Saturday, December 10, 2011

Final papers

Well, I am officially down to one week before I head back home!! I am anxious about the next few days due to my final exams, but I think I will get through it!

The only new experience I was met with this week was turning in my final papers. Back home, I am used to simply handing my papers to my teacher. However, that is not how it works here! I had to fill out a form verifying it was my work as well as the class information and then put it into a big brown box! I know that this is how they do things here and it is probably no big deal, but part of me worries mine will somehow get lost! And then my lecturer never saw it to know that I turned it in on time! Ahh! Hopefully that doesn't happen and all goes well. I am sure it will, but it was a thought I had when I saw the big box. Luckily it is also pad locked, so no one can mess with it until it is time for them to be graded anyway.

Yours Truly,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December! Christmas is right around the corner!!

Well, it is finally December! Unfortunately, for another two weeks there is a lot more around the corner than Christmas! And by this I mean I have two papers to finish writing, four exams to study for, and a presentation to create. Going to be a busy week!

Today when I was in the kitchen making some lunch, my Irish roommate Lisa was out making tea and toast. She was also listening to Christmas music. At first, I didn't think anything was strange. But then I realized she was listening to the very same Christmas music I am used to hearing! No wonder it took me some time to notice! It seems odd that halfway around the world people still listen to the same songs. Most shockingly of all was that they are the same songs that talk about TONS and TONS of snow!! I have heard and read that Ireland does not generally see snow, except in the few mountains and high areas that they have here. Apparently, most of Ireland only sees a "white Christmas" every 6 years on average! I have to say I am very surprised. Back home the only places I picture not getting snow are places down south like Florida, Mexico, etc. But Ireland seems like it would be right in line with where I am from, so this was a shocking realization. With a quick google search, I even discovered seeing snow is so rare that a few Irish girls took the time to make a video blog about it the last time it snowed! Perhaps I should appreciate the snow I get, even if it does sometimes get in the way!

14 more days until home, and 22 until Christmas!

Yours truly,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


In my last class of the day today, I found myself looking out the window as the day melted into night. Thinking about walking home in the dark reminded me just how much I am still feeling like a foreigner in an unknown world. While I have lived here in Carlow for almost three months now, I still find myself unsure of many things. I know the layout of the town and how to care for myself, but I have not quite gotten comfortable. For example, I get nervous at the checkout counter, wondering if I will be able to understand the person I am speaking to because sometimes I can't and I feel so rude asking "what?" a bunch of times. I know once I leave this place the hard times will fall away and I will be able to see the bigger picture much clearer. I will pull out the positives much more easily. But I still wish I could do that now. However I know I must wait and let it come to me. I can't be impatient. Maybe that is one thing I have learned during my time here: patience. I thought I was good at being patient before I came here, but now I think I have become even more so. I have had to slow down my normally busy life and adjust to the more relaxed feel of Irish life. I wonder what adjusting back will be like...?

Yours Truly,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey, Mashed potatoes and more!

Well Thursday was Thanksgiving, in the states at least. However due to all of us Americans being here, Sister Mary, Padraigin, and Eric put together a little get together for us. And when I say little, I mean HUGE. Sister Mary must have spent ALL day cooking, because when we got to her house, her counter was absolutely covered in goodies! I don't know how she did it all on her own, but she did a wonderful job. And Eric made green bean casserole for the first time in his life, which turned out amazing! I couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving considering how far away from home I currently am.

Patriotism is something I feel like I sort of take for granted. Back home, it is just one of those things you do. You watch the flag so it doesn't touch the ground and you honor what it stands for and who fought for it. However the idea of patriotism is very different here. I am not 100% sure how they see it, but I can tell it is not as deeply rooted as ours. The most obvious thing I noticed from Thursday, because we had a few Irish girls join us, was the way they handled their flag. They simply took hold of it, sat on the ground and sprawled it across themselves. The most interesting thing was that they held it backwards! As in the colors went orange, white, green when they normally are ordered the opposite. I don't even think anyone noticed until I looked at the pictures again. Just some food for thought when I go back home and see our flag everywhere!

Life has been pretty quiet since Thanksgiving. I have finally gotten a start on some of my upcoming assignments. I have 2 papers to write, a few exams to study for and a presentation to put together. So, it seems I will be busy in these last 21 days. Not that I am complaining. I want the days to fall away so I can spend some much needed time back home. Not that I am not appreciating this opportunity, but I still desperately miss home, friends, family and the like.

Yours Truly,
Alicia Welty

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The number 27

Today I dropped my boyfriend off at the airport. It was time for him to head back home after the mostly awesome month we had while he was here. Now its time to go back to quiet, lonely, nothing to do land here in Carlow. I'm going to try to make the best of it, but I know how I felt the first month I was here. I wanted to enjoy this. I wanted this to be an amazing trip. But, it turned into something completely different with a few really good days mixed in. Hopefully I can manage to make a few more good days in this final stretch.

