Writing

Oh my god that’s a great idea.

What?

For the blog.  I have an idea for the blog.

Not now.  I’m trying to do an assignment.

But it’s good.

I have a thousand words left to write.

No but you should put this on your blog.

Whisht, I need to concentrate.

Yeah, on the blog.

Stop.

But it’s class.  That assignment’s no craic anyway sure you’ve been putting it off for weeks.

That’s exactly why I really need to focus on it now.

But it’s such effort.

I AM AWARE OF HOW MUCH EFFORT IT IS.

Right.  Back to this literature essay.

I bet that lad didn’t ignore all his class ideas.

Who?

That buck whose book you’re writing about.  Camus is it?

Voltaire.

Anyway, divil a book he’d have written if-

Alright, what is it, what’s your idea?

That’s it.

What?

What you’ve just written.


You wanted me to write about not being able to write?

Yeah lol classic.

Are you serious?

Gets me every time.

You little feck…  Right, I need to get back to this essay.

*Yawns*

*Yawns*
Jeez I’m exhausted.

‘Course you are, sure you’ve spent the last while writing this.  Probably should’ve done that essay when you were more alert.

Are you shitting me?

Would’ve been an idea like.

An idea?  I’ll give you an idea…

No you won’t lol you’re too tired.


I’m going to bed.

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A review of all smartphones ever

Update:  This post has been reproduced over on Ireland’s Technology Blog.  Exciting times for all involved.

It’s five months since I joined the world of smartphones.  (I’ve always been mad for the latest gadgets.)  I decided to upgrade from my Nokia 5310 Xpress Music.  There’s a good chance you made the very same decision, about 6 years ago.

On reflection, for me it was a poor decision.  My seven-year-old phone still works, and only has two cracks on the screen, despite becoming well-acquainted with the floor over the years.

My new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, pales in comparison.  Though larger, it is much weaker.  Its screen lasted seven days before shattering, quite artistically, after the phone dived from my hand onto the floor, from a height of 1-2 feet.  “A bit of a soft lad”, one might say.  “‘Smart’, me eye,” others may conclude.

It has since been provided with a lovely protective cover and a solid screen protector, albeit a little too late, for poor wee Sam.

It needs charging every day, if used a lot; 36 hours on the trot would be a serious push for the cratoreen.

It doesn’t have buttons.  Well, just two, on the side.  Madness.

Its radio is just not as good as the blokia’s.  It doesn’t even work without internet.  Serious hey.

The alarm won’t go off, if the phone is switched off.  I have now had to become a crazy human who leaves their phone switched on, overnight, despite aiming to sleep.

Needing to charge the phone more than once or twice a week (ridiculous, really), and not being able to fire it across the room once I’ve the alarm set, make waking up hugely problematic.  At night, my phone stays near my bed, because that’s where the only plug sockets are, and no matter how far away I place it, I can either reach it without fully leaving my bed, or I can pull it within reach using the charger.  The result being that it is scientifically impossible to get out of bed when my alarm goes off.

There was none of that shite with old Blokky.  Alarm on.  Phone off.  Close the eyes and bam, throw the phone in any direction (gently, to avoid property damage).  Job done.  Who knew where the alarm sound would be coming from in the morning?  The only option would be to leap out of bed to find it before it woke the nation.  Bed exited.  Mission accomplished.

Why fourth year is actually the best year of college

Here’s one for my fellow UL crators.

Everyone knows fourth year is tough.  You go into it expecting it to be a nightmare work-wise, and you’re more or less right.  But there are some good points too.

1.  You’ve probably known most of your college friends for two or three years at this stage, meaning proper friendships have been established.  Yurt.

2.  You’re at the stage where you can be yourself with these friends so much that you can let all of the weird out and they’re just used to it now.  (It may even have rubbed off on them.)  Maybe some people did this in first year, but generally for the first few weeks, or even months, most people probably try to tone down any of their crazy, until they can judge how it’ll be perceived, and then unleash it gradually, once they have people trapped in friendships.

