Okay, fine, I actually mean party, singular - I haven't progressed to the Irish standard of going out every night yet.....
Julie's (one last time - she's my Canadian roommate!) birthday was last Thursday, and so I threw her a surprise party! We've become quite good friends with a fair number of other international students, and so I talked to them a couple days earlier in the week to hear their thoughts and possibly enlist their help. Fortunately, they were all stoked, and so from there, we embarked upon our secret mission.
I created a secret Facebook group with them all, spent way too much time on my phone messaging everyone (which I was worried she would find weird, because I'm not typically attached to my phone), and told her I was going running when I actually went shopping for cake & stuff. It was devious, it was awesome, and it worked.
The day of the party, I had school until 5:15, at which I then made plans with Julie to meet right after at Supervalu so we could go grocery shopping. Meanwhile, everyone else was at our apartment, setting up! I was super nervous, not wanting us to finish grocery shopping too early and not leave them enough time to get the apartment ready, but not wanting to be super late either, and have everyone bored waiting for us to arrive. Through the gift of text messaging however, I was able to keep in touch with people at our apartment, and we ended up timing it quite nicely. The only hitch (which wasn't really a hitch, since Julie didn't notice, but I had a minor panic attack) was that you could hear everyone talking in our apartment while we were outside opening the door! Ah well, she figured it out pretty soon anyways after we got inside, since all the lights were off, there were about a million people in our kitchen, and there was a table full of candles lit. She was so surprised!I think she had a really good time, and I'm so stoked that it all worked out so wonderfully! The group of friends we've made here has been amazing, for sure.
Friday, on the other hand, was pretty relaxed - though we did have two minor crises: Julie's adapter exploded, and I burnt my hand.
I maybe somewhat exaggerating Julie's misfortune, but at the same time, not really. She's been using this adapter/converter for the last two weeks with no problems, but then on Friday night, after five minutes of plugging it in, it started smoking and sparking. She pulled it out right away, and of course, we both proceeded to freak out. We called one of our guy friends to come look at it, and then two more guys showed up as well - for all the testosterone that was circulating in our apartment, they had no idea what to do about the adapter other then the sound advice of not to use it hahaha. I ended up lending Julie my adapter, and on Sunday we found a place that sells simple cheap ones, so ta da! One crisis solved.
Also on Friday night (I blame this on the fact that it was 1am), I placed my entire hand on the stove element, which I obviously didn't realize had just been used. Please, nobody freak out, I'm fine. The funny part though, is that we googled home remedies for burns, and came up with milk or cold tea bags, and I didn't really want to soak my hand in milk, so I put two cold tea bags on my hand for the next half hour. I'm not sure if it helped, but when I woke up the next morning, I definitely had a story to tell with my hand not only being red, but having a strong yellow tinge and smelling slightly like tea.......!
(In all seriousness, it's totally fine. I only ended up actually burning a small section of the bottom of my hand. It's already a running joke now, unfortunately.)
On Saturday, WE WENT TO KILKENNY - and it was awesome. It was originally something that just me & Julie had planned, cause we thought it was outrageous that we'd been in Ireland for almost two weeks and hadn't seen a castle yet. We did invite a couple of friends, but I guess Kilkenny is a popular attraction, because there ended up being 21 of us traipsing down to the bus stop, where we consequently took up over half the bus. I would personally like to attribute the growth in numbers though, to mine & Julie's outstanding personalities - I mean, who wouldn't want to spend an entire day with us? But it also might be because everyone loves Canadians - I mean, we're just so modest......
The first thing we did in Kilkenny was obviously go and see Kilkenny Castle - and it definitely lived up to my expectations. We got a guided tour where we learnt a whole bunch of history, of which I can tell you none of, but I can say the whole place was gorgeous, both inside and out. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking on what the place was like. Goodness knows, we all took enough pictures. I did find myself stopping a couple times during the day, just to look around and take it in though. I find myself needing to do that a lot, because even surrounded by obvious facts that make my life so different from back home - such as talking to people with accents, the everlasting cold, and specifically here, looking up at this giant castle - I still have to just breathe and remind myself that I'm in Ireland. I'm beginning to understand that just because you travel to a different place, doesn't mean you have to feel different - if you wanted, you could walk right through everything and not be changed at all. For me, that's quite a scary prospect - I came here to experience different things and to let myself be bewildered and amazed at what I do have the chance to experience. I do not want to live through the lens of a camera and only see through the thin paper of maps.
Anyway, to wrap up Kilkenny, the other stand outs were a cathedral we went and saw (I'm amazed at its immenseness), and the lunch place we went to (exceptionally quaint, historic, delicious, and delightfully Irish!).
The only noteworthy thing from Sunday was that I finally went for a run - and I didn't even get lost ;)