Archive for the ‘study abroad’ Category

Goodbyes

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

I am still catching up on Italy and Greece posts, but as today I fly back home to Virginia (with only a small delay) I wanted to jump ahead and give you my thoughts on the end of my time in Ireland, and mostly about the friends I have made here.
hostel

Last Week in Cork

I will readily admit I spent the last week in Cork in deep denial (although does it really count as denial if I realize it is denial?). Even as I shed tears over more goodbyes than I wanted to ever say, and made last stops at all my favorite haunts, went to the UCC campus for the last time…I was determined to plow ahead. Avoid thinking of now and focusing on everything good that I was coming home to. That more than anything has helped me keep it together this last week. All the things I missed from home; from Reese’s cups to my boyfriend to regularly washing all my clothes (and for free).

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I have focused on all the positives of going home and tried my best to ignore what I will miss most about Cork.

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I have said goodbye to all my favorite spots. Had last meals, last drinks, last shopping excursions at all the most memorable parts of the city center. I have stocked up on Butler’s hot chocolate, eaten more O’Flynn’s sausages than I care to admit to, wandered through Topshop and the English Market. Eaten my last Gino’s extra cheese and pepperoni pizza and scoop of gelato while reading a book. Had a last drink at the Washington Inn. Had my last homemade pot of spiked hot chocolate with friends. My last trip to Penny’s. My last time on the UCC campus, to print my plane tickets.

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I love my friends back home, and I have missed them. These friends from high school, college, and even elementary school who I am so glad to be coming home to finally see after five months. But my college career has been filled with friends fluttering in and out of my life within a semester or two. Now I have made some of the best friends of my life, and the pattern is continued.

marine, zoe and i

Already we have been flung across the world without any set date of a reunion. Real life will take hold of us, and Skype dates and letters will be the best we can do after five months of constantly being in one another’s presence, traveling together, practically living together. These women had knit themselves into my life faster than I could have imagined, and I can only think myself better for each of their unique influences.

I have learned to be spontaneous, a hard lesson for me and one I needed. I have pushed my boundaries and done things I could not have pictured myself doing a few months ago. This experience has been a time of growth and personal reflection that could not have been nearly as rewarding without these friends.

Soo-li Amy and I

We plan to visit, anywhere in the world we can manage, and as often as we can. We have talked into the wee hours of the night about our lives, and our plans to travel together in the future. We have supported one another through more than you might think in such a short time together. We have said again and again how lucky we were to meet on that first day. How lucky I am to have met these ladies, to have experienced so much life with them.

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It is difficult to relate these feelings, particularly in blog format. Particularly because I have done all I can to deny that I must say goodbye to these amazing people, to this city that has adopted me. I have done my best to look forward to this summer, to being in Virginia, to being back at UMW. I have not put enough thought into the fact that this chapter is ending and I cannot stop its closure. But I seem to be unable to properly express how happy I am to have gone on this adventure, and with such perfect friends along for the ride. I have appreciated all of these friends I have made here, and find myself better for knowing you all.

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The Eighteenth Week Part 2 Florence

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

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Florence was much less stressful that Venice, the train was fairly easy to figure out and I got a cab to my hostel. The hostel was in a perfect location. It was on the same street as the museum where Michelangelo’s David is housed, and I could see the Duomo from the lobby window, so I could walk everywhere. Everywhere I wanted to go into the lines were horrible so I spent most of my two days in Florence walking around and seeing as much as I could of the outside of buildings and people watching at the many plazas.

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Michelangelo’s David
I opted to get reservations to see this, as I didn’t want to waste half the day in line. There’s not much else in that museum, except for several unfinished statues by Michelangelo which were interesting. David is huge, much bigger than I had imagined the statue to be. It made me feel very small, not just because of this hulking marble statue but the enormous skill that took to create it.

