Nathanae

"Why do you go away?
So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."
Terry Pratchett

Things that are different:

- the buses look funny (wrong proportions because they are missing my favourite part: the upper salon)
- I can walk barefoot around the house again without fear of deadly diseases. (which might be all in my head since I don't think the staircase or the balcony (and my brother's room) are less dirty than our kitchen in Dublin... but less sticky!)
- It is warmer
- If a train or bus is 2-5 minutes late, people start checking their watches and making annoyed comments.
- The shops don't have those lovely colourful (wooden) frames
- The kitchen feels like a kitchen and the whole place like a home, not only the messy area surrounding your (messy) room.
- books everywhere (part of the homely thing)
- when I went to bed last night I was painfully aware that at the same time (9pm Dublin time) the others were training Ninjutsu ._.
- internet that actually works
- you have to stop at red traffic lights and look in the other direction first before crossing the street
- random people talking in the street sound different (German)

to be continued (or not. probably not.)
27.5.11 13:39


looong entry.

I decided to structure this post with headlines because it is going to be long!

Leaving Ireland (25.05.2011, 7pm)
Well... that's it. 9 months are over and I am sitting at the airport in Dublin, waiting for my flight to depart. This morning my mother woke me up when she called to tell me, that my flight was cancelled due to an ash cloud that was supposed to hang in the air around Berlin... when I checked for alternate flights that I could get I got happier and happier, thinking: cool, I could make it to Ninjutsu Training tonight! then cool, tomorrow too!! ... and since the next available flight to Berlin was not until Sunday I even thought I could make it to Richy's birthday party!!!... well... in that case I would have missed my parents who will leave for a three week vacation on Sunday... plus I might have been forced to book a hostel for the last two nights, since the on campus accommodation closes on the 27th... so I went back to check for other airports I could go to... and now I am waiting for my flight... 20:15 to Frankfurt Hahn (why do they allow them to call it Frankfurt if it takes you 2 hours by bus to get to Frankfurt itself??). Since I won't be arriving until half 11 (for the Germans: that means 23:30) local time, I can only get a bus at half 12 (0:30) that will take me to Frankfurt Airport in said 2 hours, where I will have to wait another 4h before I can take the first train home (an advance warning: I will probably spend the 4 hours writing a recap.-blog entry unless they have free wifi that will let me watch telly shows online...).
Well... I walked through Dublin a bit, got a new van Gogh-Umbrella (they didn't have the Night Café any more but Starry Night is nice as well...). I felt really awkward since today is Towel Day... and the towel that didn't fit into my suitcase is brightly orange... plus I used my Terry Pratchett quote bag... I like the concept of towel day, but when you're the only one doing it, it makes you look a little bit mad... and the inscription of the bag: “Ahahahahaha! Ahahahahaa! Ahahaha! BEWARE!!!!!” (said by birds) doesn't really help.
During the day I was kind of hoping, that this flight would be cancelled, too... it is going to be a long, exhausting night... but the next flight to Hahn would have been on Friday same time as today... but I could have attended Ninjutsu training tonight and tomorrow... I have no idea what kind of crazy brainwash techniques they used to get me thinking that way. Maybe they drugged us in the first semester when we were still going to the bar after each training session. (or it was just because the people were really nice but sarcastic and made the whole thing fun.) But however they did it, I felt really bad to leave today...
It got even worse once I was on the bus... of course the bus driver had to listen to Sad and Sentimental Radio... and although I have been in town, just walking around and looking at stuff in the last days and knew that those had been the last times I would be there, it was completely different when the bus drove through the city centre for the actually last time. I felt bad for quite a while about not being able to see most of the people ever again... but I noticed today that I will miss even the city itself...

Frankfurt Main Station, (26.05.2011, 1:40)
Well, I kind of lost track of time when I was typing the first part. I was almost late at the gate, but it didn't close at the time it said it would, either. (all in all we still landed half an hour early). Departure was pretty bad, seeing the city get smaller and further away without knowing when and if I will ever return... it didn't help that I was wearing my fight suit because my luggage had 7 kilos overweight and I had to wear several layers... (yes, I put on my Ninjutsu pants over my regular ones. Ryanair can be really annoying about their (cabin) luggage regulations.)... I still had to throw some stuff out, including my lecture notes and two t-shirts. Wasn't worth paying 140 Euro for (or 114? the woman had a weird foreign accent). Another bad moment was when one of the airport personnel used the word “perfect” with a really strong Irish accent... I like and will miss the sound of Irish English.
Our flight was early, so I got an early shuttle bus...The first time I started to feel at home was when we were sitting in the bus and the woman in front of me complained to her seat neighbour that the bus hasn't left yet although it was supposed to depart 10 minutes ago. ^^
now I am sitting at the main station an hour earlier and have some time to kill until 6:18. No internet available here, but I at least have a table and a socket to plug my laptop in... and a cup of tea (the train station mission-people are really nice). If the train isn't delayed I should be home at 9:20 local time.

