Finding My Roots & Facing My Fears

Oh How I Miss Show Choir (30/9/13)

The first day with my new Brita water bottle. I’m in love. Not only is it aesthetically appealing, ever so practical, but water is once again drinkable! I drank more water than I have in a quite a long time.

Anyways, aside from that, I had quite an interesting time in classes. To start, my stats professor said that we should do a survey for our tutorial in order to better understand the idea of statistics and the importance of asking the right questions during a study. I actually did it and went around asking Irish girls what length they like their men’s hair, and what kind of clothes they prefer for winter.

After classes for the day, I was planning to go to pilates, hosted by housing. However, when I got there, they had cancelled it to do a showing of Breaking Bad. I thought it was strange they never informed any of us about it by e-mail, or Facebook, or anything. I wonder if it’s an Irish thing to do things like that.

Later on in the night, I went with my flatmate to vocal group, an extension of Musical Society. It was quite fun. Throughout the two hours, we worked on singing Some Nights by F.U.N. At the end, we sang it for kicks, acapella. Then, they announced that we will be working on two songs for a Halloween event, where we’ll be required to dress up. They said we would start working on Façade from Jenkyll and Hyde next week and then Disturbia by Rhianna. It should be interesting.

The giant moose skeleton in the lobby in front of the school office.

Chicken Rice! (1/10/13)

The first REAL downpour in Ireland. It was crazy. It was pretty rainy the whole day, an ACTUAL rain. I noticed it affected the amount of students in class drastically. My morning class went from 25-30 students down to 5.

After class, I went to turn in my report. Oh my gosh. The system here is so strange. So, usually at home, you turn your assignment in straight to the teacher and the teacher collects it. Here, that’s not how it works. You have to write up your essay and turn it in to the teacher in their “box” for that assignment in the school office. WHAT?! And when you turn in your paper, you staple a cover sheet on it that has you’re your name, student number, course number, course name, and your signature that you didn’t plagiarize. Anyways, so I went to the biological sciences office for the first time I’ve been here at UCD. The main lobby before you go into the office was beautiful. There was a giant moose skeleton and around it in shelves are a bunch of stuffed creatures. It was sorta creepy, eerie, but cool at the same time. It’s definitely not somewhere you’d want to be when it gets dark.

Chicken rice lah~!

Later on that night, instead of being in the “stuffed animal museum”, I went to have dinner with the Singaporeans, the Malaysian, and my Italian friend. They had invited me for “Chicken Dinner ~la!” It was quite an exciting event considering there was also a group of Germans, making it quite a full apartment of fourteen people. Dinner was amazingly cooked. It tasted like the chicken I love so much from the Asian restaurants at home. After dinner, we all sat around and were amused by some magic tricks for a while, then just talked randomly, passing around little pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I also learned a German “interjection” that apparently is mostly used by guys. “Alter!” (pronounced ah-ee-tah). It’s like “hey!”. The meaning of it depends on what tone of voice you use. Although, in a sentence and all, it means “age”.

Top left: Late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Top right: black scurf of potato (Rhizoctonia solani). Bottom: Pink rot of potato ( Phytophthora erythroseptica).

Learning in a Different Light (2/10/13)

So, I had my first lab for the first time in my plant disease class. It was awesome. The person in charge of lab – yes, it’s different from my actual instructor – brought in some potatoes and samples of the stuff we were learning class so we can see what the symptoms of the disease ACTUALLY look like in person. It was SO fun.

Then, later on in stats, the funniest thing happened. So my teacher has a tick, where he says “okay” a lot. He was writing an example on the board, and he writes “child’s OK” instead of “IQ”. Then, he pretty much says what we were all thinking, “You guys probably are all thinking, wow his tick is really bad, saying ‘okay’ so much he’s writing it now.” So, he tried to catch himself on his tick the next few minutes after that. The first time he paused for a LOOONG time before moving forward, the whole class burst into laughter. It was wonderful.

A New Beginning? (4/10/13)

Today, I learned how…school sorta works here…when teachers decide to up and leave for a conference or something. My stats professor had a conference he had to go to. He never told us anything about it, never told us he was going to be missing. We just showed up to class and some random guy walks in and tells us the teacher’s out and he’s taking over for the day. He didn’t even introduce himself and who he was. It was the weirdest thing. We didn’t even know if he was a professor, or a grad student – nothing. SO WEIRD. He was pretty boring giving lecture, so boring and so unenthusiastic about the topic I actually fell asleep. ACTUALLY….faceàdesk. But, I was mildly amused that the boys behind me referred to our stats professor as “Sheldon” because he’s tall and skinny, with his hair closely cropped to his head, and always wears a cardigan.

After a long day, I got back to my apartment to find that the new girl had moved in. My Scottish flatmate decided that she wanted to move out, found someone to switch with her and moved out today. The new girl moved in. I have not met her, seen her, or anything. I was excited to meet her. Sadly, my Chinese flatmate told me that she had gone home for the weekend, but “she is very elegant”. I like the sound of that. I’m excited!!!

