Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving in Europe

I never knew what it takes to have Thanksgiving in Europe.

Thanksgiving Number 1: Ireland
I found the biggest turkey I could. It was 4 kg, so about 9 pounds. There may be a few reasons you can't find a big turkey in Ireland. First, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. Second, do we really need 20 pound turkeys? Third, the ovens here are so small that a 9 pound turkey almost didn't fit in the oven! I had to put the turkey in a casserole dish, because the pan I bought for it wouldn't fit in the oven. What a sight!

Marshmallows aren't the same here. They come in a small package and include very fruity flavored pink ones too. Plus, it's $2 for a tiny bag of marshmallows! I was determined to have candied yams though. Katharine was in charge of finding sweet potatoes at the grocery store. They were all out! I was amazed! Later, I jumped on my bike and rode about a mile to a street vendor who I had seen with sweet potatoes earlier in the day. She was out too! There was another vendor a bit up the road. Luckily she had 6 sweet potatoes and I bought them all. She was also having sweet potatoes for dinner. I guess half of Dublin was having sweet potatoes that night!

Everything turned out really well. We had turkey, stuffing, carrots, green beans, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and apple tart (no pumpkin pie here). Most of my classmates turned up plus some of my climbing friends and all my roommates. There were 13 people total. I think that's the biggest Thanksgiving ever for me! We had a great time.

Thanksgiving 2: Toulouse, France

Katharine and I couldn't get a taxi Friday morning. It was terrible! We ended up missing our flight because it took so long to get a taxi. We even tried calling for a taxi, but they were so busy they wouldn't send for us. We got re-routed to Paris. That ended up being fun, because our roommate Taryna, was flying to Paris as well. We found her at her gate and we all had a Coke together. Lots of laughs over that! From Paris, we flew to Montpillier. That's somewhere on the east coast of France. John picked us up and it took 2 more hours to get to Toulouse. Talk about a scenic route!

John special ordered a much larger turkey. It was 11 kilos, so about 24 pounds! Very American. It was fun going to the market to get all our fruit and veg for the dinner. We had hoped for a crowd, but there were just four of us; John, Katharine, a guy named Bill, and me. John and Bill deep fried the turkey. You can imagine the reaction of the neighbors. They've never seen a 24 pound turkey, let alone a couple of guys deep fat frying on in the courtyard. The neighbors were all peeking out their curtains. Katharine and I took care of the rest of the meal. Green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, candied yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes...the works!

Let me tell you about the fried onions that go on top of the green bean casserole. My mom lovingly put a package together for me and took it to John's parent's house. John took them form there and this is the path they took to get to Toulouse for Thanksgiving...

(Try to listen to Johny Cash: I've been everywhere while you read this)

West Lafayette to Chicago by car, then by plane to Paris (CDG) to United Arab Emmirates to somewhere in Africa to South America to Toulouse to Paris (ORY) to Paris (CDG) by train to Dublin back to Paris (CDG) to Montpillier and by car back to Toulouse! If I get more details on that from John, I'll try to let you know. Seriously though...those crunchy onions went all the way around the world just to make my Thanksgiving perfect! Thanks mom!

Keep in touch!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A relaxed weekend in Dublin...

This seems like the first weekend I've had in Dublin in ages! It's also my last weekend in Dublin for quite some time. The module on nutrition has been interesting, but there is a lot of work involved. I've had less time outside of class to get projects done and there have been more projects than usual. Almost all my time is spent in that crazy looking purple building. That's DIT Kevid Street...home away from home. Sorry about the library services thing...I should give credit to the library webpage where I found the picture. Anyway, this coming week...
Monday: group presentation on Folic Acid supplementation
Tuesday: group presentation on Vitamin D and immunology
Wednesday: present essay on bananas
Thursday: turn in essay and take exam

Whew! I get tired thinking about this coming week! Originally, my paper was going to cover fatty acid oxidation disorders. That got to be too complicated too fast! So now I'm writing a paper on bananas. There was an article recently suggesting that the reason monkeys are so energetic, yet relaxed is because they eat bananas. My paper is an investigation of current research on nutrients found in bananas that can support or repute that claim. Plus, I've thrown in a piece on the dietitian's role in nutrition communication. Did you know that the number one source of food and nutrition information is not the internet? It's the television. Being from the technology generation, I figured everyone was looking on the internet for information. I was wrong.

