Day 31

Loooooook at how loch was illuminated this morning.

Feeling: some pain in just my left ear, very hungry
Seeing: nearly-empty lecture theatres, the early morning sun illuminating the loch
Tasting: miso noodle soup, roasted Brussels sprouts
Smelling: spiced apple fresh from the microwave
Hearing: the accents of a Portuguese and Spanish person side-by-side

Started my day off with raspberries on oatmeal and heading out to the grocery store (and actually remembered to use my rewards card this time yay #adult). I was a little worried on my way back that I wouldn’t make it to my place in time (which I did), and after a bit of a sweaty rush to the lecture theatre, I was relieved to find that class hadn’t started. In fact, after sitting around for a bit and asking some of my classmates what we did on Monday while I was sick (they didn’t remember), most of the students just stood up and left.

I had a sudden burst of energy (and hunger) upon returning but somehow thought I needed some caffeine in the form of green tea. Well, I did need some tea for the ol’ scratchy throat. I tidied up and organized my room. It felt great to have some neatly put-together piles instead of one big heap of stuff on my desk, but in being true to myself, I have still not put away my socks.

Then I went off to my second lecture, only this time there weren’t many students in the classroom. I did spend a few minutes meeting the Spanish friend of the Portuguese student that I met yesterday, though; they’re very nice people. On my way out of the lecture theatre we walked through the Health Matters fair, where I picked up a free set of bike lights. Then ate a hearty, veggie-filled lunch and played Portal 2 for several hours.

I was wondering if my last lecture of the day would be cancelled as the first one had been, but decided to try it anyway. Two other students showed up, but the lecturer was there! She let us go, but said that tomorrow’s class would happen even if only three of us showed up again.

After more snacking and bumming around in Portal 2 (I’m still recovering from sickness okay?) and talking with Brian, my wonderful USAC friend Laura offered to bring me miso noodle soup! Even though I was eating solid food with little difficulty again (and very glad for it), some warm dashi and succulent noodles was very much appreciated. I also roasted some Brussels sprouts, as the vegetable store had just received their first crop of them the other day.

Overall, a weird but pleasant day. I’m actually really looking forward to picking up my residency card and challah tomorrow. I also really need to get a phone soon oh my gosh. Guess that’ll be tomorrow too.


Day 30

Feeling: a little better, but still scratchy and sluggish
Tasting: hot chocolate, pudding made with the leftover hot chocolate
Seeing: the vegetable store, campus
Smelling: lemon and ginger tea
Hearing: more songs from Galavant

I woke up still not feeling my best, but with a considerable boost in energy and less pain. Thankfully my two lectures that day were in the afternoon, so I didn’t have to go straight to class, but I did have some other business to attend to in the morning. First was to go to the International Office to drop French from my schedule. I had decided that as much as I love learning the language, the fact that I didn’t need any more language credit made it an unworthy use of my time. After that was to go to the sports office, mercifully on the same street. The clubs exec and I had a walk-and-talk about how I didn’t plan on being captain of a club that was dying, and I was really just not suited to the position but was the only person who volunteered to take it. He was very understanding. I told him that I’d look into a different club– I was considering cycling. He told me that cycling was even worse off. Ah well. I handed him the keys to our locker, sent a Facebook message to the committee (rather unresponsive, as they have been), and now Circus Club is out of my hands.

Classes consisted of me floating around in my own head and copying down things I saw for two hours. I did actually meet someone in my Food Law class, though, which was cool since my food science classes offer little to no opportunity for socialization.

The rest of the day was just loafing around, honestly. Not even cleaning up my room or anything. I had jazz practice in the evening but I was certain my weak shaking knees were not feeling ready to take me up the hill to the music building. But hey, I made it to two meeting and two classes, so I’m on my way out.

Day 29

Smelling: fresh lemon and ginger root tea, brown butter chocolate chip cookies baking
Tasting: vegetable soup, hot chocolate
Seeing: the top floor of the gym in the dark
Hearing: my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist
Feeling: an ache remaining but my energy rising

My day was a pretty standard sick day, with plenty of TV and video games and hot liquids. It actually started off with baking the brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough that I had in the freezer, and the cookies turned out really well. A little cakier than I expected and in need of a little more chocolate, but still delicious nonetheless.