Recap.
Well... up until Christmas I mostly posted about stuff that happened... there might be something missing but I can't check that now. So I will try and remember the events between my return to Ireland and now.
I think the first thing was that I went to find the ocean. The first attempt was in itself successful, but the Howth, in the north of Dublin had a unsatisfying beach-to-ocean ratio ^^ (too much beach, too little water, WAY too many dogs. Maybe I went to the wrong spot or during the low tide) The next day (Sunday) I went down to Dún Laoghire, the south. I really like that area. It is not a beach but a harbour, so it has the sea smell and the noise of crushing waves and not quite as many free running dogs as the other place. The other thing that made this a very nice spot for Sunday trips was, that there in a small round park they had a nice market. The first time I went there, a designer sold owl earrings... in a three-pack. (not only do they look awesome, but I think the concept of confusing costumers by selling them in sets of three is really interesting.)
In February I started attending the Thursday Ninjutsu classes as well... which was good not only because we did some different things there but also because you met more people who go to the UCD classes. And Dave's (I might have mentioned him in the context of the first seminar... the teacher of the highest rank in this club (which is his club)) slow-motion noises are really funny ^^ (I don't know why, but he reminded me a lot of my uncle Uwe in the beginning xD)
wow... even the heaters look familiar and German. (yes, random thought jumps. It's called stream of consciousness and a form of modern literature (I might have lost my lecture notes but I still remember some stuff)).
Back to the topic: the Thursday classes were really interesting... mostly meaner tricks than we learned before (except for the seminar of course, but then again that was held by the same teacher).

Cork
I missed a night out with the club because the trip to Cork happened to be in the same weekend. To be honest: if I had known that there would be a night out, I would have cancelled the trip and gone there on my own some other weekend. It was raining the whole time, and although it was a nice city, and some nice people among the international students, I would have definitely preferred the company of the Ninjas. (Sadly, I had already paid for the trip and some wrong information was given (that there would be some traditional festival)). On the way back we stopped for a few hours at Blarney Castle... which was actually pretty good. The grounds around it were beautiful. The most famous stone in this castle, the Blarney Stone was said to give eloquence to people who kissed it... but since one had to hang backwards over the rim of the tower, only held by some guy... I decided that I talk enough as it is. (btw.: I think my English is still as bad as it was when I got there... until the very end (and even while writing it) I constantly have to struggle with finding the right words, my pronunciation must be terrible... and very German and I don't even dare to ask how bad my grammar is.)). The park behind the castle was a beautiful mixture of wild growth and planted
Since they closed the Forum Bar for some reason and the Student Bar just sucks, the whole going for a drink after training thing was just dropped... which was really sad. The guys in the club are very funny and nice (well, a teasing, more sarcastic nice often, but still great people to have around) We did go out after the next seminar, though... which was great. Rob (especially drunk Rob) is a fun guy to hang out with. We started out in the Goat, a pub 20 minutes on foot from UCD with a rather big group for a after-training-pint... In town later there were only few people left (Rob, Robin Burke, Simon (I might be wrong here... could have been Robin. But I think it was Simon), Richy, Sarah and Craig... and we changed locations several times. There was a time in the middle of the night when I actually thought I had my orientation back and knew where we were... but we walked down two streets and I was completely lost again and had no idea that we were actually relatively close to UCD.
At the seminar I got 8th Kyu grade. I had a great time with training but I still often have this thing where I do one of the techniques.... and then suddenly lose the ability to do it with no apparent reason. Sometimes I confuse myself by trying to figure something out.
The bad thing about leaving is, that there were quite a few people in that group that I would have actually liked to have as real friends, not "nice people I met on a trip a few years ago".
I am not writing especially badly to prove my point about my bad English but it just happens to be 3am by now... and since I got up at 7:30 (and were woken up by my probably very drunk room mates somewhere during the night) it gets harder to concentrate. Open office does check spelling, but that is no use if you just use a basically correct word in the wrong context... or start rambling.
In the following weeks I had to write 4 essays... not my favourite activity. (and in hindsight not worth it... I don't know exactly how it will be with Art History, but in total it seems like I can get only less than half of my credit points accredited.

Family Visit
St. Paddy's day was interesting. I went to see the parade (as soon as I get the photo upload to work I will either make a online folder with some pictures or insert them in the posts (the older ones, too))... the effort they put into most of the wagons was amazing... Later that day I picked my family up at the airport. After dinner we walked around town, enjoying the crowd of blind drunk, funnily dressed people with ridiculous green hats and stuff. We went for a drink and walked along the Liffey down to the Calatrava Harp bridge (Samuel Beckett Bridge). We visited the Irish Museum for Modern Art (IMMA) the next day and had a stroll around town... Dublin is a very nice place to just walk around and look at buildings, partly because the city centre feels so small but has still so many fancy neoclassical buildings! When I look outside, I miss the colourful shop windows already. In the evening we went to a pub with live music.
On Saturday we had a family day... my brother joined us (he had been about with one of his friends who happened to be on Erasmus at UCD as well the previous day) and we first had a very extensive breakfast (with pancakes, bacon, yoghurt with fresh fruit, toast and all sorts of things) and went to see the Kilmainham Gaol (I was told the last word is pronounced like jail... which makes sense since it is an old jail house that is now a museum). St. Patrick's Day is a big thing in Ireland and around the world, so many people come into town around this time... consequently all the tours were full (I went to see it a few days back... you can only get into the actual prison as part of a guided tour... ) we had a look at the museum and walked back, taking some weird detours that ended in us having to jump off a wall (which I absolutely hated. In these cases it is not the same kind of being afraid of hight as in standing on a chair, but the more rational fear of damaging my knees by dropping clumsily too much weight on them without compensating enough... Niklas and David discovered some pop up chicken restaurant (Crazy Bird) which was amazingly good and not even expensive. The only downside and the reason I haven't been there again: the food smell was so extreme in there that my coat smelled like chicken for days. But it is still highly recommendable. (It's in temple bar and closes in a few days). We went to a bar afterwards and had a few drinks. The bad thing: I must have left my van Gogh umbrella somewhere and didn't get it back.

