As promised, here are some photos of the apartment, now that we’re all settled in…
|This is a better shot of the outside than the one I got yesterday.|
|A little foyer...|
|We moved the dining table so that it sits beside these windows...and now, natural light spills through and floods the apartment all day long. It's a welcoming space for quiet time, especially in the morning when the birds are just waking.|
|This is directly opposite the photo above. The kitchen is just to the right of the ironing board.|
|Fully stocked with the basics...and the dishes are done, Mum. I know you're wondering ;)|
|That's Teresa going into our room, and the other door on the right in that hallway leads into our bathroom. There's another bedroom to the left of ours...but if we have other housemates, they haven't arrived yet.|
|Inside our room...this is Teresa's side.|
|...and not to compare, but this is mine :)|
|And this is the view out our window. We have a backyard! If it didn't rain so often (and sporadically), I'd definitely consider spending some time out here, reading...but for now, the dining table will have to do.|
- We've been shopping - first at a supermarket (called Tesco) for basic groceries, and then at a Home Goods-ish place nearby (Dunnes, below) so I could buy a pillow and duvet.
- As you can see, we not only unpacked, but we also moved furniture. Now, our house (as Goldilocks might put it) feels just right.
- We figured out how to work the shower…despite the unwelcome surprise of one of the doors springing off its hinges. At Union, I’d submit a work order or call Facilities. I wonder who we should call about this…
- We turned on the radiators. Yes, given how brisk it is outside, this is an obvious move, but I felt grown-up as I wandered around and felt cozier by the minute. It’s amazing how a little bit of real warmth makes this house feel so much more like a home.
Oh, and check this out: remember how I've been worrying about finding community? Well, as Teresa and I were standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I caught the eye of an Indian woman standing right behind us with her young daughter, and nodded. (My friends call this peculiar gesture "the minority head nod". It's apparently a signal of cultural solidarity, given and received when members of racial minorities see each other in public settings. Who knew?) I didn't expect that I would meet any South Asians in Ireland, so this was a wonderful surprise. Eager to connect with "someone like me", I leaned over, introduced myself, and asked if there were any Indian stores in the area. S smiled graciously, introduced herself and her daughter A, and directed me toward a shopping complex that happens to be right across the street from Gort na Coiribe, beside Dunnes. And that's not all - before we all left, she asked me to take down her phone number. Less than 24 hours in Galway, and I was given an Indian friend - one who's from Bangalore (my mum's hometown), no less! She invited me to drop in anytime, and I told her I'll definitely visit this weekend. I may still be in a strange country, but now, I have to admit that feel a little less like a stranger in it.
|This is a central area on campus, called the Quadrangle. This building is a giant hall used for everything from large music recitals to graduation ceremonies - I thought of Memorial Chapel when I saw it.|
|This is an exhibit inside the Marine Biology building...a great number of Darwin's finds are housed here.|
|This is the student center, Bailey Allen Hall (in Gaelic, Áras na Mac Léinn.)|
|This tree outside the student center had a quilt around it. Interesting...|
|The Microbiology and Regenerative Medicine building. I wonder if my science classes will be held in here.|
|This sculpture, just outside the library, was quirky enough to deserve a photo.|
|The student store - like our bookstore at Union. I'm definitely buying a NUIG sweatshirt before I leave.|
|The canteen, which lies below the library (yep, underground). I was really glad to see the coffee sign.|
|So much Gaelic!|
|In case you can't make it out, the sign says, "Find us on Facebook: NUI Galway Chaplaincy". Love it.|
|The campus gym...which I would use, but I hear that they actually charge students to use it. Not nice...|
|The gym was the last stop on our tour, and we all headed home from there. Here's a building (or remnants of one, anyway) that we passed as we left campus and moseyed on down Headford Road...|
|Gort na Coiribe sits on the banks of the River Corrib, pictured here. I took this photo from the Centennial Bridge, which I have to cross to get home from campus.|
|Gort is right beside this roundabout, so I know I'm almost home when I see this sign. Thank goodness...|
I hope it works out that I remember maybe 2% of everything I saw today - it was an awful lot of information to absorb in such a tiny time frame. But then, I remember feeling this way during my first week at Union, and now I don't think twice about making my way around campus...so maybe I just need to give myself time.