Dublin, my love:

I will be back for your clouds, unpredictable rain, foamy pints, cobblestones, and 24 convenience stores in January.

Thank you for a fantastic first semester, and I hope we can take our relationship to the next level come Spring Term.

Don’t have too much fun without me.

xoxo,

ShanCakes


Butternut Squash Aids In Productivity

It’s a fact. I swear. I peeled, chopped, and baked the cutest little squash last night for dinner and felt like everything was right in the world again. I was in need of a serious pick me up. Some people listen to music, some people drink a bottle of wine by themselves, others spend way too much money online shopping for end of season deals. And then there is the rarest breed of them all: the butternutsquashers, i.e. me.

And you know what happened then? I slept a full night, got in bed at 10, miraculously woke up at 6 am on my own, had the best oatmeal ever, got a few hours of studying in before the gym opened at 9, worked out, met my friend at the Temple Bar Farmers Market, FINALLY completed my Christmas shopping (and am beyond satisfied with my array of Irish gifts to give), hit the library for a few hours, ran a few errands on the way home, and am now sitting criss crossed on my bed writing an extra spunky blog post as my piping hot cut of chamomile tea cools. Productive day? I think yes. No, I think double yes.

I am ashamed to even admit this, but today was the first time in 4 months of living in Temple Bar that I went to its Famers Market…even though it’s 2 streets down from my apartment. Needless to say, I will be there every Saturday next term.


We Hit the 9 Day Mark!

Guess how many days it is until I come home…

Just guess.

I dare you.

IT’S LESS THAN 10 DAYS, EVERYONE. WHAT?!?!?

Yes, I am sad to leave my roomies and all the people I’ve met and formed relationships with, but nothing beats the love I have at home. In 9 days I will be running full speed into the arms of my mama in the American Airlines baggage claim, most likely with tears of joy dripping down my cheeks and onto the linoleum floor one after the other. In 9 days I will be sitting in the passenger seat of my mom’s car on the right hand side, driving on the right side of the road, probably freaking out feeling like we are going to run head first into oncoming traffic. But I trust Jan, the woman has never gotten a ticket in her life. In 9 days I will pull into the driveway of our new pristine home, with a big thank you shout out to Kent Bransford for making this all possible. May you be blessed with never ending karma and brownies in your next life. In 9 days I will get to watch Casey’s face light up (Casey, you better do me justice with this statement) when I walk and crouch down in front of him. In 9 days I will get to finally hug the thing I love the most, the thing that is as tall as I am now! In 9 days I will be sleeping in my new, own bed in Pebble Beach. In 9 days I will return to my American Netflix. In 9 days I can FINALLY return to my guilty pleasure: Peet’s Guatemalan Roasted Coffee. Come to mama, you lovely brown bag of gold and caffeine induced endorphins.

But before these 9 days, I have 9 days that are sure to be filled with their own version of an endless list of errands, goodbyes, papers, studying, packing, cleaning, tears, and beers.

In a week and a half, I will be finished with the 100 architectural plans, photos, and sketches I am currently trying to cram into my brain for my slide test next Tuesday. In that same week and a half, I will have to dig deep to shove, find, and cram approximately 300 photos of centuries of art work for the second slide test. Hello coffee, cereal, and study playlists on iTunes.

And tonight we (meaning all the Arcadia peeps) congregated at Ciao Bella Roma for our farewell meal. After a complimentary glass of wine, starter, and pizza, we were all talking of our flights home and the 79385857483 papers and things we have to do before those 9 days pass…

 

Best part of the night: my mushroom pizza. View it. Envy it. Virtually eat it. And have a slice of pizza (or an entire pie) for dinner tonight.

 


Tree Lighting and Brinner

Today turned out to be much better than I was expecting. Wanna know why? Because I thought I was going to miss the much anticipated annual Trinity Christmas Tree Lighting…but I didn’t!

Apparently, people here take Christmas a lot more seriously than I expected. It’s great, I love it. So when I heard about the Christmas Tree Lighting happening in front square of campus this evening at 5:30, I knew it would be an event that I could not miss. And then my heart sank when I realized that I had my Art History lecture at the SAME TIME. I ran into all my American friends in the lobby of the arts building before class, where they all excitedly were congregating before heading to the lighting. I was pissed. And sad. But also knew that I REALLY needed to go to lecture. So I said goodbye and sauntered off to the lecture theatre. But guess what? Out of all days, the professor ended lecture 10 minutes early, just in time for me to catch the lighting of the tree! I literally walked into a sea of students in front of the chapel, and 3 seconds later joined in on a count down to the official lighting of the Trinity Tree! 

And there was one of the MANY Trinity choirs singing Christmas carols on the steps! They were fantastic, like with 5 part harmonies.

