Archive for the ‘Kari in Ireland’ Category


Kari: I can blame it on exams…

May 17, 2009

Exam time is here and my brain in mush. I’ve already completely two of my three exams, but the one I am most nervous about takes place on Thursday at 2 PM. I can blame my lack of updating my blog on the fact that I have been living in the library for the past week and a half trying to comprehend information that I needed to know for my finals. So to make this as easy as possible, I’ll give you a highlight of what happened everyday since May 10th!

May 10th: Happy American Mother’s Day! I started my day with a wee chat with my mom to wish her a happy and blessed mother’s day. I regret not being able to spend the day with her, but that just means I’ll have to make it up to her with a girls day out when I get home. I also got to chat with my dad for a while, which is always nice, especially when I get him in a good mood. After a day of doing pretty much nothing, I finally got ready for church and headed to Carrickfergus with Kelsey and Bethany for service. After service, we decided to attend the Logos Hope ship that was still docked at the York Docks in Belfast. It was my second time on the ship, but it never ceases to amaze me. The OM ship is such a flawless production and it makes me completely relieved and joyed that I can call myself a Christian along with some of the missionaries on the ship. Experiencing the ship and studying abroad has made me think more and more about mission and possible stepping out in faith and doing one myself. After the ship, Kelsey, Bethany, Andrew, Leanna, Roo, Charlie, and myself headed out for a late night cuppa and chat. A night out with the Carrick-Crew is unforgettable. Andrew gave us a lift back to Uni around 11:00 PM and as we drove along the motorway, Kelsey and I looked at each other and both said without hesitation, “I’m going to miss this.” So, if you ask me how my experience was just know that it was amazing and the fact that I will miss it everyday should give you a proper answer.

May 11th: Yeeooooo. I studied?!!?! Yes, that is right, I studied too much today, I should have earned a prize! My first final is on Wednesday and needless to say, I needed to study! My day of studying turned into a night of boredom. I honestly could not study any longer for the fear that my brain might actually dissipate, so I closed my books and called it a night.

May 12th: One day before my final and I have absolutely NO motivation to study. Not good. Sometimes guilt kicks in and gets my butt into gear, but this time that was not the case. I believe it was around 3:00 PM that I finally made it to the library and I got down to business. It’s something about being in the presence of ‘scholars’ that make me want to be (pretend, act) scholarly. After a few hours in the library, I should have been feeling pretty good about my exam the next day, but unfortunately nerves set in big time and I seemed to have forgotten everything I’d been studying! I was in a state of emergency, so I rushed back to my flat to chill out. After an hour or two of napping and ‘zenning’ my senses, I got up and started to look over things again with Amanda, who was also freaking out about the exam. After a couple hours, it was time to hit the hay. My final was at 9:30 AM the next morning!

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Kari: A Belfast Show & French Tour

May 9, 2009

I had a short week following my weekend in Scotland. I probably could have done some work, but after being so exhausted from the past three weeks of traveling, I decided to give myself the week off. It was only a three day week for me because Kelsey, Baz and I were going to France on Wednesday evening for a long weekend.

Monday, April 27th: I was able to go see a concert in Belfast! Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE going to concerts, no matter who the band is or if I’ve ever heard of their songs before. Kelsey is a huge fan of The Fray, and although I really like them, I haven’t listened to much of their new album, but of course I jumped on board with her and Kara to go see them live. To my extreme liking, they were so great! I have definitely become a bigger fan! The best part was that it was a pretty small venue so we were able to get ‘second row’. I can’t wait to see them at Summer Fest in July!

Tuesday, April 28th: I went to class and that’s pretty much it. Exciting stuff, I know!

Wednesday, April 29th: After class, I rushed back to my flat to finish packing for France. Our trip with EasyJet was absolutely wonderful and the most painless trip I’ve ever taken. We got into Paris around 8:30 PM. After waiting for a good 25 minutes, our shuttle arrived and we were on our way to our beautiful stay for the evening. We were all pretty tired and starving, so we decided to walk to a pizza place and get ourselves a very large pizza which we proceeded to devour upon our arrival back to the hotel. After getting our daily dose of Swine Flu updates and French music videos, I decided to call it a night. I slept so well that night in our very comfy and clean hotel! The next morning came to soon!

