Arriving

It's one hour behind over here, so this is a completely reasonable post.

The flight with Ryanair went very smoothly, lovely landing, and I have pictures from the air immigration went great and I got my luggage easily so that was a bonus.

When I arrived, it was easy to find Emma and her dad. Then we took the car home, and they drive on the LEFT side of the road, not on the RIGHT (right side? Get it?)

After that we went out to get some food; we ended up chatting a ton! Then when we got home we ate and I tried on the uniform.. (pictures to follow). All in all it was a very successful and fun first day!


Also, this is what they told me here: Fáilte go dtí Éire

Update #1

I'm back from school. It was an interesting first day, everything's quite fast-paced; I had my first English lesson.

We're learning about Sylvia Plath, the American poetess. I had Math(s!) today as well, which was hard to understand at first, but we'll see how it goes; I'm in the higher level class for the fifth years.


I also got to enjoy Irish for the first time, it's all gibberish for me right now. I'll take a picture of the book sometime. I also don't have any pictures of the school, as we aren't allowed to use our phones; I'm sure I can get permission though, so don't worry!


I got a tour of the school first thing. It's smaller, but complicated right now, so I have my escorts (slaves) showing me around right now, isn't that right, Emma?

The periods are 40 minutes over here, contrasting our 50 minutes.

We huddled in a classroom for lunch, which is allowed over here, it's quite normal to eat there. When I got home we had dinner, which had potato waffles. They. Are. To. Die. for!


On Saturday Emma, Paddy, (my host father) Ann (my host mother) and I went to the pavilions in Swords (Irish: Sord) where we did some shopping and got some needed, and other (unneeded) things like: shampoo, another scarf, Irish food and a onesie. Yes, all very important *strokes chin sagely*.


After that I got to meet all of Emma's (slightly insane) friends, which I enjoyed very much.

On Sunday it was sort-of-homework-day? I did some German and Emma did her homework in the morning. Around 13:30 (?!) in the afternoon we had dinner, which consisted of some quintessential Irish food: Potatoes, (I knew you'd guess that one), ham, some parsnips and cabbage.

It was very good.

After that we went back to the pavilions in Swords to go to Emma's eye appointment, turns out she needs glasses and is blind as a bat, nah just kidding; I helped pick out the frames. Let me just say, they are great. xD

When we got home at 6 p.m. we had tea, which included: pudding (not the sugary kind from back home) but it's a kind of sausage with rashers and toast. FYI: tea is a meal, not the drink. 


After that I called my parents and talked to them, it was nice hearing from them again and seeing their faces, gotta love Skype

That evening, after the call with my parents, we took Yoshi (the kitten) for his first walk outside.


I also was introduced to the Bodhrán which is an Irish frame drum. It's pretty cool, (pictures to follow) I am, of course wearing my best clothes in this impromptu lesson

After which we relaxed, watching some tv, (with me doing my nails in the school colours). By then I was exhausted and crashed for the next day.

 

Update #2

Hello my avid readers

"What have you been up to?" Is the popular question. Well, let me enlighten you

My second day was quite like my first day and so on, the workload is a lot different over here, as you can personally choose a smaller amount of subjects and go into far greater detail.

That means more work for me! (yay!)

I also have to do some work from Belgium as well. The students over here are working on their 'Leaving Certificate'. At the end of their sixth year they get a state exam, organised by the government. The exams change every year and they have one for each subject.


Contrarily in Belgium it is all organised by school, at the end of your sixth year your teachers (that have taught you your entire year) create their own exams.

Thursday the Irish teachers had a strike on the 'Junior Certificate'. So no school for me, I did my 4 page English essay on Sylvia Plath then, first time writing an essay, let's hope it was acceptable


Emma and I also realised we had quite a lot of Nutella in the house and decided to make Nutella cookies.. Yum, they turned out surprisingly well. I also burnt my finger getting food out of the oven (am such a klutz) which wasn't very pleasant, but it's healing quite well. (Despite all my picking at it.. ^^)

After that Emma's (and now my) friends came over (stole all the cookies) and we did teenage-y stuff We also washed the cat (yay for pictures :O)

Friday, we had school, where I had my first Economics class, interesting, much different from what I get at home, I have homework for that actually.. (scurries off to go finish that)


Saturday I went to a museum with Paddy and Emma. It's actually a (not so old) old barracks (Collins Barracks), where Paddy went to when he was in the army! He had lots of fun and interesting stories to impart upon us. I learned some Irish history, which I don't know enough about..

Today was homework day. We also went to Tesco's, a grocery store to stock up on lunch supplies and other boring stuff I shan't bother you with. I also called my parents. The weather's better over here than in Belgium by the way Hee hee!

All in all, quite a productive first week. I hope everything is good in the land of chocolate and bakeries.. Mmm.. Bakeries (Do not under-appreciate them, please!)

 

Update #3

I know I have been neglecting you guys and I have a lot to catch up on, so I’ll just leap right into it shall I?


This is going to be a very long one, so brace yourselves.

Last weekend my parents came over to see Dublin! It was great; we went all over the place using this wonderful transport method called the hop-on hop-off bus. We first went to visit Trinity College, it’s a-mazing! It has a gorgeous campus with old buildings.


Then we decided to stop by the exhibition of the Book of Kells, which is a gospel book dating back to ca. 800 AD! It was fascinating learning about how monks made books back then and how much time it would take to just create the binding. But that wasn’t even the best part, at least not for me. It was the library at the end, dubbed quite aptly: “the long room”. It houses 200 000 books in oak bookshelves; these are on 2 floors. It’s exquisite.


