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A Semester Abroad
Family Vacation to Disney World

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Limerick, Ireland

IT"S SNOWING!!! EEE!!! :) haha...so eventually I'll post more about my home stay weekend, but for now I'm just going to talk about my first Folklore tutorial that I had yesterday and...the snow!

The 1st of February is considered St. Brigit's day and it's also the first day of Spring. It is a custom that on the eve of St. Brigit's day you were to pull rushes and make a St. Brigit's cross. After the cross was made it was to be hung above doorways or window to offer protection and blessing. The figure of St. Brigit is a combination of the Christian saint and a Pagan goddess. So, in celebration of the 1st of February, yesterday in my Irish Folklore tutorial we made St. Brigit crosses, using rushes that our lecturer had cut from on campus.

So when I was walking back from a very boring lecture (Issues in Contemporary Irish Society...all we talked about was economics and taxes, ick!) it began to snow! We've had some small flurries and stuck...but when I was crossing the bridge these fat, cotton ball flakes started swirling around. It was beautiful! ...till I realized I was headed into the wind...and could not look where I was going, unless I wanted to get a face full of pelted snow! By the time I got back to my room I was frozen, wet, but smiling! Haha! The snow didn't really stick to the ground or anything...so all around me was green fields and trees...with fluffy white-ness falling all around...it really looked a bit surreal and fake.

That's all for now! I'll write more later!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on February 3, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Snow

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University of Limerick

Limerick, Ireland

Hello all! I just started classes today...and so far they are ok. I just had two classes today, I'll have a better idea of how this semester will be at the end of this week. Mostly this entry is to post pictures of the University of Limerick (or UL) campus! I don't have pictures of everything yet (like the outside of my appt. building or the sports pitches) but at least this is a start!

I took these pictures Saturday morning when we were headed to the bus stop to catch the bus into the city centre. I'm a the back of the group taking pictures during the walk (you'll see the backs of my fellow Arcadia students). We are on the North Campus (we're on the North side of the river) and it's a good 10 min walk from our apartments to the middle of campus. When we first leave Cappavilla we encounter the Health Sciences Building...and the construction site of something...then we cross the Living Bridge, over the Shannon River, to the main campus.

I'm not quite sure why it's called the Living Bridge...but it does move when you walk on it...not a lot...but enough to disturb you...

As you cross the bridge you get a really nice view of the main campus and of the Plassey House, which is where the president of the college lives...they sometimes call it the White House...cause it's white.

Slush on the bridge!!

We're near the end of the bridge and are approaching the engineering buildings...one of the buildings has a cafe that faces the river...I haven't been there yet but it looks nice.

I have my Ireland: Revolution and Independence class in the Engineering Building...in room EB001 (Engineering Bldg, Lower Ground Level (they don't call it a basement), Room 01).

Now we are approaching the main complex of buildings.

The Ski Slopes are a part of the Main Building. The Main Building has 5 blocks, labeled A-E. The building is a giant U shape...and each block is part of the U...it's very confusing....

Here is the Foundation Building and University Concert Hall. I have European Cinema in FB028 (Foundation Bldg, Lower Ground Level, Room 28).

Here is the Library. I'll get a better picture, minus the crane, at some point.

We continue walking by the library and the giant vine-y torch thingy...

Past more of the Main Building...

To the Student Centre!

We first encounter The Stables, which is a pub on campus. It's a nice place, that's pretty lively every night.

Through an archway...to the bookstore.

Through another archway, to the main student centre area, where the Spar (a small grocery store), the Student Union, and Ulster Bank/ATMs are located.

We go toward the Spar...turn right...and are out of the Student Centre. We turn left to go toward the bus stop and can see the Arena (UL's grand sports complex, with the first Olympic size pool in Ireland).

So that's the campus...or at least what I see most of the time. Later on I'll take more pictures, probably during the afternoon, so there isn't the glaring morning sun. But before I Ieave, I'll post a map of campus...and try to explain where everything is.

# 32 is Cappavilla, where I live (it's the orange circle at the top)
# 12 is the Engineering Bldgs
# 13 is the Main Bldg, where the ski slopes are
# 14 is Plassey House
# 11 is the Foundation Bldg
# 10 is the Library
# 16 is the Student Centre
# 22 is the Arena
Outside of Bldg # 20 is where the bus stop is

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 26, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Map, UL and Campus

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Dublin, Ireland

First things first...I AM IN IRELAND!!! EEEE!!!! :) haha, ok...got that over with..so moving on!
So I know that some of you have been anxiously awaiting to hear from me, but I was waiting till arrived in Limerick to sit down and load my patheticly small amount of photos and post a blog entry. That being said, I am technically in Limerick now...though the post may say it's in Dublin (shh, don't tell anyone I'm cheating), but this post will be filled with all the wonderful details (and a few pictures) of how I spent 3 days in Dublin for the beginning of my orientation here in Ireland.