Thursday, April 30th: We left our hotel around 8:30 AM to get to the train station at the airport. We thought that would be plenty of time to catch our train to Bayeux at 10:30 AM. Little did we know we were a good 45 minutes outside of Paris proper by train. We rushed, but alas, we did not make the train. We needed to make that train because we needed to be in Bayeux for 1:00 PM in order to make our afternoon tour. After a quick phone call to the tour company, we changed our tour to the next day, so everything worked out. We caught the next available train around noon and headed to Bayeux. It was quite the train ride, however. They overbooked the train, so those who didn’t have a seat reservation (like us) had to either stand for the two hour ride or try to find a comfortable spot on the floor. Baz, Kelsey, and I opted to sit on our suitcases until the train was moving so much we couldn’t keep our balance and until I was feeling a bit sick. We then decided to sit on the floor all knowing that we’d have to get up and move every 15 minutes or so when people walked past. I was never so grateful when we arrived in Bayeux and there was solid ground. We immediately walked to our hotel, which we got lost going to because I forgot the French drive on the ‘right’ side of the road, unlike the Northern Irish…therefore when it said to take the first exit at the roundabout, I went the wrong way. It was pretty dreary out, so we just walked around the quiet, quaint city that is Bayeux. It was a pretty beautiful sight.

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Kari: Yes Dad, I am actually learning something…

April 5, 2009
March 23rd-March 25th

I had to write a paper for my Modern Irish Society class. My topic was the downfall of the Churches in Ireland in relation to sexual morality. I found the topic is be very interesting, and I learned so much by simply writing this 2,000 word paper. I found myself procrastinating, as always, so my dear friend Amanda changed my password on facebook for about 48 hours so I couldn’t get on. What a blessing that was. It’s funny how much work can get done if you just sit down and focus on it for a couple of hours!

March 26th- I ran to class at 9:15 AM and luckily we got done extremely early, so I ran to the library to edit my paper. I then went to class from 11:15-12:15, watched a couple presentations, then came back to the library ready to print my paper. Of course the printers had to be broken that day. I found Kelsey, we worked out a plan of action and figured out where the other computer labs were with computers. I had to go through a complicated process of turning in my paper through a plagiarism website because plagiarism is a big problem here, then I had to print out my paper and turn in a hard copy to the school office. After waiting around for a good 10 minutes, I just left my paper in Bill’s mailbox and prayed that he would get it. After I walked with Kelsey to turn in her paper, I came back to my flat to pack for LONDON! Our good friend, Johnny Stewart (you can call him J-Stew), came and picked us up at 4:30 PM to give us a lift to the Belfast City Airport. We were a bit early, so J-Stew dropped us off at the curb, went and parked his car, then came back and joined us for a cup of tea before we went through security. It only took us about a half hour to get through security, and in a matter of ten minutes after we went through security, our flight was ready to line up…

I will have to finish my London adventures when I return. I have to go catch a cab with Bethany and Baz to the International airport because we are heading to Amsterdam for a few days!

Until next time…


Kari: How Now Brown Cow?

March 13, 2009


I feel like I am always starting off a blog post with apologizing for not posting in a while, so I won’t break the trend now. I’m sorry that it’s taken me almost two weeks to update my blog, but these past two weeks have seriously taken a hold of me and I’ve been struggling to keep my head above the water. I’ve been having so much fun immersing myself into the culture here that I totally lost track of time. But, here we go. I’m going to update you on my doings since March 3rd…

March 3rd: Tuesdays are quite possibly my most lazy of days. I don’t have class until 3:15 in the afternoon, a bunch of us normally go out Monday nights so we don’t get in until 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, then I catch up on sleep. This Tuesday was no different. I got up, ate lunch, went to class, then spent the rest of the day dilly-dallying around the flat until bible study that evening. Paul, our bible study leader was unable to make it that night, so Stuart was voted to lead us in our discussion of the Word. Stu did an awesome job and there was some good discussion, not to mention Stu also brought us some of the most amazing double chocolate cookies. Delicious. After b.stud, I called it a night and headed back to the flat for some rest and relaxation.

March 4th: I normally have class from 9:15 AM until 1:15 PM on Wednesday, but this particular Wednesday was a reading week for the sociology department. A reading week means that classes are canceled for the week and students are suppose to use this week to catch up on reading. So needlessly to say, I did not have class Wednesday, instead there was a conference for undergraduate students put on by the Institution for High Education (?) about globalization. We were encouraged to attend, so Kelsey, Amanda, Bethany and I all went. I’m pretty sure we all went because there was a free lunch of chicken tenders, sausage rolls, and some of the most delicious desserts ever created. We left at tea break because the conference was quite boring. Some of the research presented was interesting, especially the bit about the English language taking over the Nordic Lands, and trying to find ways to prevent that from happening. That night, we headed over to┬áiCafe, like every other Wednesday night. It was quite a cool night because I was able to chat with some people that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet before. I had met Aaron (Big A) a couple of times before, but had never really had the chance to get to know him. We headed back to Uni around 10 PM or so, and I called it a night. I had class at 9:15 the next morning.
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Kari: A wee update…