By some stroke of luck, I managed to run into the only people I 9sort of not really0 knew in Florence at the museum. These two really lovely women, also from America, helped me find my train platform when I was in Venice trying to get to Florence. I saw one of them next to me at the museum but couldn’t place her, but she remembered me. Traveling alone, even for a short time, makes seeing anyone you might have the briefest connection with particularly enjoyable simply because it’s someone to talk to. I’ve noticed it’s only when traveling alone I meet people in hostels, and it’s usually other solo travelers looking for someone to chat with about the sights you explored that day.

IMG_1483 This obviously is not a picture of David, but it is a statue of Hercules who is a personal favorite myth of mine that I wanted to include

Duomo
I did not go inside the church, but it was my landmark for the days I spent in Florence as you can see it from just about everywhere. I got the most delicious gelato at this little shop right out front three different times. It would just keep hitting me, as I sat on the steps of the Duomo eating chocolate gelato and reading Pride and Prejudice that I was in Florence amongst all this fabulous art and history.

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On my last night, after I got yet another gelato at the Duomo, they were having some sort of charity race. They were playing music and warming up and they left right in front of the church.

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Ponte Vecchio
I’m going to be honest, I have no idea why this bridge is so famous but I can only imagine what an incredible view those rickety (and I’m sure multimillion euro) apartments have. All the shops lining the bridge were expensive jewelry stores for some reason, maybe that’s what connects to the history of the bridge? But most importantly the river was beautiful and peaceful despite the horrible driving and constantly honking horns.

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Piazza Michelangelo
My best friend, who did her study abroad in Florence, recommended this spot to me. It gives the best view of the city and is most definitely worth the walk up the hill.

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The Tenth Week

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Social

A group of my friends had a “picnic” at school on Friday. We all brought snacks and ate behind one of the coffee shops at a picnic table. The weather is finally (starting to) cooperate and at least it’s better than all the snow people from home are telling me about.

Coursework

I finished my first paper! I didn’t even wait until the last minute to do it either!

As I mentioned, final exams and end of year papers are fast approaching which makes me nervous about the entirely new grading structure. Exam times are much shorter, but I’ given much longer to prepare and they are spaced out over a month rather than a week. I have 2 in March and 1 in May. Grading is different here, they work up from zero rather than down from 100. Plus there are only 1 or 2 grades for the whole semester, which makes exams and papers even more important than at UMW because there’s nothing to fall back on and there’s no way to see how well you’re doing in the class before the exams. On the bright side I can see if maybe I do better with this sort of system, where there is much more flexibility and students have to actually schedule their time and stay motivated throughout the semester without midterms and other assignments to keep them in check.

Also, because I didn’t take any pictures this week and have been meaning to post this one for weeks, this is one of the prettiest buildings at UCC:

UCC

St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Saturday through Monday there was a festival in the city center, which I went to on Saturday. The weather was the best I’ve seen yet in Ireland, it was warm and blindingly sunny (maybe just because it feels like the first time I’ve seen the sun all winter). There was a band playing at the very end, doing mostly cover songs, but they were great. The main drag was just filled with vendors with a couple dozen different kinds of food. There was a chocolate fountain, a few candy & baklava stands, ice cream stands, a pizza place, Lebanese food, Thai food, 3 or 4 sausage & bratwurst stands. I tried a few things and wanted to try more, but my wallet and stomach were not going to have it. They had a space for the kids with face painters and a woman was walking around on stilts which I have never seen in real life before. She made it look so easy but I would have been terrified (I can barely walk in high heeled shoes).


The Ninth Week (Edinburgh!)

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Social

I’m so glad I’ve met such great people to be traveling with. We’re all easy going and willing to compromise so everyone is able to do/see what they want to. We are starting to plan our spring break trip in May (Greek beaches!)

Coursework

Final exams and papers are starting to rear their heads…seems like I need to start preparing for the end of the semester. Thankfully I will be finished soon at least.

Exams are done very differently in Ireland, and because I am taking a combination of Irish classes and International classes I have it different than the Irish students do. For my international classes my end of term papers are due the last week of March, and 2 final exams also take place that week. For my Irish class my final assignments are due the end of March as well but I do not have my final exam until May.