In my precious little free time, I'm still managing to have a good time. Last night some friends and I went to a birthday party for a guy named Brian. We all had a great time. I even had Irish people dancing like red necks to Cotton Eyed Joe. That was a good laugh. My roommate and I went to a concert with some girls on Wednesday. The Blizzards are an Irish boy band. They play punkish music and little girls go absolutely crazy over them. Even the girls I was with who are 22-23 years old were screaming and going ga-ga over these guys. Basically I felt really old and out of place.

All of the girls from class, plus the Irish guy (Collin) eat lunch together most days. Mostly we eat in the canteen at school, but sometimes we go out. I ended up going out for lunch most days this week. Monday, I bought my lunch. Tuesday, we had Indian food. Wednesday, we had Korean food. Thursday I went to a vegetarian resteraunt with a girl, Marsha from climbing club. She's going home to Holland in 2 weeks. I'll miss her a lot. Friday, I had sushi with Paul. He used to be a campus minister at IU and knows all my CMC minister friends. He's a cool guy. Anyway, at first I thought it was kind of funny how much ethnic food I've been eating. Then I realized that it's all ethnic food! McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Dominos, Quiznos, Subway, Pizza Hut and Johnny Rockets are the only places to get American Food. But since those places aren't in America, it's considered Ethnic to whoever I'm eating with. Think about it...funny concept, don't you think. The food that's home to them is foreign to me and the food that's home to me is foreign to them.

Well, it's time for bed. I'll be home in 31 nights! I lookforward to lots of things at home. More on that another time.

Keep in touch!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

So many stories...

This last course in ecology kept me really busy. Part of the reason I was busy with school was because I made a few too many social engagements! Work hard, play hard! The ecology course was really interesting. I wrote a paper on the ecological aspects of poultry farming. My research examined the benefits of organic farming in Ireland. The European Commission has published a directive that suggests organic farming as a way to preserve the heritage (environment) of Europe. There will likely be a big increase in monetary incentive for farmers who are willing to grow organic. To be honest, I'm still not sure where I stand on the whole matter! Maybe I'm just stubborn.

Three weeks ago, I was on the west coast of Ireland for a three day trip with the mountaineering club. About 50 of us were out there together. Mostly foreign exchange students from all over Europe. There were a fair number of Irish. I was the only person from the USA. I got in one good day of climbing. The crag we were climbing was across the road from a short field of rocky area. At the end of the rocky area was the sea! It was cool to be climbing and hear the waves crashing on the rocks! I went to the Cliffs of Moher while I was there too. Absolutely amazing! There are these enormous cliffs that drop strait into the sea. You can walk dangerously close to the edge if you dare. I stayed a body lengths away...just like I learned as a kid at camp! Thanks to David Fiala at Lutheran Valley Ranch! Although I really enjoyed the climbing, my favorite part of the trip was a caving adventure. Our climbing coach is certified to take groups climbing, caving and kayaking. He's a neat guy. Anyway, he took a bunch of us to Pol na gColm Cave. No laughs about the's correct! This is the cave that Tolkien was in when he was inspired to develop the character, Gullom. The cave was great! It was tall, so I didn't have to crawl through long, small spaces. I got to splash through a muddy river, climb up a water fall and see some of the most beautiful rock structures. Wearing a helmet and a head lamp made me feel like a real explorer!

Last weekend I was in Paris. John McKinnis and I had a whirl-wind tour of the city. My proudest moments where when I actually arrived at my intended destinations via the metro. I still don't speak enough French to be useful, so navigating the metro was a little nerve wracking. The thing about Paris is that nearly everything you'd want to see takes your breath away. That, along with all the walking I did made me so tired. I stayed in a hostel near the Cathedral of Notre Dame. From there, I walked for a good 30-45 minutes to the Eiffel Tower. Being a little cheap and a lot crazy, we took 57 flights of stairs(674 stairs, I think) to the second level and the elevator to the top. The 674 stairs are way worse on the way down! My calves were killing me for days! From the Eiffel Tower, I walked to the Arch de Triumph and then to the Louvre. It was dark by then and the Louvre was closed, so we hiked home. Sunday, I went to mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Words cannot describe the wonder of Notre Dame. It's beyond belief amazing. After church, we hiked all the way back to the Louvre. It's by far the largest, most easy to get lost in museum I've ever been in. I only saw parts of two wings and I was there for several hours. The most important thing was seeing the Mona Lisa. You might tend to think that if you've seen the poster, the painting wouldn't be that magnificent. You're wrong if you think that! The painting practically glows and her smile made me want to smile! That was basically the end of my Paris trip.

