Let's see if I can't write out a proper blog post while keeping it under novel length, shall we?
My goal is at least a photo every day, which will probably get harder as I'm spending more time in classes and other routine things, but I'm certainly getting a running start. Check out what I've seen so far on my Flickr. (Those photos are from just today and yesterday.)
We got into Limerick on Tuesday morning, and when I say "we," I really mean a crowd - about twenty study abroad kids from the states were on my flight from Heathrow to Shannon. From there we were picked up by a bus and dropped off at Plassey Village, where I got a key for a very cute little 8-person house.
Tuesday I mostly kept to myself, getting settled and exploring the campus, but on Wednesday there were errands to run. First we made a shopping trip to Aldi, which was far more difficult than it sounds. We couldn't figure out how to get a cart, having never encountered the kind that require a coin to make sure you return it, so we could only get what groceries we could awkwardly carry around the store, and we didn't really know what we would need. We knew we would want food in the house, but we'd only just gotten there, so hadn't really given any thought to meal planning. And then, once we finally got to the check out, we held up the lines with both unfamiliar currency and being unaware of bag-packing etiquette.
Once the groceries were put away, I went into town with a few girls I'd met the day before. Limerick is an interesting city - I'm not sure yet how I would describe it. A lot of the parts between campus and the city centre are a bit run-down looking and spread out, but there's a much denser city center, with an odd and pretty combination of medieval buildings, a few Georgian blocks, and lots of more modern things (the city's been experiencing a lot of economic growth in only the past few decades.) It's mostly very beautiful, but it feels like quite a jumble, so I'm worried I'll get lost! The bus set us down right in the middle of city centre, across the street from a whole block of department stores. We found lunch in a bakery, avoided shoe shops and book shops in favor of finding practical things at a bunch of Euro Marts (like dollar stores) all right on the same street. It was hard to think of pleasure shopping when we were carrying around pillows and sheets - we'll have to go back for proper browsing soon!When we all got back, we cooked dinner together at someone's house, which was really lovely - the four of us agreed at once that it'll have to be a frequent occurrence. But I hardly had time to finish eating before I had to run across the campus for fencing practice! Most of the Irish students aren't back on campus yet, since school doesn't begin until Monday, but the ones who were there recognized me from Facebook and were happy to have me - I make the fourth girl in the society, making a full epee team. Of course, I usually fence foil, so I had my first ever formal epee lesson that night with the coach, and I could well be at my first epee tournament within a week! I hope I'm a quick study at it!
Afterwards, we went to the campus pub for a while. We were there again this evening after a bus tour of the city and a day of orientation meetings, this time for a free dinner event for study abroad students, and I expect we'll be there again tomorrow night, for another study abroad event, this one tragically lacking in free food. I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time in Stables, so I'll have to grab a photo of it soon. Tonight I'm going to stretch - I'm sore from fencing! - and then start picking my classes! Also on the agenda is planning a trip to Wales for the near future, so if anyone knows the easiest way to get from south Ireland to Cardiff, please let me know!