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Okay, now that you’ve absorbed how incredibly good-looking I am in the above picture… let’s talk Paddy’s Day!!!

Where to start? Well, there were about 15 of us who all traveled down to Dublin together on the morning of St Patrick’s Day. Our cab picked us up at 6:15, bus left at 7:00, and the drinking began at 7:01. Needless to say, it was a very long and fun day.

We stayed in Brown’s Hostel, which was an interesting experience. The common room was through all these winding hallways and staircases, and they overbooked so our entire group was put in the “Apartments” part of the hostel, which was really nice and we had our own bathroom and kitchen and everything. We dropped our bags off and hung out and drank a bit in the common room, then headed to watch the parade around 11:00.

By the time we got to the area where the parade was, it was already packed 10 people deep on each side, so we just hung out on the fringes. From what I saw of the parade, it wasn’t what I expected. I’m also a bit spoiled by the parades we have in the US, though, so it’s hard to compare. The costumes/dancers/floats were all a lot more whimsical and nonsensical than what I’m used to. There were giant insects and people dancing in colorful outfits that made little or no sense. Still, interesting to see what a parade is like in another country. And me and my friends definitely had fun in the streets during the parade anyway!

We all started to get pretty hungry around 2:00 so we made our way to the Temple Bar district to try to find a pub with food. Most places weren’t serving food, so we resorted to food from takeaway shops. By this time, we had lost 2 of the members of our group… One boy had to be taken back to the hostel for a nap/to sober up, and one girl couldn’t be persuaded to go back to the hostel so we propped her in a corner of a pub and forced water upon her. Yeah, this was between 2 and 3 in the afternoon… I’m pretty happy with my drinking abilities and being able to stay coherent all day. Hooray for responsibility!

The rest of the day was just filled with pubs, dancing, meeting up with friends, more pubs, etc. I’m not sure what I expected out of St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, but it was better than I expected. Everyone was in great spirits and just out to have a good time. I think I saw ONE bar fight move out into the street, but that was it. Pretty good considering how many tens of thousands of people were in such a confined space… Temple Bar was a great place to spend the day, too, because it is just full of pubs and cars can’t get into that area so I didn’t have to worry about friends drunkenly walking out into traffic.

Early in the day, the pubs were playing all kinds of popular “American”-type music, so that was fun to get to dance to, but around 10PM the music stopped in the bar we were in and a live Irish band came out and played. It was fun to see a live band playing, even though by that time most people probably would have dance to just about anything. By midnight, myself and another girl were ready for bed so we headed back to the hostel and the rest of our friends got back around 1:30 in the morning. What a day…

I missed out on green beer [not sure if any of the bars even had this], but the next morning I DID track down a McDonald’s and get a Shamrock Shake in Dublin! The whole trip was so much fun… I was exhausted on the bus home the next morning and spent more money than I would have liked [6 euro for a pint?!] but it was worth every penny and ounce of energy.

Here’s the album of all my photos from the day: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2055969&id=1419840075&l=2506dfe61d

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So today, my lecturer politely excused himself from our 5:00 lecture because he didn’t feel well and thought he was going to get sick.

Five minutes later, he came back and explained to us that he just finished his PHd last week after 8 years of hard work, so he spent the weekend celebrating.

Dude was hungover. Still. On Monday evening. And openly told a room full of 100 student. Hilarious.

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So, I DID get to watch the Super Bowl over here! A lot more people were watching it than I expected, and I even heard a few people talking about it today in classes. Since I don’t have a TV or really proper couch or anything, it was really nice to be in someone’s house, sitting on a couch, drinking beers and watching the game. I know that sounds really silly but you take those things for granted.

It was obvious that I was watching the game in Northern Ireland, though. It was broadcast through BBC1 and Sky Sports over here, so I didn’t get to see ANY of the commercials (we YouTubed a couple) and the commentators were terrrrrrible. They were either really terrible no-name college coaches from the states or British guys who didn’t even seem to take the time to Wikipedia American football or the teams in it. Not that I ever pay too close of attention to those guys when I watch it at home, but the difference was THAT noticeable. Oh well, I got to watch the game, I’m happy.

The only downside to the evening was the time difference… The game didn’t start until 11:30 PM here, which means by the time I got home and went to bed it was 5AM. Guess who has class all day on Mondays starting at 10:15? Yep. Time for a quick run, then passing out…

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the story of the airplane

If the way this trip started is any indication of how the next four and a half months are going to pan out… then this is going to be one hell of a semester. The story of my journey ends with me sitting on the tarmac of London Heathrow for 30 minutes while the police and paramedics come onboard for completely unrelated reasons. Read on, friends.

The day started out uneventful and seamless. My flights were all on time and I was sitting in Washington Dulles airport, minding my own business, when a beautiful British accent comes floating through the air. I followed the voice and saw a cute 20-something British boy talking kindly to an older woman. I immediately texted two of my friends (whom I knew would appreciate the comment… you know how you are!) something along the lines of how amazing boys with British accents are annnnd that I was madly in love.

Boarding for my flight begins, and because I’m in the economy class and an aisle seat, I was probably the third to last person to board the jumbo jet. I’m walking all the way through first class and economy, patiently looking for 31H when, lo’ and behold, who is sitting in 31I? The boy with the British accent! And when I say sitting next to me, I mean share-an-armrest-only-two-seats-in-a-row next to me. (As it turns out, he was on his way back from visiting his girlfriend in North Carolina and he’s planning on applying for a visa so he can move to America to be with her. Cuuuuuuute!). I saw the coincidence as both hilarious and a good omen for the upcoming trip.

The memorable incidents associated with the flight continues to rise. Skipping past when the flight attendant spilled a can of diet coke in my lap and on my complimentary travel pillow, I’m trying desperately to sleep (which, by the way, I never do and still haven’t as I’m writing this. I’ve been awake for over 33 hours) when I’m startled awake by a ruckus in the 31C-G region. I look over in time to see a 50-some year old woman tearing the hat (and hair) off of a 20-something Swedish girl in a pink velour tracksuit. ON A PLANE. I’ve never seen flight attendants move so fast… they escorted the yelling, older woman to the back of the plane and things are calm for a bit.

A bit later (who knows how long its been when a flight is as long as this) there is an announcement over the speakers: “If there is a doctor on board this flight, please make yourself known to one of the flight attendants.” Yeah, that DOES happen in real life I guess…

The rest all kind of blurs together, but they end up moving this sickly 74 year old woman to sit in the same row as the Swedish girl who was assaulted so that this doctor passenger can take care of her. I am literally 4 seats away from all the action! We land in Heathrow and are told to stay in our seats so that paramedics can get on the plane to help the old woman. We all oblige and sit patiently and think we’re almost going to get off when 3 police officers board the plane and beeline it for Swedish velour jumpsuit girl. They begin asking her to recount the story of “the assault” and are asking other passengers for their reports of the incident and so on.

Finally, the old woman is safely taken off the plane and to the hospital. Swedish girl doesn’t want to miss her flight to Stockholm so she doesn’t press charges on crazy old lady. The diet coke in my pants is dry, and I say goodbye and good luck to the cute British boy.

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