March 2, 2009

Where did February go? It’s been about a month and a half since my plane landed in Ireland, and I’ve experienced more in this time than I have probably in my entire life. Experience is probably why I have been slacking on blog posts lately, and for that I am sincerely sorry. I have been busy learning, studying (kinda), and getting to know more about this amazing island that I call home, at least for another couple months. I know that I have some catching up to do, so please bare with me as I try to pull out memories of the last couple weeks or so…

Week 4 of uni went by fairly quickly, for what I remember. Classes are starting to become more in depth and I’m starting to feel like I’m falling behind, but definitely learning something! It’s very hard to find the motivation to do school work here though, especially since none of the local students have touched a book yet. I have done some reading, and I’m starting to research a paper that is due at the end of March. I am, however, nervous about the grade points system. In America, we like to think that every student starts off with 100% and can lose percentages from that, but here, every student starts at 0% and needs to do enough work to raise their percentage. Also, I have been told by numerous individual to not to expect getting higher than a 75% or 80% on any work I do here. Promising. I guess I will just have to give it a go and see what happens. I am completely up for the challenge.

On Wednesday February 18th, I got to see my very first live rugby match. A friend of mine, Johnny Stewart, plays on UUJ’s rugby team and invited us to come see him play. I had absolutely NO IDEA what was going on, but it was good craic nonetheless. The part I enjoyed the most was when Johnny was lying flat on the field holding onto the other team player’s legs so they couldn’t run and get the ball. I flinched more than once or twice during the game and have come to the conclusion that I could not play rugby because I hurt watching them play. It was a really great time, and I can’t wait to watch their final game this Wednesday!

Friday, February 20th, I headed to Dublin with a group of 5 girls. I was meeting my friend Mike in Dublin, who is studying in London currently. On the train ride to Dublin, we sat next to an interesting gentleman named “Tin-Chin”. I am not making that up because you COULD NOT make that up. I should have took that as a sign for how the entire trip was going to be like. We arrived in Dublin around 6:30 PM, check into our hostel, The Shining Hostel. It was shady, but we survived.

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Kari: One Month Down…

February 15, 2009

Today marked my ONE MONTH anniversary (of sorts) of being out of the States. This past month has flown by, and I can hardly believe in less than a month two friends from Minnesota will be here with me. That will subsequently mark my half way point of this study abroad experience. I am looking forward to the upcoming weekends that I have planned and looking back on this past week and what took place.

Week 3 of classes were just like week 1 and 2. Nothing exciting happened, but I am learning quite a bit. There was not as much snow this week, so students actually showed up for class.

Our bible study attended our first outreach night on Tuesday. We didn’t do much except gather ideas about what kind of outreach we wanted to do. We decided on prayer walks, door to door, and helping the girls brigade. I think that any opportunity will be an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to helping with outreach and getting to know the people in my bible study better!

I also attended my first iCafe of the semester. This is an opportunity put on by the Christian Union for international students to meet each other and for us all to meet local students. It was a lot of fun and I had the chance to mingle with many people.

Friday was shopping day! Baz (one of my roommates) and I went into Belfast to shop for the afternoon. I bought a 5 pound pair of shoes and a beautiful shirt. Baz and I then met some girls at the grocery store in Yorkgate so we could pick up the ingredients for our American Dinner party that we were hosting on Valentine’s Day.

Saturday started with a good workout with Baz in the morning, followed by running around getting ready for the dinner party that evening. The girls in the flat one floor above us, myself and Baz were hosting about 10 people from First Carrickfergus Presbyterian Church (the church that Kelsey, Bethany, Amanda and myself attend) for an American party! We cooked them Chili, cornbread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter dessert ice cream cake, and dirt cake. They were absolutely stunned by the dirt cake, which they loved calling ‘dirt’. We ended the night with a short game of Trivial Pursuit, and an rousing 2.5 hour game of ‘signs’. Please learn this game if you don’t know it already. It’s a completely American game, I believe, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a really long time!

Sunday was a lazy day! I woke up sometime in the midday, did some reading for class, then went for a walk with three girls along the shore. It was beautiful out Sunday–almost 50 degrees!

Today is nothing special. I went to class. A few of us are going out to the student union tonight. It will probably be like every other night at the union…lots people who are too scared to dance and watch the Americans make a fool of themselves on the dance floor. What’s new, right!?