In the evening, I had to go to the first circus club training since I was, from what I could tell, its captain. I brought the cookies from this morning in hopes of boosting morale with them. No one showed up for a half-hour. Then, when one of the committee members turned up, I explained that I didn’t think this club was going to last. Details on that to follow, but for now it’s time to continue getting rest.

I don’t know what this is but it’s Halloween so I’m excited for it.

Day 28

Feeling: intense inflammation in my tonsils, a swab stuck down my throat
Smelling: carrot and coriander soup
Hearing: comedic songs on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Galavant
Tasting: honey on spelt bread, vanilla caramel protein shake
Seeing: the pharmacy on my street, Nightwing comics

Waking up with the throat and ear pain worse than ever, I knew I had to go to the student health centre as soon as possible. I left at a time that I thought would get me there even before it opened, but the place was already quite full. After a considerable wait in line, I made an appointment, and after an even longer one, I was seen by a nurse.

The nurse did a strep test– thankfully, not strep– and said that I just needed to be at home resting. And that lots of people had been getting sick on campus. She asked if I could go home home, and I explained that home was in America. So, no. But I got an absence excuse note and a recommendation to buy ibuprofen. Which I did, along with some other liquid foods.

And so the rest of my day was spent in bed watching TV on Netflix and reading comics online.

Day 27

Hearing: very loud wind, a CD of trad songs
Feeling: the tide run in over my shod feet, wind whipping through my hair, both ears aching
Seeing: waves break on the rocks, the morning sunlight hitting buildings on one side of the street
Tasting: carrot soup, some small glazed cupcakes (one vanilla and 1/2 chocolate)
Smelling: ocean water

Today was long, and illness made it difficult, but I’m glad I pushed through.

The USAC kids boarded the bus at nine. All throughout our journey, I was thinking about how I’m still not used to the Irish roads. They are so narrow, as are the sidewalks, with very little buffer between them. The turn on the narrow road in the huge, glassy beast we were riding in made me miss my family’s Nissan Leaf. Oh, and even the buses are stick shifts.

The Sunday sun rises over Clonakilty.

Our first stop was in a small town Clonakilty. Being Sunday morning, almost nothing was open except for a few cute cafés, but the idea was to get a feel of the town. Clonakilty had won awards for being a nice town, and walking through you could understand why. After that brief stroll, we boarded again on our way to Mizen Head.

One of the alleyways coming out from the main street.

We knew that we were at Mizen when there was quite literally no more road to drive. “Go any farther and the next stop is New York,” Mary said. Seeing the waves break against the cliffs of the jagged edge of the country was certainly a sight to make your jaw go slack.

The sea foam looks like snow.

The place was covered in a system of steep, narrow paths, bridges, and stairs that let us look down over the cliffsides.

The foam was blown around by wind and formed little eddies in the air like leaves in autumn or flowers in spring.

On our way back, we stopped by Barley Cove Beach. I was feeling absolutely exhausted by this point, and the steep climb down stairs and hills to the beach made me worry whether or not I would be able to make it back up again. (Luckily I did.) I was wearing tights under my hiking sneakers and didn’t feel like taking anything off to wade, so I just contented myself with standing near the low tide. While I was distracted watching my friends taking pictures together, however, the ocean said, “Don’t worry, IJ! I’ll help you out,” and gave an extra-strong wave that went up to my ankles. My shoes may be Gore-Tex but that will not stop water from going in through the top.

And then it was time for the ride back home. I spent the rest of the day taking care of daily things and then passing out early. My throat and ears were in severe pain, so it’s off to the student health center tomorrow.

Day 26

Smelling: browned butter with sugar
Hearing: butter crackling in the saucepan, windy rainstorm outside
Seeing: rain outside my window
Tasting: eggs on pieces of spelt bread, vanilla almond ice cream
Feeling: earache, comfortable clothes

I woke up quite early and didn’t want to get up up, so I ate some yogurt and drank some hot chocolate and lay around until about 8:30, when I realized I wasn’t going back to sleep. I felt a little bit bad that I had done so little, but then I realized that it felt a lot better than wake and bake, which is what I call it when I go straight from waking up to taking care of business on my laptop. Because the screen bakes my face, y’know?