And…a roomie pic to document our LAST 2 WEEKS HERE (whaaaaaaaaaaat?!)

And of course, we concluded the night with Annie’s version of “Brinner.” This includes any breakfast items that we have in our cupboards and fridge for dinner. Ours included pancakes, makeshift syrup, strawberries, nutella, scrambled eggies, and bacon (for everyone else). It was delicious!

Happy Brinner, everyone!


Sláinte For A Successful Friendsgiving!

Yes, it is a bit overdue to say this now…but Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I was able to celebrate my first Thanksgiving away from home with an amazing group of people: my two amazing roommates, another “adopted” Arcadia roomie for the day, and a best friend from home. Oh yea, Ione Chan is in Dublin! 

It’s been so lovely having her here; it makes everything taste a little more like home. Unfortunately, she arrived feeling a bit under the weather, and it is still putting a damper on our ambitious plans for the week. Nevertheless, we got a few “healthy” afternoons in, with walks down Grafton Street where we looked at all the festive Christmas lights and window shopped for far too long. Molly, Annie, and I took her out for her first “true” fish and chips; she was thoroughly impressed. If I ate fish, I could attest to this statement…but for now, I will say with confidence that Ireland has the best chips on the face of the planet. Don’t be surprised if I smuggle a box or five of these deep fried potato morsels on the plane home to give to you all for Christmas gifts. Trust me, you would NOT be disappointed. However, I don’t think the TSA people on Aer Lingus would appreciate my extra carry on.

Wow, that was a longer tangent than I had anticipated. Anything fried will do that to me.

Thanksgiving was a success: we had a beautifully golden brown oven roasted turkey (thanks to Molly Brown for taking over kitchen duties for the ENTIRE day and babysitting our turkey friend as he basted and baked away in the oven all afternoon), delicious mushroom stuffing (thanks to MB, again, and her mother who so kindly shared her family recipe with us), the creamiest mashed potatoes I’ve had in a while (cuddos, Annie), a BOMB waldorf salad (thanks to yours truly), apple-blackberry pie, freshly baked bread, green beans, and plenty of refreshments, good music, and even dancing at the end of the night.

It was just great. That’s all I can say. I felt so grateful and loved and comfortable and appreciative and humbled. 

Of course I missed being able to spend this holiday with my family back in the States, but after yesterday, I realized that it’s good to adopt new traditions and create new families. Dublin, thanks for becoming a fantastic second home. Sláinte!


A Blurred Week.

Sunday through Wednesday I spent in bed. Literally. I didn’t leave the house until I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to have some sort of human interaction and breath of fresh air late Wednesday afternoon…to get some more honey for my dwindling chamomile tea stash.

No, I wasn’t being the laziest person in the world or in a scary spiraling state of depression or skipping class just for kicks. I was sick as a dog. I don’t know if it was something I ate, some virus or bacteria I ingested, but whatever it was it gave my immune system a run for its money. I haven’t slept that much or had as much quality time with my pillow and duvet since I had mono summer after senior year of HIGH SCHOOL. Good god, I cannot tell you how nice it is to feel healthy and almost totally “normal” again (whatever standard that may be).

But I made it through, thanks to an incredibly caring, compassionate, and worried boyfriend and my mother with a wicked smart doctor for a boyfriend. Continents away, seas apart, they all nursed and healed and willed me back to good health. Jan, Kent, and Luke: thank you for everything. I don’t think the pack of saltines and 40 bags of chamomile tea would have sufficed for healing purposes on their own.

In other news:

I have LOADZZZZZZZZZZZZ to catch up on. Luckily, I have the apartment to myself this weekend, with Annie off to Exeter to see friends and Molly jet setting to Amsterdam for a mini vaca. So, it is my goal this weekend to fill every spare table, bench, couch, and counter with my notes, essays, and projects that are in desperate need of some lovin’. Oh, and to clean every single square inch of this apartment. Because let’s face it: I secretly indulge in this aspect of living alone (even for only 3 days). 

And then…

Ione arrives in Dublin bright and early Monday morning! Another thing to look forward to this weekend in between study seshes: stocking the cupboards with snacks and breaking out the crock pot again to make a cozy batch of lentil soup. I can already taste it. 

Moral of the story: I am so grateful for a kick ass immune system that bravely had the nerve to fight off the nasty pathogens that flooded my poor little body. Thank you, Helper T cells and B cells- Bio friends, please tell me you get this reference. If not, I will be slightly mortified…8,000 miles away. 

xoxo


Yes, more pictures of clouds. Thank you, Malahide. 


Malahide!


Malahide, Malamine, Malayours

And the Malahide day excursion was a success!

