WOW. I, uh, kind of forgot about updating my blog for a while. This is going to take two entries. (This may be in part because I'm too lazy to write about everything in one, but hey, it's finals, and I've got to study.)
When we last joined our heroine, it was coming up on the last week of classes. She made it out alive and even finished her last essay on time, allowing her to participate in the residence hall Christmas mulled wine reception. For those of you who've never had mulled wine, let me tell you: YUCK. Not tasty. Red wine should not be served warm. Ever. But at least there were mince pies, so it's all okay. And afterwards a small group of us headed into town to celebrate Aisling's birthday, which was fun. On Thursday I finally made it out to the pub with Mountaineering after the rock wall closed, which was great fun and left me kicking myself for waiting until the last climbing day this semester to do it. Good thing I'm coming back!
The big event was Friday night, after classes were officially over for good. See, there's this famous Irish talk show called the Late Late Show, which is the world's longest-running talk show. Every year, they have this Toy Show special where lots of small children are brought on to demonstrate all the hot new toys coming out for Christmas in an orgiastic celebration of consumerism and greed. And it just so happens that every year, the Late Late Show's Toy Show coincides with the end of term, making way for the tradition of having a big party where people drink a lot and periodically pay attention to the television for just long enough to go "wow, look at that amazing toy!" or "wow, Pat Kenny really can't handle children!" Since I'm the only one Tommy and Lynchy have any sway over who lives on campus, I was informed (more than asked) that it would be held at my place this year. It was, by and large, a great success. I spent the evening sipping on the White Russians I was treating myself to in celebration and wondering who the hell all these people in my apartment were. The RAs' Christmas party is also held on this same day every year, thank goodness, because that's the only we didn't get busted. Though at one point some RAs did come in, but that was just to join the party! What a ridiculous night. I left my camera on the table and was rewarded with 78 pictures I didn't take, many of which are of people I don't know. It would've been perfect except for the constant disruptions I faced when I finally did want to turn in after nearly everyone had left; a few stray drunks, in the form of Tommy and Lynchy, decided that they also wanted to sleep in a bed, and since mine was closest and most readily accessible they would go for that one. After a few hours, I woke up to discover my blanket and duvet had been stolen, and I yelled at them to get out of my apartment and let me alone to sleep. (Man I was mad at them.) But eventually they came back to bring the TV back to its rightful owner and, at my request, clean the sticky bits off the carpet. (Maggie, Connor, and I cleaned the rest of the apartment.)
Sunday, I got up bright and early to catch a bus to Belfast with Mandy! We spent the night there, which wasn't really enough time, but we still managed to fit in a lot. We saw the gorgeous Christmas markets in front of the also-gorgeous City Hall; we rode the giant ferris wheel, also right next to City Hall, and got a lovely view of the nighttime lights of the city; we took a (shortened) black taxi tour (with an IRA-leaning tour guide) and took in a bit of the really terrible history of violence in Belfast, including a very intimidating loyalist mural; and we went to the Giant's Causeway in North Antrim, which was absolutely astonishingly gorgeous. I'm not generally one for mere sight-seeing, as I find that generally pictures can give just as good or even a better impression, but nothing compares to looking up a cliff face made of hexagonal prisms.
I had just enough time when we got back that evening to do some laundry so I'd have enough clean clothes for my trip to Amsterdam early the next morning...which I will write about in my next entry.