The first three weeks of April is spring break and the last week of April is the reading week but you still have to attend classes (seeing as it is the last week of classes). My last exam is May 1st and then I’m done!

Scotland

Last Wednesday I headed off to Scotland on my own (seeing as I didn’t have class the rest of the week anyway). I stayed in Edinburgh at a really fantastic hostel. It was all girls and fairly close to the city center. The woman who ran it wasn’t much older than me and had moved from Australia a few years ago. She baked bread for everyone for breakfast every morning which was delicious and the place had a very homey feel. I met a lot of great people there, mostly girls traveling by themselves on spring break or who were living in Edinburgh after finishing their master’s thesis.

Edinburg

This was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. It felt how I always imagined old Europe, with very classic old architecture and castles dotting the horizon. On Friday I did the Royal Mile, where most of the sites are clustered and saw Parliament and Hollyroad Castle (Where Queen Elizabeth II lives in the summer months). The castle was incredible; I saw the furniture and tapestries bought by Queen Victoria and the apartments of Mary Queen of Scots. I can’t even imagine having tourists pay to go through your house while you’re gone. But I guess I wouldn’t really be complaining if I was dividing my time between a few different castles every year. Honestly it seems to be a great place to live if the weather would make up its mind. Within a half hour period it rained, then was warm and sunny, then it hailed and snowed, and then it was sunny again. I don’t know how people get used to that.

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The Elephant House

This is the café JK Rowling began work on the very first Harry Potter book. And I ate lunch there, trying not to hyperventilate and giggle like a fangirl. But actually I had a great Panini and wrote postcards home and tried to act like it was no big deal I was there and didn’t spend a half hour tracking it down and passing a half dozen other restaurants that looked delicious.

elephant house

Highlands

On Thursday I took a bus tour, which was the best money I spent the whole trip, to go through the highlands and Loch Ness and Glencoe. Scotland is small enough I was able to see quite a bit of it on the 12 hour drive (we made stops along the way to various sights).

I’m not a big lover of mountains, more of a beach person myself, but the Highlands were absolutely breathtaking.

Loch Ness was huge but the rain prevented me from seeing any sign of a monster unfortunately.

We had about an hour to explore Urquhart Castle, which is on the bank of Loch Ness, and was blown up so really visitors can wander around the shell that remains. The views from the castle was quite pretty, but shrouded in clouds.  (The weather during the rest of day was nice though!)

loch ness  urquhart castlelochness


The Eighth Week (London!)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Coursework

Firstly, I cannot believe it is March. I only have a month of classes left, and finals in only a few short weeks. Where did all my time go? I still have three months, and two of those months will be study free except one pesky little final the May 1, but school is practically over.

This month will be busy, after my trip to Edinburgh this week I will be laying low in Cork to do all my papers, group projects and

final exams, all of which finish the end of March. This is quite conflictingly exciting, relieving and scary.

 London

I flew Ryanair the first time this weekend. It really was not as terrible as people say, the seats were fine and I had sufficient legroom (to be fair I’m quite the shorty) and I wasn’t bringing much with me for the weekend anyway. It was a short flight, I’m sure the longer flights are more uncomfortable. The woman sitting next to me had gone to UCC when she was in college and we chatted during the flight. I ended up being seated next to her on the return flight as well, small world; and she gave me some great recommendations for travel in Europe as well as bookshops in Cork.

We also met a couple college students on the flight, one of which is also studying at UCC this semester. We took the bus into London with them and said our goodbyes. The next day at Big Ben I heard someone calling out for me, surprising enough as the three people I knew in London were within arm’s reach, and there they were. To see just how small the world really is, I go into my kitchen last night and the girl from the plane is sitting at the table, she apparently is friends with one of my roommates. Meeting people like that seems to be happening so much more often than even at my home university even though UCC is so much bigger, the international students are very interconnected.