I will try to be better about logging my adventures. 'Til then...keep in touch!

Monday, October 16, 2006

I have a gift...

Today we had our first class in the new module. This time I'm studying ecological aspects of food. Loosely translated, I'm learning about how farming does bad stuff to the environment. We've all ready been assigned a 4000 word report on one aspect of food production and the environment. I seem to have a gift for picking horrible topics. After a quick internet search, it seemed like a paper that reviewed organic chicken farming would be brilliant. The first thing my professor said was, "ooh...that aught to be a tough topic." Great! I just finished a doozy of a paper that looked at the unintentional introduction of allergens in genetically modified foods. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I had picked another junk topic. My professor keeps saying she thinks I'm on to something and doesn't want me to change my topic. Lovely...just lovely. So now I'm stuck. Let me tell you about my current relationship with poultry farming - I eat chicken, eggs, turkey, and once I ate duck liver. (I won't be doing that again!) Yup...that's my relationship to poultry farms. I don't have the slightest clue about farming techniques, regulations, or environmental risk. So here I am, once again writing about something with absolutely no previous knowledge base.

On a happier note...I got to leave Dublin on Saturday. Six of my classmates and I went on a bus tour to the Wicklow Mountains and Glendaloch. It was beautiful. I learned a lot about Irish history from the bus driver. She was great. I'm hoping to read more about Irish history in my free time...between 2 and 4 in the morning. Ha! Maybe when I'm retired! There are pictures of the trip if you click my pictures link.

If anyone has insight in the poultry business, please let me know!

Keep in touch!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What a joke!

I just checked the weather back in the states. There's a chance of flurries in Chicago and Logansport and it's cold in Lafayette. This may be my only chance to brag about the weather in Ireland. Ha! Today, I walked to school wearing a skirt and a long-sleeve jacket! It's 60 degrees and sunny. So, to all my friends back home...bundly up and stay warm! You wouldn't want to catch a cold!

Keep in touch!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I've been busy writing my research paper and haven't gotten a chance to tell about my trip to France. I flew into Carcassone last Friday and my friend, John, picked me up there. I got to go to the castle in Carcassone. We ate lunch at a cafe inside the castle, but had rather American There are pictures of the castle if you click on my pictures link. The castle was amazing. I can't believe the detail in the architecture. Really...I think our architecture is losing something. We've gone from artistic tile floors, beautiful woodwork and brickwork to vinyl siding and plaster. Something's wrong with that! Friday night, I experienced a traditional French dinner. A good three hours of eating. I had froi gras. It's some kind of duck liver patee. When in France, eat what the French eat, right? Well, since I'm sick now, I think I'll skip the weird stuff next time.

Saturday was the best. We went to the street market and bought everything we needed for an awesome breakfast. After that we drove out in the country and visited a few vineyards. At the first vineyard, an older guy came out to our care. John speaks 100% more French than I do (I don't speak any!), so he asked the guy if we could try the wine. The wife came out and treated us to a wonderful wine tasting experience. She, speaking precious little English and John speaking precious little French made it all the more interesting!

Ben Harper happened to be in Toulouse on Saturday night, so of course we went to the concert. It was awesome. Quite possibly the best concert of my life. I was surprised that there were so many fans in France. There were 7 or 8,000 people there I'd guess. It was a huge sports arena type of place. It was general admission, so I was pretty close to the front. Nearly all my favorite songs were played, so I was ecstatic! John's never really listened to the band before, but he enjoyed the concert too.

My big paper is due on Friday. I have a test on Friday too. I guess life is back to normal. Not that being a grad student in Ireland is normal!

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Today I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from school. All I needed was some meat to have for dinner tonight. Simple enough. I found a pack of two porkchops that came with a packet of applesause. Then I decided that a grilled cheese would be nice too. I was standing in front of the cheese, trying to decide what would be best...not an easy chore...all the cheeses have funny names here. As I stood there, I was kind of flipping the package of meat back and forth in my hand. Emmental cheese is my favorite right now and even after pondering all the others, I still chose emmental. When I got to the checkout counter, I realized there was a big slit in the pork chop package. Upon examination, I noticed that only one pork chop remained in the package. Uh....I smiled and told the cachier that I didn't really want an opened package of pork chops. Of course I paid for the cheese and the other little things that weren't needed, but ended up in the basket. Now I just wonder who is going to find the other pork chop and where it is...splat on the floor of the supermarket. Pork chops turn out to be cheaper at the butcher across the street anyway.

Keep in touch!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Climbing Rocks...

