It's not even 11 PM and I'm about to fall over from exhaustion. But after all, I only got about 3 hours sleep last night. Even for an already early bird, 7pm was a little much to ask for a bed time last night. And 6 hours after that we were landing...at 9am. So I caught a couple hours. But not many.
Ireland is amazing. I'm in Dublin, so other than from the plane (where the view was mostly blocked by clouds until landing--however from what I did see it is very very green) no stunning nature scapes...yet. But Dublin is awesome. Quaint. Rather clean for a major city. And everything is just smaller in Europe. The buildings, cars, roads, people (what do they put in the food in the US?). The restaurants seat half the people (but are twice as good) with half the food (and twice the price).
My favorite thing about Ireland is the Irish. I told someone today that in the US and Irish person is kind of a commodity...mostly because of the accent, and partly because of Braveheart and the lucky charms guy, and partly just because they are European but still speak English. But here they're everywhere...it's awesome. I brought this fact up with a bar tender, and he said, "yes, in fact we are not just a bunch of leprechauns running around looking for pots of gold." Right. But they are clever, friendly, fun loving people (I realize I'm starting to sound like a guide book, but it really is true!). As a lady on the bus put it, "The Irish always have something to say about everything." I knew immediately I would fit in well here.
So I could go on and on and give you the blow by blow of my first day here, how my friend didn't pick me up from the airport, how I tried to put my credit card into the parking machine to buy a bus ticket, how I missed my stop on the bus (I was going the right way however) and had to flag down one going the other direction (took me a couple tries--one guy just grinned and waved at my frantic attempts to get him to pull over...smart ass), the hostel room I'm staying in (bunk beds, holds at least 30), and the cleaning gal who yelled at me for sitting on the wrong bed (not kidding), and a million other random funny things (my favorite was the adorable little boy in the coffee shop that I let color with my highlighters while his mom gave me parenting tips and his dad outlined all the hotspots of Dublin on the map and invited me to his standup comedy act--he actually is getting his PhD in standup--I told him it sounded like a scam--he agreed), but for time's sake, and because this paragraph actually is still technically one sentence, I'll just bullet point the main things I've noticed:
-People say "good luck" instead of "have a nice day"
-There's a lot of french speaking people here, which is cool since I speak french...and NEVER get to use it in the US
-The word "fuck" is used how I use "like"...in every sentence, and to give the speaker time to get out the next stream of thought
-Not all Irish people have red hair...but A LOT of them do
-There is actually a language called "Irish" that doesn't actually resemble English at all, and the Irish that we know is just English with some of the accent left over (or something like that).
-Some of the cabs say "Tacsai" on their sign...which apparently is the actual spelling of "taxi" in Irish.
-There are restaurants in every ethnicity here: so far I've seen lots of American (regrettably my first meal here was a desperate stop at a bagel shop in the airport), Mexican, Indian, French, and Thai.
-The Irish don't tip...probably because of the price of food
-Everything costs money here...and you have to multiply everything you spend by 1.5 because of the damn Euro...if Ireland is in a recession, why am I still paying twice the price for everything?
-Christmas lights are already up, but you can't buy canned pumpkin in any store in Dublin.
-Everything is co-ed...including my hostel room...or wait...maybe it's just my hostel room.
-I saw a panhandler that looked my age and was really good looking...just struck me as extremely odd...most of the panhandlers here actually look like they still have it more together than the ones I see in the States
-Favorite cultural thing so far...Guinness is everywhere and you don't have to be male and watching football on a Sunday afternoon at an Irish pub in the city to order it...it's my favorite beer so I'm pretty excited that I don't have to face weird looks and comments every time I order it
-People walk much more
-They have this awesome system where you pay 10 euros for a month and can use any bike at their locks in the city for 20 minutes before returning it to any other stand/lock system. This is so ingenious for so many reasons. a. It's less than the price of renting a bike for 1 day from my hostel (12 euros!), b. it's super convenient, c. I don't have to worry about the bike getting stolen, cuz as soon as I return it to a stand, it is NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY! (good for all parties involved). d. It's orchestrated this way so that there will always be a bike at every stand e. I like bikes.
-Speaking of my plans for tomorrow, I should probably get a little more than the 3 interrupted hours of last night...good night, I mean luck!