Do you ever have one of those weeks where things just don’t really go your way? Yes? I’m pretty sure this happens to everyone, and if it doesn’t… lie to me. This week was a definite struggle, but luckily I’m a pro at laughing at myself, so I’ve arranged the events of the past 6 days into hopefully amusing anecdotes so we can all laugh at my life together!

The good: (Gotta keep this somewhat positive…)

  • The most exciting part: My spring break is BOOKED! I will be embarking on an insane whirlwind trip to Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan), coming home for St. Patrick’s day in Dublin, and leaving again for Brussels and Berlin! So excited and blessed to have this opportunity. So far we’ve also booked Amsterdam and Barcelona. The final trips I’d like to book are London, Galway, and County Kerry!
  • Wednesday morning, as I was laying in bed feeling like death warmed over and furious at myself for losing my phone (more on that later), the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find the mailman holding a huge box- for me! One of my best friends and one of the sweetest girls I know, Miss Becky Derango, sent me a giant box full of American snacks! I had told her how people here don’t really snack like we do (maybe that’s why Europeans are skinny and we’re all fat?) and she took it upon herself to keep me well-stocked on all my faves! 🙂 Best friend ever!
  • Friday, my housemate Medha and I went shopping! There’s a store here called Penney’s that kind of reminds me of Gordman’s only not tacky. Lots of great finds there! There’s so much stuff that I was actually overwhelmed (think Forever 21) but we had fun wandering around. We ended our shopping trip with deeelicious hot chocolate from Butler’s 🙂
  • Saturday, Medha and I went to Glendalough, a gorgeous town in County Wicklow. It was GORGEOUS. Blessed once again with good weather, we did a ton of walking and saw some amazing sights. If you ever make it to Ireland, which you should, this is a definite must!

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Haha reminded me of my brother! The whole town and monastery was made by St. Kevin in the 6th century. There are a lot of interesting things about it that I am not informed enough to discuss.

The bad:

  • First and most tragically, I lost my phone last Tuesday to the streets of Dublin. Struggle. I actually don’t miss it as much as I thought I would, though I really like using it to fall asleep (I have a white noise problem) and I literally never know what time it is. Luckily my mom is bringing me one when they get here!
  • Also on Friday, Medha and I attempted to visit Dublin Castle, which we learned upon arrival is closed down for an EU meeting… how did we NOT KNOW THIS? #uninformedAmericans (Also funny story on that same note: Today in an elevator a random older man asked me how I was enjoying Ireland so far. Is it THAT OBVIOUS?)
  • This isn’t bad, but it was pretty embarrassing. We stopped in McDonald’s and I asked when shamrock shakes would be in stock… the lady looked at me like I needed to be committed and was like “um… we don’t get those.” Jokes. Luckily, we found out from an Irish student that they do actually get shamrock shakes, so that woman was just dumb.
  • THE DUBLIN BUS SYSTEM IS RUINING MY LIFE. Seriously. It’s so unreliable and unbelievably annoying. It’s supposed to come every 10 minutes… it probably comes every 25 minutes and it’s not uncommon for two to come right in a row. Who is in charge? Let me help you. Please.

The Ugly:

  • I was walking in our family room that has hardwood floors and casually slipped and fell flat on my back. Luckily my housemates told me it was very graceful and it didn’t even hurt. Okay this isn’t ugly, it’s hilarious. Moving on.
  • Took ANOTHER spill in Glendalough. In the mud. And I landed in basically the splits. (#exdancerprobs) Again, pretty funny, but like… why? There was a group of tourists from Spain nearby and I imagine their thoughts were something like, “¡jajaja, la chica americana se cayó! ¡Jajaja!” Mi vida es un chiste. It was embarrassing. Luckily I was wearing black leggings so I wasn’t VISIBLY dirty, but there was definitely mud on and around me.

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There she is.