All work and no play is no fun at all! I've joined the DIT climbing club. It's proved to be a great way to meet new people and have a good bout of physical exhertion too. The club meets each Monday and Tuesday from 7-9pm. The gym is next to the Broohaha library, so it's pretty convenient. Usually...well, I've only been 3 times now, but I go to the library to study and then head to the gym. Today I bought a pair of climbing shoes. As any girl knows, having the right shoes makes all the difference in the world! Today I did a lot of climbing and belaying and a little bit of bouldering. I was able to make it to the top of 5 or 6 climbs. My first climb tonight I only made it half way up. Belaying is not as exciting, but it's important. Basically, there are two ends of every rope. One end is secured to the climber's harness. The other end is secured to the belay harness. The belay person is in charge of keeping the rope tight so if/when the climber falls off the wall, they don't fall to the ground. The belay person is also responsible for safely lowering the climber to the ground. Bouldering is a way to work on technique. No harness required. Ideally, your feet are never more than about 10 feet off the ground and there are lots of mats underneath. There's a game we play called "add on." Person one goes and grips two or three different grips. Person two copies the hand positions of person one, but adds on another hand position. It's great fun. At the end of October, we're going on a trip to the west of Ireland for a three day weekend. I'm excited about my first outdoor climb! I hope to be a little stonger and have better technique by then. We have a coach...Ronan...and he's helped me a lot already. It's cool because sometimes he'll come up to me and give me pointers about a previous climb. Usually I didn't even know he was watching! If I stick with this, I can be in the intervarsity competition in the spring. All the Dublin univeristy climbing teams compete. I don't know what the prize is...most likely bragging rights! The pictues is of our climbing wall.

Keep in touch!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I've survived a whole week of classes! This program is really rigerous. Today was kind of fun though. There were 2 more hours of genetic engineering lectures. I'm starting to understand a little bit about it. Mom always told me to marry an engineer not become one! At any rate, my first research paper will be on the unintentional introduction of allergens in genetically modified foods. It's gonna be a doozy!

Right now I'm on the north side of Dublin...far away from the building that houses the food technology department. A lot of the journals I need are in the library here. Each building is named not for the department, but for the street it's located on. This on is on Catha Brugha street. It's pronounced Caha Brua, but Katharine and I prefer to call it Broohaha.

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What have I gotten myself into?

Monday was the first day of class. For the first three weeks, I’ll be studying food safety. At Purdue, I had one class where we learned about food safety and it went something like this…
These are the most common foodborn illnesses
These are the symptoms of the most common foodborne illnesses
You can prevent these illnesses by washing your hands, cooking meat to these temperatures, using a different cutting board for your vegetables, and drinking safe water.
Congratulations you are certified in food safety!

Monday we had 5 hours of lecture regarding naturally occurring chemical toxins found in foods. Talk about baptism by fire! I had never really heard of most of what Dr. Keating spoke about…theobromine, pyrrolizadine alkaloids, boraginacae, myristicin, etc...

Tuesday was much better. I learned about physical contaminants in foods and had a 1 hour on genetic modification technology. Wait ‘till you hear this…next Thursday, I have 9 hours of class in one day. That’s insane! Generally I have 6 hours of class a day for 3 weeks. At the end of the third week, I have to turn in a 10 page essay and take an exam.

The grading system here is backwards. In the US, a 4.0 represents the highest grades. Here, a 1.0 represents the highest scores. Here’s the thing though, anything above a 60 out of 100 points is a good score. Dr. McEvoy says he’s never given a grade higher than 78. When I get a paper back and it has a score somewhere between 60 and 75 (we hope!) I’m going to have to take a deep breath. I’m not sure I’ve ever scored lower than 85 on a research paper in college. In fact, I think the lowest score I ever received was on the book report that AnnLaura wrote for me in 8thgrade. Thanks for the B-, sis! I should have just written it myself! Do you think Mrs. Richeson knows that I didn’t write that? If she knew it was AnnLaura’s work, it would have gotten an A+!

Keep in touch!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ET phone home...

Well, I won't be phoning home in the near future...I lost my cell phone tonight. I don't know if I dropped it, put it down in a store or if someone swiped it out of my pocket. Don't really know what to do about it right now.

These are strange things that happened to me today.

I went to church at this place called the CORE. I got there pretty early and got to talk to the welcome guy for a while. He was...well...very welcoming. He's also a professor at Trinity who studies the economic impact on world health. Later he introduced me to some girl from Texas. She's doing a masters in sculpture at the National College of Art and Design. She just arrived last Friday. Seemed like for her, being an artist is an excuse to dress horribly! She had on orange tennis shoes, striped socks, a long bohemian purple skirt and a dark green jacket.