Because of the tight schedule we had, only having Saturday and Sunday morning to explore London, my friends and I got a ticket for one of those hop on hop off buses in London. This turned out to be a great deal because we were able to ride the bus both days and use the ferry. This gave us the ability to see a lot of the tourist spots of London fairly quickly with a lot of flexibility.

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I toured the Tower of London which was incredible and my favorite part of the trip but it was pricey. I saw where the Royal Menagerie was, some of the crown jewels, where Anne Boleyn was killed, some torture chambers. It was such a cool tour.

IMG_1306 The memorial for the people beheaded, such as Queens Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey

IMG_1279 entrance to the Tower of London

IMG_1289The Tower bridge from the Tower of London

The hostel was nice but none of us really slept the first night. The second night I think we were tired enough to sleep through anything. London is a very spendy city, especially with the exchange rate of the pound right now. I had some really excellent food and some of the worst hot chocolate of my life. It was nice having some sunshine for two days straight and no rain.

IMG_1255The Australian Embassy, better known as Gringotts Bank

Abraham Lincoln? Abraham Lincoln statue (for some reason) next to all the famous English Prime Ministers

Big Ben and Meg Such a sunny day!

I’m headed to Dublin tonight in order to get to the airport on time for my flight to Edinburgh tomorrow morning. This will be my first solo trip anywhere and I’m looking forward to all the beautiful sights.

Lastly: If anyone has any book recommendations please leave them in the comments! And if you’re feeling really lovely and want to send it to me all the better :)


The Seventh Week (Dublin!)

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Again, my apologies for the delay. The rest of the pictures will be up soon, they’re on another friend’s camera.

Social

As big as UCC is (20,000 I believe), the international community is fairly close knit, there are about 3,000 of us. So it doesn’t feel much bigger than UMW (which is a little over 4,000 undergrad) even though in reality it’s almost five times the size.

Coursework

RAG (Raise and Give) Week took place, although that’s not really coursework but it is a huge part of campus life at UCC. The week is centered around activities, games, and merchandise to raise money for various Irish charities.

On campus during the day they have all sorts of different vendors from the city selling food and drinks. There was some great Lebanese food, O’Conaill’s hot chocolate, and a few places I didn’t recognize. Bands and DJs perform during the day, and then they have contests (like hot dog eating). At night pubs have special deals and promotions for RAG week, and this is where it gets a bit crazy.

Dublin

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Trinity College was the first thing I saw, after lunch because that is a long bus ride. There was a Burke statue out by the front gate, I don’t know which Burke or what he did but it is an awesome feeling seeing your surname on a statue and pretending you’re not too distantly related.

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IMG_1229Frank McCourt, author of “Angela’s Ashes”

We saw the Book of Kells, which was magnificent and then toured the Long Room which was absolutely stunning. I wish I could live there. I wish I could read all of those books. (I don’t have any pictures of it on my camera, so I will upload those soon!) On our way out of Trinity, we ran into a Scottish man who is traveling and bringing attention to Scotland’s potential independence. He had us hold up the flag and a little stuffed bear dressed in a kilt for the facebook page.

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The National Gallery was being renovated so only 1 of the floors was open, but that was more of a blessing in disguise because we were able to get through it much faster. We proceeded to waste any time we saved wandering in the gift shop.

After lunch we decided to go to the History museum and then find a pub so we could get a table to watch the Big Rugby Match, England versus Ireland. We got a bit lost on the way, and a magical thing happened. I saw Kennedy’s Pub. Where James Joyce himself would drink and write. We went in, all excited, and asked the bartender if this was The Kennedy’s Pub and he just laughed and pointed to the big plaque behind him. We decided this was the perfect place to watch the game, two birds with one stone you know, and headed out to find the history museum.

It turns out the history museum was a natural history museum, and just filled with dead animals that had been stuffed. Not quite what we were anticipating. The archeological museum (which I was keen on seeing) was just down the block so we went there. We were pressed on time, and only had 40 minutes to get through it if we wanted to be back to Kennedy’s in time to get a table.