lately
We had another Saturday double training session with drinks at the goat afterwards, but we didn't go into town afterwards.
My exams all fell on the last week of the exam period, which meant that I had 2 weeks off before them. So I decided to make one of these weeks a “fitness week” (I got a voucher for an 8 day trial membership at some gym that was not too far away and had, very important, a swimming pool). When I took the bus into town (because I had just missed the bus that went to UCD) I noticed that the beach was just one street down from the fitness centre. My lunch break happened to coincide with low tide so that, especially the first day I went there, the ocean was just a thin line at the horizon but it was still nice to sit there in the sun at a white sand beach.
After the exams I did all of the touristy stuff that I always put off... like the guided Kilmainham Gaol tour, going back to the IMMA to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit, visit St. Patrick's cathedral and some small galleries around town. On Saturday (21.05.) I went to the Trinity Library which was really impressive... the book of Kells was interesting, too... but the long room with it's wooden ceiling was really great! Afterwards I visited the Hugh Lane Gallery... the atelier of Francis Bacon that they had brought, there and reconstructed in it's original state made me feel much better about my own untidiness. That was the ultimate creative chaos. The exhibition was good, too. Afterwards I went home to get ready for the last night out thing... so I wouldn't be late... I wasn't, everyone else was xD (good thing that I picked a bar that had books. They played silent Keaton films on a screen later, and some band played)... not many people showed up... at the La Dolce Vita wine bar, we were only 4 (Simon, Robin Burke, Aine and myself). Richy showed up after we ate and emptied that (very nice) bottle of white house wine and we left for another bar. Simon and Aine went home soon.
On Monday, I met Robin in town and we went to see Obama's speech... we didn't actually see him in person, just on a screen, but it was still interesting.. a huge crowd had gathered on College Green and Dame Street. When the Queen had been in Dublin a few days before, there had been some discussions about whether or not her presence in Ireland was appropriate or not. I missed her waving-out-of-her-car- thing very closely and just saw some cars, in one of which she was supposed to sit, driving by in the distance later.
Tuesday I visited the Four Courts, a still in operation court house with big-ass pillars, a very impressive dome-entrance hall and lawyers and judges in cool robes, collars and even some wigs (but not the long ones...or at least I didn't see any). I planned on doing the Jameson Distillery tour afterwards, but the next two tours were already full, so I just bought a 5cl bottle Jameson 12Yo (the only one they had in this size that wasn't part of a set) and went to the cinema instead (Pirates of the Caribbean 3D). Barbossa was hilarious and Johnny was deppy. There was a scene where Captain Jack takes a knife in order to stab someone... but when he stood there I was very puzzled by why he would hold the knife like that and why he would think that anyone would NOT notice it! (not telling the story here... but the movement was really awkward. Could have been me xD. Although... I probably would not do this obvious sneaking up thing with the knife held about half a meter away from me. (I miss Ninjutsu T__T)

Okay.. that was about it. It is now 5am and I really have to see where I can get a coffee. It is surprisingly bright outside but my eyes burn and I feel like slamming my head on the table just to see if the cotton around it is real or imagined...
If you actually read down to here: thanks a lot, you are either awfully bored or a really good friend! (or you like to look for typos and mistakes in other people's texts). I will try to get some pictures online to make it more interesting. I will probably see you soon. And judging by how hard it was to leave today, I will probably come back to Dublin for a work placement in the next semester break (February 2012)... Outside looks so German (I don't know why, but it does)... and people speak German and they drive on the right side of the road... and I feel like this whole exchange thing did not have the effect it was supposed to have (whatever it is)... and I am afraid that when I come back, nobody will remember me because I'm sure I won't forget the people I met, especially the Ninjas.

