult. However, I believe that I am gaining a sense of independence and for me it is an exhilarating feeling to not have to rely on others for help.

In all honesty everyday is unlike the next, and there always seems to be something or someone new to explore. Some of my days are more hectic than others; Tuesdays I have five classes, whereas on Thursdays I do not have any. But for the most part, I can keep myself occupied during my days with activities that include, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, studying in the library, and I am even guilty of spending a considerable amount of time on facebook catching up on my friends lives back home. Either way, at the end of the day I am exhausted, but I can smile knowing I have spent another day in Ireland!

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