Kari: Homestay Weekend & the Past Week

February 6, 2009

Homestay Weekend

Friday: We arrived in Navan, Co. Meath, in the Republic of Ireland around 5:30 in the evening. It was Erin (Baz) and I staying at our homestay together. We were welcomed with open arms by Bernie, our host mother, and two young girls, who were neighborhood children. Firstly, we were brought upstairs straightaway to put our bags in our rooms and to get settled in. We then headed back downstairs to talk with the lovely neighbor girls and to meet Bernie’s two dogs, Serenity and Courage, and her 8 week old kitten, Wisdom. We were then offered tea, which of course, we couldn’t resist. Dinner followed shortly after tea, which consisted of breaded chicken, mashed potatoes, and mashed peas. So delicious! After dinner came six (6) hours of watching television, or ‘tellie’ as they call it here. What an amazing release to have after not having a TV for SO LONG. The TV line-up was Simpsons, Superstars of Dance (which when it ended, Ireland was in 1st place and the US was in 2nd place), news, The Late, Late Show, and Mr. Wrong (a really horrible movie with Ellen DeGeneres, who I love, so I had to watch). Along with TV came more tea, ice cream & jelly, crisps, and diet coke, with a candy bar. I think you will catch a theme by the end of this blog. We ate A LOT. I swear that I did not go hungry at all. Bernie headed to bed around 1 AM, while Baz and I forced (struggled) our way through Mr. Wrong. We headed to bed around 2 AM and I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had since I’ve been in Ireland.

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Kari: First Week of Classes

January 30, 2009

I know this is a long overdue update, and for that I apologize. I have been pretty busy with the first week of classes, meeting new people and trying to keep up with the ‘Irish culture and lifestyle’.

First day of modules! Today was a bit uneventful, but successful nonetheless. I had my first module (or class, as they call it in the States), and it was titled ‘Talk, Interaction, and Social Organization’. I had spoken to the professor last week about the module a bit, and it seems like the material will be challenging, but nothing I can’t handle. We have one presentation and one exam that makes up our entire grade, so talk about pressure! It is most definitely a change from the States, but a challenge that I am ready to take on. My module is from 9:15-11:15 AM, and after that I am free the rest of the day.

Tuesday: Second day of modules! Again, today was a bit uneventful. I would normally have a seminar from 12:15-1:15 PM on Tuesday afternoons, but we don’t have seminars the first week. So I waited until 3:15 PM for my Interpersonal Communication theory module to begin. This module is a first year skills module and the lecture is probably about 300 people strong. This module involves a lot of hands on activities. There will be a lot of recording of ourselves, then analyzing how we said what we said and our body language, all associated with how we communicate with others. This module will be something that I have yet to experience and for that I am excited.

Wednesday: Third day of modules! Today, I had only one lecture, but I will have a seminar in the morning starting next week. This was my Modern Irish Society class. I was very intimidated at first from this class, because even though I took a European History class my senior year of high school, I regret to say that almost NOTHING stuck in my head. The professor kept saying ‘in last years set of modules’ or ‘you should know’, and I didn’t. I am quite nervous about the class, but excited nonetheless. I think it will help me be informed about Irish Society more completely in order to make the most of my trip.

Thursday: (Would have been the) Fourth day of modules! Today, I would normally have a practical session for my Interpersonal Communications class at 9:15, but again, no practicals or seminars the first week of class. So instead, I slept in. I had a meeting with my advisor at 12:30 PM to finalize my modules for this semester. After a huge runaround (going to 4 different places to get stamps and whatnot) and 45 minutes, I finally got registered and am an OFFICIAL STUDENT AT UUJ! I have my student ID to prove it!

After registering, myself and a few others stopped in the Chaplaincy to introduce ourselves to Cheryl (Presbyterian Chaplain) and Arlene (Church of Ireland Assistant Chaplain). We talked for about different things going on on campus. They told us about iCafe, which is a way for international students to come together and meet each other and Irish students. They also told us about the Christian Union. The Christian Union is a lot like Campus Crusades for Christ. It was amazing being able to speak to Arlene and Cheryl about the different opportunities to get involved with and able to meet Irish students (which we’ve all had a difficult time with so far). I also met some other students, two of which are in one of my modules, so that will be nice to see a couple of familiar faces. The Chaplaincy also works closely with Habitat for Humanity. It’s an organization that I’ve always wanted to get involved with at school, but haven’t had the time, so I hope to be able to work with Habitat while I’m here.