Jena (10am)
I'm home.
26.5.11 10:05


Procrastination

So... I've had some complaints about the snow still floating around, so I changed that. I won't write much, because I really should start to study for my Victorian to Modern Literature exam on Monday. I will try to figure out how to upload pictures (don't know why it stopped working after the first post) and write an entry on the second semester here in Dublin. and include some pictures (or find some other database for that) as soon as I am done (or back in Germany where I will have less limited access to databases).
I really hate study periods. I started to get a pretty healthy eating habit over the last weeks. Exam time: chocolate en masse and no patience to cook the kind of food that involves vegetables. (but tonight I will have brokoli. maybe. or spinach. (ran out of non-vegetable ingredients). The kitchen REALLY needs some cleaning. I hope I don't have to do it alone. I am pretty sure that I will have to do the bathroom and shower alone, though. The guys just don't see it. I think they never lifted a finger to clean in them). Have to restrain myself to not do it now... but I really have to go through my lecture notes!!
Have a nice spring weekend, and see you soon.

ah, yeah: I'm coming back to Germany (for good this time) on 25th May.
7.5.11 18:00


Odyssee

Christmas is over and the Silvester (= New Year's Eve) stress is drawing nearer... so I just will write about the events of the last week... one of the most horrible weeks ever!! (Although some parts were nice... )
On Tuesday I had my last exam... luckily, it was not cancelled due to snow (they started cancelling later that day). But I'm afraid I did not do very well in the exam. I hate writing essays and they are always too short... and I am not sure if I answered the questions in the way they wanted us to =_=.
Around 4 we went to the Student Bar across the street for a drink or two... but that closed at 6 because of snow so we had to buy alcohol and resume our activity at Conor's place. (That was nicer than the bar... especially because the idiots always turn up their shitty MTV music so conversation is impossible and I'm annoyed by the awful, MUCH too loud music! I prefer shitty Soap Operas and films as background noise! ^^ )
Since we started at 4, it did not take too long and I was home hat half 12 (00:30 am).... but hardly slept at all. Next day I did my laundry and packed my stuff for the next day.
I tried to order a Taxi for the next day, but they all told me there were no available and/or I had to call an hour before I wanted to leave. (great... so what if the have non available at 3am either?)... Conor was so nice and somehow ordered me one.
I spent the hours until my alarm clock was supposed to ring staring, wide awake, at my ugly furniture (I envy the guys in Roebuck Castle... those beds and cupboards there look so nice!) and trying to get a few hours of sleep until 3 am... but nothing happened. I wasn't even very excited about the flight since it did not snow when I looked out of my window and I thought the transport To the airport would be the biggest problem.
I don't know if Conor told the driver I wanted to be at the airport at 4am or if he was just early (although he was Irish!!)... but he was 20 minutes early (I panicked and shoved my laptop in my bag... but luckily I did not forget anything important... at least I didn't notice yet.)... So despite the snow on the streets, we were at the airport well on time (even by my standards!). No trouble with checking my stuff in (I just regretted I didn't buy more books... since I had only 15 kg luggage and am allowed 20.... but had no scales at home.) and Security check went fine... boarding was 1/2 hour late, so I went and bought some Guinness in the Duty Free shop... (for my Family, not for the trip xD)... we boarded... and then we we waited for different things for 1 1/2 hours on the plane... and were asked to leave the plane because the airport was closed due to snow until 12:30... I went to get a hot chocolate and Lunch (They handed out food vouchers...). But then I met someone from our plane and she told me, that our flight was cancelled.

PMS, sleep deprivation and the prospect of spending Christmas alone in that shitty apartment with no food (I had defrosted the fridge the night before and the on campus shop was closed) are not a very nice combination... I wanted to through away that stupid hot chocolate (yes, THAT bad!!). When the first hysterics were over I went to the luggage claim and stood in line for a while to get another flight to somewhere on the continent. I got one to Amsterdam... that was supposed to leave in half an hour. (When I had been unable to sleep the night before I thought about stuff as one does in that situation... and the thought " I would like to go to Amsterdam again had crossed my mind once or twice, too. Ironic!) So I kind of sprinted through security check again, ran through that huge airport... in the wrong direction. ran back... and waited in the right area for 5 hours since nothing happened there either. after that we boarded... sat in the plane for half an hour and a really bad snow shower started... and than the message came through, that the whole airport was closed for the night.
My flight was not the only one cancelled of course, so the baggage claim hall was packed with people, one could hardly breathe... or walk in a comfortable pace. I think I was a little grumpy as I run by one of the girls I knew from the Erasmus programme. Sadly, I don't even remember her name (it was complicated), so I couldn't even sent her a Facebook message and apologise... >>
well... I kind of terrorised my family for a while and my father booked me two more flights for the next day... but to the only destination that was still available: London (Ironic, isn't it? the weeks before, London had had this snow chaos). one for 6:45 and one for 9, because I heard that the airport might still be closed to 8 am if they could not clear the runway in time. I decided quickly that it would be stupid to try and leave the airport and come back in the morning... especially since my luggage took ages to appear... I found some area where they had carpet... so it wasn't too cold from underneath... but it was close to the entrance, so I was freezing anyway. but I slept for an hour or so... around half two (2:30am) I decided to give up, got a coffee at McDonalds and decided to just wait in the line where I was supposed to check in in 1 1/2 hours. good decision. standing was a challenging task at that time (tired!!), but in front and behind me were two nice Indian guys and we talked... and the crowd of people behind us grew to crazy proportions.
After my third security check in two days I went back to my gate... (same as the Berlin flight the day before)... I'm really superstitious so I made a wide circle around the hot chocolate shop...
While we waited for an hour for more passengers to arrive to fill the last empty seats, it started snowing again... but we were lucky... the plane actually left this time (I actually felt like applauding! >> )
My father had watched the announced progress of the plane on the internet at home and booked me a flight from London to Germany as soon as it was sure that I would actually get to London. After all the chaos they had in Heathrow the previous weeks, the area seemed to be surprisingly snow-free and the airport was almost empty (who wants to travel on Christmas Eve?).
The only flight my father could get on such short notice was one, where only business class tickets were left... of course very expensive... but I enjoyed the waiting time in the Business lounge... and the (very necessary!!) shower! They had very good coffee and food there... complementary... and free wifi!
The flight itself was, again, an hour late... and I really did not enjoy it, despite the rather good food on actual porcelain dishes, for two main reasons: 1. I had a train to catch from Berlin to Jena, the last one that night and 2.: as I already noticed during the flight to London: flying sucks when you are sick... the pressure hurts badly in the ears!... and of course it is hard to enjoy when you know that this cost an arm and a leg.
The train, again, was late (40 minutes), but it was okay... I probably would have made it in time... (Business class sends out ones luggage directly after the one of disabled people and families with infants.) but it was okay... especially since I had to buy my ticket first.
In Jena they had about 30 cm new snow that day and night... but my father managed to pick me up at the airport... there were, of course, no taxis available.
My family had waited for me with our Christmas Eve dinner... I felt bad, because I know how quickly my mothers blood sugar level drops and we were home around 22:30... so basically my journey took 43 hours.
But one good thing: I didn't feel tired any more... I kind of reached the other side of tiredness where you feel like you could go on for a few more days without sleep. (of course my head hardly touched my pillow before I fell asleep that night...)
But ever since then I feel like I had a bad Jet Lag... and since we had to postpone the Christmas Eve ritual to the 25th and visits from and to family the next two days, I did not find the time to catch up the lost sleep yet. And tomorrow we go to the sea over New Years... I hope I don't fall asleep during Harry Potter tonight... I already watched it in English...
We were told to bring sport shoes to the Silvester celebrations... I think I will pack my new Tabi-boots and try them out. And I have to take my, also new, portable drive to exchange audio books with my cousin. (speaking of new and Audio Books: my brother gave me 6 Neil Gaiman stories audio books for Christmas!! ^^))
I will try and upload a few pictures to the older posts, too. Now that I can use all kinds of data transfer methods, it should be possible
I know I'm kind of behind on my correspondences... so to everybody who's emails and such I have not yet answered: I'm sorry and will try to get round to it soon.
I wish you all a great New Year's Eve and an even better new year!

So... if you read to down here: congratulations and thank you for your interest. If you tell me your name under "write", I will bring you a crappy souvenir from Ireland in Spring. If you ARE Irish, you can have something from Germany xD
28.12.10 18:14


SNOW!!

Friday night, we had a thunderstorm... and saturday morning at 8 I was woken up by hail... which left pea-sized clumps of ice on the floor... in the evening it froze over and became the foundation of a 5-10 cm layer of snow that fell last night... the whole campus is white!
real snow, not only brown slush... I didn't know they have that here... and in November...
28.11.10 23:38


Belfast and Ninjutsu Seminar

hm... I forgot to write about the Trip to Belfast... I uploaded a few pictures to Facebook... I think it still won't work here...
On Friday we arrived in Belfast around 2, which was great because we had time to go to the city center, look around and go shopping... I found some really nice shops, but didn't buy anything... actually I hoped to find some Christmas presents but didn't... one of the shopping centers had a glass dome from which you could see the whole city.
at 5 (too soon) the buses collected us and brought us back to the hostel... we could have walked... but I had no idea how to find it!
We cooked our own dinner, I bought some salad and microwave-rice at the Spar next door... the rice was really good. At 9 we left and went to two pubs....
breakfast was dreadful the next morning... well, not the food (toast with Nutella is good), but the instant coffee was undrinkable...
We left Belfast and went to some cliffs, where we could walk to a rope-bridge... We did not cross it (you had to pay... and I'm not even sure, if I could have done it)... we had nothing but sunshine that day. It was great. We drove the up coastline a little further, had lunch in a pub (I had Irish Stew... was nice) and then got to the Giant's Causeway... it's hard to describe... it is a rock formation that is really cool, plus cliffs and sea and sunshine and nice people... and the story behind it was funny... something about a bridge built between Northern Ireland and Scotland and a giant from Scotland coming over... and the (smaller) giant in Northern Ireland, who was very wise (he had eaten the “salmon of knowledge” ôo) dressed up as a baby so the Scottish giant thought he was just the baby of the Irish giant and panicked and flew, destroying the bridge behind him....
A few people got hit by a wave! I accidentally filmed that when I was just filming waves... ^^ have to put that up on Facebook... totally forgot about that. ^^
Saturday night we went to a Nightclub... I thought I should go, socialising etc... but I didn't really like it.
On Sunday we had a political cab-tour. They showed us the protestant area of Belfast (which looked really... scary. (except for all the geese!), the peace-wall (that separates the protestant from the catholic area) and the catholic area, which looked much nicer... much more suburb.
After the cab tour, we could go to the city again... sadly, the shops didn't open until 1pm... so I chose the earliest cab-group in vain! We had a coffee at Starbucks... I tried one of their Christmas specials... it was disgusting! (I hate syrup in coffee!). But the Lemon and Poppyseed muffin was good.
In town we found a really cool shop “the white shop” or something like that... the decoration was awesome!! every changing-booth was decorated like one room of the house! Even garden shed, toilet were there! The shop was great. Sadly, the clothes were not really my... colour (they were not white, despite the name of the shop... but still...). The employees were all really happy to work there. Nice atmosphere!
What was really cool was, that if you looked down the main roads of Belfast, you always looked at hills! It didn't really feel like a big city in the centre.
That's about it...


