Monday, November 9, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends

So I’m feeling completely better. The whole stressed/homesick/tired thing happened, I acknowledged it, and now I am over it. For the first time in probably two weeks, yesterday was a gloriously sunny day in Belfast. SEE!

Seriously I think that is all that I needed. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were tough days. Between sad things going on at home that I wish I could have been there to support, a sudden realization of how much school work I have to do here (this is supposed to be a European vacation right?), and the constantly gloomy atmosphere in this city, I was just about done. Having my banking get messed up was the last straw, and I was not happy.

BUT…between Saturday night and now, my attitude about being here has done a total 360. Saturday night there was a showing of The Big Lebowski at the Queens Film Theater, the movie theatre on campus that shows lots of independent, quirky, and classic movies. It’s also super cheap for students, so it’s turned into one of my favourite things about this place. Anyways, the BL night was awesome. I had never seen the whole thing, and I’m very glad that this was the atmosphere that I saw it in. There was a big party at the theatre before the 10 pm showing of the movie. A DJ was playing Big Lebowski ish music, they were giving out free memberships to the theatre (even cheaper than it already is, woo), and free White Russians for all (I forgot about how good those were). Anyways, the movie was hilarious. I’m jumping on that cult film bandwagon about 10 years too late, but I honestly did love it. Reminds me way too much of some family members of mine. The dude abides.

So yes, after the movie I came home and had some much needed skype dates with friends from home. Although it is just a computer screen, talking to 2 of my better friends really made me feel a lot better. It’s great to know that I have been away about 6 months of this year so far, and I feel closer than ever to certain people. I’m excited to be home (42 days?), but now I can take comfort in the fact that some people will always be there no matter how far away I feel sometimes.

Anyways, I woke up on Sunday to SUNSHINE. The temperature was warm, there was not a cloud in the sky, and there was no freaking way I was about to spend my entire day at the library researching for my philosophy paper. So, I put the books aside, packed a silly little lunch (I had to really stretch my groceries out until I got money this morning), and headed out to Cave Hill:

This is the place that I hiked my first week here and thought that I would return to every day for my entire stay. That didn’t realistically work out (hiking cave hill in the rain would be fatal.) but I’m so glad that I got out there again yesterday. This time I went alone (the first time I went there was a group of 8ish of us), and it was awesome. I could go whatever pace I wanted, explore some of the other paths, and sit at the viewpoints for as long as I wanted. Here’s a few pics of the awesomeness.

That cliff was my chosen lunch spot, where I ended up just hanging out for about an hour. I’m not going to get all sentimental about how much I enjoyed being able to reflect, but it was definitely time well spent. I have been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I have been given this year and sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself to think of everything that I’ve done. I’m trying to come up with a comprehensive list of the coolest things that happened in 2009, but I’ll probably save that for a New Years post or something.

I am very aware that not everybody gets to do stuff like this, and I am going to appreciate every single day I have here until I fly home. After hearing the news about what happened in Merrimack last Saturday night, I had a pretty intense reality check about how I shouldn’t be taking any of the little things for granted. Although I only knew him through my brother, I thought about Chris and how much he would have probably loved to be sitting where I was. No one deserves to go in the way that he did. I left his name in a rock at the top of the hill. Rest in peace Chris.

On my way down, the perfect hike was wrapped up with the most incredible rainbow that I have ever seen in my life. Not only was it ridiculously bright and clear, but I could see exactly where it started and where it ended. I sat down and just looked at it for a while, and then another rainbow appeared too! Ireland really is amazing.

After the hike, I headed back home to “work on my paper”. That turned into me having a long phone conversation with dad and mom. My skype actually works this week since most of the people in my building have gone home and therefore the internet isn’t as jammed up.

THEN I went and hung out with Lindsay at Patrick’s place. We made dinner with all of the leftover crap we could find (sautéed mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower, onions, etc with boiled potatoes and pasta). It was actually a very satisfying vegetarian meal considering all we had was random leftovers sitting around. Then we decided that we are going to London for Thanksgiving. I love that I met Lindsay here. She’s doing the coolest thing right now and even though she gets worried about where she’ll go next or what she’ll do when she gets home, I know that taking the time to travel on your own can be the most rewarding experience of a lifetime. So yes, today she is off to Rome, then Athens, then France, and then on Thanksgiving day I am going to meet her in London. In Amsterdam we met a lot of very fun people from the United States and Canada who we will meet up with. It’s definitely not what a normal Thanksgiving would be, but I can’t think of a better way to make it work while I’m here. So excited : )

I’m quitting the lab. It has been an incredible experience working in it fulltime the past 6 weeks, however my schedule has gotten tremendously busier and I have to make some sort of adjustment. I’m pretty disappointed to make this decision, but I want to enjoy my final weeks here and actually explore more of Ireland while doing well in my classes instead of volunteering 30 hours of my week to a resume builder. Yep. There it is.

This morning I did the 7am spinning class again. It kicked my ass, but it feels a billion times better for my knee. I can tell that I’m getting in probably the best shape of my life. Who knew that would happen in Ireland... the land of beer, potatoes, and fish & chips.

1 month til 22. Whoa now.

Can’t stop listening to new Jack Johnson En Concert CD. Get it.

Ok, time for Genetic Manipulation class. Awoo.

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