Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shutter Island... Or should I say 27 Palace Court?

So a while ago my friends and I saw the movie Shutter Island. Leonarda DiCaprio is in it, and basically it's this movie about how this guy is stuck on this island with people who are trying to do surgery on his brain and he has no escape. Little did I know that a few weeks later that movie would turn into my life. Alright, so maybe the UK is a bit bigger and more civilized than your stereotypical island, and maybe there aren't really people here trying to do surgery on my brain. However, I am stuck in London with no immediate means of escape, and I am stuck in a house with 40 stressed teenage girls and an abundance of Satan's mice. When you really think about it, 27 Palace Court isn't all that different from Shutter Island.

As many may have heard, the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano (yes, that's seriously it's name) erupted in Iceland on Thursday and has been shooting ash into the air ever since. Volcanoes in Iceland--who knew? Now, as a result, my flight for today was cancelled since air conditions are not safe for flying and I'm going to be stuck in Europe for an indefinite amount of time. I have a flight scheduled for Tuesday at 10AM and chances are that that flight will be cancelled too. But hey, miracles happen, right? With that being said, if everyone could keep the BYU London Study Abroad students and our means of getting home in their prayers, it would be greatly appreciated.

Well, since I have lots of time now that finals are over (yay! No school!) I might as well take a moment (or five) to recap the events of the past few days. Let's see, where do I even begin? Ah yes, Ireland... the lan' of me granda'...

So we went on the North trip. And then after the North trip, Britin, Emma, Caitlin, and I caught a plane from Liverpool to Dublin. It was the shortest plane of my life--we're talking like 40 minutes. After we got into Ireland, (which is really just as green as they say it is...) we got a taxi that took us to our hotel! Well, not really. He took us to our hotel's sister hotel, thereby leaving us to walk to our right hotel after we had realized where we really were. When we got to our real hotel (which was lovely), we went out walking through the city and arrived in a little restaurant for dinner. At the restaurant, the waiter decided to give me a free Coke, which was hilarious since Caitlin and I had both been wanting one, yet he didnt present one to her. Caitlin says that its only because I have blonde hair--which honestly is probably what it really was. Nonetheless, it was hilarious and I got a free drink which was nice since a Diet Coke was like 4 euros otherwise. After dinner we walked around some more but because it was Good Friday everything was closed. In time we made it to an internet cafe to figure out details for our flight home (we booked the trip really spur of the moment and had a few last minute details to sort out...) and then got dessert at this little Italian place and eventually went to bed exhausted.

The next morning, we woke up super early to go see if we could bum onto a bus tour through some of the Irish countryside. Unfortunately, they were ALL booked, except for one--the North Coast and Malahide Castle tour, so we instantly took it! Before the tour, we had breakfast at this absolutely adorable and delicious cafe called the Queen of Tarts where I got a blueberry scone and hot chocolate. Then, we headed onto our tour which ended up being really fun--especially since our driver was this funny and authentic Irish man. His name was Michael Kelly and he reminded me of Mr. Kirby from Hart. After the tour, we had lunch at Burger King like the true Americans that we are, and then went shopping and visited Trinity College.

Malahide Castle--oh scaffolding, how I love you...
the coast was GORGEOUS
We started walking on Grafton street, but it started POURING raining!! It was terrible, so we found refuge in some stores, and then eventually headed back to our hotel since we were cold and wet. There, we took a two hour power nap and then went out and went to GBK for dinner. After, we went walking around some more and settled in an Irish pub where I got bread pudding! It was really fun, but Emma put it best when she said "I don't belong here." It's so true--Irish culture is really based on drinking, so when you're someone who doesn't believe in alcohol, you tend to feel a little out of place. Regardless, we still had a lot of fun. After, we went back to our hotel where there was an Irish dancing show! It was so much fun and very Irish. After, we went out to a pub where live music was playing and it was then that I really felt like I was in Ireland. There was a young guy playing songs, and Tom--the guy from our hotel's Irish dancing show--was even playing some drum/tambourine instrument, haha. He's the red head in the video below. At the pub, we sang along and laughed, and then we walked back and went to bed.
Sunday was EASTER! We woke up and checked out of our hotel and got ready to go to breakfast at the Queen of Tarts again, but it was closed cause of Easter, so we went to Starbucks. Good ole Starbucks, always so reliable. In my PoliSci170 class I had brought up the point that American culture really does dominate the world. A girl tried to argue that and say that the whole world actually isn't obsessed with American music, movies, food, etc. So foolish. Everywhere I go, American food chains are always the ones that are open and are the places that will never charge you to use their toilet. Good ole America. I love my country. Anyways, getting off topic... so we had breakfast, then caught a taxi, and flew home and made it back to our home at Palace Court. We had just missed the Easter brunch/program that went on, but luckily there was a plethora of treats in the fridge left for us to pig out on! It was great! And, to top it off, I had an Easter package from my family waiting for me filled with Easter treats inside. It was a great home-coming and a great Easter. After our brunch/lunch, I took a nap and then watched the last session of General Conference.
Ireland was so much fun, but I definitely need to go back and spend some more time there. I would continue explaining the events that occurred after Easter passed, however, its 3 in the morning here and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow, since I'll still be in London (and for the next day after that, and the next day after that...) I'll be able to take aside some time and finish these lovely thoughts. Until then, down with Satan's volcano, down with Satan's mice, and good night.