3.  You know your way around campus with no trouble whatsoever.  Apart from the main building.  That’s just a maze.

4.  You also probably have a decent idea of how you’ll do in your degree, after having sat a few exams over the past three years.  So if you’re stressing over your grades, you know it’s because you have a certain chance of getting a first degree honours, second or third, etc.  Rather than the panicking that may have happened earlier on in college, having literally no idea what to expect, or if there was a bell curve, or if you’d get a high mark if you just used the subjunctive enough times in French.  Now you kind of know the craic, so you can either relax a bit, or work your ass off while knowing that it will pay off and knowing almost exactly how much work you need to do and how much time you can dedicate to having the craic, focusing on clubs and societies or simply throwing shapes in Icon.

5.  You are a much wiser individual at this point in time, having done three years in college.  For example, if you’re a girl, you now know that a good warm coat is key on a night out, whereas in first year you seemed to have no idea that it got cold in Ireland at night time.

6.  It’s your last year in the place so you and most others in your year are probably going to try to enjoy it.  Craic all over the shop, I’m tellin’ ya.

7.  If you’re doing languages in UL, you get your very own weekly discussion groups all for you fourth years and nobody else (I know right?!  Unreal!) so you don’t have to deal with first year plebs who intrude on your valuable language practice time without even having ‘travelled the world’ first, which of course is a thing you can say you’ve done, if you went to at least one or two countries on co-op and/or erasmus, like the cultured fecker that you are.

8.  If anyone is annoying you, impeding your study or simply occupying a valuable space when the library is full, you now have the right to literally dropkick them out of the library from Week 10 onwards.

Actually maybe google that last one, I’m not 100% sure if it’s right.

Yera.

So, fellow fourth year cratoreens, have an unreal year, and mind yerselves – always remember of course that UL has a free counselling service (like most colleges in Ireland), as well as a number of bars on campus, both potentially useful for when times get tough.

Refusing to speak English while on erasmus

As I mentioned a while back, I decided to stop speaking English for the remainder of my erasmus.  Yesterday evening, I had my last ever erasmus class (well, that was really on Monday, seeing as for yesterday’s class we just went to the Christmas market, but anyway).  Seeing as that marked the end of erasmus (I’ve finished all my exams bar one not very significant one tomorrow –  ahh, nearly forgot it was tomorrow…), I decided to let myself speak English again, starting at about 6pm.

It was interesting.  A few people had almost forgotten I spoke English, and thought it was bizarre to hear me speak it again, once they realised.  I surprised myself by not struggling to remember every word I needed, which happened regularly after being immersed in Spanish for a few months.  It was seventy full days since I quit speaking English.  Granted, I obviously spoke it on certain occasions – Skype calls, having visitors, meeting up with people from my home college, language exchanges, randomly enough bumping into new Irish people and sometimes on occasions where English-speakers I hadn’t told about my silly plan popped up.  So there were about two weeks within that where abstaining from English was largely ignored.  For the rest of it though, was it actually worth it?

Well for starters, I spoke far more French than I would have if I didn’t decide to do this, which for me makes it worthwhile.  I also resorted to other languages more often, and even learned or revised a little bit of Spanish, Irish, German (klar!), Chinese (nǐ hǎo was all I picked up, but it’s a start), Japanese, and possibly some Italian (io non parlo italiano).

Attempting to speak the language, while not resulting in fantastic improvements in my level of French, at least made me less embarrassed about trying to speak it, and most of all made it much easier for me to respond any time a French person magically appeared and said something to me in French.  Previously, when I was used to using English, simply responding to a basic question or greeting was far more challenging, as I wasn’t thinking in French at all, so I’d have to take a moment to register what language was actually being spoken to me, and then my brain would have to switch to that language, and form a response.  By which time the other person would probably have said something like “ah you don’t speak French”, and then said whatever they’d originally said in English.  If you’ve ever tried to speak the local language of a place when it’s not your native one, you’ll know that once this happens, there is almost never any going back.

Which basically made me go down this route in the first place.  This and the fact that, even though I can never seem to lie about the fact that I speak English if someone asks me (despite responding in their language anyway, to sort of hint at the fact that maybe I’d like to continue speaking that language please please please), avoiding speaking English at least made it easier to keep speaking French, even when native speakers of it kept responding to me in English.  As soul-crushing as it was, I at least got to practise speaking it, even if I didn’t get to try and improve my comprehension of it often.

Another benefit was that when erasmus students with really good English realised I was speaking French to Irish people, it probably made them more inclined to speak French to me rather than English.  And they’re often easier to understand than native speakers, because they usually speak more slowly, and get it when you have no idea how to express what you’re trying to say, often even knowing exactly what you’re trying to say even when you don’t have the exact words.  We’re like, telepathic or something, I don’t know.

A major, and very obvious negative aspect of the whole ordeal however, was simply not being able to speak.  I could communicate, obviously, but not as quickly or accurately as I’d have liked, without throwing in a couple of English words now and then.  But that in itself sort of pushes you to improve.  Or at the very least, it makes you more aware of what you need to learn – if you can’t say a certain basic word in French, maybe you should look it up next time you get a chance.

Your personality changes a bit when you speak a different language too.  So I was mainly la Sarah française since the start of October, aside from the odd outburst of Irishness in the form of exclamations like “shite” and “jaysus”.  It’s far more difficult to joke in French too, when you’re not fluent in it, which is a shame, but sometimes attempts at speaking French or weird phrasing end up funny in themselves, so that cancels it out somewhat.

If I was to go back in time, I’d still do the same – it was difficult, but I would have found erasmus more difficult if I’d continued with what I’d done in September and spoken loads of English.  If it was possible, I’d have done my erasmus with no other native English speakers, but that was either not at all possible, or extremely close to impossible, and I didn’t think of going as far as asking the people in charge of my erasmus placement to just send me to any French-speaking area within Europe where they thought there would be the least amount of English speakers, please and thanks, despite that being my priority when making my erasmus choices.  English speakers are cool though, so it’s nice that I did get to know a few of them while here.

My take on Matador Network’s “15 delusions I’ve had about returning home after being abroad”

I stumbled upon this article today, and think it’s fairly relevant seeing as I’m heading home soon, after, well, a 2014 where I’ve spent three months at home in total – which isn’t exactly crazy seeing as a lot of people travel for twelve months, or move abroad for a couple of years, and then return.  But, prior to this year I’d only spent five weeks abroad all at once, so it’s the most relevant it’s been for me so far.

Here’s a look at which of these I think have been, or will be, accurate in my case (with modifications thrown in when necessary):

1. I’m totally going to wear these Thai fisherman vivid pink north Argentinian pants back home.

I so am.  I already have, during my month at home between work placement abroad and erasmus – which also kind of gives me an insight into how true these all are.

Not delusional about this one.  They are super comfy, and I encountered more than enough staring on my travels to not really care about it anymore.  Next.

2. I’m going to use my Korean Spanish and French language skills all the time.

No.  I’m not going to kid myself about this one.  If the opportunity comes up, maybe in the form of a lost Spanish or French-speaking tourist, or someone who simply wants to speak either language to me at home for some reason, then yes, obviously, I’d be delighted to, but I don’t see that happening too often.

Even if I was living in a tourist hotspot, most people who visit Ireland know some English, and even if they only knew Spanish or French, I’d probably be so surprised it wouldn’t even register with me until too late.

3. By golly! Hon! I’m going to visit a museum in my own city. Why not?

I don’t live in a city or all that near to many museums, so no.  However, there’s at least one that I know of where I go to college (so knowledgeable), and I considered visiting it before, so maybe someday I’ll visit it.  Yeah, I’d like to.  But I would not bet too surprised if it didn’t happen for ages.

4. My home peeps are going to be so excited to see me.

They’re surely used to me being gone by now, and it’s only a couple of months since I saw a lot of them.  So nah, hardly.  Okay there’ll be a little bit of fuss over seeing people for the first time, but not much, I’m home for a while this time sure.

The dog is gonna go crazy though.

5. I’m going to start using public transportation.

I already have, whenever it’s been available.  (Kind of off the point but if Ireland could take the best of mainland European transport and have a lot of that even connecting villages with town and towns with cities that would be sound!  And actually if Europe could get buses like the ones in Argentina, with similar comfort and pricing too…  Yeah.  I’ll keep dreaming.  Covoiturage (BlaBlaCar) though, that can become a thing in Ireland.  Without even costing billions, or anything at all, to get it started.)

6. Friends and family will want to hear ALL the details of my international escapades.

Nope!  A bit more like this, really:

Me:  “Well.”

Friend:  “Listen to her, ‘Argentina this, Argentina that…’, does she ever stop?!”

And that’s why I miss my friends when I’m away.