After church I started walking to meet up with friends. I wasn't paying attention, and I stepped in a really gross puddle. (I was wearing my chacos). So there I was cold and with a wet foot. To cheer up and warm up I decided to buy a coffee. I ordered a macciato, becuase that's the only drink I know I like. Well, I was served about 4 sips of some face squenching, bitter, nastiness that had a drop of steamed milk on top. The milk looked like it had gotten there by accedent, except that it was perfectly centered.

I had a delightful lunch with my friends at St. Steven's green. After that, we went to the National Gallery. I managed to trail behind a guided tour while I was there. The docent was excellent! I really enjoyed listening to her interpretations of the art there.

After that we all split up. I was hoping for a little bit of alone time, but Bimal tagged along with me. We had some interesting conversation about live in Nepal vs. life in the US. Turns out he was working on a masters degree in Korea. His professor is on sebatical and Bimal left the program without telling his professor. Interesting.

I wanted to go to a concert tonight, but no one else was interested. Just when I had decided that I should just go home, I realized that my cell phone was not in my coat pocket. Panic! I checked 3 of the 4 places I had been. The 4th was closed. I ended up running into Upendra. When he called my phone no one answered. I think I'm out of luck. So Upendra took me to a little shop and bought a sausage for me to cheer me up. It turned out to be a hot dog (no bun) and was served in a paper sack. So there I was...walking down the street eating a naked hot dog out of a paper sack...mostly wishing I just had my cell phone.

Keep in touch. Don't call me...I can't answer!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I see London, I see France….

Today I’m buying tickets to France. I’m going to visit my friend, John. The weekend of October 7 and 8th, while everyone else is enjoying the French Voyager experience at the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon, I’ll be having a more modern French experience. I sure will miss all the bare bottomed Indians though. If anyone needs my man whistle, it’s in a plastic baggie inside my pack basket. Now that I have Ryan, I won’t need the whistle. Annie has Martin, so she won’t need it either. I think Miranda should have it!

Things have been going well here, but I’ve been getting homesick. I miss Baxter a lot. It seems like everyone here has a dog. The neighbor’s dog is Zack. He’s great and starts wagging his tail when he sees me coming. Still…there’s nothing like getting attacked by Baxter Beast. The difference in time zones is really annoying. It’s fortunate that I don’t have anywhere to be early in the morning, because when Ryan gets off of work it’s 9:30pm here and when Mom gets done at Purdue it’s 11pm here. Hopefully I’ll have internet at home soon and that should make all the difference in the world. It’s been one week since I ordered it, and the telephone company promised that we’d have broadband within 10 days. Of course I don’t know if that’s 10 calendar days or 10 business days. I’m really trying to be patient.

Public transportation is a funny thing here. As a student, I can buy a student travel card for €12. With the travel card, I can get a discount on my bus passes. A monthly buss pass is €78 a month. I’d have to ride 4 busses a day to make having the pass worth while. The bus only gets me about 2/3 of the way to school. To make a long story at least a little shorter…I’m the proud owner of a bike. It’s complete with the little rack on the back to strap my parcels to. I really want a basket for the front. Wouldn’t it be great to put my groceries in the basket? Especially if I had a baguette sticking out of the basket! I’ve promised myself that I will only ride my bike in my neighborhood for the first week. When I get more comfortable in traffic, then I’ll start riding it to class. I have all the safety gear: helmet, front and back flashing lights, and a neon yellow safety vest with lots of reflective stripes. Better to look dumb than dead!

Keep in touch!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Big John Was Here...

16 September 2006

My friend John McKinnis has been here for the weekend. We are both Campus House Has Beens. We had quite possibly the most social weekend ever! Friday night we met up few girls from Ireland that he knew previously. They are young…about 21…I think that Katharine will enjoy hanging out with them. Actually, having John here has helped take the pressure off when it comes to getting to know Katharine. It’s hard to explain, but trust me it’s been good! Saturday John and I convinced Katharine and Teryna (Turina) to go out with us. We found two cool pubs…the Stag’s Head and the Long Haul. We stayed out ‘till 2am and then made our way home in the rain. Sunday night we met up with the Irish girls at the Stag’s Head. I really wanted Katharine to meet them.