There you have it! My week of struggles. But really, all of this is actually pretty funny (minus the phone which is sort of an issue, and the bus which is a legitimate annoyance because I can’t get anywhere on time). Plus, I’m abroad, and my life is awesome and I’m insanely lucky, so I have no real complaints 🙂 Hope this made you crack a smile! xoxo

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Happy Monday! 🙂

This weekend we went on our first weekend trip to Cork, Ireland! Cork is a county on the southern part of the island. We saw pretty much all there is to see there! We left Friday morning bright and early to visit Cahir Castle in Tipperary. It was built in 1142 by a prince named Conor O’Brien and was one of the best defensive castles of its time. I swear this stuff is mildly interesting when other people talk about it…ImageIt was a beautiful sunny day and we had fun climbing up the different towers and wondering how people lived with literally zero amenities. From there we continued to Cork City, which is the second biggest city in Ireland. Some people say it’s like a smaller Dublin, but I would have to disagree. I caught a smaller, more relaxed vibe in Cork than in Dublin, though Cork does have a lot of cool restaurants, pubs/clubs, shopping, etc. My Kelleher ancestors (my dad’s paternal grandfather, I believe) are from Cork which is also really cool! Our favorite part of the day was getting amazingly fresh food at the English Market! Another highlight was going to a “pub club” that night that had cameras facing the dance floor so you could see everyone embarrassing themselves dancing. On the way home we branded ourselves as Americans by singing Gangnam Style and maybe dancing down the street… good. Luckily that song is an international hit and we were joined in by many passersby!

After surviving my first night in a hostel, we left Saturday on our next adventure. Our first stop was in a small town called Clonakilty. I still am not entirely sure why we stopped here because the town’s single claim to fame is a miniature replica of the town and its rail system. I’m sure there’s more to it but mostly we just enjoyed the sun and had a photo shoot. Also, for those of you who know anything at all about Irish history (probably no one who reads this except my parents), Michael Collins grew up here.

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Our next stop was to Mizen Head, which is the most south-westerly point in Ireland. As we pulled up and couldn’t really see the view, we were wondering how we would kill two hours there… we quickly discovered two hours wasn’t even enough. This was THE MOST AMAZING place I have ever seen. Unbelievably gorgeous views from different points along the coast. I can’t even explain how great it was. We ran around taking pictures (selfies allll around) and soaking in the view. “Is this real life?!” As time ran out we decided to hop a fence like the bad kids we are to get an even better view of the coast, cliffs, and water. It was perfect. The pictures don’t even begin to do it justice…

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After being dragged away from the view, we continued our day in a small town called Bantry where we ate a quick dinner, then headed back to Cork City! We decided going with the group to a club sounded exhausting (when did I become so lame?), so we stayed in the hostel’s beautiful “tv room” and hung out. For those of you who are currently thinking I’m too high maintenance to stay in a hostel, you are correct. But for college-aged travelers, it really is the most affordable and convenient option. You’re basically only there to sleep and shower so it’s not as bad as you think! (This is what I told myself as I wondered when the last time the sheets had been washed… AHHHH. Moving on.)

Sunday was another early morning, departing at 9am to a town called Kinsale. This town is rich in history and I spent the morning having AP Euro flashbacks. Interestingly, even after two years of world/European history in high school, I feel like I never learned anything about Ireland or western history from an Irish point of view. Kinsale is home to forts that belonged to Charles and James (I think the first?)  so that they had a place to stay outside of England during the religious wars of the 17th century. (Mr. B, I miss youuuu!) Kinsale is also right where the Lusitania was sunk during World War I. Guys, history is fun! After a brief tour we had time to walk around. Kinsale is a really cute town, but sadly most of the shops were closed either because it was Sunday or just for the winter until tourism picks back up in March.

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After Kinsale, we departed for my second favorite part of the trip, the Blarney Castle! Like the tourists we are, we climbed to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, so we now all have seven years of luck and “the gift of gab!” The stone is nothing like I pictured- you have to lay down and lean back to reach it, and an added bonus is that an old man awkwardly holds you to prevent you from falling to your death. But it was a lot of fun! It was a touristy area but we enjoyed walking around and enjoying the still-nice weather. (Three nice days in a row is literally unheard of, especially in Cork County!)

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After leaving Blarney, it was a LONGGG bus ride home to Dublin. Luckily, our tour guide/bus driver was pretty funny/eccentric/just really weird so it was typically pretty entertaining. Between singing and napping the drives all passed quickly enough. All in all, it was an awesome weekend and I’m glad I got to see more of Ireland!

Other points to mention:

  • Beyonce KILLED it last night, and it was even more awesome when I was sleep-deprived and overtired at 1am Ireland time.
  • Group projects are horrible in every country, especially one like Ireland when everyone is soooo laidback. In true UIUC College of Business fashion, I expect everyone to live on their gmail and get everything done quickly… not the case here.
  • It is so weird how much free time I have here during the week! I’m used to being busy with exec, chapter, meetings, and more. Free time is nice but I’m feeling pretty antsy.
  • However, my weekends are filling up rapidly- just booked a weekend trip to Barcelona! If all goes to plan, I will also be going to Venice, Florence, Rome, Belgium, Berlin, and Munich (casual) for spring break, as well as weekend trips to Amsterdam, London, Galway, and Belfast. So so so excited! Still can’t believe this is real life!

Hi friends!

Can’t believe I left home two weeks ago! Or tried to, until Aer Lingus decided to cancel our flight… anyway. This weekend was SO great and I wanted to share it with you guys!

On Friday the Quinn School (our College of Business) took us on a “cultural trip” on the northern side of the city. First we went to a church, St. Michans, that has a crypt beneath it that hosts the bodies of very rich families, along with four mummies. Casual. One of them is an 800 year old crusader and we got to shake his hand for good luck! (It was as creepy as it sounds.) After, we continued to the Jameson Distillery where we learned how it’s made and got to try some at the end- I tried a whiskey ginger for the first time and it was deeelicious. The day ended with free dinner at a really nice restaurant which was extra amazing because we’re all too poor/lazy to eat real people food here.

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Yesterday my housemates and I miraculously got up early and took the train to Howth, Ireland for a day trip! Howth is a fishtown on a peninsula about a 30 minute train ride away. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day- the first time I’d seen the sun since arriving- and enjoyed the weather while walking around and hiking cliffside! The views were amazing and we ended the day with a delicious meal! Later we went to our favorite neighborhood pub, and after I Skyped my parents which was great. They’ll be visiting in few weeks and I can’t wait!

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Finally, today we went to the Guinness Factory and learned how that’s made! The process is fairly similar to the Jameson process, though I can’t say I enjoy the end product as much. However, we got some free samples, and the Guinness truffle we got was probably a highlight of my day. Following, we got some lunch and walked around on Grafton Street, where I became mildly depressed because I want to buy a new, Euro-ish wardrobe and can’t. It was a great end to an awesome weekend! I’m so glad to say that all of my housemates are generous, friendly, and outgoing, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know all of them! I’m definitely happy with our living situation… living off campus was the right choice!

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Unfortunately, I did come here to go to school, which is really cramping my style. Tomorrow starts UCD’s second week of classes. Our lectures are two hours long and can be hard to sit through. Also, if you were wondering, group projects suck in every country! But, my classes seem interesting enough and I’m not too worried about any of them, though that will change in May when I’m studying for finals that determine 70% of my grade. No pressure.

Next weekend we’re going to Cork, Ireland, which my dad tells me is the home of some of our ancestors which is pretty cool! One perk of Ireland is that I look pretty similar to everyone else here… I gotta say it’s a refreshing change of pace to actually not be the palest person in the vicinity. Lovin’ the homeland.

I miss you all! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week! ❤

Helloooo! Welcome to another post of my senseless rambling. If you’re reading this, I can say with 85% confidence that I miss you like crazy.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a week already! It’s been a big adjustment so far but I have had a lot of fun along the way. Everyone always talks about how amazing it is to study abroad and how perfect their experiences are- which is true; this is already the experience of a lifetime- but what they forget to mention is that it can be difficult at first. I wouldn’t say I’ve been homesick, though I do miss my bed and Puffy horribly (I’m a child), but I’ve had some serious FOMO upon seeing pictures of my best friend group reuniting without me, and it’s extremely weird to think that life at U of I is going on normally without me being there. Oh and I actually almost cried when I woke up Friday morning to a bunch of texts, snapchats, and tweets regarding Thursday Night Bro’s </3. Finally, I suck at sleeping and have been jet lagged this ENTIRE time. I think it might finally be going away now that classes started and I have to function during the day, but we’ll see.

This brings me to my next point- classes! As MLK Day is unobserved here, I started my first day at UCD yesterday with a 2 hour lecture in a freezing cold classroom. Yay Ireland! I think all of my classes will be manageable, and the nicest part is that they typically only meet once a week. The one downside is that our final exam tends be weighted very heavily in our final grades, so if you don’t test that well (aka me) it could definitely be a struggle come May. Getting to school is a slight ordeal requiring a 15-20 minute bus ride, and the 39A bus we take to school makes the 22 Illini look reliable and timely in comparison. BUS!? WHERE ARE YOU?

Other than school, we’ve had plenty of time to explore Dublin and enjoy the nightlife. I’ve had several people ask me what it’s like, so I’ll give a brief overview based on my understanding thus far… First, we have pubs, which is like a Murphy’s or Legends type setting, only better, obviously. There’s a pub literally right around the corner from us, so my semester goal is to become a “regular.” It’s 100% true when they say the Irish are extremely friendly and actually like Americans. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with anyone there! The other day my housemates and I were casually sitting and having a drink when a random woman brought us leftover birthday cake from a celebration they were having. FREE CAKE?! I LOVE THIS COUNTRY! On the other hand, we have “clubs,” which are sort of the polar opposite. Last night we went to this club called Copper’s to celebrate “Black Monday” (which is NOT related to MLK Day. Literally 3 people asked me that yesterday after I tweeted about it. It’s an excuse to go ham on the first night of classes.) and it was actually insane. Picture the Joe’s dance floor, but like 10 times bigger, and everyone there is even more aggressively intoxicated (didn’t know that was possible), and the music is actually sort of good. Oh and everyone is well-dressed and random guys don’t try to grope you without introducing themselves first, which is ideal. It was actually hilarious how crowded it was and how crazy everyone was acting. My housemates and I can’t wait to go back 😉

We’ve seen quite a bit of the city, but I know there’s SOOO much left to see. I finally saw the Book of Kells (AP Euro love), as well as other sights such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, a pub crawl in Temple Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, and more. I’ve also had a fantastic time getting to know all of my housemates! It’s nice to live with people again after a semester of living alone, though I was definitely very spoiled in having my own space…

That’s pretty much all for now! I swear eventually I’ll add photos so you don’t have to suffer endless paragraphs of my thoughts, though I try to make it interesting. Have a wonderful week!

Hi friends!

After procrastinating making this blog for several weeks now (sorry Kate), I thought it might be time to get started. A brief disclaimer: I’m so tired I can’t even think straight so if I sound crazier than normal, that’s probably why.

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, my arrival to Ireland became sort of a nightmare after my extremely delayed flight turned into a canceled flight. Cheers! Let’s go back home! Luckily, my dad came and rescued me at O’hare (DAAAD?!?) and I got to enjoy one more night with Puffy. ❤ (If you don’t know Puffy at this point… don’t even worry about it.)

Thankfully, we were able to get on the same flight, just 24 hours later, and after a relatively painless flight we arrived! The guy sitting next to me was one of those super cool people who’s traveled everywhere and just knows things, so he gave me some tips on living in Dublin, which was nice. I still don’t feel like I’m here, even though I got accepted into the program four months ago and have had plenty of time to prepare. It sort of feels like a dream or just a short trip to Europe, but that could be the jet lag talking.

Also, let’s talk about how I’m the worst at dealing with jet lag after. The #1 rule: Don’t nap. How many naps did I take today? Oh, just two… oops. But besides napping, day 1 went really well! We landed early, took a cab to our house, and started to get settled in. We have a house that sleeps six of us and it’s super nice! We also attempted to figure out the bus system (definite struggle bus moment… haha punny! Sorry.) and visited our school, University College Dublin (UCD), for the first time! It’s a really nice campus and the business building is weirdly similar to BIF, which is sorta funny. We came home for nap #2 (oops) and then went out to dinner where I had my FIRST (legal) DRINK EVER! Life is so exciting.

This week we have a bunch of orientation stuff to get ready for classes to start next Monday. It’s baffling to think I’m considered an international student here! We’re also going on a pub crawl for international students tomorrow night, so if I don’t make it through, I love you all. #byeeee

That’s all for now! I’ll update probably once classes start. Thanks for reading 🙂

Sláinte!