This museum was much cooler. It had exhibits of ancient Celtic gold jewelry, and a Viking ship (Side note: I had just finished watching the TV series The Vikings so I was particularly excited), and artifacts from the first kings of Ireland. The coolest (grossest?) part was three partial human remains from the Iron Age. It sort of snuck up on me, but I probably should have figured it out on my own. I was reading a little blurb about what can be discovered from human remains. Specifically information like how tall this man was, what his meals were three months before he died, his occupation (because of his hands), etc. Then I step around corner and there’s a wrinkled, leathery looking torso in a glass case. Again, I suppose I should have expected that. But I was not. I was not expecting to see that at all. After I got over the shock, it was pretty cool (but still sort of gross).

On the way to Kennedy’s, one of the Ladies saw the Oscar Wilde Statue. The second magical occurrence of the day. We had hoped to see it, all being lit-nerds as a friend so kindly referred to us, but figured we would waste too much of the day trying to track it down and would be better off going to the bigger sights. Let me tell you, this is a sassy statue. Wilde is reclining on this big rock, with his eye brow raised and this little cat-ate-the-canary grins.

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 So we went to Kennedy’s and watched the game. I’m fairly certain the guys next to us hated us as they listened to us (inaccurately) explain the rules to one another and played with our phones during the boring bits. It was cool to watch, and be in an Irish pub for the experience at least. England won, but we had left by then. Probably best not to be in the pub when that happened, they were all very intense.

We went to a traditional pub for dinner (delicious) and listened to some Irish music, finally. I can’t believe it’s been almost two months and this was the first time I heard any live Irish music in Ireland. The third magical occurrence took place here as well. One of the Ladies and I are a big fan of a British show called the IT Crowd, starring Chris O’Dowd. it crowd

No we did not meet Chris O’Dowd. But we met his neighbor, which is practically the same thing (right?).

          chris o'dowd This guy here!


The First Week

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

To start off, I’m going to admit I have no idea how to go about blogging as I have never done it myself. My plan is to just wing it and will try to find some sort of style/order as I go.

I am at junior at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia and I am studying at University College Cork in Cork City, Ireland until May 31st.

I’m planning on posting every Monday, give or take. Thanks in advance for reading!

First Day

This was a bit of a rocky start. Without any sleep I came into the city without the basics such as food, bedding, towels, etc. and it was cold, rainy and windy, which is a common day for Cork. I thought I had planned ahead by booking an evening flight, so I would come into Ireland in the morning after sleeping on the plane. Of course I didn’t sleep on the plane because who can while sitting up, being bumped into every few minutes, and day dreaming about being able to afford first class (where they give you slippers and a foot rest and even partitions between each seat). So I needed to push through the day without sleeping in the hopes I would avoid as much jet lag as I could. I managed to find a store with pillows, blankets and towels and bought a baguette and bottle of water as my first meal in Ireland. I managed to take the bus back to my apartment successfully. I managed to get connected to wifi to contact my parents and boyfriend back home that I got in safely. Then I managed to cry for an hour because my room was cold, my bathroom was dirty and I hadn’t slept in 35 hours.

The next day was incredible. I met an amazing group of people on my way to orientation (and who thankfully knew how to get to campus). At orientation I met people from all over the world, learned about UCC, the campus, classes, societies and clubs, talked with professors and had a great meal at a pub with new friends.

Social

I haven’t become close with any Irish students yet, the new school has a huge amount of international students. (Although a group of intoxicated Irish high schoolers wanted a picture of my friends and I because they were convinced all Americans were bound to become famous someday). I have met people from all over the US, Australia, Denmark, Germany and Italy. Everyone I’ve met has been incredibly friendly and I’ve never met nicer people than the friend’s I’ve made this last week. It has been so exciting to begin planning weekend trips to various places in Ireland as well as Europe.