For those of you thinking that I might be going crazy with the pubs let me explain that pubs here are much different than the pubs and bars at home. It’s a little more like a coffee shop. People go to the pubs to talk and hang out. If you want to get drunk, find a date, and dance to loud music, go to a night club.

While John was here, he gave me the low-down on jet engine physics. Someone needs to remind me why I hang out with engineers! Anyway…just in case you were wondering...I do know how the engines work. The fan blades suck the air in. Smaller sets of fan blades squeeze the air into the engine. Fuel is added to the air with creates a bang. The air is then blown through the fan blades at the back of the engine which helps keep the whole process going. Seriously…they try to make it seem like to have to go to school to learn how to design airplanes. I’m sending my resume to GE tomorrow. I’ll get a job for sure.

Keep in touch!

Can you tell me how to get...

September 14, 2006

how to get to Sesame Street?

How’s this for a culturally diverse group? With everyone on the steps, it looks like Sesame Street goes to college. Here are the names of my classmates from left to right. (i'll have to upload the picure later. It won't work at the internet cafe):
Upendra (Oopendra) from India; Katharine from USA; Justin from Zambia; Nalinrat (Nah-leen-rot) from Thailand; Phensiri (Pen-see-ree) from Thailand (pink hat)

Phensiri might come live at my house, but she has to stay in her current arrangement for a month. There is another girl from Thailand. There’s something wrong with her back, so she had to stay home in bed today. Someone from Malaysia will arrive this evening. Don’t you think Justin looks a little like Dusty Baker? If only he had a toothpick hanging off his lip! We all get along so far. Justin, Upendra and I had fun at lunch talking about the difference between our shopping malls, universities, confusing things about Ireland, and such.

We are all treated like royalty. This Erasmus Mundus program that we’re a part of is highly regarded and we’re the first group to have been awarding the funding through Dublin Institute of Technology. Not only that, DIT is proud to have the most international students of any university in Ireland. It is estimated that there will be about 500 international students this year. They’ve developed a very accommodating International Student Affairs office. They’ve a staff of 4, but they seem very efficient with non-academic issues. We were told where to buy a hair dryer, where to go to the doctor, how to order re-entry visas, etc… For me, the hair dryer was most important and the doctor second most. I’ll be going there tomorrow to get an antibiotic for this nasty cold I’ve got.

Everyone here knows Dr. Boushey and thinks she’s wonderful. Even the Dean of Students for the whole university knows her! Certainly doesn’t hurt for me to be associated with her!

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Taking care of business...

13 September 2006

We’re in Business!

Irish vocabulary for the day:
Vodaphone: the cell phone carrier I use
Mobile: cell phone
€: symbol for the currency used in Ireland which is the Euro.

Characters to Remember:
Kathleen Ryan: landlady

I’ve been taking care of business. Some things are quite easy to take care of, others are not.

Yesterday I got a cell phone. It’s most common to pay as you go. Credit is purchased and the rates vary depending on who you call and where the two parties are located. Just so you can see the difference between Irish and American mobile prices, here’s what I’ll pay… (day time rate/ evening & weekend rate).

Network mobile phones and Irish landlines: 50c/15c
Other Irish mobiles: 65c/30c
Local text messages: 5c
International text messages: 25c

If you “top off” you credit (pay what it takes to get it to €20 of credit) you get €20 free credit to use to text and call other Vodaphone users. Most people in Ireland use text messaging, because it’s much cheaper than actually speaking to one another. Martin and Annie would do very well here! J

This morning I called the telephone company to inquire about broadband internet. It’s only €29.99 per month, the wireless router comes free and there’s no initial cost. For once something is cheaper here than in the states! Even cheaper, because the cost will be split between at least 3 people! I have to speak with Kathleen and make sure it’s OK to add the internet to the phone bill.

Banking is awkward. We must first get a letter from the program stating that we are students with a local address and that we will be receiving funds. Then that goes to the bank. Someone at the bank thinks about it for three days and then gives us an account number. Mind you, no money has been deposited yet. Once the account number is established, the money can be deposited.

You see, it’s a lot to think about! Fortunately things are falling into place.

Keep in touch!

Already an adventure...

11 September 2006

Already an adventure.

Once again, I survived the flight and not the landing. (this same thing happened when I landed in Jamaica.) There’s nothing quite like getting sick on a plane. A professor whom I had met in March picked us up form the airport. He took us first to the school (Kevin Street) and then finally to our house in Rathgar.

