Yesterday, I celebrated my 20th birthday with a bunch of nutty Europeans. Oh boy.
I had one class, at 11 a.m., after which Mandy and I visited the Freshers Tent and Sports Expo. These are the two week-long events that are put on to allow groups to ensnare unsuspecting newbies into joining. Clubs here work a bit differently than in the States in that to join, you have to actually pay dues. The Societies (a.k.a. non-sports organizations) are €2 and the Clubs (for sport) are more — Mountaineering was €15. So I am now a card-carrying member of the Archaeology Society, Jazz Society, Arts Society, and Mountaineering Club (though I got the Arts card for free because someone else decided they didn't actually want it). I'm particularly excited for Mountaineering; practice starts next Tuesday, and I'll have to buy appropriate pants. But with no class this Friday (both my lectures were cancelled), I think I'll manage. (Shopping? Darn!)
At 6:00 there was a wine reception at O'Reilly Hall for international students. It is amazing to watch college students around free food and drink. God help the catering staff last night; every time a new tray of food was brought out, kids just descended on it like violent seagulls. And then there were the suspiciously-accented guys from Sweden and Poland and Bulgaria...they sounded awfully Irish to me...OH WAIT THEY'RE MY FRIENDS. Heheh. A bunch of them came to take advantage of free food and, more importantly, alcohol. It was extremely crowded but generally a good time.
After the reception (as the folks in charge were attempting to sweep everyone from the hall) we headed over to the Forum to continue general celebration and merry-making of my birthday. The gang of Irish folks I've been hanging out with thus far made it (since I've been telling everyone I meet for the last two weeks that they need to celebrate with me), as did several international folk from the reception (mainly German). General revelry, slight madness, and buying-me-drinks ensued, but I still made it to bed by midnight, and went to class today, which is more than I can say for several of the people who accompanied me on my adventures last night.
The upshot of all this is that my room looks an absolute mess (though I did buy a lovely poster of Klimt's "The Kiss", a favorite painting of mine). So my next task: a thorough cleaning!