Coursework

I am taking a variety of courses; marketing (for my major) as well as Irish Floklore and Irish History and all of them seem amazing so far. Classes here are hugely different than American classes, in good ways. They are much more relaxed first off. Most classes have a final paper and final exam, and all the professors refuse to answer any questions about either assessments (topic, requirements, sources, format, etc) until February, which is nice because the first day we just jump into the subject rather than be overwhelmed by all the coursework for the entire year in every class. Most of my classes only meet once a week, because the Irish students take 6-7 classes per semester while at my school at home 5 classes is the average schedule, give or take 1 class.

My Management and Marketing class has a different professor every week, so that each department member can teach their own expertise. We are also doing several field trips for that class in order to meet with management and marketing teams at companies like Jameson Whiskey, Waterford Crystal, the Titanic museum, among others.

In my Irish Folklore class, which meets twice a week, we have a different professor depending on the day. On Tuesdays we focus on old literature with one professor, and on Thursdays we focus on customs and traditions with a different professor (in a different building, at a different time).

Kinsale, Ireland

The weather was beautiful Saturday (Jan 11); I took a day trip to Kinsale, which is right on the coast. It was an inexpensive one hour bus ride from the city. Kinsale was such a cute town. Once it’s a bit warmer some of my friends and I want to go back to do either whale watching or rent a boat for the day. There is a star shaped fort there, which my friends and I did not see (it was about a three mile walk each way) and Desmond Castle, which was too small to be a castle and is closed in the winter. Most recently it was used as a work house during the Potato Famine. Desmond Castle

But there were some beautiful churches and lots of different shops and art galleries. Kinsale is known for their brightly colored houses and shops, which I thought was a joke but every building was so brightly colored it was like stepping into Munchin land after being in dreary old Kansas. We went it to an amazing café/book shop called “The Poet’s Corner”.IMG_1147 I had a “sticky” hot chocolate; where they give you a cup of boiling milk and a hunk of dark chocolate on a popsicle stick and you stir it in as it melts. It was very delicious, very chocolaty. I’d take the bus out again just for some more of that. (To be honest I’ve already made plans to go back this weekend)IMG_1137


Three weeks and counting

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Yeah, I’ve been in Spain for more than 3 weeks and I leave in less than 2 weeks. That’s so crazy. This place is so beautiful and peaceful. I realized that after I heard protesters gelling something in Spanish about a barrio which is a district of a city. I felt bad for the cafés and stores around it. I am just not feeling a little but homesick, only my mother’s cooking and my family/friends and my dog. It’s not serious, just every now and then I’m craving some good sinegun (Filipino soup) or some adobo (Filipino meal) or even some darn good cornbread!! Where is my mama?!!? On the thee hand, I go to Germany this weekend to visit my brother, Herbbie, and his family!! I haven’t seen them for about 3 years so this will be great! I can’t wait, also because it will deter my homesick feelings! Yay for traveling!!
So an update on classes. Spanish is still difficult, but I’m learning a lot and it’s almost over haha! IB is so interesting! Seriously, we learn about business around the world, hence International business, but it’s in a fun way. Even the teacher is cool. She knows when class gets boring and tries to help us get out of class early. Ahh, please come to Mary Wash and be my teacher for every class! Anyways, we have finals in two Mondays! Yay!

Deusto should seriously come up with a new printing system.  The library is so difficult and you need a flash drive for the photocopy room.  NO ONE TOLD ME TO BRING A FLASH DRIVE… Anyways, good thing I can email from my iPhone; it saves me every time!

Also, I just realized that I have to walk down the side of a mountain in order to go to school and/or walk back home.  It’s about a 5-10 minute walk down/up the mountain.  I mean it could be a hill but it’s so huge so I’m going to call it a mountain! Recently, I’ve decided to climb back up the mountain to get back home instead of wasting money and taking the metro up the hill; it’s a struggle especially when it’s like 80 degrees.  Who has time for that!?  But it’s a good exercise I must say!

I will be gone this weekend, pray for safe travels! Thanks (:

THE RUNNING OF the people from THE BULLS!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Today I had such an amazing experience.  Our program bought us tickets to go to Pamplona to see the Running of the Bulls!!!  That was so amazing!

