First, right off the bat, I'll post a link to all the photos I have taken so far, on this Flickr... well, it's not every photo I took, but the ones I picked out:
It's all pretty overwhelming. It is the first time I have been outside the midwest United States, the first time I have been on a plane, and the first time I have seen the ocean. The plane ride was OK, but not really particularly enjoyable, in terms of me being nervous, just because it was my first time flying. I sat next to my brother (our travel agent got us very good seats), on both the flight from Minneapolis to JFK, and the flight from JFK to Shannon, Ireland. There was a nice woman and her family on my left, on the international flight, who had been living in Ireland for two years. The woman was from Chicago originally, and she had met her husband in Ireland, but then lived in America for 8 years before going back to Ireland to raise her kids. So, that was good to have someone like her to talk to. There was some pretty creepy guy who for some reason had to be standing for the last 1.5 hours of the flight, literally leaning and peering over the shoulder of everyone in my row, including the woman and her sleeping kids. He was watching the stuff on their TV screens, but it still seemed awkward..I guess he maybe had some kind of anxiety or extreme discomfort with sitting down..
It's hard not to want to rush through this typing; it's probably time for me to go to sleep.. well, I'll churn out some details. Lots of nice people here, it seems like so far. Instructors and students included. There are some cats and dogs that hang out around the housing, and at least one cat on campus that obviously enjoys the attention. The land is extremely beautiful. At first, on the first bus ride from the airport, it wasn't totally clear how varied the landscape actually can be. But, after a couple bus rides (one was an official tour, the other was just to go to the Guardia, or police, to process some immigration stuff), I have seen so many amazing landscapes... you can check out the photos to just see for yourself. The first time seeing the ocean was so freaking amazing, I had never known what the sounds and smells were like, just what I had seen in pictures and video.
Orientation is longer than I expected it would be, but there are some interesting instructors and things we are learning. It's still really tough getting up so early in the morning; probably still some jet lag going on for me. I get tired in the early to mid afternoon, which is unfortunate, as that's when we have a lot of lecture-type thingies. I think I will get used to it; hopefully soon.
Going out to the pubs or just hanging out with roommates has been enjoyable so far as well. I think I prefer places other than pubs, if I'm feeling like being a contributor to the conversations going on, because I can't seem to project my voice or enunciate well enough when things are super loud and I'm surrounded by people. Just being in the company of anyone is nice, though.
I feel like I rushed this blog post.. maybe I'll type more soon, when I get more photos or do something neat or interesting. Time for bed.