Week 3

September 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized

I believe I have developed an admirably (if I do say so myself) balanced routine over the last few weeks. And, I think it goes without saying that I am still having an incredible time. While my schedule, at the moment, is overflowing (working on Bucknell research, applying for graduate school programs for next fall, 4 classes, 2 different research projects for those classes, planning my thesis, soccer tryouts, rehab on my knee and hamstring, and finding occasional half hour slots for meals), I have also managed to somehow fit in some exploration. 

Case in point. Last Saturday, I woke up around 8am, hopped on the bike (remember the one that I originally paid 50 euros for, followed by another 50 euros in repairs…Yup, it still works, and I use it 4-5 times a day) and rode into Limerick. I had recently learned about a weekly flea/farmers market in the middle of the city from one of my American classmates. I spent nearly 5 hours walking around the city, checking out venders and falling into a typical habit of striking up conversations with complete strangers. 

I talked to Gary the bartender, Brendan the coat store owner, Trish the lady in the park, Phil the baker, and a really cool accordion player, whose name escapes me. Actually, I probably didn’t get any of those names right, but it was worth a shot. Regardless, they were all fascinating people, with brilliant insight on anything from Limerick’s history, to the meaning of life itself (I now consider myself enlightened). 

Other awesome highlights throughout the last few days: my club team Aisling won a first round Cup game 4-1 (I’m still struggling through a frustrating string of injuries, and will therefore avoid the topic of my own soccer for the time being); Manchester United continues to enjoy a strong start to the season (and I continue to enjoy watching it happen); yesterday was Arthurs Day – a celebration of Arthur Guinness…apparently this translates into everyone in Ireland drinking a pint of Guinness, leading me to question how it’s different from any other day in this wonderful country – but I’m not complaining. Last night, after classes finished up, a few of us from the Work and Organizational Psych program went to the student pub to enjoy live music and commemorate this fantastic holiday. 

Things for which I’ve begun to gain an appreciation: the aftermath of an Irish rain shower, Alpen cereal, ham and cheese sandwiches, quiet and productive hours in the Computer Science lab, riding my bike everywhere, meeting/interacting with new people, the few days I’ve been healthy and able to play soccer, grocery shopping (this alternates between enjoyable and annoying), making my own coffee, and learning/researching about a completely new field of psychology. 

…In other news, I had my appointment at the Immigration office in the city today. Turns out I’m allowed to stay here. 

This coming Sunday, I’m helping one of the soccer coaches with a kid’s clinic as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the University of Limerick. It’ll be my first taste of coaching over here, and I’m incredibly excited. 

Last night in the student pub, some of my Irish classmates were telling me about some of the nuances of life in Limerick…in particular, they were discussing areas in the city to avoid (historically, Limerick has the reputation of being nicknamed “the stab city”). Their message: don’t stray too far across the river near the city limits. While I intend to take heed of this advice, I can’t help but feeling like Simba in Lion King (excuse the childhood reference…I’m not apologizing for loving the Lion King), when his father tells him to steer clear of “the elephant graveyard”. You can’t blame me for being curious. But, no mom, I’m not going to cross the river. 

All in all, despite injuries and a full schedule, time is starting to fly by, which makes me further realize how wonderful this experience has been, and further attempt to get everything out of it I can. 

On another note, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Weather.com” shouldn’t even offer the option to type in an Irish location. It can say 60 degrees and sunny all day, with a 0% chance of rain, and by 3PM, the sky has opened up, and your decision to wear a t-shirt, in the hopes of enjoying supposedly gorgeous weather, makes you wish you still had your mother there to remind you to bring your rain jacket to school. In all honesty, though, the rain keeps you on your toes and adds a wonderful bit of adventure to the days. 

I think I fit as much into this post as I possibly could. For those of you who made it all the way to the end, I apologize for the length. 

All my love to those back home…

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