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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Letzte Einträge: just a short notice, Belfast and Ninjutsu Seminar, SNOW!!, Odyssee, Procrastination, Things that are different: