February 25 – March 1
Things in Ireland differ compared to our typical daily lives in the States. Day to day life is paced at a much slower rate here in Ireland. Time passes but you don’t feel rushed. I enjoy the laid back atmosphere here, as cliche as it sounds you really get to smell the roses and take everything in. The food items are pretty similar both inside a grocery store and restaurants. Since we cook most nights, we eat typical American foods such as mac & cheese, hamburgers, pastas, tacos, etc. All of the food doesn’t have the same preservatives compared to home. This is nice because it feels like we are eating genuine food vs. a bunch of processed things. Going off of the food, the lifestyle of the Irish people all around tend to be healthier. One of professors estimated about 25% of the population was overweight. However, I would have to disagree and say I have yet to see an over weight Irish person. He explained that this number was very high, and the country is teaching students at a young age that what you put in your body is directly correlating to your health and lifestyle. Looking around you will see people walking or out for a jog. I am curious if the laid back lifestyle is a factor in the healthiness; as I believe at home many are rushed, stressed and don’t even look at what they are eating they are just happy to get a meal in. Lastly, the clothing is what I consider to be a biggest difference. Many times back home, myself included, people will go out in what your lounging in at home. However, when taking trips into Galway and the past field trip, people do not do this here, whatsoever. I would wear leggings and sweatshirt out back home and feel comfortable and not self-conscious at all. Here, the people always look presentable. Females will have their have hair done and makeup on. As I have been told by the locals, we look American. This has been a challenge I am trying to overcome because I don’t want to stick out. Immediately after someone asks “You’re American?”, I ask how they knew. Each time the answer has been different, one time it was my belt. The first night we spent out in Galway, I met two very nice girls that said when we walked in they knew we were American. I wore leggings, a sweater, and a jean jacket. Again, I asked how they knew, their response was that leggings were to not be worn out, especially at a night out in a social manner, as we were in. Another girl was wearing a cardigan, headband, and small hoop earrings. This also appeared to be a dead give away to them, the headband is only allowed for working out and the hoops needed to be much bigger. I had noticed that lots of girls were wearing a full face of makeup. All the girls in this trip from Kearney stick to the “natural look” even when wearing makeup. The Irish girls wear full coverage foundation/etc., fill in their eyebrows, eyeshadow, fake eyelashes, and sometimes lipstick.
The language from the locals was a barrier at first. However, now after the third week I understand what people are saying most of the time. The first few days when someone would speak I would just stare at them trying to process what was just said. That was quite awkward, and thankfully doesn’t happen often.
Thursday through Sunday we went on an excursion to Dublin. Thursday, we visited Clonmacoise Monastery and Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). The jail was my favorite school-sponsored field trip. Friday, we took a three hour walking tour and a tour of the Irish Parliament. I then learned you cannot take a butterknife into the Irish Parliament Saturday, we had a free day, where I spent it at the Jameson Distillery. Sunday, we visited Newgrange and Trim Castle.