The rest of our first day in Dublin was exploring it, we had beautiful sunshine, nearing the end of our day we stopped by the Jameson distillery, it was very interesting to see how they made the whiskey and how their technique differed from others around the world.

On Sunday we went to get Aran sweaters, which are made on Aran island, they’re so warm and snugly, I love mine!


We also decided we had to go see the Guinness Storehouse, we did important things here. It was a self-guided tour showing us the process, the part of the storehouse we were in was awesome, the building was pretty much 1 big Guinness glass. I also learned how to pour one, it’s really cool how you have to do it in 2 stages! At the end of our tour we ended up at the top of the “glass” where we got to see a panoramic view of Dublin (whilst enjoying our poured drink. Shh!). Did you know they even have their own crisps?! (yes I’m saying crisps, not chips)


They were so good!


Everyone was so friendly the whole time we were there.

After that we ended the day by eating dinner with my host family and my parents, it was brilliant! And then my parents left and there was school the next day.. Oh well, it couldn’t last.


This week is Dear Week, so after break we have 1 class where we “drop everything and read” so we don’t have a lesson, but we get to read a book; I am very much for implementing this in Belgium. Everyone gets 1 class a day to really get absorbed into reading a book, and it will kick start reading in general, it’s brilliant!


I got my English essay back last week, my first essay ever and it went splendidly. Now we’re onto “The Great Gatsby” it’s great! (Pun intended)

Tomorrow I’m going to an Engineering company called ARUP to go see how things are over there. I’m really looking forward to it!

Wednesday some German exchange students came over to St Joseph’s, so I got to practice it by speaking it all day. I also learned about the Irish sport called Hurling which looks unbelievably dangerous!

Hahaha!


On Thursday I got a fever, luckily it was a 48 hour bug. I caught up on homework in the weekend, so that’s why I haven’t posted for a while. I hope everything is well over there! I’m going home for midterm to see my family since Emma will be going to Rome. 

French Alps! Here I come!

Update #4

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I sure did.

 

I can’t believe I only have 18 days left! Time sure flies when you’re having fun! 

My school week was quite uneventful bar me going to the primary school and teaching German to fifth-graders.

 

I also had a 1-½ page essay due for History on Friday.

Yesterday we visited Newgrange, a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers.

 

It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids as well as predating the Mycenaean culture of ancient Greece. On the Winter solstice (the 21st of December) the sun’s rays shine right through the curved passageway, lighting up the chamber within for exactly 17 minutes. Apparently it’s a sight to behold. You have to win tickets to be able to see it as the chamber only holds 24 people.

 

The reason the light only reaches into the chamber on that day for such a short period of time is because the sun aligns with the hill perfectly and the stones in the entrance curve the light just so. It’s ethereal. I can’t believe how intelligent these people had to have been to know this without any sort of technology; the roof hasn’t leaked in over 5000 years! They brought large 1.5-ton stones up to 50 kilometers upstream using logs to roll them. There’s also no evidence of slavery. These people were pagans that may have worshipped the sun god; there was also a lot of astronomy involved.

 

Now, I’ll stop boring you with History, I’m simply fascinated by it.

After we went to Newgrange yesterday, we had lunch at a chipper (it’s like a cute diner, see pics). We stopped by Emma’s grandparents. I got another impromptu lesson on the Bodhrán from John, Paddy’s dad. He also demonstrated the accordion and the fiddle! It was great fun, I got a real taste of Irish music and culture.

 

Now, I’ll get back to my homework, you go do whatever it is you do.

Beannacht!

 

 

Update #5

It's unreal that this is my second-to-last post here. I can't believe I only have 8 days left. I will be posting a long Dutch post soon on all that I have done here.


There were Spanish exchange students here for the Transition years last week, they do this every year. I was lucky enough to be invited to join them on their experiences in Ireland on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday we went to Dublin to Croke Park, where all of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) games are played, it’s the 3rd largest stadium in Europe, holding up to 82.300 people!


Games like Gaelic Football and Hurling are played there, and concerts are played. (I'll just tell you right off the bat -or hurl, ohoho- that hurling is very, very scary and dangerous, even if everyone seems to be unfazed by it over here, this is coming from a girl that played field hockey for 11 years.)


Then we headed over to the Government Buildings to see where the Taoiseach works. (his role is the Prime Minister, this is just the Irish word for chief) We got to peek around the building (though no pictures were allowed) and listened in what was going on in the courts, teehee.


Afterwards it started raining, as one would expect in Ireland; subsequently we headed to Trinity library, but that got cancelled since they changed monetary policies in different months. *sigh*


I'm just glad I got to see it when I did with my parents. That library.. Fond memories. We ended up going shopping at the end of the day and had a ball, ate crêpes and enjoyed the weather..


Then on Thursday we went to Howth, which is a fishing village, it was awesome; we had gorgeous weather (not joking this time) and walked up the harbour. There is a picture included of this.


Then we had Fish n’ Chips and headed home. That didn’t end my day though; I went for a long walk/climb up the cliffs off of the beach and went to Martello Tower. The view was absolutely worth it. I don't have a picture of the tower on the cliff, but will try and take one before I leave.


That evening the school took us (the transition years, Spanish exchange students and yours truly) Irish dancing, which was a wonderful experience I’m glad I took. There's a very short clip of that down below.


On Saturday I went to Dublin with Emma and some friends to enjoy the weather and go relax a bit.

I just finished my 4-page essay on “The Great Gatsby”.

That was my admittedly full week, full of adventure and fun!

Hugs,


Sophie