Day 1 in Dublin- Sunday, 18th of January
My trip over was uneventful. All my planes departed/arrived on time or early. Despite this...my journey did hit an unexpected bump. When I arrived at the Abbey Court Hostel, where we (the students in Arcadia's University of Limerick and Ulster University programs) were staying in Dublin (it's near O'Connell street, which is the main street in Dublin), I discovered that one of my checked bags had been pilfered....yeah...someone had stolen my toiletries (including my jewelry) and some clothes. Needless to say, it wasn't the best way to start my trip, but everything can be replaced and I am (with the massive help of Arcadia) getting all the reports and insurance claims filed. After that morning, the afternoon was pretty relaxed, we had free time after lunch and we just walked around and explored the city a bit. I got a Vodafone (an international mobile phone). For dinner we all (the 10 Limerick students and 4 Ulster students) went to a small Irish restaurant. After dinner I called it a night and headed back to the hostel.

Day 2 in Dublin- Monday, 19th of January
The morning was filled with Arcadia orientation sessions about being in Ireland, our accomedations, our homestays etc. In the afternoon we went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Dublin.

We first stopped at Dublin Castle

You can get tours of the inside...but we were trying to conserve our money, we'd only been here a day and I felt that I'd already spent too much! So we walked down to the next sight, the Christ Church Cathedral.

We got back on the bus and headed toward the Guinness Storehouse.

The place itself was really neat. The first floor was dedicated to the main ingredients of Guinness...Barley, Hops, Yeast, and Water.

Then they had a little section about Arthur Guinness...the inventor of Guinness.

There was a tasting room, where you could taste some freshly brewed Guinness (it was ok...a bit bitter for me), museum-y sections with memorabilia and such...

And the Guinness Harp [Stephanie this is totally for you]

On the 6th Floor, you can pull your own Guinness and on the 7th Floor there is the Gravity Bar, which is completely encased in glass and has a perfect view of the city...it's taller then any of the buildings near it...so you can see clear to the mountains on the outside of the city, it was beautiful. In the bar you can also receive your complimentary drink (either a pint of Guinness or a soft drink)

After the Storehouse, we hopped back on the bus to stop 21, which was right in front of our hostel conveniently enough!

We got a cheap quick dinner and I called it a night.

Day 3 Dublin- Tuesday, 20th of January
The morning was spent discussing the Irish school system and what to expect from our classes. We had lunch, then a Q&A session...which was quite informative. We talked about the nuances of the Irish language...differences in Irish and American vocab, and were highly encouraged to look into joining a club or society on campus...according to the Arcadia staff it is the BEST way to meet people and reach a deeper understanding of the culture. So...I think I might join the Drama Socitey...haha...yeah I can't stay away...and maybe a sport? Gaelic football seems interesting...it's a mix of soccer, football, and basketball...yeah it's kinda odd, but apparently it's one of the oldest games in the world, so...there ya go! After watching the Presidental Inaguration in the hostel lounge, I got a quick dinner, then Arcadia treated us to a night at the theatre! We went to the Abbey Theatre and saw a wonderful production of The Playboy of the Western World, a new version of a classic play. I thorughly enjoyed it...some of the other people in the group fell asleep...but I was rivited! ;) It was a wonderful comedy and the pub set was incredible. Anyway, before I ramble on more...after the play we headed to The Porter House, a pub near the hostel. We sat and talked for a while before leaving. I got back to the hostel and backed up a bit, preparing to leave the next day for Limerick!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 21, 2009 from Dublin, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Hostel, Dublin, Pub and Guinness

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Limerick - Moving In

Limerick, Ireland

Today was a pretty low-key day. We left Dublin at 10ish and drove to Limerick, via bus. In about 2 1/2 hrs we arrived at our village, Cappavilla. We checked in and moved in! After we got our stuff to our rooms, Maria (our Limerick Arcadia contact) gave us a brief tour of the campus. It's a nice campus, much bigger then I am used to! We stopped at the school shop to get some basic food-stuffs (i.e. bread, cheese, milk). We then were free to unpack and do what we wished! After unpacking I realized how little I have...so Saturday all of us are going to meet Maria in the city center and shop for anything and everything we need.

At the moment, I don't have a ton of pictures of campus or my village...but I do have a few pictures of my flat and room! I live in a flat with 5 other girls, 2 of them are from the Arcadia program (so I've known them since Sunday) and the other 3 are Irish natives. We each have our own rooms and bathrooms! Woo!! We also have a nice double bed in our rooms, a nice sized common area and kitchen. Overall these accommodations are better then anything I'd see back at Southwestern! :)

The weather here has been mainly wet and cold. It's taking some getting used to...that's for sure! :) That's all for now...I'll update you more later.

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 21, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Limerick, MyFlat and MyRoom

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Day 3 - Disney's Hollywood Studios & Pirate Dinner Adventure

Orlando, United States

December 17, 2008

We saw Beauty and the Beast

And a few characters

We left the park early today to prepare for a night of adventure with a Pirate dinner show!

more to come...