yesterday I got my first ever sport-related diploma.... and not even one that says „successful participation“ (which I always thought sound kind of sarcastic). But I'm really not sure if I should be happy about that. I really liked having the white belt... because I could take a BIG step back when Rob used sentences like „the green-belts will go first“... But since you have only 3 ½ colours in Ninjutsu, „green“ means really good people doing this for years as well as people like me, who still don't get how half of it works! (the colours are white (real beginners), green and black... and the half colour is red, which actually is green, but for girls).
So I'm really scared that people would expect much more of me now! ... and I'm not sure, if I really want to wear the belt (looks stupid with a wide T-shirt anyway)...

really weird parts of me hurt today... my neck for example.. or my left leg... (might have fallen on that one) but the Ninjutsu seminar was interesting. They showed us more of the mean tricks in the first two hours (yes, it started an hour late... ) and weapon fight in the second half.
most dreaded part was there: we had to get up in pairs of two and each show one technique we had learned... I really panicked because the line moved so quickly and I had no idea what I should do... so I just went for simple grab his face, trip him and push him over... I don't like the grapping someone's face-stuff... but I couldn't think of anything else >_< After that they were handing out the diplomas for people who „levelled up“ … Vitali got his first black-belt grade... that was really impressive... he had to fight against up to three people for 20 minutes (?) with and without weapons...
The description said the seminar would be from 10 to 4pm... but we did not start before 11... so I got up much too early once more! xD
As usual, we went to the Bar afterwards... but beer at 5 after a day like that really knocked me out... I could have gone to bed at 7!... I waited until 10... but once I was in bed, I couldn't sleep, dreading next Tuesday!

Now I will go to the city... looking around in the pedestrian zone next to the cinema I we went to on Friday (Harry Potter was awesome... but felt like leaving the cinema in the middle of the film!)... and maybe to IKEA!

Slán,
J.
21.11.10 12:54


Survival/ escape and evasion course

Well... this week was our Survival weekend...
I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea to go... especially after the short night friday (essay finished at half 2 (that actually means half PAST two, not like the German "halb zwei". confusing!).
since they were talking about leaving really early, at 7 (there was even talk of starting off at 6!)... so i got up early and went to the meeting point 15 minutes early and watched the sunrise. at 7, the first person showed up... well to make a long story short: we left half 7 and stopped at some petrol station for breakfast.
when we finally arrived in the wood in wicklow, near the two lakes we went to a few weeks ago with the Erasmus group, carried our stuff up to a clearing and noticed, that the group before us had left the space covered in carbage! So we had to clean up first and build up the tents. Rob had a spare sleeping bag and mat and Sinead (that's a girls name... i always forget it because I haven't heard it before... but I have difficulties with most irish names...) however, she was so nice let me stay with her in her tent! (two guys actually built their own shelters and said, it was fine, warm and dry and not-windy... but I would had been too terrified of random spiders to walk in... not to mention the random Rottweiler that Rob and Mary brought along (he was actually very nice and well-behaved... but huge! He made me very nervous in the beginning... especially once, when he met me in the forest...I had pulled my hat in my face and he started growling at me!)

