Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fluffy's been Globetrotting!!

I woke up this morning feeling homesick for my cat, because for some reason I was expecting her to be sleeping on my bed. It was sad. But I decided to do something productive about my sadness, and since Photoshop and I have reconciled, the real Fluffy the Globetrotter pictures are back! Hope you enjoy!

Just chilling in front of Dublin Castle

Bet you didn't know Fluffy was at the Cliffs of Moher

Bet you didn't know she was there WITH ME!

Sitting gracefully on the Mini Cliffs

Fluffy at the Vatican

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 29, 2013

So this was my day

I feel like I owe all of you an apology. I haven't had time to sit down and write these long posts about my trips, so I've been avoiding writing anything! If I keep not writing about anything it'll all pile up and then my head will just explode. And that isn't good. So I figured I would write about my day, since a lot of you probably have no idea what my days are really like here. For all you know I wake up at 4am, fight crime for a few hours, go to class and then go work in my own poker ring. Ridiculous, I know, because everyone knows I NEVER get up at 4am. Not even to fight crime.

So what do i do? I've thought about doing a whole series of what each day of the week is like, because they are all different but that takes WAY too much effort. So I'm going to start small. With just today. I mean today isn't a typical day for me because I usually don't have class and my internship, but I had to change my schedule around a bit because no one was at the office on Wednesday so I had the day off. Which was nice. I got the chance to walk around Paris and had gyros for lunch in the Latin Quarter. I even went to the post office! But that was Wednesday, I'm trying to write about today. God, I have terrible focus! Sorry!

Today: aka Friday March 29

Today I woke up at 8am to go to my 9:30 European Economy C.M. at Paris VII - luckily my only French university class. French classes are split in two, a T.D. or travail dirigé which is like a seminar, and a C.M. or cours m...something which is a big lecture-hall style class. I had my TD yesterday, which was just about as much fun as getting an root canal without novocain because my professor (just a T.A.) is terrible, he mumbles, he doesn't follow any sort of structure which makes it impossible to know what he is talking about at any given moment, he asks questions without anyone realizing he's asking them (or if so, what he is actually asking), and it's basically just a waste of my time. And after 5 hours of Sweet Briar classes beforehand, I NEVER EVER want to be there. EVER. Just in case you didn't get the idea after the whole "root canal" comment. But what was I talking about again... I was rambling again... oh yeah, waking up! (Wow I really didn't make it that far without getting distracted, did I? This is gonna be a fun blog!)

I struggle to get out of bed because I was out last night at an American-themed evening at this Irish pub/bar, then came home around 12:30 and decided it made sense to watch tv and eat Goldfish (almost an entire bag btw) for another 45 min. Regardless of whether I go out or not, it's usually the same story by the time "bedtime" roles around. Past Mallory (after getting up that morning) say's "I'm going to go to bed early tonight!" Present Mallory decides "HA! No I'm not! I'm not tired!" and Future Mallory (aka waking up Mallory) usually uses a lot of profanity towards Present Mallory (who is now and past Mallory version) and says "Well, I'm definitely going to bed early tonight!" Lather, rinse, repeat. (aka the cycle repeats itself). And then I go to write about it and get super confused about the past/present/future Mallory idea and everyone just ends up needing a glass of wine! Also I just went from talking about myself to including all of you, I think. Now I'm more confused! Make it two glasses of wine...

Long story short, (but not really, it's more like short story drawn out to be very, very long) I got up. brushed my teeth, put in my contacts, washed my face (except reverse order... don't know why I don't just change it but I'm to lazy to go back so you can all just reverse that order in your head). I then realize I'm running out of clean clothes and make a mental note to do laundry soon. Somehow that mental note eventually gets morphed into "Buy more Goldfish" instead of "Do Laundry" but close enough. For breakfast I have orange juice, une brioche (which is just slightly sweet, breadish roll-like things) with raspberry jam, although today I had it with apple butter because my mom sent me some and also we are out of raspberry jam. I also had cereal and yogurt. And more juice. Because juice is a wise person's coffee. I run on sugar instead of caffeine.

