Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ireland, Page One

I'm officially moved in to a foreign country. And boy was it an adventure getting here. Turns out it's not exactly easy to pick up and move for five months.

It started with a hurricane.
Okay, not really, but when I woke up on Monday, I thought there was some sort of tropical storm going on outside my windows. Naturally, my first thought was: oh shit, the flight.
I spent the morning alternating between packing up all the final bits, crying over the touching goodbye letter Mom left me, and standing next to Jack (the dog) with our noses pressed against the window, watching. Waiting.
Finally, the skies cleared and I zipped up the last suitcase, loaded them up and off we went. It was all very non-dramatic.
The filler bits are boring: there was no traffic on the way to Newark Airport (weird), no line to get my boarding pass (weirder), and no grabby stories from the blue-gloved TSA darlings. I admit, I almost cried in the security line because my parents weren't leaving. They just kept standing and waving and smiling and I was mentally saying, leave before they escort me away for hysterical behavior. Needless to say, there is no ESP in the family.
But I got through the line and got to the gate, the farthest one away naturally. That's where I met up with my friend and roommate, Sarah (check out her blog here), who I hadn't seen in three long weeks. Three weeks and two days if we want to be like that.
We were both pretty quiet, silently freaking out I think. I said on twitter that sitting at the gate was the oh shit what have I done part of the travel. Or at least the first time I had that moment. Turns out that most of our flight was also headed to Galway (we flew into Shannon airport) to attend school at the university. The gate was not big enough. Like, who decided that fifty seats is sufficient for a plane that seats over two hundred? A plane that is full no less.
Of course our flight was delayed. It was only an extra hour but it sure felt like longer, especially since we were seated under a lovely air conditioning vent. By the windows.
But board we did. I was almost last onto the plane which meant they had to gate-check my carry on (no biggie) which took extra time but then we were at last seated. Because most of the flight was students, of course I ended up sitting next to one! We actually ended up getting along pretty well, sharing our disgust for the Kardashians and airline food, and then finding out we were actually going to be living in the same apartment building in Galway.
And that's how Lauren became our third roommate.
Wait, let me back up.
We got off the plane and went through customs and they took our picture and everything was just fine until they lost my luggage. Oh yes, you read that right. I'm in a foreign country for five months with no luggage.
Just. Wonderful.
Moving on because I don't want to think about the fact my suitcase may or may not be in the country, may or may not be in the hands of some random dude, and may or may not make it back to me. Lord, let us pray.
We took a cab instead of the bus, knowing that we were probably getting swindled a bit on the price but between the four of us, it seemed worth it. The cabbie was an old irish man who was very friendly and he talked a lot about Ireland so the ride was educational, if not overpriced.
Finally, we got to the apartment building in Galway and stood in the lobby for a good ten minutes while the landlord figured out where everyone would stay. Bless him, he actually got everyone where they wanted to be. Since Lauren was alone, she got to live with us! Yay for new friends! Although honestly, by the end of the day, it feels as though we've all known each other for years.

We settled into the apartment and then, because we had no soap or toliet paper or food, we ventured out into Galway. The town is busy but quaint, with bright color buildings all right in a row so that even in the rain, it gives off a cheerful vibe. After wandering for a bit, we found the grocery store. Okay, food shopping in a foreign country was the hardest part so far. It felt like everything was different. Between the three of us, we managed to buy the basics and haul them back to the apartment. But we still hadn't had lunch. So back out we went. There's a healthy cafe place right around the corner so we dodged the raindrops and went there for sandwiches, which were delicious, although anything would have tasted good as long as it was edible. Back to the apartment for showers (can you say not enough hot water?) and a much needed nap, and now we're all a little less irritable. The jet lag is catching up to us so we stayed classy with frozen pizza and a bottle of wine for dinner. I think bed might be soon. I think if I listen hard enough, that pillow is calling me. It wants me. I'm going to go make the relationship mutual.

Thanks for reading about my first day in Ireland and check back for more updates as we unlock the secrets of our new home!

I think Mom had a hard time saying goodbye.

Reunited in Newark!

Downtown Galway!

Roommates :)

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