Kelsey, Amanda (from Texas), and I all headed over to the Christian Union (CU) that evening. We met some really great people, and I also decided to go out on a limb and join a small group (bible study). It’s my first time doing anything like this, but I figured it’s a great way to meet local students, and students that don’t necessarily want to party 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go out, but I don’t think I can go out 3 or 4 nights in a row. I don’t have the budget for that! The small group that us girls joined is on Tuesday nights on campus, so we don’t have to get a ride or walk anywhere, so it’s very convenient. Although it’s my first bible study that I’ve ever been apart of, I am excited to see what it holds for me. I was hesitant at first, but I figured I needed to put everything I have into this trip, and this is one other way to do so!

That brings us to today. I don’t have any class today!!! It is currently 12:30 in the afternoon, and I am leaving for my home stay in a few hours. I have been looking forward to this since I got here. I think that it will give me a great insight to how Irish people live and it will be interesting to see the differences between how they and we as Americans live.

And just to leave you with some insight to how I am doing personally–The first few days of this trip has been pretty frustrating. Our program hasn’t really given us any guidance to anything so far, and I’ve been struggling, but I’ve realized that I can’t do that anymore. I have to put everything I have into this once in a lifetime opportunity, and after giving up all of my frustrations and allowing a plan to unfold before me, I have been 150% better. I am so blessed for everything I have, and I can’t spend my time worrying. I’m going to start this really foreign thing to me called ‘going with the flow’. Weird, I know, but I think that’s really the only way I’m going to be able to get everything out of this trip that I want!


Kari: The Coast is in My Front Yard

January 24, 2009

Just another update from the Emerald Isle.

Thursday: The international students had our first round of orientation from the University of Ulster. It was disorganized and unhelpful to say the least. That was unfortunate because it would have been a great time to use to get acquainted with the campus ourselves. There was a tour, but you could hardly call it that. There was a woman who aimlessly led us around the ONE building that all of our classes are in. I didn’t learn much, other than there are 7 vending machines in the ‘mall’ area of the building. A useful fact, I know. Thursday’s orientation ended around 1:30 PM, and I was to meet with my Ulster advisor around 2:00 PM to talk about classes. I was able to talk to her and get approved to register for two of the four classes I was thinking about taking. That was nice, but I still had to go find two professors and talk to them about taking their class. I was able to meet with one professor and I spoke with her for quite some time. She assured me that the course was going to be challenging for me, but I would be able to succeed. I guess the students here are used to getting 60% and 70%. That really freaked me out when I heard such a thing. I am nervous about my classes, but excited to learn from a different standpoint.

Friday: Round 2 of Orientation was pretty much the same as the first day…not much useful information. We did however finish up a little bit early and were able to hang out the majority of the day. Myself and two of my roommates went shopping at a small grocery store which included a very nice walk in very nice weather. It’s irelandcoastbeen so beautiful here.

Saturday: Was such a great day. First, we (meaning the 8 international students that have stuck together so far) took a walk along the coast that is literally in the front yard of our campus. We just had to cross a street and we were there. It was a little chilly by the water, but beautiful nonetheless. I am sure there will be a lot of walking along that coast this semester. Then, we went to Carrickfergus. Carrickfergus is a great little city about a 15 minute train ride from Jordanstown. It has a great castle, and a beautiful old church.


Kari: Arrival in Ireland

January 21, 2009

I have safely arrived at the University of Ulster-Jordanstown. It has been a whirlwind experience since I left O’Hare, but I have been trying to take everything in now, as I know the next 18 weeks are going to go by very quickly.

Since I arrived in Ireland, I spent the first four days in Dublin for our program orientation with another great group of 10 students or so who are heading to Limerick, in the southwest of Ireland to study. Our Arcadia (program) orientation included a lot of cultural lessons and information that would be helpful to us as we ventured off on our own. It became a little frustrating as the more questions we were asking, the answers we were getting were mostly, “I’m not sure, ask Ulster.” We were also given differing information about some things that I know frustrated me and a couple of the girls.

But the moral of the story is that we are now in Belfast, on campus, and luckily, my room was the only room that was cleaned and ready for me to move into. The other three girls are in temporary housing until this weekend or Monday at the latest. I was able to get my room set up, but there are a couple of problems…1.) we have no dresser 2.) we have awkward shelving space and 3.) there is no storage in the bathroom. Again, quite frustrating, but we are all putting our heads together and figuring it out. As frustrating as these couple of weeks might be, I know everything will be completely fine in the end.

Tomorrow and Friday, we have University of Ulster orientation, just for two hours a day though. I can already tell that this is going to be a learning experience from me, and although excited for the challenge, nervous at the same time. The next four and a half months will be crazy, busy, scary and rewarding, and will go by so quickly. Right now, like I said, I’m just trying to soak it all in.

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