As the plane was coming in for a landing into Shannon Airport there was nothing but miles of green to be seen outside the window. It brought back some memories from when I visited as a child and incited excitement for the memories to be made in the next few months. It was still surreal as I continued through customs and grabbed my luggage (mostly as a result of sleep deprivation and the 5 hour time difference.) After we picked up our luggage Diana and I headed to an area where we were met by a few students who are members of the UL International Society (one of the largest societies in all of UL (University of Limerick)). Other study abroad students eventually rolled in and everyone went over the usual introductions: name, where you’re from, major, year in school …yada yada yada.
After everyone was accounted for we took a bus from Shannon to UL. The bus let us out near our village and reception gave us our house assignments and room keys. To our surprise Diana and I were assigned the same house, which was comforting just to know I had a little bit of home in this new country. We then continued to our new home and met 3 of our 4 other roommates. The 3 guys were from Germany and our 4th roommate, Caitie, was from Wisconsin. After making our introductions we unpacked our luggage and settled into our new home.
The following week consisted of meeting other international students and attending various orientation meetings/tours. We went over cultural adjustment, class schedules, traveling and also got a tour of the campus. I would just like to mention that the VERY in depth tour took 3 hours! It was extremely helpful, but a huge change from the layout of New Paltz. New Paltz would only take up about a quarter of this campus…if that! Yet the light at the end of the tunnel was a performance by Celtic Steps. To start off the performance a woman in a full length green gown glided on to the stage and sang the most beautiful song I have ever heard (this is not an exaggeration)! It was so pure and she could hit notes that I didn’t even know existed. The rest of the band played instruments such as the bodhrán (pronounced bow-rahn, which is an Irish drum), accordion, fiddle, and piano. There were also 4 dancers who came in at different times and showcased a multitude of dances that originated in Ireland.
The performance inspired me to take up Traditional Irish Music and Dance. I decided to take up dance because I can not sing for my life and the times for the bodhrán did not work with my schedule. I also did a bit of Irish step dancing as a child, so maybe my moves will come back to me! Hopefully my dance moves will come in handy one day.