I then realize I have to leave, well, now so I run back to my room to put on my boots and coat and scarf and pack up my bag and grab my iPod and say goodbye to my host mom, and head out the door. It's only a 3 min walk to Madeleine (where the metro is) and I hop on line 14 which takes me all the way to Paris 7. Paris 7 isn't that bad but there is this one bridge that I swear could never exist in the USA because it's a lawsuit waiting to happen! It's pretty small and doesn't really go over much of anything, but it leads right into the Paris 7 "campus" (aka like 3 buildings). It's sloped down and the steps are sloped and there is always gravel that you slip on and in the winter there is ALWAYS ice and I have fallen twice even though I am always super careful. People fall all the time. It's funny until it happens to you, especially when you fall on the very last step! I was sooo close! But anyway, I think go up to the 3rd floor and into one of the lecture hall rooms designed for about 200 people. We only have about 80-100 in our class and only about 30 come to the lecture so it's always easy to find a seat. There are even other Americans, here with a different program, that I sit with. So it's not too bad



I hate technology.

So summary:

  • Class from 9:30-11:30
  • Learned that I get to write a paper on any topic from the semester instead of taking the final exam. Also turn it in end of April instead of the exam mid-May so I'm done by May. Yay! 
  • But that makes me not want to go to class anymore. Well the CM is ok because it's genuinely interesting but the TD not so much
  • I hate my TD
  • I go home, get a sandwich on the way and eat in my room
  • Walk to my internship
  • Weather was nice. Cold but sunny. Need a coat but not hat or gloves, which is good b/c I still haven't found my green hat. You know, the one in all the pictures
  • It was my last day at my internship. Which is weird. 8 weeks went really fast.
  • I will miss it, it was interesting. I also really don't want to start writing my paper on it.
  • For my last day, I just finished up things and started translating a document they just got today, for the last 2 hours (got 4 pages done btw so not too bad).
  • They gave me a chocolate Easter egg as a going-away present, which was super nice
When I got home I realized it was rattling and it turns out there are chocolate pieces inside too!! I was so excited, I took a picture!

You can kinda see the chocolate pieces inside.
Also I had eaten some already by this point.
But before getting home and realizing this, I stopped at Monoprix to do some responsible grocery shopping like an adult buy more Goldfish. I got four bags since they were buy one, get one 1/2 off so I basically got a whole bag for free. I came home and wasn't going to eat any but then I had some, which turned into the whole bag. I have a problem. They're just so much better here because they are almost like those Flavor-Blasted Goldfish back home, in that they have extra flavoring/sodium. It makes them addicting. You can't stop. You just can't.

But besides the whole Goldfish thing, I also got a Monoprix card (like a BonusCard, ya know those loyalty cards where you get discounts and points and stuff) so I'm officially a real Parisian now. Most people don't realize it, but it's secretly the only qualification to being accepted into the Parisian culture. Ha! I wish!

But I came home, ate a bag of Goldfish. Ate dinner (my host parents had horse, I had beef. Totally normal, horse is a thing here - just not for me.) and then tried to figure out what to do tonight. I didn't try to make plans earlier because I figured I would be to tired, but I've actually had a ton of energy, which was a bummer because everyone was off with friends/family who are in town. So instead I uploaded pictures to Facebook and wrote this. The end.

That was my day. It was magical. 

Oh yeah, I'm guessing some of you might be confused about why I had stuff today since it is Good Friday back home but in France you get the Monday after Easter off instead of the Friday before. It's less religiously symbolic I guess, but much nicer because who wants to worry about homework and having to do stuff on Easter. Granted I'm not doing much for Easter this year, nor will I have anything on Mondays ever anymore now that my internship is over, but you get the idea!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Fighting Scot in Scotland: Adventures in Edinburgh

Hi there! It's been quite a bit, hasn't it? I know my last post doesn't actually qualify as a travel post (apparently...) so I should probably keep you informed on my life. Plus the sooner I get these big trips covered, the sooner I can go back to rambling on about my daily happenings in Paris. Like... um... how all of my socks have holes in them! Oh wait... I already did that one. Shoot. Also, the title is supposed to be clever because Wooster is the "Fighting Scots" and I was in Scotland so it's funny. But you would  have to know our mascot which most of you probably didn't. But now you do!

But anyway, let us travel back to the days of Ireland. It was the beginning of March. The air was fresh. The land was green. The days were full of Guinness and Paddywagons. You remember it, right? So I guess I can continue my story (btw, I realize that was the worst transition ever. I'm in France, I don't remember how to speak English anymore):

Ireland Day 5: We're not in Ireland anymore.... EDINBURGH DAY 1

 Technically we were still in Dublin when we woke up at 3am to catch the shuttle to the airport. It was super fun. I woke up and basically went straight to the bathroom to throw up. Which prompted everyone to ask "OMG, how much did you drink last night???", to which I sadly responded "nothing". This is just my life. Turns out my stomach was even more upset than I was about getting dragged out of bed at 3am. But with the exception of the muscle I think I pulled in my throat while throwing up (which I'm sure you wanted to know. In fact I guarantee you didn't want to know anything in this paragraph. I probably could have just said "we got up at 3am" but where's the fun/excitement in that? Because everyone knows talking about vomit is the best way to have fun! No wonder people don't want to be around me... haha just kidding... What was I talking about again? Oh yeah! Vomit!) I didn't get sick again and felt pretty much better by the time we got to Edinburgh.

