I am sitting in my room on this quiet Friday evening reflecting upon my productive week. Since I last blogged about my visit with mom and Yiayia, I have gone to County Kerry, Killarney Village for the weekend with my program. This week, I made a schedule all of the school work I needed to accomplish and have been extremely strict with myself, no partying and no fun when there is work to be done! Don't feel sorry for me, I have had more fun than I should be having during normal school nights when I would usually be doing school work back at Penn State. This week I am successfully catching up with it feels like to be 8 weeks of school work.... So this is a challenge I am accepting graciously.
My weekend trip to County Kerry was pleasant and short, despite some bad weather and rather disgusting accommodations (1 hostel: 150 students). I enjoyed the country side of County Kerry. County Kerry and specifically Killarney Village is a very popular summer destination spot in Ireland. The town is small, but full of fancy hotels which must indicate it becomes quite popular when the weather is nice.
On Friday, our tour bus picked up the students living in my complex in Galway (American study abroad students) and we traveled to Limerick to pick up other study abroad students. The weekend trip was organized by our study abroad program provider and was therefore open to any students studying throughout Ireland. When we arrived in Killarney, we toured the "Muckross House", an old mansion that once hosted a visit of Queen Victoria. After the tour, we were provided dinner for the night and I enjoyed a different and new night life to explore in the town with my friends.
Saturday morning we woke up early and went on a nature tour of the County Kerry Mountains which are privately own by a family who "exclusively" took us around the mountains by horse and buggy and boat. The weather was FREEZING!!!!! Rain blowing in your face the whole time, it would have been so much better if it were the summer months. Regardless we did get to see the good scenery, it's just very hard to type enthusiastically about the experience because my toes have never been so cold in my life, even with my LL Bean boots. To top it all off, we had an outdoor picnic lunch afterward... who planned this trip??? I guess I am not allowed to complain because I still got to go and am still in Ireland. The pictures do not do the scenery justice however because it was extremely beautiful. It's always nice to get out to new areas.
I came home from the weekend trip with an overwhelming sensation of how Galway is really home to me. Galway now provides me that feeling of security and comfort after being here for 7 weeks. I was anxious to get back to Galway because I have been so busy between going to Rome, Mom and Yiayia, and the trip, I have not had a weekend to myself... at all! Now this weekend, Friday night, I am so happy to be home in bed relaxing and typing my blog and getting my school work done. Every single day this past week I went to the library for about 5 hours or more...when I need to be serious I am good at it. Tomorrow I am planning on going back to the library and same for Sunday...maybe I will squeeze in some shopping sometime. I just skyped my mom and dad for a few hours, they are getting ready to go to my brother's quarterfinal basketball game. My mom wishes she was back in Ireland with me.
Next weekend, the countdown finally ends as Reilly will make his way to Ireland by Saturday morning. I am SO EXCITED to see him! I have not seen him since before Christmas. We are going to have so much fun, and we were also just skyping about what golf courses we are thinking about playing while he is here. He said he is willing to play as long as it is warmer than 40 degrees... he is braver than I am! But we will manage. I look forward to blogging about everything we do together. This is why I am working so hard to get caught up on my school work this week. Reilly, thanks for being my academic motivation.
Galway is quiet as all the Irish students have gone home and all Americans are in bed catching up on what has been another quick and eventful week. The time flies as always. Next weekend is March....
I hope February has brought all study abroad students fun adventures and moments of tranquility as we have all developed a sense of what we call home during this experience. Let us now hope for warmer weather, good grades, and experiences of a lifetime to come in the remaining 3 months. Cheers.