 

We had a beautiful day for walking about the town and castle gardens of Malahide; take that, Irish weather! Turns out we didn’t actually go inside the castle…we are too cheap to shell out 10 euro to see another old building of stone. Yes, it would have been really neat and lovely, I’m sure, but lets be honest: I’d rather pay 10 euro on a pint and a cup of soup. And so we did. Minus the pint part. It was barely 5 pm on a Sunday night.

 

 

Nevertheless, the gardens and surrounding grounds of the castle were prettier than I had even imagined, with winding footpaths tracing the circumference of the central grass fields. Soccer games were being played to our left, ambitious runners were passing us on our right, and the cutest little kids were scrambling all around us the entirety of our walk. Seriously, each toddler had a brightly colored puffy jacket and stylish little rain boots. Oh, and an adorable knit hat that only kids ages 3-5 can pull off.

 

 

Fun fact: we talked to an elderly couple for nearly 30 minutes along our path stroll. What ended up being a friendly conversation regarding directions to the main entrance turned into a 30 minute session of laughter, crass jokes, swapping stories of New York, and talking about the weather. Because anyone that knows the Irish knows that you can’t go 2 minutes in any social situation without talking about the weather. Really, it’s a fact of life.

 

 

The last stop on our Malahide adventure ended in a warm pub for some pre-train din din. The tea was yummy as ever, Allie’s dinner is far above what our make-shift Thanksgiving dinner will look like next week, Katie’s burger rivaled those in the States, and Megan’s chowder made me contemplate breaking my vegetarianism (for like 2 seconds, and then I was back to my love and devotion of tofu and broccoli, don’t fret).

 

 

Thinking of you all, and miss you all more and more anytime I read a food blog recipe for Thanksgiving, knowing that I will spend it in Dublin.

 

 

But…

 

 

LESS THAN A MONTH UNTIL I AM HOME! AHHHHHHHHHHH! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! ME EITHER!


Tea and Mochas and Gummy Candies

Hi all!

 

Another week has passed, another week closer to Christmas! They lit the Christmas lights on one of the main streets here in Dublin last night, officially marking it the holiday season! It’s so strange because without Thanksgiving standing in the way, the day after Halloween is over, the Christmas decorations and festivities begin! 

 

It was a slow week, mainly because my body and brain were still recuperating from traveling the past week. Yes, I got back on Saturday and had a full day and a half to veg and rest before diving into classes again, and yes, I am a pro at laying in bed watching Netflix for hours on end, but I needed several more hours to get over my travel exhaustion than I had anticipated. It wasn’t until Thursday that I felt back in my own skin and back in the groove of things at Trinity.

 

 

I met my friend, Katie, for coffee and tea and girlie talk after lecture yesterday, breaking me out of my “jet-lagged funk,” I have decided to call it. We found this second level of seating in this cute coffee shop that we had both been to several times…but had never seen this extra chunk of seating! Ironically enough, I am currently sitting in this same coffee shop while writing this blog post. I had a pot of gingersnap peach tea, and Katie ordered this decadent salted caramel mocha thingy. Of course, I had total order envy when I saw her drink be mixed and delivered by the barista. Motivation to go back to my new fav spot to study!


 

 

In other news, I started my new science course this Monday. As I have previously mentioned, science courses at Trinity are run differently; each course is only half a semester long. There are goods and bads to this system, I have come to find, but I kind of liked coming back from a week off and starting a completely new subject. Welcome to Comparative Physiology at Trinity College Dublin, friends! There are 3 different professors cycling through the five weeks of lecture, which I think I have come to like (my art history course is set up this way, too). And get this: half of our overall grade is based on a scientific blog that we have to create. How funny is that?!? We have to find a subject matter we are interested in and that is relevant to lecture material, research for scientific articles, post a forum, and…get ready for it…format the blog to make it aesthetically pleasing! I am so excited. And he even said to write it in a “blog voice,” making it fun and witty to the reader. So thank you, Tumblr and the plethora of food blogs I read religiously, for filling my brain with blog ideas! But first things first: I have to make some Irish friends so I can weasel my way into a group for the project. Wish me luck.

 

 

As far as the “gummy candies” part of this post’s title, I literally walked into a tiny farmers market on my walk home from the gym this morning. There were a few stands set up in front of the old Parliament building, now The Bank of Ireland, and decided to take a peek. There were piles upon stacks of every kind of gummy candy you could ever dream up. So naturally, I shamelessly took out my phone and snapped a pic. Or 3.

 

I am off to Malahide tomorrow with some girlzzzz. It’s a 30 minute DART ride from campus, and I’m so excited! I forgot how much I used to do this, plan a day trip each weekend to have something to look forward to. Pics and stories soon to come!