Let’s get into some logistics here.  It (the running of the bulls event) goes on for 8 days.  Saturday to Saturday!  It begins every morning at 8am with the bulls running down the streets (that are blocked off so the bulls know where to run) with “trained” runners in their places.  Side note: runners are not allowed to be drunk (dangerous of course).  The bulls run down about 3 blocks then into the Plaza de Toros.  Then, from there the bulls are guided to go into a designated area outside the arena, away from the people and runners.  They do this thing where they put one wild bull into the arena with the people and let it go wild, which they do with about 6 different bulls.  Yes, people get hit and possible broken bones.  In the afternoon, they do a (or a few?) bull fight (I’m unsure of the number). And this repeats for 8 days!  Enjoy it, I guess! (people were sleeping in sleeping bags in the parks nearby and Pamplona looks like a hell-hole… terrible because people just drink all day everyday)! So it’s dirty but it’s a pretty city (just not during this week) when it’s clean.

 

I will post videos on the event, because I prefer videos over pictures of this!

Anyways, I really enjoyed this thing.  Let’s get to some real stuff here.  So I talked it over with my pops when I arrived back at the apartment, but we basically agreed that this is animal cruelty.  But he was glad I experienced it.  I agree though, basically, they bring these bulls into the arena and taunt them in the morning.  At night, they have a bull fight.  If you do not know what a bull fight is, let me explain it to you, and I just learned about this today so don’t judge my knowledge.  There’s a bull, a matador, and people on horses.  The beginning is suppose to be a beautiful piece (look it up on youtube or something for a visual) of the bull and matador.  Then the people on the horses throw spears at the bull near its head to make it weak enough to not lift its head up to fight.  Eventually, they try to throw a spear at it’s heart to kill it.  Apparently, it was meant to be a privilege for the bull and the matador to do this beautiful piece.  It’s tough to even explain.  The bull is then cleaned and cut up by the butcher.  Ok, moving on. I made my statement.

The part where the runners taunt the wild bulls is so confusing.  SO they let out one bull and the runners from the streets are still in this arena and they taunt the bull.  They can taunt it by hitting it’s butt, pulling its tail, jumping at it, or just running from it.  Anything to get it aroused.  They did this about 6 times with 6 different bulls.  I thought this part was fun.  So the main point is to get the bull upset and have it chase you but you being able to escape the bull.  A couple of times, people were fast enough to run away but there are so many people in the arena that it was hard to escape the bull.  I was literally in the edge of my seat the whole time, because people could get seriously hurt but maybe because it was my first time.  Either way, it was so exciting.  The number one rule is to respect the animal.  You’re not allowed to ride the animal or to grab its horns in an aggressive way (like to have control over it)!!!  Because you will be beat up by the locals.  This guy got shoved on top of the bull and was riding it and I was cheering because now he can say he has ridden a bull.  Apparently, that’s not the right idea.  He was hit/punched in the face, slapped, and kicked numerous times and then someone finally said to him to basically respect the animal and don’t ever do that again.  It was funny, but sad.  I was so shocked, but it didn’t make sense that we couldn’t disrespect the animal but it might get killed tonight? Right, what part of it is right!?  Then again, if you think of it as a beautiful piece of art then I guess we have to respect the animal!

In the end, it was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I went.  I actually think it would be awesome to be a runner within the streets! You can always just hide up against the wall and be safe that way.  Chad what do you think about that idea!!?  Let’s do it next year? I told my dad and he didn’t say much! Ehh, it was so exciting and just being in a bull fighting arena that you hear about in history class was awesome! You know?  Just think about that!  Now everything is hitting me that I’m seeing them in person instead of via textbooks or internet!  Crazy and mind-blowing!

Adiós muchachos!

This is from Eat, Pray, Love.  Literally just watched that…

Sunday, July 7th, 2013


This is from Eat, Pray, Love.  Literally just watched that movie!  (: