Original Post Date: August 23, 2012
Planes, trains and automobiles definitely describes my day of travel. First the plane.
Get through security and I’m shaking just enough where no one notices but too much where I am a little flustered. I placed everything in the plastic tubs and walk through the scanner. BEEP! Back out. Through again. BEEP! The women looks at me as though she has seen this a million time (which I am sure she has). She asks if I’m wearing a watch. Check wrist, no. A cell phone in my pocket. Pat the jeans, no. Do you have a belt on? That was the magical question. Yes…why does it have to be the American in Chicago who can’t get it right.
Make it through the rest of the boarding and flight with friendly chit-chat from people going home to Ireland and Germany and people visiting family. I meet a friend at baggage claim after barely being able to enter Ireland because of immigration. Immigration was not wrong but they did ask a lot of questions as to why I was here, why did I chose to come now and what kind of class is Irish Folklore and Ethnology? Now the taxi.
We step out of the airport and get in a taxi with a chipper fellow. He knows exactly where to take us and take us he did. Cars are in side lanes, bus lanes, bike lanes. Any kind of lane designed for anything but a car, a car was driving in it. Since I am not one to be shy, I asked the driver a few simple yet interesting questions.
“How long have you been driving a taxi.” I asked as we started off to the train.
“I’ve been driving a taxi since 1985.” “Wow, that is a long time.” This little chitter continued on through why he was in Dublin, what he loved most about Ireland and ,of course, the weather. This taxi driver was extremely nice and got us to the train 14 minutes before the train took down the track.
My friend and I got our train tickets and headed towards the carousels to get onto the trains. This area reminded me of Harry Potter and the awesome brick station and how wide open it was. But back to the tickets. We received two tickets, the boarding pass and a student discount one. At the time I didn’t know what ticket meant what. I was about to put it into the carousel slot when someone said “Train 6 is down there.” So I took my luggage and took off towards train 6. We got to the carousel slots in front of train 6 and crossed our fingers as I slid the green boarding pass ticket through the slot. The doors swung open and I boarded train 6 to go to Cork.
We arrived in Cork 2 1/2 hours later. This may seem like a long time but the bus would have taken 4 1/2 to 5 hours to reach Cork. Once in Cork, we took a taxi to our apartments. I opened my door to my apartment and than my room and could not believe that I was here. I dared not to sit on my bed which looked so welcoming but I know that if I sit down, I was not getting back up. I dropped of my luggage and found Sally’s and Mary’s room. We packed a little bit of money and set off to the city center.
The city was so cool. I kept over hearing everyone speaking and their wonderful Irish accent and wished that I could just listen to that all day. We found the local grocery store and other little places to get other odds and ends. After about 4 hours of exploring, I headed back to my room and unpacked.
Unpacking was a little upsetting. I just couldn’t help but think of everyone back at home and that if I wasn’t here I would be unpacking at SNC. I fit everything loosely into my closet and desk and soaked in my view.
My view is not of some awesome river or a wonderful hillside view but of a parking lot with a hospital in the distance. It may not be much but I can see the top of some cute little buildings. My room even has a door that leads to what I call a ledge. It is a 1 foot wide cement overhang that I can barely fit my foot on, but I do have a “deck” off of my room.
Finally bed time came at 10pm. Yes, 10pm my time is 4pm your time. But I calculated and I had been up for 33 hours…I needed to go to bed. I slept till about noon and took off with Mary and Sally for another day of exploring and enjoying this wonderful city.
Cork is so different from any place that I have been. The streets are ALWAYS crowded, cars do not care if you walk out in front of you and you have to pay for your grocery bags. But now that I have been here longer than 24 hours, I am really starting to enjoy the people and surroundings. Orientation is tomorrow for my Early Start class and I am ready. Bring it on!
Allyson Bills is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.