This week was the last bit of play before all the work sets in.

Last Monday I took my final exams for the intensive Spanish course that consisted of a written grammar test and an oral presentation. I thought the grammar portion was quite easy and I got one of the highest scores in the class so I was really happy with that. The writing class was graded off of the short essays we had written throughout the two weeks and I scored about average compared to the rest of the class which is good (but I have no idea how he graded them because all the 9’s, 9.5’s, and 10’s had the same amount of red correction marks…??)*. I didn’t do as well on the oral presentation as I’d hoped because my presentation was on google drive and unfortunately the internet picked that exact day to stop working so I had to use a really last minute makeshift presentation so I was kind of panicky because I felt so unprepared by the time it was my turn. But honestly if that was my worst, then I think my worst is pretty good.

I spent Wednesday to Sunday at my granddad’s house in Dublin, Ireland because my mom and my three uncles were all in town (sort of like a mini family reunion). I missed the international student orientation trip because of this, but apparently all I missed was pouring rain and a few places we’d already seen in the month we’ve been here. Bummer.

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Thursday my mom and I took a train to Belfast to visit the “Titanic Experience.” It’s not a museum, but more like a very detailed and interactive story, and being a huge history geek I absolutely loved it. I think we spent a good 3.5-4 hours there.

Friday we went to Newgrange, an ancient burial tomb that’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids (which by the way IS THE COOLEST PLACE EVER). It’s lined with massive boulders (somehow transported hundreds of miles before the wheel existed), carved with various designs, built with different types of stones collected from all over Ireland, it has a vaulted roof made of large flat rocks and no mortar but it hasn’t leaked a drop of water since the day it was built, and there’s an opening above the entrance that is purposely lined up with the horizon so that on the winter solstice the rising sun illuminates the entire cavern. Maybe that’s just my civil engineer/architect/history geek fangirling over a mound of rocks and earth BUT SERIOUSLY IS THAT COOL OR WHAT.


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Anyway. The rest of the weekend I spent just hanging out with family and hearing so many stories that I never knew about my mom and her brothers.

My three uncles, mom, granddad, and me

And, because I’m absolutely incapable of going anywhere without learning a new recipe, I tried Rhubarb for the first time and learned how to stew some fresh stems from my granddad’s back yard. Fun fact: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, you can only eat the stems!

P.S. Special thanks to Duolingo, the language-learning app that says I’m not fluent because I finished all the Spanish lessons but I am still definitely not fluent. How helpful. (But at least is wasn’t unhelpful…)

P.P.S. Now I really just use Duolingo for French since I want to visit but they speak neither English nor Spanish, so this will be interesting.

*Spain grades on a scale of 1-10 with 5 being a pass.


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