The flight was RyanAir. Which means while I tried to sleep at 6am they turned on the fluorescent lights to reflect off the highlighter yellow seat backs while they tried to sell us lottery scratch cards. In other words, in was luxurious travel at its finest. When we got to Edinburgh we stopped at an ATM to get pounds and headed over to the hostel by bus. It was in the old part of the city, pretty much right next to (or pretty darn close to) Edinburgh Castle.

The view from right outside our hostel

I really wanted to go inside the castle but it was like £15 which seemed like a lot considering we wouldn't spend toooo much time there. I wanted to see other stuff and also take a nap later, and I was only there for one day so we decided to do a 4 hour walking tour of the Old Town to get a look at a bit of everything. We had some time to kill so we went to get breakfast at this cute little diner where I tried haggis for the first time. It was offal. Ha. Get it! Also I stole that joke from Kate. I should probably say that now before she holds it against me forever. But breakfast was wonderful and although she got the traditional Scottish breakfast, I just got French toast, because, as the saying goes, "when in Scotland!" That made no sense so if you were confused... A +!

My bacon and french toast.
The pictures of me get progressively weirder
throughout the trip. I blame sleep deprivation.
I have no shame. Apparently.
The point is to look at my food. Not my face. I know it's hard!
I guess I should mention for all of my geographically challenged friends/readers/pets who can secretly read/etc that Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburah or Edinburo) is in Scotland which is part of the UK. But yeah, breakfast! Yummy! It was one of the only meals where I left 10 pounds lighter!! Ha ha get it! (this one I actually came up with although Shannon was kind of a part of it too. I have no original ideas). Also it wasn't a full £10 because I'm not insane. But ten just seemed like a nice number to round up to.

After breakfast we went on our walking tour which was just lovely and highly educational. I would write all about it here but I already spent so much time talking about vomit and bad jokes that I'm getting tired of rambling on, so i will just highlight my favorite parts rather than do an entire play-by-play. I'm sorry. Or you're welcome. I don't really know how you feel...

So in the square of the Old Town there is this small tower (that has a name that I forget) where they would make town announcements, including when there would be a new king. Although it used to take 3 days for the news to reach Ireland, so now they still wait 3 days before doing all of the ceremonial celebrations. Also, the tower is right by where the market would be. So whenever someone was caught trying to steal something, it was the perfect place to take them and for punishment they would have their ear nailed to the door for 24 hours. During which time people would throw all kinds of things at them. If they didn't want to wait that long and go through all of that, they could rip their ear free but then the ragged ear marked them as a thief AND a coward so they would have trouble finding a job.

See the door is made of wood! Perfect for nails!
Right near the tower, also along the main street in Old Town known as the Royal Mile, is St. Giles' Cathedral. Which I find awesome because apparently there is a carving of an angel playing the bagpipes in there. I never had time to go in and see, but my friends did the next day (after I had to leave) and took pictures and I'm jealous. But since I didn't get to see it, you don't get to see pictures! But here is the cathedral:

St. Giles Cathedral
Later, after seeing some other really interesting stuff (like the oldest building in Old Town that's still around) and hearing where the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came from (I'm not telling you now so you will be forced to talk to me and ask questions when I come home, and everyone will be all "what's the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story?? And I'll be all "like hell I remember" and I'll laugh and laugh... just kidding. I won't swear in person. Or forget the story. Probably.), we ended up in Greyfriar's cemetery. Which sounds creepy but it wasn't (too creepy). J.K. Rowling used to walk around in it while she was writing the first Harry Potter book and people think it's where she got some of the names. Like McGonagall (after William McGonagall... quite possibly the worst poet ever! Look up his stuff it's hilarious how bad it is!) and Thomas Riddle. But more important, it's the site of a wall supposedly made from witches! When they were building it, apparently they needed carbon to make the mortar and trees were kind of scarce at the time, and they had an excess of dead witches (because that's what happens when you can blame anything on witchcraft) so they burnt the witches down to create carbon for the wall. Supposedly (aka that's totally what happened!)

The Witch Wall

Also in the cemetery is a headstone for a dog named Bobby (aka Greyfriar's Bobby). Apparently back in the day, when grave robbing was a serious problem (there was a medical university there and people could make a decent chunk of change selling bodies), guards were told to get dogs to take with them. Well this one guard, who was well-known and well-liked as being an genuinely friendly person, got a Skye terrier. For several years they worked happily together until the guard got old and died. Bobby, being a very loyal breed, stayed by his master's grave for the rest of his life. People would bring him food and kids came to play with him but he never would leave. He became a local celebrity and was even given the keys to the city. Funny thing is that this honor technically came with the ability to vote, and since this was before the suffrage movement, a dog got the right to vote before women did. Unfortunately he wasn't actually allowed to be buried on consecrated ground and was probably buried right outside the cemetery, as close to his master as possible.

Bobby's Statue

See, some history is heart-warming! I'm almost done, I just have one more good story from the tour to tell. So this woman named Maggie Dickson lived in Edinburgh way back when, and one day her husband left. For years she waited for him, and couldn't really have much of a life without her husband in those days, but he never returned. She eventually met another man at the market and they became involved. Well one day she discovered she was pregnant so once she could no longer hide it, she disappeared to the country until she had the baby. Afterwards, she had no choice but to get rid of her child but while she was about to put it in the river, she was caught. They weren't concerned that she was trying to kill her infant as much as they were that she hid her pregnancy, which was a crime punishable by death. So Maggie was tried, hanged, and declared dead. Turns out, the man driving the coffins from the hangings out to be buried got quite a surprise when he heard knocking in the back of his wagon, coming from her coffin. He freaked out and drove back to the town where they discovered she had not actually died and was very much alive. Well they went to re-hang her when someone in the crowd yelled out that they couldn't hang her again because she had already served her punishment for that crime. Technically she had been hanged until dead before, since she was declared dead, and it's not her fault they did it wrong. So she was free to go. Also she she had technically been declared dead, her marriage was no longer valid (as it said 'til death do us part) and she was free to marry the man she had fallen in love with. Happy ending. Mostly. I guess.

Anyway, these are the awesome stories that our tour guide told us and I wish I had the energy/time to write all of them but it's just not possible; this would be 20 pages long! He was a great tour guide though and I learned a lot about Scotland and Edinburgh and history and such things, especially considering I knew nothing before.

After the tour we stopped by this vintage store briefly and then got pie because pie is awesome. And then I went back and took a nap. And by took a nap I mean I passed out and didn't even hear my alarm, and I have the most annoying alarm (as the 8 other people in the room with me now know). After a nap we went to dinner at this place called Mum's, which was just so much fun. We got Mac and Cheese and burgers and milkshakes and "Mum" who owns it was our waitress and she is hilarious and awesome and gave us candy necklaces. I wish I were doing a better job explaining it but it was just a laid-back but fun and delicious meal and a great last dinner of my trip.
I was struggling with the tomato-shaped ketchup bottle

Happy with our Mum's food! I realize I look a little deranged,
but traveling cheap-student-budget style for 5 days will do
that to you! No one looks perfect all the time. If they do,
they are probably an alien. Beware!
After dinner we went to a bar called Frankenstein's which was probably one of the coolest night-life places I've been too. Especially for a theme bar. It had quotes from the book on a few walls and TVs with rolling footage from the movies or similar kinds of movies. I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it! We had been there briefly (but on a different floor... it was pretty big) during the tour for a break in the middle, which is why we decided to come back at night. Obviously it wasn't super hopping on a Tuesday night but based on my hoodie attire, you can tell I probably wasn't it the mood to hit the clubs, it was just nice to hang out in a place with a cool atmosphere. Unfortunately the only picture I could really find (okay there were others, but I just really love this picture) was this one:
Wish I could say were we at least slightly intoxicated.
We weren't. This is our normal. Our sleep-deprieved normal.
But still. Super cool. (Also, sorry Kate!)
Also just our luck that the only other two people there
(for the most part), are standing right behind us.
Anyway, like the super cool person I am I was in bed by midnight! I got up at 5 to catch the bus back to the airport and head back to Paris. Got back around noon and went straight to my internship. it was a long day, but totally worth it to have a day in Edinburgh!

So this concludes my big 5 day trip at the beginning of March. I can honestly say it was one of my favorite trips of all time and I would love to go back to Ireland and Scotland! I have so many great stories and memories and I'm extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Thanks for taking the time to read about it and feel free to check out all of my pictures or leave a comment! I like comments, they make me happy and I think you just need a Google account to do it.

Soon to come: Tales from Rome last weekend and Provence this past weekend. (I'm really looking forward to a weekend in Paris for once!!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ode to My Socks

All of my socks have holes in them,

It really is quite bad,

Sometimes it makes me so upset,

I cry cuz I'm so sad

This is what I did instead of anything productive. Like my Edinburgh blog. Or Rome. But oh well. I'm heading off to the south of France tomorrow with Sweet Briar. I get to go back to Arles and Avignon, and also will get to visit Uzès, which I've never been to before. But then after this trip I'll be in Paris for a while. Well, two weeks that is. And I'll have time to catch up on travel blogs. But for now, you just get to look at my sexy gross feet. But at least you can enjoy my failed attempts in front of the camera:

The making of "Ode to My Socks":


I give up on the formatting. I keep fixing that one picture and it just goes back to that corner. Same goes for the funky spacing. So I give up. If it wants to be there then who am I to tell it that it can't be? The OCD part of me is only going a little crazy...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ireland Day 4

Well I'm out of things I have to do and I'm out of excuses to not write this. Plus my mind has decided I'm forgetting something life changing so I can't relax and I figured, hey might as well do something productive! So I decided to write this, since of all the things I should be doing, this is the least painful. I know how special that must make you feel.

So yes... Let's return to the days of Ireland. Let's see... Day 4 started with me waking up actually feeling rested for once, which was marvelous. Several others were going to see the Book of Kells (which was awesome and totally something people should go see, it's one of the Gospels written in a Celtic style and stuff and I'm doing a terrible job at describing it's awesomeness, also this is a terrible run-on sentence, let's see how long I can keep going, just kidding, let's not.) and I was kind of ready for a break from the historical/tour/museum/educational stuff so I went off on an adventure by myself to send some postcards and mail some Jameson Orange Marmalade home to my dad (Note: Dear parents/concerned family, I was never actually by myself in a foreign city. I was also with a series of highly trained body guards with acute navigational skills. That's believable, right?). Anyway, I got the marmalade at the Jameson distillery place and it seemed like the kind of thing he would enjoy. Unfortunately it was over 3oz so I couldn't take it on a plane and had to mail it instead. Turns out you aren't supposed to mail things over 3 oz either. Which, I mean, REALLY? What other options do I have? Why would I mail something I could put in my backpack? But I shipped it anyway because I'm a badass I didn't have a choice and it made it home safely (in less than 2 weeks too!). I did, however, spend about 20 minutes in an Irish post office figuring out haw to wrap it up and mail it and I met the only not overly friendly person in Ireland, who was working there. Although if I had to deal with people like me every day, I won't be happy either! Moral of the story is: it all worked out and somehow I ended up with an extra Irish postcard stamp. That's not at all related. But it came into my head so, yeah. Sorry. The focusing part of my brain ran out about 4 hours into my 6 1/2 hours of class today.

After my magical post office adventures I ran (I was late) down to Trinity College (where the Book of Kells is) to meet people to walk over to the Guinness Storehouse! It was a long walk but worth it because I got to learn a lot about the history of Guinness. Also I got to take a lot of photos to make Ian jealous. Granted one of these was taken the first night, but here is my collection of Guinness photos, dedicated to my brother who is lame and doesn't have a Facebook so this is the only way he will see them. Anyway:

Be jealous Ian!!
Guinness Storehouse!
Just being Arthur Guinness
Retro Guinness ads
Any ad with a pun is automatically 10x better!
Enjoying a pint

I would try to make these next to each other in order to be more aesthetically pleasing, and also so this isn't so long, but formatting and I are not getting along today and I give up. But anyway, the Guinness Storehouse is pretty cool. I'm too tired to ramble on about it too much but the museum part is really well done and interesting and at the end you have the chance to learn how to pour the perfect pint and you get a free glass of Guinness. I was just the photographer though because I'm lame and also I was sick of Guinness by then. Not a huge fan. Mostly just a fan for the sake of my brother so he will be jealous of the cool stuff I get to do! The other cool thing about the storehouse is that they have a bar on the top floor with windows all around so you can see the city. Pretty cool. Also old Guinness ads are hilarious!

Also I think they were redoing a wall or something because we stumbled upon an empty Wall of Fame:

Where are the people on the Wall of Fame?

Oh right, we're on the Wall of Fame! ...with a mop...

What do you call people on a Wall of Fame? Wall of Famers? Wall of Famees? Let me know if there is some specific term, I feel like it will come in handy in the future. Or now, so I can make my captions more snappy. But yeah, after Guinness we went to lunch at this pub we happened to find nearby. It was delicious because I got a great sandwich and a huge pile of chips (French fries, for you Ireland/UK-ly challenged folk) for €5! That doesn't happen in Paris. You never get a quality meal that leaves you actually full in Paris for that little. So I was a huge fan. It was called Baker's Pub and Restaurant or something like that. Baker's something or other... if you were interested in going. For lunch or something. Ya know, just in case you feel like heading to Dublin over your lunch break. I don't know what I'm rambling about anymore...