Our landlady is Kathleen. She’s probably about Mom’s age and very friendly. The house is yellow with white trim. There are several blooming rose bushes in the front yard. Cut roses were in a vase on the dining table. Cheerful, don’t you think? Inside, the house is nice, but a little bit dated. Most of the furniture is hand-me-down, but there are little touches everywhere to help perk it up; pillows on the chairs, pictures on the walls, mirrors, etc… The fireplace in the living room has pretty ornamental tiles on the sides. Funny having two TV sets - one set won’t hook up to the VCR/DVD player, the other does but doesn’t receive any programs. Crazy.

The kitchen is small, but has all the basics. The backyard is really beautiful. There are two or three apple trees. No fruit this year, because they were pruned. The yard is very secluded and Kathleen assured us that the fence is tall and sturdy for safety. I’ll have to take her word on it as the fence is covered by trees and shrubs and other green things.

The bathroom might be the biggest adventure. I’m wondering how many days it will take before I break my neck getting into or out of the tub! It’s really deep! We have to turn the hot water heater on 20 minutes before we want to shower and worse yet, we have to remember to turn it off before we leave the house. I guess electricity is expensive here, but having to turn the water heater off and on seems kind of dramatic.

Katharine and I share a large bedroom. We each have our own desk and our own closet space. I have a bedside table with drawers and my desk has drawers. Since Katharine’s desk doesn’t have drawers we agreed that she could have the chest of drawers. (appropriate also, because Katharine brought about three times as many clothes as I did!) Our room is chilly. We’re hoping that it will warm up if we leave the window shut for a while. I’m wearing jeans, a t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt and a fleece and I’m still a little chilled!

Brian is our only current roommate. He studies classical guitar. I’m not sure how often he washes his hair. Looks like the rubber band has been there for more than a day or two. I got to talk with him for a bit. His mom teaches nutrition classes somewhere in Dublin, but I didn’t understand where. Brian will help get the broadband internet set up and we’ll all share the cost. That will be nice.

We might be getting two more roommates from the graduate program. Mr. Mulvaney was all frazzled, because many of the other students are Muslim. Muslims aren’t permitted to live in a co-ed situation, I guess.

I’ll take pictures of the house and post them soon. Take care. Keep in touch!

On the way

10 September 2006

I’m flying now. We’re over a city, but who knows where! I like to try and find the baseball fields and football fields.

Leaving home this afternoon was hard, but I was glad we left from the river. Ryan, Martin and I went canoeing for a while. That was great fun. Mom and John waved from the house…picture perfect! Just as I was getting ready, Baxter brought me his leash. That was when I pretty much lost my cool. *sniff*

I’ve finally met Katharine. She seems nice. She’s 23, blonde and a vegetarian. Take that for what you will. I think we’ll get along just fine. We both got letters from our mommies to read on the plane and read them at the same time. She brought her teddy bear, but packed him in her suitcase. Poor guy! Molly’s with me…don’t know how Ryan felt about being in the airport with me carrying Molly around. He’s good to me!

Airport security is interesting. They make a fuss about liquids and gels and pastes, but I was told that it’s actually up to the discretion of the inspector. The inspector let me take my contact solution. Whew! It would be pretty annoying to be stuck in the plane with dry contacts stuck to my eyeballs and no contact solution!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm here!

I'm in Ireland now. Things are good. I got here yesterday morning. Right now I'm in an internet cafe and time is precious! there's lots to tell, but not enough time. I've been writing some things to post later. here's the short of it...

Roommate: blonde, vegetarian, nice
House: awesome, carpet needs updating, bed is comfortable
Other roomate: Brian, studies classical guitar, washes his hair once in a while, generally nice
Weather: got soaked yesterday - won't leave home again without raincoat
Lunch today: Pizza Hut, tasted just like home, ahhh...

More later!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Packing Stinks

I've been packing like mad. John, Martin and Annie came on Saturday with a U-haul. Annie was great help...she packed a lot of my fragile things. Martin, John and Ryan were the muscles behind the operation. Without them, I couldn't have done it. It's so nice to have family!

Now I'm left with crap and clutter. Some of my clothes are still here, because I have to decide what to take with me. That's pretty hard to do. What would you pack in 2 suitcases for about 3 months? See? Not the easiest question! The weight limit is 50 pounds now...significantly less than the last time I flew. Back then, it was 60 pounds.

Tomorrow, I'll do some serious blitz packing. It's time to just through stuff in boxes. I don't think there's anything left that I really need access to when I get back. Mom offered to come tomorrow night and will help me with the cleaning part. She always helps make things go faster! It's almost over.