7. They’re also going to appreciate my handmade photo album.

Didn’t make one.

8. I don’t need the new iPhone. I don’t need anything.

I don’t need anything.  I need to avoid getting an actual smartphone for as long as possible.  But I want one.  Kind of.  While simultaneously not wanting one.  So we’ll see how that goes.

Really though, I don’t need anything more than what I’ve managed to fit into a suitcase and carry-on luggage while switching countries.  I don’t even need all of what I’ve brought, and I no longer want to own more clothes than can fit in my luggage, but, reducing the amount of clothes I have to close to that would result in people wondering why I always wear the same clothes, why I don’t have a new dress for almost every night out, and the likes.  So it would be challenging purely because of that.  But I would like to have less clothes seeing as no matter how much I have, I’m still probably going to wear the same stuff most of the time anyway.  This delusion therefore, is fairly strong, for the moment, I guess.

9. I’m going to get a real job.

I’m a student, so finding proper, full-time employment isn’t something there’s much point in me wasting time worrying over yet.  Part-time work would be great though.  *Begs employers*

10. All my new travel mates and I are going to rendezvous in Morocco in five years! I’m going back to Argentina some day.

Delusional?  I hope not.  There’s far too much left to see there.  And simply because of the people, the culture, the language, the food…

11. I’m not going to return to the S.A.D. diet. (Standard American Diet) eat well when I get home

Best of luck to me.  I mean, I’m going home at Christmas.  You can’t avoid certain unhealthy foods  at Christmas (chocolaaaaate!).  It’s practically illegal.

I will eat more fruit and veg though.  And less baguettes.

12. I’m not going to drink so much.

This is likely, but I don’t drink much as it is, and never have much in Ireland.  So to drink less, I’d almost have to go back to complete sobriety.  I might do that.  Or I might just have a drink occasionally whenever I feel like it, because that will most probably be possible without tonnes of abuse for not always drinking on a night out, and not getting hammered even if I do.  Hon!

13. I’m going to throw the best Spanish/Thai/Vietnamese/Arabic dinner party ever! cook something Argentinian (empanadas) again while at home. And I’ll try making crêpes.

Realistic enough targets, I think, depending on the time limit.

14. I’m going to really put my new boxe française/tango skills as a Thai massage therapist/belly dancer/Hapkido yellow belt to good use.

Define “skills”…

15. I can’t wait to get home!

Agreeing with the author of the article on this one, finally going home after being away can be over hyped .  And I think it will be great, but eventually, yeah, it’ll probably go back to how it always was, and I may not meet up with people as much as I’d like, or y’know do a lot of kind of touristy things in Ireland while I’m there.  But Christmas will be lovely, as will having more time with my family, and heading back to college with my friends after a full year away from it will be amazing too (college work aside).  Really, it’ll only be disappointing in any way, if I allow it to be.  So I’m still really looking forward to it, even if I’ll miss a lot of stuff from the places I’ve been.  Travel is great but family and friends aren’t the worst either.  (And that is my completely chill way of not straight up expressing just how brilliant it will be to see everyone at home again, and completely playing down the whole thing.  Except that kind of undoes it, doesn’t it?  Oops.)

Blog Trouble

The main problem I encounter with blogging, apart from writing coherently in English and posting consistently, is that most of my ideas come to me in the latter part of the day.  Or, more accurately, at nighttime.  Right now, I have several ideas floating around, but it’s almost 4am, therefore I’m too tired to write them, and well, should really go to sleep rather than attempting to create new blog posts, which I no doubt would end up having to edit drastically, because of typos, errors and just a lack of sense being made due to the time at which they were written.

That really is all for this post seeing as it is late and I should sleep even if I have no classes tomorrow.

Good night!

Register to vote by Tuesday to be eligible to vote in the Irish marriage referendum

Young’uns of Ireland, if you still haven’t registered to vote and want to take part in the marriage referendum next year, the registration forms have to be in by Tuesday (November 25th, 2014).

Info on how to register.

Haven’t a notion if you’re registered or not?  Check the registrer.

Don’t think you’ll be in the country to vote?  You might be eligible for a postal vote.  (Works for erasmus, work placements and the likes if organised in advance.)

(Same goes for if the referendum is on a weekday and you’re miles away from your voting station because of college.)

Hon voting, yurt.