Settling in at UCD: Part II

An Irish Beach Day (4/9/13)

The Irish Beach. People enter via concrete stairs, or a concrete ramp with rails.

On Wednesday, my fellow botanist and Malaysian companion took a trip to the beach, as suggested by my Irish friend. Along the way, we met up with another student from the Facebook group. At first, we stopped by a random place next to the railroad tracks. There were several people there, sitting there, just enjoying the ocean. My fellow botanist and I decided to take a dip into the water. Man, it was cold! Not only that, where we were had an abundance of algae. It was rather lovely though. Then, the beach here in Ireland is very different from that of California. For one, it doesn’t necessarily have a lot of sand. Instead, there was a lot of concrete, and even a ramp with rails leading into the sea. It was quite interesting.

Our lovely stir fry dinner. MmMMmmmm. ❤

On our way home, we stopped by Tesco again. It was rather fun, and interesting. I had problems learning how to use my credit card, since you don’t swipe the card, instead you insert the chip portion of it into the bottom of the credit card machine – which looks very similar to the ones you swipe back home. We also found out, as we didn’t bring many reusable bags with us, that we have to pay for plastic bags, €0.22 each. For dinner, my Malaysian companion and I had a stir fry dinner.

The lovely President’s Welcome with free scarves and all.

After dinner, we headed over to O’Reilly Hall for the President’s Welcome. I reunited with my lovely German companion and my fellow botanist. On our seats during the event, we were given a free scarf and a backpack. It was the same things as all introductory welcomes were. The only difference is that we had a reception afterwards, where everyone – except me – got a free voucher for a drink. You could get sodas, red or white wine, or just water. I just wanted water, but the ‘bartender’ couldn’t give me any without a voucher. Thankfully there was a guy walking around hanging people extra vouchers. At the reception, we met some Singaporeans, a tall German guy, and a very lovely Italian girl. We stayed up talking until we were the last group to leave at about 10pm.

The Donnybrook Discovery & Traditional Irish Céilí (5/9/13)

Left: the pen-like salt and pepper grinders/shakers. Top right: individually wrapped sugar cubes. Bottom right: my delicious Traditional Chowder.

On the third day, I woke up and actually made breakfast of eggs and toast. Then, I met up with my Malaysian companion and we walked around and got lost into a quaint little neighborhood. We somehow ended up in Donnybrook and explored Donnybrook Road for a little while. We had lunch at a restaurant that was on top of a grocery store; it was called The Restaurant @ Donnybrook Fair. I had a cup of Traditional Chowder, which came in a small, shallow bowl with a rather large brim. My Malaysian companion ordered a Morehampton Char Grilled Steak Sandwich. It was an open-faced sandwich, so she had a fun time eating that. I think the best part of the restaurant was the salt and pepper shaker. They were in the shape of pens and you ‘clicked’ the ‘pen’ in order to grind up the salt or pepper. I would love to own a set of salt and pepper shaker set like that. Another odd thing was the fact that the sugar cubes were all individually wrapped.

When our stomachs were full with delicious food, we walked down to the grocery store and took a look around. I found Goldfish crackers, despite the rumors that had been told to one of my fellow Californians. I also discovered that a box of box of our beloved Kellog’s Poptarts cost something like €6.50! It was absurd.

Our exploration came to an end when we had to head back to the campus for my Non-EU orientation, which I was late to, due to the fact that the location of the orientation changed and we were notified via e-mail an hour after I had left home. After orientation, I reunited with my fellow botanist and we went to the céilí hosted by the Residence people. These are two of the dances we learned:

The Walls of Limerick (Ballaí Luimní)

(Isteach do trí, isteach dó trí
Amach dó trí, amach dó trí) x2

Calíní trasna, srón le srón, a haon dó trí, a haon dó trí
Buachaillí trasna tóin le tóin haon dó trí ‘s a haoin dó trí
Sleascéad dó trí ceathar cúig sé seacht
Ar ais, dó trí ceathar cúig sé seacht
Luaschadh! dó trí ceathar cúig sé seacht
ar ais dó trí ceathar cúig sé seacht!

Arís!

