Sunday, November 30, 2008

So there IS a song about me....

My dear Swedish friends told me about this song and granted, I have NO IDEA what it's about....I do understand "Haj Monika". Haaaaaaaaj.

Last Day in Ireland....

My last day in Ireland was actually Thursday. However, I had no internet to post my travels for a couple of days.

I'm officially back in Austin now, and as soon as I can muster up the energy, I will post the details.

What I will say right now is YAY for Ireland. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Goodbye Galway

Today marks the end of my stay in Galway, so that I can spend tomorrow heading back towards Shannon Airport. Here are the rest of the sights of Galway!

#17: Galway Bay a.k.a. Corrib River

I started the day with a walk with Meghan along the Corrib River on the edge of Galway. The houses lining the bay and the flock of seagulls overhead paint a very coastal scene. It was cold and rainy this afternoon, so we didn't spend a whole lot of time along the bay, but it was a pretty sight nonetheless. I saw a lovely swan swimming solitary along the water. It looked at me and we connected for a moment.....strangely, I thought of my dog Jack whom I have missed very much on my trip.

#18: Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch was built in 1584, built as a facet of the city's wall to protect the quays. What is a "quay"? Yeah, I had to look that up too. It is a bank where ships or other vessels are loaded. So essentially this Arch played a role in the protection of merchant ships as they unloaded and loaded materials during transport. It is thought to be called the Spanish Arch in reference to the area's merchant trade with Spain. It was originally called Ceann an Bhalla which means "Head of the Wall" (Gaelic, I assume.)

#19: Shop Street

This is a high pedestrian traffic area named appropriately for its multitude of shops lining narrow streets. It felt like I was at Disney World when you enter a country's area and there are these little mock stores and streets...with "authentic" music playing. I half expected to see some cartoon characters pop out of the street to greet passerbys and small children....except this is all very real. And it was awesome to walk by all the buildings---cafes, boutiques, pubs, bakeries, little pharmacies. I really enjoyed my time on Shop Street and bought a few treats for my friends and family!

#20: St. Patrick's Primary School for Boys

Okay, so technically I didn't bust in on the school and spy on a bunch of elementary kids, but I did stop by it to check out what their schools looked like and to have a picture to take back to my kiddos at Heart House. While we were out and about today, I actually saw kids of all ages roaming the streets in their school uniforms. And no one knows what "elementary" means here, they only respond to the phrase "primary". There are also many private schools here--for boys and girls separately. I wish I had had time to learn more about their education system, but at least I saw a school.

We came home in the early evening and stayed home for the rest of the night, ordering in Chinese and looking up pictures of baby animals. I'm not gonna lie. I'm tired. There's so much to see and do! Tomorrow I will be trekking on my own, saying goodbye to Meghan and the city of Galway. For my last day in Ireland, I have made plans to venture out to Bunratty Castle to see a collection of over 450 medieval furniture and artifacts...all housed in a castle of course! Then I head to a town called Sixmilebridge where I will experience staying in a hostel for the first time in my life. I'm excited for my last adventure, luggage in tow....and 50 euro left. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tour Bus Tuesday

This morning we boarded a special bus to give us a day tour of an area called the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. These were some of the best sights I've seen of Ireland countryside yet, but at what cost? Incredible motion sickness all day! IT SUCKED. But nonetheless, I made it through the day and captured some incredibly beautiful landscape.

#11: Oceanside at the Burren

First of all, thanks to Chris (our crazy tour guide) for taking this photo of us. I will cherish the expression on my face forever. (It pretty much captures how I felt on the entire ride to and from the Cliffs.) Our first stop was about 10 minutes into the Burren at a small cliffside where rockclimbing and surfing are popular past-times.

#12: Dulin

We made a lunch stop in Dulin, a small village just outside of the Cliffs of Moher. It felt very much like a ghost town, with only a few shops open but all other stores and buildings vacant. We were told it is a popular summer vacation spot which is booming with visitors come May. We ate lunch at Fitzpatrick's Bar, where I had a vegetable soup.....which makes a later appearance in my story.