the first thing we did was "how to lit a fire"... it had been raining the whole week... so it wasn't too easy, but Laura and I got a fire started after Robin (or was it Simon? I don't remember... well... one of the twins.) and Richy told us what we were doing wrong!
after lunch an Army-guy (Kevin?) came and showed us, how to camourflage properly and how to move forward, if you don't want to be seen. And last, how to use a map and giving precise coordinates on that map.
Before dinner we had to sneak up on Rob from about 200 meters away... I didn't reach him in time, but I wasn't shot (airsoft-gun) either so he didn't see me xD
we left our fire around 9 and walked down to the nearest village and spend the rest of the evening in a pub. Rob got really drunk. when we got back at midnight he began lighting a new fire and came in our tent when he heard, that Sinead and I were still talking and asked us, if we didn't want come out again and join the three remaining people around the fire... (we didn't)
we had 4°C around midnight, 1° at 8 in the morning (after sunrise)... and the air inside the tent was very damp... but i wore my hat and scarf... and most of my clothes... but I still couldn't sleep much... annoying.
After breakfast the next morning (Rob left his tent very late, but surprisingly fit), we packed up our stuff, brought it to the cars and got our instructions and a short first-aid-course (which is handy, since I already forgot most of that stuff... and the Irish don't have to do a course at all when they get their drivers license).
We had to devide into a camourflage and one normally dressed group. I was in the non-camo group. Richy gave us coordinates and we had to find it on the map and decide, how we want to get there (Rob went with us, but he wasn't allowed to help us find our way... but it was one path over the hill that went all the way to the waterfall that we had to reach.)... and we were told that the camo-group would try and sneak up on us and take us hostage. I don't really know, why we had to walk there... because they went to there by car as far as I know and the hide-and-seek game started there. (maybe they would have attacked us earlier, if we had taken the street.)
it was a really nice day, sunshine and all... and the hill and the waterfall (which was between the two lakes I wrote about a few weeks ago) was awesome...nice view! uphill was really exhausting and downhill my knees starte to hurt again...
but it was really funny how the people at the waterfall stared when we found the camo-guys. (and they didn't even do it properly with facepaint and plants like last night!)
It probably took longer than they expected (plus there was the storm warning and the getting-dark-at 5 thing...) so they decided that we would not walk back to the campsite and go up the next hill, but just had "lunch" (4pm) at a local pub in Glenda Lough, next to the monestary.
So... that's about it...
and I will go to bed now! it's only 9:15pm but I am really tired!
good thing that my first lecture tomorrow is at 1pm.

Slán,
J.
7.11.10 22:11


just a short notice

I disabled the comments on entries... if you want to comment, use the Guestbook ("write" in the menu)... the spam-notices were becoming too frequent and annoying!
Maybe I will reactivate it after a few weeks...
slán.
18.10.10 15:59