Shoe the Donkey (Cur Crúb ar an Asal)

Shoe the donkey, shoe the donkey, shoe the donkey agus cas ar. (repeat indefinitely)

Walking to City Centre from UCD (6/9/13)

The next day, my Malaysian companion, the Singaporeans, the Italian girl and I took a walking trip to city center. On our way there, we dropped by a grocery store and found that a box of Kraft Mac N Cheese cost €4.50, absolutely ridiculous! On the way, I stopped by several charity shops looking for a rain/wind jacket. I ended up buying one at the Fashion Factory, a discount store where they sold things that did not sell in another store due to defects or other reasons. We also stopped by the TK Maxx in St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, where I decided to look for shoes. Here, I discovered that I can only fit in children’s shoes in Ireland (UK 3, EUR 36). I found my perfect pair of shoes, but it was not in my size. We also dropped by the Dunnes Store, where I bought some dark blue knee socks, and found out how cheap everything was: a set of 3 knives were only €3; a brand new, cheap pot or pan is about €5, and everything else was cheaper – before currency conversion – than if I had gotten them at a discount store back home, like Marshalls or Ross. We had lunch/snack at Marks & Spencer (M&S). One of the Singaporeans thought it was too ‘posh’ to go into, as their clothes looked rather expensive. However, there was a surprisingly large grocery store underneath the ground level entrance on Grafton Street. There I found their generic version of the Lady Grey tea by Twinings that I like so much. It was only €2.50, so I had to buy it. Later on, we found our perfect Asian grocery store, Asia Market. It was the best thing ever! There was almost everything I could think of that I wanted from home, in terms of ingredients for Asian cooking.

A Day in the City with the Flatmates (7/9/13)

Inside Eason off of O’Connell Street. First floor: books. Second floor: school supplies/stationery. Third floor: electronics?

At the end of the week, my Italian and Chinese flatmates decided to take a trip out to the city to buy some necessities and school supplies – or as they call it, stationary. I found out, from them, that the two places you go for ‘stationery’ are Eason and Reads. On our way to Reads from Eason, we passed by a cute little novelty shop called Tiger. When we finally made up our mind to shop at Eason for stationery, I noticed that there were some pens that were made, and labeled, for left- or right-handed people. It was fascinating, since I’d never seen such a thing in the States.

Inside Debenham’s. It’s structured like a Nordstrom, but clothes prices are not THAT high.

After shopping around for stationery, we went down Henry Street to the Dunnes Store and Debenhams. I’d say Debenhams is like Macys, but with good discounts, as some of their clearance items are €10, despite having make-up and jewelry counters along with an abundance of things costing €50-200. The Dunnes store is more like JC Penney, in that case. Then, there was Penneys. I had heard it previously described by an Irish student to be ‘like Forever 21’. No, not even. It had nice European fashion things for very cheap. The cost of the things were as cheap as if you had purchased them from Walmart, except they looked good, even though they’re not really constructed well. My Italian flatmate got a memory foam bath mat for €6 there, while I got a bath sponge/loofah there for €1.50 when it sold for €3 everywhere I’d been.

After all that lovely clothes and stationery shopping, we went into the Tesco located inside the Jervis Shopping Centre. There was a nice corner of clothing in this Tesco. It was quite the sight. We ended up spending so much time there buying and looking at things that the store was closing when we had to check out.

Upon walking out, we got caught in the rain. At first it wasn’t bad, then about a block or two down the road, one of our paper bags broke. That’s when we realized that we should find another way to carry everything. We ended up walking to Tesco Metro on Fleet Street. There I got a lovely canvas ladybug bag. I love it!

Word/Phrase of the Day

Slagging – joking

Things I Learned “today”

  • Céilí is Irish, thus pronounced kay-lee
  • Eason & Reads are the places you go for ‘stationery’, aka school supplies.
  • Kitchenware is very cheap in Ireland.
  • Penneys is heavenly.
  • Always carry a reusable bag when you’re out and about, whether you think you’ll shop or not.

Miscellaneous Pictures/Amusements of the Beach & Shopping

The Booterstown Nature Reserve.

A little strip of concrete next to the railroad where everyone goes to relax, apparently.

The lovely seawater…and all the algae that comes with it when we dipped our feet in.

Pens sold specifically for left- or right-handed people. What?!

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