Adventure Day in Courtlough (5/10/13)

So I woke up bright and early in the morning to attend this crazy event I signed up for called Adventure Day w/ lovely ppl, hosted by housing (ResLife). We were to meet up at 9am. I was waiting in front of the “campus grocery store”, finishing my quick breakfast. I watched this cute guy offer to take care of a lady’s two dogs while she went in to get the newspaper. It was really cute, really sweet. Then, later on, after she left, I walked up to him and started talking to him. We ended up becoming quick friends. He’s an exchange student from Brazil, studying computer science for a year. We talked the whole way up to Courtlough where our event was. It was so refreshing to talk to someone like him.

Paintball: PINK TEAM!

In Courtlough, we did a bunch of crazy things as part of the “Adrenaline Package” that ResLife bought for us through this “adventure centre”. To start off, ResLife had bought us the paintballing experience. So I paintballed for the first time in my life. To admit, I think I REALLY like it, and I would TOTALLY do it again, if it wasn’t so expensive. I got hit twice on my left arm, once on my right arm, and once in my back. It was fun, but the bruises are ugly. They’re like war scars that last a week or so. After four rounds of paintballing, and teaming up with the Brazilian the last round, we were taken rock climbing.

Now, I had a rock climbing accident while I was bouldering at a gym in 2009, so I was scared to death. Thankfully, we did harnessed climbing, but we went up pretty high and the wall I climbed had two rotating/loose rocks. At one point, I was SO scared that I could see myself shaking like a leaf in the wind, but eventually I made it to the top. I only did one round though, but I had fun doing belaying for several people. The funny part was that I was so light, so the person who was pulling the string through sometimes pulled me too. It was definitely great fun though.

The aerial trekking obstacle courses.

Then came the scariest portion of the day. We did aerial trekking, essentially doing obstacle courses in the middle of the air. The only thing holding you and saving you are two ropes tied to a piece of metal that moves on a track while you’re moving through the obstacle course. At level two, the first level they took us on, I was already scared to death. The Brazilian was behind me, which kept me going because I didn’t want to hold him back. I cheated my way through a good deal of them. Then, he convinced me to go on level 3. It was scary as hell since it was significantly higher. I was behind him this time. It was so funny though. ¼ of the way through the obstacle course, there were a bunch of little kids about 7-10 years old watching us. There was this little kid in glasses that was yelling at me “you can do it!” It was SO funny I started cracking up, so hard that I couldn’t move and I wasn’t even making sound. I just thought it was so funny that this little kid was egging me on at his age to me, a girl who’s about three times his age. I felt ridiculous. During this time, the Brazilian turned to me and told me he didn’t know if I was laughing or crying. That made me laugh even harder. Then, as I was about to move forward, the same little boy yells to a girl nearing the end of the obstacle course. He said, “ C’mon! You can do it! YOLO!” I started cracking up again that I couldn’t move forward. Thankfully, I did make it to the end, even though I didn’t complete the last challenge of jumping off a platform onto a hanging device sort of like a hang gliding bar. It was fun, but frightening.

Good old-fashioned archery. ❤

Finally, things began to calm down. First, it was abseiling, essentially learning how to trust yourself in letting yourself down the “wall”. Then, we ziplined our way back down again. Those were really calm and easy, especially after that frightening aerial trekking section. The last little bit was go on a giant log swing ride. It was quite fun for the first few seconds, as it was like being on a roller coaster, where you didn’t know when the drop was. Then, you realized you’re just going to keep swinging, and it got calm real fast. The last portion of the day was archery. I hit the back netting a few times, I got scolded by the instructor, “Stop trying to break our safety net!” It was funny. I was pretty bad the first few times, and the Brazilian was actually pretty good. Then, the instructors corrected by posture and positioning a few times and I got much better. I went from hitting the net to hitting red circle at one point. It was quite strange, because as I got better, the Brazilian’s shots got worse. Maybe I was sucking his awesomeness away from him. Oops.

On the ride home, the Brazilian and I talked a bit before the bus left and we both passed out. I found out that I’m not the only one who writes down their dreams in a dream journal and has elaborate dreams. I hope I stay friends with him. I do so enjoy his company.

Things I Learned “Today”:

  • Here, at UCD, you submit your paper assignments to the school office, not to the instructor.
  • It’s sort of common to have two different fire extinguishers everywhere (at least on campus). There’s always one for normal fires, then there’s always another one for “grease fires” or whatever. Always in pairs around school.
  • Europe is like America, people move between the European Union easily and marry across countries, much like how Americans move across states and marry people across the country. However, there are the few countries where people don’t really go anywhere, like our Californians and New Yorkers who rarely move out of state because it’s too wonderful where they are. This realization came when one of my professors told us how he’s from Germany, but he’s married to a British woman and they had kids in Scotland. WOW.
  • In the 1940’s, it was “illegal” for you to be left-handed in Ireland. If they found out you were left handed during your primary school years, they’d tie your left hand behind your back and FORCE you to write only with your right hand.
  • Amoeba. We pronounce it “uh-mee-ba”. My Irish professor pronounces it “ay-moh-ee-ba”.
  • Students don’t generally bring laptops to school, or to class for that sake. Thinking about it, it makes sense. It probably has something to do with the fact that it’s REALLY rainy here on average and they don’t want to damage their electronics.
  • After being in these lectures I’m in, I’m beginning to understand what it means to be a “good speaker” by seeing so many bad examples. Simply put: speak confidently, enthusiastically and concisely with no ticks for an interesting lecture.
  • Brazilians speak Portuguese. Did not know that.

Word/Phrase of the Day:

What’s the story? = How you doing?

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