Then I made cookie dough. The recipe was really easy and fun, and involved browning butter, something I had never done before but made lots of interesting noises and smells. And it smelled even better once I added the sugar and vanilla to the melted butter. The dough is now frozen balls in my freezer. I’m planning to bake them on Monday for my circus club friends and anyone I host for tea.

Read more of my play for English, went over my Food Quality Notes, and then once I made lunch, I was feeling wiped out and basically just played Portal 2 for what felt like the rest of the afternoon. I also Skyped and Duoed with Brian plenty, and I got to FaceTime Basile.

My throat and ear is hurting more. I really hope it’ll be okay enough for the day trip tomorrow, and if it’s not better on Monday I’ll go to the health center.

Day 25

Tasting: poached apples in red wine, spelt soda bread
Hearing: the first two albums by the Strokes
Feeling: the ache both in my throat and ear
Smelling: construction, something like cleaning fluid
Seeing: not a yoga mat, a sunny day, stacks and stacks of halvah (above)

After going to my one class of the day, I went into the city center for a few brief shopping stops. My mission was to get PDFs from my jazz instructor in his shop (he is also a tailor and owns a vintage store), a yoga mat so I could practice in my room without destroying my wrists or tailbone, bubble tea straws, and challah. Some success was had– I got PDFs for piano, voice, and theory. I could not find a yoga mat in the outdoor store. The Asian market did not sell bubble tea straws, but I did buy non-erotic pair of chopsticks (which I also wanted because they were rectangular, not round). The bread stall in the English market only baked a few loaves of challah each day and had sold out that morning.

They offered to reserve a loaf for me tomorrow, but that wouldn’t help me in terms of Shabbat. But they could have one for me next Friday morning! So, next week I can pick it up on my way to get my residency license. I bought a spelt soda loaf, feeling a little skeptical because of a disappointing experience with a spelt birthday cake years ago. But I’d been in Ireland for weeks and hadn’t bought a loaf of soda bread, what gives? I had a slice outside the market, and it was absolutely delicious. Like breakfast cereal in bread form.

The rest of the evening was spent eating soup, going over my notes, and watching TV. I really really hope this illness clears up enough for me to enjoy the USAC day trip on Sunday.

Day 24

Seeing: erotic art on chopsticks, certain important turning points in Portal 2
Tasting: hot and sour broth, pumpkin soy latte
Feeling: tingling and aching in the throat, chilly air around my legs
Smelling: onion and ginger cooking, rained-on cement
Hearing: the end of the series of lectures on fruits and vegetables in my food quality class

Thursdays are my long days– class at 9 and 11, then the first class again at 4. Thankfully I had the ever-useful overnight oatmeal waiting for me in the fridge. I was planning to use the time in between classes to veg out and hopefully recover more, but I really needed some veggies so I went to Lidl. Lidl is owned by the same company that does Aldi, but I think is even cheaper. I got a big bag of fruits and vegetables for about 12 euro!

I knew that the Asian market was nearby, and I was missing bubble tea, so I went to check if they had tapioca bubbles. Not only did they have them, they were on sale. And not only were they on sale, they were rainbow. I got some other items as well, including a set of chopsticks so I wouln’t have to continue forking certain foods that weren’t meant to be forked.

Once arriving home, I opened my chopsticks to take a closer look at them. I saw that there was some woodblock art on the base, but didn’t look to see what it was. In fact, there were tiny replicas of erotic Ukioyo-e (a popular classical Japanese art style yes, I looked that up on Wikipedia). I’m keeping the chopsticks– I just need something to eat noodles with– but what was going through the cashier’s head when she saw my purchase? Was it “Oh, another one of these perverts” or more like “Well, another confused white person”? Either way, I have to go back there to get bubble tea straws (come on, there’s no use in drinking it without a straw), so maybe I’ll get a single pair without porn on it.

I was lucky today to videochat with three of my favorite people– my dad (whose birthday it was!), my best friend Nehuen, and Brian. It’s wonderful seeing people’s faces but the lag is a drag.

There was an interest meeting for those desiring to be involved in the technical and production aspect of the drama society that evening. Even though I want to try lots of new things, theatre is a good constant in my life. And I’m not really sure I’ll have time or the capacity to do the whole Acting Thing this semester, so I thought, why not work on my costuming skills?