And then we went to jail. Kilmainham Gaol that is (Gaol is pronounced "jail"). It was used as a prison up through the 1916 uprisings, and is known for being where some of the men involved were executed.  The stories are actually really interesting. For example, one of the men in prison, Joseph Plunkett, got permission to marry his fiancée, Grace Gifford, hours before being executed. The vows were exchanged in the prison chapel area, with guards as the witnesses and they were given several minutes alone (except for the bodyguards) before he was taken away to be killed. James Connelly's execution, the last to happen, created the most controversy. He was severely injured during the uprising after being shot through the calf and spent his last days in the hospital slowly dying from blood poisoning. But he was still transported to the jail and, since they were afraid that if they carried him to the other end of the "courtyard" (it was a pretty small area), that he would die, so rather than shoot him in the same place as the others, he was killed right by the gate. But he was so weak he could stay sitting up in the chair long enough, so that actually had to tie him to it so they could execute him. So they were basically killing a dying man. Ironically enough, the tales of these executions, meant to scare the public, actually stirred up  remaining anger and helped fuel the future rebellion.

This was carved above the door around the time of the Easter uprising.
Somehow, of all of my pictures from the jail, this seemed the most fitting.

After the jail we took a cab back to the center city (the jail was kind of far away and we didn't have time to walk) and went to dinner at O'Neills. Afterwards we were planning to go the the bar/club recommended by one of the girls working at Guinness that we were talking to for a while, because she said we could find hurling players there. If you have never heard of hurling, you need to look it up because it is like football/rugby/soccer but with basically no rules and none of that lame protective-padding stuff. It's kind of the most interesting sport to watch because it's pure manliness. So yeah, hurling players, we were told to go there but turns out it didn't open until like 11 and we are lame/had to get up at 3am for our flight so that didn't happen. Instead we stopped at this pub frequently by literary people and stuff. I forget all of the interesting stuff about it but that was our last stop before the:


So my friend Shannon had been dying to get a Shamrock shake from McDonald's and they are only sold in Ireland and the US. So earlier that day we went to McD's to get one. The first person got one, no problem, but when Shannon went to go order, the machine wasn't working anymore. It was tragic. But we decided to stop by the other McDonald's on our way back to the hostel later. So we stop in and ask if the Shamrock machine was working and (after looking at us like we were crazy) they said yes, so she orders one. They then go to make it only to have the machine suddenly not work anymore. Which was tragic for Shannon and absolutely hilarious for the rest of us (Sorry Shannon...). Needless to say she was rather distraught and was ready to give up until we saw yet another McDonalds right before we were about to turn down the street to the hostel! Same deal, we asked if the machine was working, they looked at us like we were crazy, but this time the machine worked! So happy ending! It only took 3 McDonalds to get a shamrock shake. It was probably also funnier at the time. Sorry. I got everyone excited by mentioning shamrock shakes and then it wasn't even that great of a story! Anyway, after this nothing much else happened except for packing and going to sleep fairly early (more like 12... fail.) to get up at 3:15ish to catch the shuttle to the airport for our flight to Edinburgh.

So yes! This is Ireland Day 4! Edinburgh is soon to come (it was only one day) but I can't write anymore today or my brain will fall out. Probably not, but I'd hate to risk it.

If you want to see more pictures of Ireland, check out my Ireland/Scotland album on the right ->

Monday, March 18, 2013

My immune system doesn't love me...

So I was going to spend yesterday and tonight catching up on my blogs but yesterday I ended up sleeping almost all day (thanks to getting up at 3:45am to catch my flight home) and I woke up today with some type of Roman disease/flu like thing. Wasn't Italy one of the first European countries to get the plague? Well it might be back, and Paris can thank me if it catches that. I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore... this is why you shouldn't blog with a fever.

What was I going to say? Oh yeah! So I was going to fill all of you in yesterday after my mom was giving me sass for leaving my last Ireland blog with such intense cliffhangers (I think I said something about shamrock shakes, so I understand the suspense) so I was going to finally write about it and everything but then my immune system was all "Oh, hey you, here are some germs I was too lazy to get rid of! Have fun getting sick and never getting any work done ever! Sucker!" True story. That's exactly how it happened. And we return to the whole not blogging while feverish idea. But yeah, this is another post about my putting off writing a real post. So... sorry. At this rate you will probably hear about my magical travels in Rome sometime next year.