I almost made a list of 27 random things, but it looked too long so I decided not to. Random fun fact though: Sister Mary gave me some pumpkin a few days ago and I made pumpkin pie. That was kind of fun. It turned out a bit different than when I make it back home, but it wasn't too bad.

Here is the part where I discover I have run out of things to say again.

Yours Truly,

P.S - Thanksgiving is next week. We are supposed to be doing things with Sister Mary and at school, so hopefully that will be fun. Maybe I should put up my Thanksgiving decorations...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 days to go...

Over the weekend, I had a great time. My room mate, boyfriend and I took a trip down to Cork and visited Fota and Cobh while we were there. Honestly, I think it was by far the best weekend I have had since I left the United States. Cork was such a nice town where I felt much more at home than Carlow. While I can appreciate Carlow, I still feel as if it is not the right town for me. I have met some amazing people, but when I am on my own in the town, it is a different experience. Even before landing in Ireland, I was told by the Irish couple I sat next to on the plane that Carlow was a "college town." While this may be the perfect place for some, I am finding it is not what I wanted when I left the states. There was a reason I attended Carlow University, it was a small, friendly, dry campus school with a community where I could find people similar to me. Living in Carraig Abhainn and being in the center of a "college town" makes me feel on edge the way I know I would have felt going to a bigger school where partying is more the thing to do.

Anyway, I got a little off track. My weekend was fantastic. We visited Fota and Cobh on Saturday and there were many moments that I had wished would never end. In Fota, we went to the wildlife park where many animals can freely roam the park. It was the most amazing experience I have had in a long time. Andrea and I fed a group of ducks and saw many animals that I have never seen in person before. At one point, we even saw a few mother bison protecting their young which was definitely a unique experience. When we left Fota, we visited Cobh, which is the very last place the Titanic stopped before its final journey. I was amazed at how small the town was, and with all of the history within it it felt as though every turn offered something to see. At the top of the town, there is a cathedral. When we paused to sit on the stairs and look down at the town and the area around it, I felt completely at ease.

I think I will write more about this later, as well as revise what I have written. I am having some trouble concentrating on what I want to say about my weekend. Although I am not sure when I will. Due to the stress and homesickness I am still experiencing, I am finding it difficult to accomplish many simple things I do on a normal basis. I feel I am slacking on this blog and struggling to keep myself focused when it comes to school. I am hoping I can pick myself up a little in order to finish this trip strong rather than as the disorganized mess I feel I am at the current time.

Hopefully the pumpkin pie I plan to make tomorrow (thank you Sister Mary for the pumpkin! Could not do it without you!) will help me to feel better. I love pumpkin. :]

Yours truly,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The end of the beginning

Well, yesterday was the last Friday excursion. It was definitely a bit bittersweet because while it will be nice to have an extra day off during the week, the excursions have been an awful lot of fun! Especially yesterdays!

First, we went to see the largest dolman left in Europe. Unfortunately due to its size (probably), it has fallen and is not as picturesque as some of the smaller versions. However, it was still very cool. :]

Then, we went to Ireland's Chocolate Garden! Most definitely my favoriteeee part of the trip! Not only did we get to sample free chocolate, we got to MAKE our own molded piece!

After that, we went to Rathwood for lunch. It is basically a mini mall kind of place with a nice restaurant at one end. It had a few interesting things for sale in some of the various shops, but I did not find anything I wanted to buy. Its odd, i have been in Ireland for almost 2 months now and I really haven't found any souvenirs I REALLY want to buy, for myself or for anyone back home.

Finally, we went to visit the Ring of the Rath. These HUGE stone rings are not yet fully excavated, but the two innermost are and we were able to walk through them. No one is quite sure why these rings exist, but they are very interesting nonetheless. Apparently people perform a variety of random, possibly strange activities here as well. In fact, there was a fire pit there and due to Halloween recently, we think there may have been some interesting things going on depending on who was there!

Now that the trips are over, I have more time to explore if I am able to. For example, next weekend my room mate and I are going to visit the towns of Cork and Cobh. Cobh is apparently the last harbor the Titanic was at before it left for America, so I am very interesting in going there and possibly taking a tour of some sort. I'll let you know how it goes!

Also, Andrea and I made a countdown until we will be going home. Maybe it still sounds a bit odd or depressing to some, but it has helped make us to feel a bit better. We are both still homesick and miss a lot of things, so seeing the days go by is helpful in easing our anxiety. We just took some different colored post-its and made a number line from them. We are down to 42 days now, if you were wondering again. :]

Yours Truly,