The meeting was a chance for the officers of the club and specialists in each of the technical fields to explain what each area of technical theatre involves. I was really only planning on being a costume designer or assistant thereof, but the presentation on sound design seems really cool. I talked to the guy who’s in charge of that, so sound may be a possibility for me too. I let one of the officers know that I can do stage combat as well, if needed I wanted to see if I could be a production manager or assistant, even just as a backup, but thought I might rather save my energy.

After that, I went back to my apartment, ate dinner, and stayed up a bit too late playing Portal 2. Stuff happened, fam. Stuff happened.

Day 23

Tasting: more citrus sugar-free Halls, dairy-free vanilla ice cream
Seeing: the music ensemble room, chord charts
Hearing: a blues backing track with our teacher demonstrating over it
Smelling: damp basement
Feeling: warm herbal tea, tingling and aching throat

The day was long. Since I woke up quite early and had my first class at noon, I went to the grocery store to get a few items. Mostly dairy– milk and yogurt, but also butter that I can keep on hand in case I need to bake some cookies (I think I may have to thank my circus club committee members very soon), and funnily enough, dairy-free ice cream. This last part is very important, as I needed the cold relief I got from ice cream but didn’t want to worsen my phlegm with more dairy.

Classes were alright, the only remarkable thing about them being that I couldn’t find one of the lecture halls at first. I went to the music building to see if I could mess around on a piano before jazz ensemble, and lo and behold, an empty room with a piano and a keyboard that I could put my name on. The piano wasn’t the best, and I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the keyboard, but it felt good to shake off some of the rust from my finger-joints.

Jazz was interesting. I thought I should be in the first-year ensemble, but I stuck around for a bit of the ensemble that met afterwards and the latter may actually be more my level. Besides, if I can get an opportunity to not be the overeager American sophomore in a room full of shy, reluctant, jazz-inexperienced freshmen, then I’ll take it.

More things happened, but the main point now is that I’m exhausted and must go to bed to recover from this illness. Goodnight Ireland and good evening US

Day 22

Smelling: lemon deodorant
Feeling: a pain-free lower back on a yoga mat
Hearing: a teacher speaking French in a classroom for the first time in a while
Tasting: cookies and cream/cookie dough ice cream with cookies and cream Kit Kats (try saying that five times fast)
Seeing: a seeing-eye black Lab, familiar faces in my classes, the finale of Peaky Blinders season 2

I woke up still feeling my cold, but with some tea and a good breakfast, felt ready to go to my early classes.

Drama was fun– we started off with an exercise where we rolled around slowly with our eyes closed. Then we did a partner exercise where one partner was blind and the other gave them things to taste or smell. This was not only fun, but central to the class theme of visual culture because taste and smell are not considered acceptable ways to find your way around the world like vision is. I was lucky to get a piece of dark chocolate for my taste. Then we did another exercise where we moved around and had to find a partner with eyes closed. One partner then opened their eyes and “drove” us around the space by our shoulders, and then we switched. Then, we used our “snout” (nose and mouth) to find our way around the room and just became animals. It felt like elementary school and I enjoyed it lots.

I was worried I’d be late to French because it was a bit of a distance and was scheduled to start right as Drama ended, but managed to show up even before the professor. I was also worried that I’d feel so out of place having not been in a French classroom in a very long time, but I felt very comfortable. Also found out that one of the USAC kids is in my class, so I’ll have a study buddy in my own building! I think all but two of the students in that small class are internationals.

Later that day I went to Medieval/Renaissance Drama. Thankfully it was a shorter lecture than usual, ‘cause I was trying so hard to hold in my sniffles. I found out that another USAC kid is in that class as well.

I went to the auditions for the Drama Society’s mainstage show this semester, but instead of auditioning this time I was there to give them my contact information for production roles. I’m hoping to be able to do some costume design or wardrobe work, but really anything would be great. I just want to do some theatre but I can’t see going to nightly rehearsals this semester, especially with possible conflicting weekend trips.

The evening was an early one, with soup and Rabbit with Brian and reading the first act of the play for Med/Ren. Because I still want to recover from whatever Irish virus I have, I’m trying my hardest to conserve my energy.