Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Pancake Day!

So I just wanted to write a quick little tid-bit about the delicious holiday and new tradition I discovered today :)

In America, today would be the most hailed of all days- Fat Tuesday. So when I woke up this morning, I decided that for lent (beginning tomorrow) I would give up my daily Cadbury Carmello's and Buttons. But as a last hoorah I would indulge myself with them today, as any normal chocolate lover would and just as I have for every Fat Tuesday before.

Instead, I found that in Ireland, the tradition is quite different. It was instead..Pancake Day.
I had a message from my Irish friend, and she told me to "Enjoy my pancakes today!" Confused, I asked around and indeed found the rumor to be true. If you do not have pancakes for at least one meal today...you're committing a sin. Just kidding...but everyone does it, its tradition. :)

So I woke up at 6am to travel to the immigration office so I wouldn't be "thrown into a dungeon" like my Garda officer affectionately advised me and I received my Irish student ID. Afterwards, I went to classes, went downtown and then went to Tesco (supermarket) and strolled the aisles for pancake mix. After getting sidetracked as usual by popcorn, strawberries, MORE chocolate etc. I asked an employee where the heck the mix could be. He pointed me to the large crowded display in the front of the store. Feeling slightly like an idiot, I made my way through the crowd and bought the two packets that everyone else with an Irish accent seemed to buy.

I then came home, and informed my roommates we were having a pancake dinner. At first, we realized the recipe was a tad milky. And then realized we were making crepes, the mix was titled "PANCAKE MIX" and everyone else was buying it, so we pondered for a while and decided this must be what "Pancake Day" is all about. At first, we nearly burnt down the kitchen or suffered from smoke inhalation injuries before my roommate Kelly had to take over. But after about 65 crepes later, I was making them with no problem. :) And they were honestly so ridiculously good, I was happy to have a new found love for "pancakes" and "pancake day".

So the moral of the story is, I intended this day to be just as every other Fat Tuesday but instead ditched my usual chocolate hoarding for the day and greatly appreciated the tradition that I discovered in my new home. :) Happy Pancake eating everyone, talk to you soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

London and Cork college week !

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the little break in post-age. I had a busy last weekend in London and yesterday I just got back from visiting some friends in County Cork!

Last weekend, a group of about 12 of us went to London for the weekend! The city was absolutely beautiful and very big. It was hard to try to fit everything into three days but we walked EVERYWHERE and saw some of the major fun places. On Thursday night we got into London really late, so we woke up on Friday morning early and traveled to some of the free galleries and did touristy things! I loved the National Gallery and seeing Van Gogh's paintings up close. We then went to Buckingham palace, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey etc. I loved Buckingham Palace and we really lucked out with the weather! :) Here's a picture of my friends, Kelly, Meg and I underneath one of the famous Lions in Trafalgar Square. I was being a scaredy-cat and they had to do some serious convincing to get me to climb up there:

The next day we broke off into a smaller group and a few of us went to Harrod's department store. Harrod's was one of my favorite parts of the trip. You could honestly spend HOURS in that place. It's about six huge floors and you could seriously get lost if you weren't paying attention ( I did, about three times.) We saw the pet store, food hall, the Princess Diana and Dodi memorial and all of the luxurious fashion... (Although, I had a strong feeling most of the brands are not targeted to study abroad students on a strict budget...sigh.)

The food hall was literally nothing like I've ever seen. They had gelato, fudge, candy, meat, pizza and absolutely everything you could ask for. I had some gelato and fudge, the best lunch a girl could ask for, right?

After Harrod's, we went to the Tower of London and then we went to the London Eye. The London Eye is that massive ferris wheel that towers above London. We went at night so it was so pretty to see the entire city lit up. They take you into these little capsules and you can see absolutely everything. It was so much fun!! Here's a picture of my roommate and I infront of the London Tower Bridge :)

On Sunday, half of the group had an early flight but a few of us stayed for an extra day. My friend Kelly has a friend studying abroad at Imperial College in London so we went to stay with her and saw a play, Jersey Boys, and went around to a few of the shopping centers. I LOVED the play. The play was about the group The Four Seasons and we were surprised how many of the songs we knew and how fun it was! After the play, we went down to the college to watch the Superbowl with a few of the other American students before we left for our extremely early flight back to Galway. As much as I loved London, I was so happy to return to our small, familiar town of Galway :) It made me so happy to know that I consider this another home now, and how happy I am to be settled into such a quaint, friendly town.

I unpacked, got myself into the swing of classes and then on Wednesday night my friend and I traveled down to the south of Ireland to visit Cork. My two Irish friends from the summer, Susie and Aoife, go to University College Cork and it was UCC RAG (Raise and Give) and College week. It was soooo nice to see them and I missed my Irish friends so much!! We went to a few of the pubs and walked around the college and shops. It was a quick little trip but I had so much fun having them show us around Cork and meeting all of their college friends. It was so nice having Irish friends that could show you around, tell you where to go, and the best things to order at food places. For example, I was introduced to the piece of heaven that is "Garlic, Cheese Chips" . They are fries (or chips as we call them here) covered in cheese and garlic. Honestly, I need to find them in the US when I get back because my life's forever changed after having them. At the college, they had so many activities during the day to raise money for different charities around the area. One daring student raised over 150 euro to shave one of his eyebrows off. Another, shameless participant had his chest waxed in the college bar and raised about 300! Anything for charity I guess :) We also went to a Ceili, which is traditional group Irish dancing, on top of the medicine building. A little embarrassing when other students walked by, but I was happy to have a background in Irish dancing so I could keep up with the others :)

This weekend, we're relaxing and hanging around Galway. Next weekend is our program's trip to Paris! I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on all of my travels and adventures :)

On another note, the SMC Bloggers are holding a contest for high school seniors!! We want to know what you guys would like us to write about. We want fun, interesting topics so leave a comment on any of our blogs with what you'd like to hear. We'll gather them all together at the end of February and decide the best ideas!

AND we have another video/youtube contest for SMC Students and a chance to win 500$!! Read all about the rules and info for these on Ross', our social media interns blog:

Thanks guys and talk to you all soon!!