But here's a picture of Fluffy scratching her ear:

Sorry to all of you hoping to hear awesome adventure stories, only to get a lame and overly disappointing picture of my cat. I feel your pain. I've had that kind of day today too.

UPDATE: So it's probably not the plague. Probably more like a cold. But I'm still using it as an excuse to do nothing because I can my body needs the rest. And by rest I mean staying up late watching TV on Youtube. That's just as good as getting sleep, right?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oh, just jetting off to Rome tomorrow. No big deal.

Shortest blog post ever about to happen:

Since I have homework and packing to do (that I can't procrastinate on any longer) I won't have time to write about the rest of my Ireland trip before I go to Rome (which is pretty much the definition of first world problems) but I will do it when I get back, and I promise I won't forget things! 

Also just wanted to let everyone know I will be in Rome from tomorrow evening until Sunday morning so if you don't hear from me that is why. I'll have my french cell phone with me in case of emergencies if you for some reason need to get in contact with me!

That's all. This was more of an announcement than a real post. 

Reasons why I wish I didn't have to get out of bed this morning:

Warning: This is pretty much just a rant of all of the reasons why I am currently in a bad mood so feel free to skip over it and look at videos of red pandas or something.

So even though yesterday was fairly awesome because it snowed and I got to go out to dinner with friends and one of my friends' mom, I have decided that today is a Thursday in disguise. Reasons:

1) I had to go to my internship this morning, which meant walking through sleet/ice everywhere, because since lawsuits aren't a thing here, the French feel no need to shovel or put salt down. It was fun.

2) At my internship I'm trying to translate things which requires the use of an online French-English dictionary ( I love you!), which would be fine, except that I keep losing the wifi signal EVERY 5 MINUTES!! And it's getting old... Also it's going to make posting this super fun!

3) It's freezing in here and I wish I had Percy (my space heater back in my room here). Yes he has a name! We cuddle when I'm cold! Don't judge!

4) The French government is a jerk and stole the package my parents sent me until I pay more taxes on it. Which is whatever EXCEPT they sent the letter over spring break so by the time I got it (yesterday) I only had 2 days to do everything before they send it back to the US. So I have sent an email with everything they asked for but knowing the French, this won't be an easy process. 

5) I'm leaving for Rome tomorrow (which is AWESOME!! Super excited!!!), which means I really need to get that package by tomorrow or else I will run out of my meds while I am gone. Which would not be fun.

6) I saw my bank statement.

7) I have a bunch of stuff to do tonight to apply for internships, homework to do, and I really want to work on my blogs. Also I need to clean my room. And pack. 

Ok, I'm done ranting. I'll try to finish my Ireland/Edinburgh blogs tonight. My next posts will be happier I promise. Until then, here is a picture of a red panda winking:


Monday, March 11, 2013

And then we stole the Paddywagon: Ireland Day 3

Not to ruin the intrigue created by the title, but I should point out that we never actually stole the Paddywagon. Although, it was considered until one of us (okay, it was me) pointed out that no serious crime starts with "We'll just steal the Paddywagon." It would probably hurt my street cred substantially. Now that I have thoroughly confused all of you, as you are probably wondering what a Paddywagon is and why we would want to steal it, I guess I should start from the beginning...

Day 3

Day 3 started out with all the joy and grace of a bird flying into a window. By that I mean I had to wake up at 6am after getting 4 hrs of sleep and get ready in the dark. We rushed to the Paddywagon office (which is also another hostel) only to learn that the bus didn't actually leave at 7:00, but instead at 7:40. So we a 40 min to eat, and they were kind enough to let us steal food from their free breakfast. We then boarded the Paddywagon. Ok, I will finally explain what a Paddywagon is. It's not even that great, it's just an obnoxious green bus with an awesome name. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

I wasn't smart enough to think to take a picture of our actual
Paddywagon so this picture is from the internet.
It's basically identical, except ours was (sadly) just a little
bit less obnoxious. But yeah, this is a Paddywagon.
So yeah, that's the bus that took us all the way from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. We made some stops along the way though. First at a convenient store to use the bathrooms and buy food/coffee. I wouldn't even both mentioning it except that it's where I somehow got the nickname "Salt". Funny (not really, more like you-had-to-be-there) story: I was walking out and I though I heard my friend say "Face it Salt" so I was like "Face what? Also why are you calling me salt?" And the name stuck. A thrilling tale, I know. But anywho, from there we drove for a while and I was either passed out asleep or listening to our tour guide/bus driver's entertaining anecdotes for most of the trip. After some time (I have no idea how much, because of the whole sleeping thing) we stopped at a castle along some sort of body of water. My descriptive skills are impressive I know. I forget the name of the castle but if you walk around it clockwise and make a wish it will come true. If you walk around counter-clockwise you get your virginity back. Supposedly. Also if you ask the gate a question, you will get an answer by the end of the day.

I'm calling shenanigans on the whole wish thing. I wished
for a red panda and do I have one yet? No.

I couldn't think of a good question to ask
 the gate, so instead I just tried to break in.
Ignore the fact that I'm not even holding the lock
After the castle we were herded back onto the Paddywagon (which had been parked illegally btw, but really who's gonna ticket a Paddywagon? In case you can't tell, I really like the word Paddywagon! Spell check still refuses to accept it though) we drove for a bit more through these beautiful back-country roads where you could see all of the stone walls and the green and it was rather lovely! Our next stop was Corcomroe Abbey, which is an early 13th century Cistercian monastery. It is rumored that the people who built/designed it were killed afterwards to they could never build another one like it. Which sounds kind of violent for a monastery, but it makes a good story so as far as I'm concerned, that's what happened. It's a cool place to see but kind of eery because it's basically a giant cemetery now, with some very recent graves, so I felt kind of sleazy taking pictures.

Corcomroe Abbey

I'm still really fascinated by all of the stone walls in Ireland, mostly because there isn't actually anything holding them together (except more stones) and people were often forced to build them either as punishment or to get rid of all o the rocks in the earth in order to grow things. Which means in some places you see series of stone walls built that have no purpose, and never had a purpose. Crazy.

One of the many stone walls of Ireland

Anyway, we got back on the Paddywagon, I passed out again and we arrived at a new place. All I caught of the name was something about Mini-cliffs. So that is what I am calling them. We got to play and climb on them (with only a slight risk of death) and I got cool pictures like these:

On the other side of the road there was a big rocky hill, which is where we got this awesome picture:

So much street cred, I know.
From the Mini-cliffs we stopped for lunch in the town of Doolin, which took forever to get through the line, but I had some amazing seafood chowder so it was okay. We then headed to the Cliffs of Moher. Which are amazing, to say the least. It's also where that scene from the Princess Bride (The Cliffs of Insanity!!!) was filmed. So be impressed!

I'm not even going to bother trying to post a lot of pictures
of them because it's just impossible to capture their beauty!
We also walked to O'Brien's Tower, built on the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher. The guy who built it did it to impress the woman he was courting. Not sure if it worked or not, it's not a very impressive tower, especially compared to what's around it. I tried to take the tourist-y holding up a tower picture but it was a fail in every way possible. I also got heckled by a group of old Irish men when I was posing for it, and of course thought the best way to respond was to try to spazz-ily flex my muscles. I mostly just looked like a lunatic, so nothing new.

SO realistic looking, I know
But the view of O'Brien's Tower on top of the cliffs is pretty amazing because it's a good way to judge just how big they are (702 ft at their highest point, according to Wikipedia)

It's kind of hard to not feel so very small

Returning to the idea of stealing the Paddywagon (because I almost forgot and I bet you did too), you are probably (now) wondering how that factors in to breathtaking Irish scenery. Well, get ready for another disappointing, over-hyped up story! We all loved the Cliffs of Moher and the Irish countryside so much that we weren't ready to go back to Dublin, even as much as we love Dublin. So we decided when we were told to come back on the bus, we would just take it over (Freddy - our bus driver - probably wouldn't care tooo much) and stay in Galway. But then there was the whole "no serious crime starts with 'then we stole the Paddywagon'" so we decided against it and bid farewell to the Cliffs of Moher.

On the way home we stopped at a castle/pub next to it for a bathroom break. The castle was kind of like the one show in Monty Python and the Holy Grail so I was disappointed you couldn't actually go closer so I could get a better picture, but oh well. The pub was memorable because there were a bunch of rugby players there and we may have again plotted to steal the bus so we could stay longer. But not really because we were all pretty exhausted.

We went back to O'Shea's for dinner and a pint (because it was close by) and ran into Freddy, our tour guide and bus driver there. I spent a lot of time just sitting and listening to music though because they had two guys playing Irish folk music and it was a nice way to unwind after a long day.

And that, was Day 3! I was finally able to move into the same room as everyone else and I fell asleep early and actually got over 8 hrs of sleep for the first time that whole trip! So stay tuned for our last day in Dublin, which involves Guinness, Shamrock Shakes, and a jail!