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 19, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and HollywoodStudios

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Day 4 - Epcot & Downtown Disney

Orlando, United States

December 18, 2008

Today we explore Epcot!

We took a boat tour called Living with the Land that took us on a tour of some experimental greenhouses.

The LEGO monster at Downtown Disney

The World Showcase. Mom poses in Canada, while I pose with a German nutcraker.

More to come...

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 19, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and Epcot

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Day 5 - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Orlando, United States

December 19, 2008

A costume from Prince Caspian

From the backlot tour...

Lunch at the Drive-In

Indiana Jones...a stunt spectacular

Meet up with Goofy

Lights, Motor, Action!

more to come

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 19, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and HollywoodStudios

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Day 2 - The Animal Kingdom

Orlando, United States

December 16, 2008

We arrived at the Animal Kingdom, parked in the Unicorn lot, then took a tram up to the main gate. Once in we made our way toward Discovery Island and the Tree of Life (1). After arriving at Discovery Island we decided to try our luck at getting onto the Mount Everest ride, so we made our way over to Asia by cutting through DinoLand U.S.A, stopping to take pictures with Winnie the Pooh and friends along the way.

Since we had arrived so early we were able to get right onto Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain without much wait. (17)Expidition Everest was amazing! Nick and Lollie even rode on it twice! After that exhilarating ride, we needed something a bit calmer, so we went back to DinoLand U.S.A and watched Finding Nemo – The Musical. The show was amazing! When the show ended we decided to stay in DinoLand and went to ride DINOSAUR!

From there we made our way back to Discovery Island, watched It’s Tough to Be a Bug and had a bite to eat before heading over to Africa to hitch a ride on a Kilmanjaro Safari.

After that we went down to Camp Minnie-Mickey to watch the Festival of the Lion King, which was an amazing stage show.

When the show ended, Nick and Lollie decided to head back to the condo, while mom and I stayed at the park to explore a bit more. We first went up to Rafiki’s Planet Watch/Conservation Station and meet Jimminy Cricket and Rafiki.

After hitching a ride on the Wildlife Express Train back to Africa we walked through the Pangani Foreset Exploration Trail. While on the trail we saw monkey’s, meerkats, gazels, and silverback gorillas.

We then headed over to Asia and walked along the Maharagah Trek. Here we were able to see very big bats, weird birds, a type of deer and tigers!

Before we left the park we caught Mickey’s Jingle Jungle parade.

After the parade Mom and I caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom, where we were going to attend the special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas event!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 17, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and AnimalKingdom

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Day 1 - The Magic Kingdom

Orlando, United States

Yesterday we visited the Magic Kingdom...we'll update more later (I feel asleep last night before I could upload photos and write an entry, it was a long day!), but for now here are a few pictures!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 16, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and MagicKingdom

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Day 1- The Magic Kingdom

Orlando, United States

Once we had parked in Pluto 11 and hoped a tram to the Tickets & Information Center, we decided to take the ferry to the Magic Kingdom, because the Magic Kingdom is a good 1.5 miles from the parking lot! So, you either get to the park by monorail or ferry…for this morning we chose ferry. After we arrived in the park we headed toward Tomorrowland!

In Tomorrowland we started off with the Monster’s Inc, Laugh Floor, which was a fun interactive show…they even chose Nick to be the ‘Dancin’ Man’! After that we walked over to Stitch’s Great Escape, then on to Space Mountain! After our pretty quick trip through space, we decided to continue with our space travel exploits and headed over to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It was a shooting adventure game and with a whopping 103,000 some-odd points our winner was….MOM! :) Yup! After our toils in Tomorrowland, we thought it was time that we visited Mickey in Mickey’s Toontown Fair.

While in Toontown we were able to explore both Mickey and Minnie’s houses and we got to see a couple of princesses and Mickey!

After our visit with our Disney friends we headed on over to Fantasyland to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Snow White’s Scary Adventure! We also hung out and watched Mickey’s PhilarMagic show, which was fun! (21,29)

After our Fantasyland fun, we headed back out to the car to catch some lunch, before heading back into the park for the Disney Dreams Come True Parade! (56,66,84, 96)

After the parade we hopped aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad and headed toward Frontierland. Once there we grabbed a few FastPasses to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, then went to visit the Haunted Mansion and “It’s a Small World,” while we waited for our FastPass return time. While we were waiting we also had time to catch the Dream Along with Mickey show in from of the castle.

After the show we rode Big Thunder Mountain, which was a fun, fast ride! From there we headed south toward Adventureland and took a ride on the Jungle Cruise. After our cruise arrived safely back to Adventureland we made our way toward Mainstreet U.S.A, and the exit, running into the SpectroMagic parade in the process!
It was a fun filled day that left us all exhausted, but looking forward to our next Disney adventure!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on December 15, 2008 from Orlando, United States
from the travel blog: Family Vacation to Disney World
tagged Disney and MagicKingdom

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