Weekend Trip to Galway

Just got back from the Galway trip.
We left Friday at 10:30ish... meaning that the last people arrived around 11... (punctuality is not very popular amongst the international students)
We went to the west with three buses... we stopped on the way to see a nice village (I of course have no idea, what it was called but it was really nice, with a big park with a nice church ruin... and an old castle that overlooked not only a great forest and park, but also a great lake on the other side (I might be able to find out what the town was called, because they told us that Pierce Brosnan married in that castle... hold on... Ashfor Castle!)
Well... after that we drove on to Galway... a small city at the coast.
The hostels were nice, 4 people in one room...
That evening the guys had planned a "pub crawl"... so we visited four different pubs that night. They probably picked some, that could hold many people. The first, "the King's head" was really nice, slightly medieval looking, but of course awfully crowded (we alone were 150 people and there were other guests as well) and the noise-level was incredible! the second was nice too, and the third had a live band (but no irish music, sadly)... the 4th had one as well, but that was a rather small pub and so full, that one could hardly turn on the spot... so I went home with a few others (I was really surprised, that I was the last from my room to arrive... the other were already in bed.)
The next day we had to get up at 8, because we had to catch the Ferrie to Aran Island. We found out, that there had been a misunderstanding with the hostel and there was no breakfast. I went to a nearby café with Sabine and bought something to eat...
the bus driver got really annoyed when, again, some girls were really late...
I had of course remembered to pack my camera... but what had totally slipped my mind was, that I had not yet put the SD-card back in after my last (unsuccsessful) attempts to upload pictures to this blog.
I was really lucky. One of the guys had a spare that he lend me (I will meet him tomorrow to get the pictures on my Laptop... have to remember to take Sascha with me tomorrow... and look for some space on my hard disk... I get "there is no space left"-messages all the time!
The way from Galway to the ferrie was really nice... it was exactly the kind of landscape that one associates with Ireland: Hills covered with tufts of grass and rocks... and sheep between them, seperated by the omnipresent stone-walls.
I really enjoyed the boat trip... I hadn't seen the sea for a long time now... and the day was really sunny, so it was nice to stand on the deck and enjoy the wind and waves. I found out, that my rainjacket fits under my new coat, so it was not too cold.
Aran Island looked like just some gray hill from the sea...
next to the harbour was a bike-rental shop where we could get bikes for the day.... I took off on my own, following the street that were going along the coast line for a while... than I just randomly went up one street (it got pretty steep at one point) until I found a street sign that pointed out the way to some fort.
I followed it, not too long on bike, since the street became a pebble stone covered way going up towards the empty hill of which moste of the Island consisted.
after some time the steet ended infront of a stonewall.
I looked around for a while, just in case I had missed some other path... but I left my bike at that wall. that was when I first noticed how unbelievably silent it was. there was hardly any noise! only the distand sound of a shovel hitting the soil (a farmer was harvesting potatoes) and two birds singing.
It was hard to imagine, that there were 250 other students on that Island (there was a second group of international student... also from Dublin, but some smaller university)...
I walked back and went around the Island a bit. there were some parts with more life, like the Gealic-football/Rugby pitch, where a game was going on. but you hardly met any people.
I went back and then found the real way up to the ruins of a fort and a lighthouse.
On the way I saw a robin... I havent't seen one in years!! and there was a donkey standing around... really cute... but by watching it you can imagine why Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh) is portrayed the way he is. Donkeys somehow look depressed...
The way up there was awfully steep but luckily shorther than it looked from below. When I was up there, I ate the toast I brought... (it was like gummy... I actually meant to eat that on the previous day... but there was nutella on it... that makes everything better! ) For Lunch I just sat on a large stone infront of the lighthouse, overlooking the sea... and it was even quieter than before! not a single sound was to be heard! It was a great sort of silence, because the sun shone brightly (not a cloud in the sky!), the air was fresh, the stone warm and the landscape beautiful...
I walked around the ruins a bit... then I met some other girls from our group and they told me, that there were some cliffs at the end of the Island... I went with them for a while... but it was so great driving down that road, speeding along without even hitting the pedals more than once a minute... that I thought about having to go back!
I did not go to the cliffs but turned around and made my way back (up the hills a lot , of course!)... I think this was a good decision. looking at the pictures, it might have been great to see teh cliffs, but I would have panicked on the way back, becouse there was only one ferrie going back and I needed to buy some water before I had to return the bike... I was 15 minutes early at the harbour, but I prefered that to having to race up all those hills, dreading to be left behind...
In the evening I went with Sabine and Vanessa out for dinner.
I ordered Lasagne... and I got a not too big piece of lasange and a huge heap of "chips" (french fries!) I havn't really been out for lunch in a restaurant yet, so I did not know, that they serve chips with almost everything!
After that we walked around the town for a while... it was a really nice evening... still no cloud in the sky, which was black with just a few stars and the moon... we went to the harbour, where they had a piece of the old city wall left, and along the pedestrian zone and the street with all the pubs. Then we sat on a bench on the big square and watched the people walking by.
We didn't went to the club with the others ( I wouldn't have anyway because it would have disturbed the really relaxed feeling that lingered after the day on this amazingly quiet island!)
Today we left an hour later. on the way home we had five stops... the first and the last were not that spectacular (both small castles that we could only look at frome outside... and, in one case, far away (but in that case the small port and the very colourful houses there were nice) and the third being a pub where we had lunch (I got tired of standing in line for the hot food and just bought a tuna & cheese roll, which was very tasty and filling)
The other two stops were at cliffs and were really great.
I don't know, what the name of the first spot was...
But it was awesome. there were no balustrades whatsoever, although it was pretty high... and the stones were really strangely washed out on top of the cliffs... it was very holey and uneven... but you coud try and walk right to the edge of the cliffs... if you dared... very impressive!! and it looked just great!
After lunch we went to the Cliffs of Moher... It was even higher above the sea. They are nominated for the "New Seven Wonders" and (because: who cares about that if that hasn't even been decided yet): this is the cliff they filmed the stormy scene in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at!! (I have a picture of me with the cave in the background! )
But there was some stonewall around the cliffs, so you could not get too close to the rim...
but there was a weak half-trempled-down fence one could easily climb throug and a very small path at the end of the wall. Despite the sign that said "incredibly dangerous!!" (or something like that) there were many peaople walking along that path... so I followed them. that was awesome... luckily the wind came from the sea, pushing you towards the meadow (and the barbwire that was supposed to keep the cows from falling into the ocean) on the safe side of the path... because if you would have tripped, the only possibility to survive would have been to grasp one of the bundles of grass that were growing on the small slope that was between the path and the sea deep down... and it had been raining before, so the grass would have been slippery.
But the view was great... and not disturbed by the "viewpoint-for-tourists"-feeling that was greated by the paved path along the walls...
well... that's about it.
It was a great weekend!! I really enjoyed it and I am really looking forward to the trip to Belfast in November!

ps.:
Please ignore all the mistakes in this entry... I just wanted to write it down, before I forget half of it... but I'm too tired to check it for spelling and grammar...
and also: I get spam-messages with advertisement-links all the time... I do erase tham as soon as I notice them... but if you see them before me, please DON'T klick on any of the links, I don't know if they are safe.
17.10.10 23:49


Ninjutsu

Yesterday night was the first training... afterwards we went to the bar next door. was really nice... and exept for the "warm up" (I remain he was trying to kill us non-trained newbies!), it was really interesting... surprisingly less painful than it looked... yesterday.
This morning I got up without much trouble... a little stiff, nothing more... but I have been getting worse ever since! I could hardly walk home from the theatre just now. Hopefully that will be over tomorrow... and get better over the year!
But I guess that is how to find out if a sport is good for you. if literally every part of your body hurts, that probably means that you should keep doing it until that stops! (the only thing getting better over the day was the soreness in my thumb. (we did some nuckle-twisting-lever-point-stuff...))
I think I will try and continue that as long as possible... If they don't kick me out if I don't get better (or too slowly) O_o
Hopefully my arms stop aching before Friday evening, or I won't be having much fun with Archery.

I will try to get in my bed now.

good night,
J.
29.9.10 23:07


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