#13: Cliffs of Moher

How can I even begin to describe the wonder of this place? Quite simply, photos do not do it justice. To give you a little history:

"The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South." (I stole that from their website:

Proof that we were actually here:

When you climb to the top of the cliffs you are met with an awe inspiring view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cliffs towering high above the splashing waters. It's terribly cold and windy at the top as you can imagine (and here's a photo to help you imagine just that)

but you kind of forget all that when you take a look around you and realize what you can see. It's amaaaaaaazing.

#14: The Burren

Actually, our entire drive out to Cliffs of Moher was in an area called "The Burren" which is an expanse of rolling hills, rock fences, grazing animals and small villages. These are a few photos taken both entering the area and returning from the Cliffs back to Galway.

#15: Poulnabrone, Ancient Burial Ground

This burial ground marked by a large rock formation contains the remains of "between 16 and 22 adults and 6 juveniles, including a newborn baby". Further scientific invesigation of radiocarbon dating suggests that the burials took place 3800 and 3200 BC. "The neolithic community would have been much larger than this and there are easier ways to bury the dead, so Poulnabrone is generally considered to contain the remains of special dead and to have been a center for ceremony and symbolism." ( We walked off the bus to capture some photos. I was also distracted by a herd of cows directly behind the property and felt compelled to give them a moment in the spotlight as well. And then I thought I was about to puke due to my motion sickness, but had no such luck, realizing it was bound to happen in the near future.......

#16: Dunguaire Castle

In an area of the Burren called Kinvara, sits this infamous Irish castle. It was built in the 1500s and as you can see, much of it still remains, unlike alot of other Irish castles, which lay in ruins or bits and pieces. Honestly, I have wanted nothing more than to see a castle since I arrived in Ireland. I had fanciful ideas of roaming the countryside snapping photos of all them. However, when my chance finally arrived and we pulled up to Dunguaire, my experience was tainted with the return of my vegetable soup. It was literally like this: "And this is Dungauire Castle.....Bleeggghhhh (over the side of the stone wall fence) Let's not discount the fact that I lasted almost the entire trip without vomitting and I did not do it on the bus (well technically I did throw up in my mouth a little first)....and at the end of the day I got my picture of a castle.

Unfortunately, because of my reaction to travelling by tour bus, I do not think I will be able to make another day tour---which sadly strikes out my much awaited tour to Connemara to see Kylemore Abbey. Tomorrow will most likely be a slow and easy day and I'll take in some more sights of the Galway area. I'm so excited to already be on number 16!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday's Adventures

#5: Eyre Square

The square is the pinnacle of City Centre, the center area in Galway. Around the square area is where you will find tourist information, bus stops, the train station, pubs, clubs and shops. We take the bus to the square on a daily basis in order to get to most areas of interest. Also included at the square is this public restroom where you must pay to get in, and a statue of a man whom I have no idea of what importance he holds.....obviously some if there's a statue erected in honor of him in the center of Galway. But in my defense, there is no placard or description next to the statue so I could not educate myself on this matter.

#6: Galway Cathedral

While I did not go inside this church, I did feel compelled to take a picture of its beauty at night. I mean what constitutes a "visit"? Sometimes I visit places for only a few minutes. This happened to be one of those I came across on my way somewhere else. The cathedral in the early 1920s, but it does not rival St. Nicholas's Collegiate Church, which is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland still in use. And it's in Galway, so I plan to visit this place later this week....

#7: The Concourse @ Univeristy of Ireland, Galway

I tagged along with Meghan as she made her way to class at the university she attends. This is where I waited for her with a hot chocolate and the Vampire Chronicles in hand. Inside, is a cafe and a large seating area, where many students congregate. It made me realize just how long its been since I enjoyed the camaraderie of college peers. Ignorant and annoying, yes......but still so full of energy and enthusiasm.

#8: Public Restroom

This was my first journey into a public bathroom. Yes, I swear....the first time. Can you believe it? Anyway, it was rather confusing because I didn't know what their signage for restrooms looked like because there were all these signs of stick figures doing things, so after finally asking someone I was shown the way. And there you have it. Big blue door with a little lady on it.