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Late post...this is from 8/27/06

I'm 26 now. Seems like a boring age. I had an exciting weekend though. Friday, Ryan and I went to Lafayette. We took Baxter to the dog park. Mom and her crew of dogs came too. It's pretty funny to watch all the dogs romp around together. After that we celebrated together at Krispy Kreme! There's not much better than fresh donuts from Krispy Kreme! Ryan and I got enough to have them again for breakfast in the morning. Mmmmm.

On Saturday, Ryan and I had a wonderful day with his sister and her family. His niece is adorable! We all went to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis. There is a new glass fireworks exhibit there that is being advertised a lot. The exhibit was a little disappointing. The permanent sculpture in the middle of the museum is pretty spectacular though! My favorite exhibit was Sesame Street. Some days, I think I could listen to Sesame Street songs forever! Ha! I was reminded of all the records we had as kids. I'll have to dig those out someday.

Yesterday, my whole family got together at the river. Annie and Martin, AnnLaura and Juan, Mom and John and of course me and Ryan. Ryan already had given me a gorgeous necklace earlier. He picked the most elegant, white gold necklace. It's so special! Martin and Annie made a great cake. They put 4 numbers on the cake that all added up to 26. Isn't that clever? I think we're all looking forward to spending more time up at the river together.

This week is a packing week. I get distracted easily though. Now it's time to get moving! Take care!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What a send-off!

Today is my second to last day of work. What a year! I've made so many friends at the hospital and it's not easy to say good-bye. We had a great party today though. The cake was great. I'm not sure who all was involved, but I know Mike helped with the green frosting! Perfect for the occasion! I'm glad to have had the chance to visit with everyone today.

It's hard to believe that a small hospital can have so much to offer to the community, but this hospital does. That's my favorite part about the hospital...always looking for a way to meet the needs of the community. I'm proud to have been a part of that.

There are pictures from the party up on a web page.

These are mostly candid shots. You'll see that I spent a fair amount of time stuffing my face with cake! I'll use this webpage to post large groups of pictures on occasion.

Keep in touch!

Monday, August 21, 2006


I have a place to live in Dublin. I'll live in Rathgar. The name Rathgar derives from the Irish RĂ¡th Gharbh, meaning "Rough Ringfort". Rathgar is a well-to-do suburb of Dublin, Ireland, lying about 4 km south of the city centre. My school is on the outskirts of city centre. Basically I'll have to walk about 20-25 minutes to class each day. That's not too bad.

I found a tid-bit of information about the area online...

The housing stock largely comprises red-brick Victorian terraces. Much of the area lies within a historic conservation zone. Rathgar is largely a quiet suburb, with a higher than average number of retired citizenry. I guess I won't have to worry about loud neighbors!

I've been told that there will be shopping in the neighborhood. I don't know exactly what that means. Surely there will be a grocery store!

Rathgar has a rich history. Fine architectural features include the Presbyterian Church at the junction in the village centre and a Catholic church . The Roman Catholic Church of The Three Patrons on Rathgar Road is known as "The Servants' Church" because in the late 19th and early 20th century it was the place of worship for the large number of servants who worked and lived in the large houses in the area.

Famous people include author James Joyce, who was born in Brighton Square. Mr. Jack Lynch, who was Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland intermittently from 1966 to 1979 had his home at Garville Avenue, Rathgar. And also Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, lived in Rathgar on Orwell Park in the later part of his life.

I'll be living in a house with 3 other people who are about my age. There is another student from Purdue who I will share a bedroom with. The other two residents are strangers to me. One is a musician; the other an accountant. In Ireland this is considered apartment living. Apartments that we have here are called "flats" in Europe. It's all going to be a crazy adventure.

Keep in touch!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Martin's Birthday

Happy Birthday, Martin! My baby brother is 24. Crazy! He's the greatest little brother anyone could ask for. What a stud!

Friday, July 28, 2006

That would be Baxter! Otherwise known as The Beast, Baxter Beast, and Bad Dog. Baxter is going to stay with his grandmother while I'm away.

Getting ready to go...

Only a matter of weeks before I leave for Dublin. I'm going with Katharine. Today we secured housing. Very exciting! We'll share a house in a nice area called Rathgar. I'll admit I'm a little nervous about going. Nervous about leaving Baxter and Ryan and Family. Yikes! At the same time I'm really excited about going. Today I found out that Dr. Boushey might be teaching one of the courses. How cool is that!?!

This is where you'll find the scoop on my adventure. It will be fun knowing you all are up to date on my travels. Keep in touch!