#9: Centra

This is a common Irish convenience store where I stepped in to purchase a small bottle of wine. Nothing really interesting worth noting, other than cigarettes cost 7 euro which is like $9. I would totally stop smoking if I lived here.

#10: Bar 903

Determined to experience Galway nightlife, we ventured out to a local bar called Bar 903 in Eyre Square. It was one of the few clubs with FREE admission and it was swing night, so it was our top choice all around. Well, we definitely were not disappointed with the entertainment, both from the band and from the crowd. For this visit, I will be posting an extra blog very soon which include two very special videos featuring some of our favorite patrons from Bar 903. Also, here's a picture of me enjoying my 7 euro mixed drink (which is like $9). Yeah, I will not be buying any more drinks at the bar while I'm here. I'm so serious.

At this point I'm already at #10 (not 10 drinks, 10 sights...) and I know some of you may be thinking...."Hey where are all the pictures of green rolling hills, castles, cliffs, and magical landscapes?" I've been thinking the same thing, friends. To remedy this, tomorrow we take a day tour to Connemara where I will FINALLY get to visit a freakin' castle, along with many many other "breathtaking" sights. Oooohhh...betcha can't wait!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

#1: Tourist Agency

Our first stop of the morning was at a local tourist
travel agency, where we met a lovely lady named
Christina who told us about all the cool and hip
places in Ireland to hang out. She also confessed her love of country music and the irony of a girl from Texas hating it. She encouraged heavy drinking and confessed that she had been up late the night before (most likely doing that). She gave us some helpful pamphlets on some Ireland day tours. We even went back to see her, but she refused to take a picture with us because she thought she looked gross. I will be back to see her on Tuesday to take her a nice little gift and perhaps to see if she would like to hang out with two awesome American girls. Am I moving too fast?

#2: The Home Plate Cafe

We ate my birthday lunch at this quaint little cafe on Shop Street in Galway. I was craving a burger, but when I asked if they had mustard instead of mayonnaise, the waitress looked at me all I had pasta instead.

#3: TESCO & Penney's

Next we moved on to shopping for groceries, some winter accessories, and a hair dryer at a strip mall on the bus route back to Meghan's. We bought stuff. It was nice. Except they make you pay for grocery bags....even plastic ones.

#4: Headford Rd.

Okay, so on the way "home", our bus's last stop ended up being like a mile from Meghan's house. She didn't realize that they didn't drop off at her stop on Sundays. So we ended up walking back to her house in the rain. Our groceries bags broke open. It was unfortunate really, but we are survivors. And therefore, ended up visiting the Headford Rd for about a 15 minute walk.

It was a great first day out. And definitely an exceptional birthday in Ireland. Who knows what tomorrow brings.....hopefully more laughs and scenic routes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

27 places for 27 years....

After finally getting some much needed sleep from a day of traveling, I have been wide awake making plans for my adventures in this beautiful country.

In honor of my 27th birthday, I have decided to make it my goal to visit 27 places during my stay here in Ireland. I am sincerely hoping to be able to accomplish this on my small budget, otherwise alot of the places I might be visiting will be random buildings along the street. :)

However, on my list so far are some mountains, castles, abbeys, and of course pubs. Wow, I'm really here!

Look out for some cool photos and stories starting tomorrow!

I'm so in Ireland right now....

After about 18 hours of waiting in airports, flying on planes, and riding buses, I am finally in Galway with my best friend Meghan.

I am ecstatic to be here after what seems like months of planning and dreaming about it. However, I am only half awake right now, and need to take a serious nap.

Check back soon for more photos and updates from leprechaun land!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Swedish Surprises!

My lovely Swedish ladies are back! And if you're thinking "Back? Where were they? Actually, I don't even know who these Swedish ladies are!"...then let me tell you a little story.

Last month, I met two women from Sweden--Anna and Pia. We instantly fell in love and spent every day with each other for a week while they were visiting Austin. And I was heartbroken on the day they left to travel through the rest of the states. Literally....heartbroken. I'm pretty sure I cried.

I've kept in contact with them about their adventures, still solemn knowing that I probably wouldn't see them again for a REALLY long time (because, um....they live in Sweden and what not.)

Well last night I was having dinner with some friends and they walked through the door. Easily the most I have been surprised and the best surprise ever! Everyone kept the secret from me really well. :)

But I am just so unbelievably touched that Anna and Pia came back to Austin to spend time with me at my birthday party! Sometimes people just make you feel so warm and fuzzy inside and you feel so lucky to have them in your lives. Duuude....they freakin paid hundreds of dollars to fly back for me on my birthday. I can easily say that this is going to be the most memorable and exciting birthday I've had.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I hate cleaning....

Of every chore I must do in life, cleaning is my least favorite.

Cleaning the tub,
Cleaning the sink,
Cleaning the toilet,
Cleaning the car,
Cleaning the ceiling fan,
Cleaning the floor,
Cleaning the dresser,
Cleaning up my clothes,
Cleaning clothes....also known as worst enemy. I did two loads today and still have 8 more to go. Eight!

On a side note, I rather enjoy vacuuming, but I live in a house with wood floors, sooo.....

I would gladly pay someone for these services if I could afford it. Anyone who thinks that I am capable of doing these things well and on a regular basis is sadly mistaken. I have absolutely no desire to accomplish any of these chores on any given day.

I'm looking around thinking about how I promised myself I would do these things on Sunday. I even recruited a friend to help me and I'm STILL not motivated. Uhhhhhhhh......

One day, I know that I will find a man who will do all the chores around the house and I'll come home from work, dinner will be ready and waiting for me and he will be so excited to see me. And then I will wake up and realize, CRAP....that's never gonna happen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sifl and Olly Show

Does anyone remember this kickass show? It has made a comeback in my life recently thanks to You Tube and my friend John.

Umm, Chester is the coolest sock puppet EVER.

Here are some of my favorite clips:

"Chester Goes to the Roller Derby"


"Get the Bubbles, Chester!"

I can't stop laughing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rock Operas Totally Rock

Here's my next project everyone:

I want to create a horror rock opera using classic horror film characters and plotlines. I want to juxtapose themes of violence and gore with pop melodies of love and sorrow.

Imagine the following scene (close your eyes, it might help):

The curtains open and you see two sets of people, one on stage right and one stage left. They approach each other "West Side Story" style, snapping their fingers and ooh and aahing at each other. Look closely. You'll notice that one group is a gang of everyone's favorite bad guys (Freddie, Chuckie, Leatherhead, etc.) and the other are their victims, bloodied and terrified.

However, they start singing at each other, circling each other, snapping and jumping in the air, doing lunges and know, awesome dance moves. The entire scene is focused on dance fighting. Like, Michael Jackson's "Bad" or "Beat It". In fact, maybe that's the background music.

The scene ends with the victims collapsing on the ground, while the bad guys are hunched over, predatory.

As the curtains close however, you see something unusual. The bad guys are crying. And you wonder why. (Trust me, you do.)

Well, if you stayed and watched the rest, you would discover the answers....because this is musical is about the relationship between victim and victimizer and the search for meaning and happiness.

So the next step for me is this:

I would like to recruit my creative development team who will help me write this play, compose the music, and stage it live in the Spring/early Summer. I'm just putting it out there. Feel free to express your interest or throw it right back at me. But know this......A Nightmare on Musical Street WILL happen next year. And it will be bloody spectacular.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Ok, ok, has taken me several days to soak in the fact that we have a new President. I guess I had just come to terms about feeling depressingly apathetic, and often times embarrassed of our nation's leadership.

And then it happened.

Barack Obama won Tuesday night and just last night I felt something identifiably hopeful. All I know is this: I read this article yesterday from Germany quoting a leader there who said something along the lines of, "Everyone wants to be America right now".

Who wouldn't with a body like this?

Not only that, but he supports major need for education reform and teacher support. That's kind of what I do.

And he's funny:

[on being bi-racial] "During the holidays, it's like a mini United Nations. I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher."

Oh you silly goose, Barack.

In conclusion, hoorah for a new President. I look forward to not be ridiculed for being American.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Need Something Fun to Blog About...

So I'm off to find something deliciously entertaining or enlightening for my readers. Not sure, when I will return. It may take me a few days to find something so freaking fantastic.

Check back soon.