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Legs 2 and 3 – Weirton, WV and the Transit to Ireland 01/24/2010

Posted by Jenn in Uncategorized.

Okay…Internet is finally up and running for me here (thank Kanjar Ro that my flat is wi-fi ready!), so I can finally set about updating everyone on the whereabouts of Otto and me for the past couple of days.

And we have been ALL over!

I realize that it’s been a very busy couple of days, and I actually have quite a lot of pictures so far, but for today, I will stick to the ones of Otto and I in Weirton and on our way to Ireland, so as to save the other shots for another post that will probably hit in a couple of days. ^_^!

So…here goes! After leaving the campus, I enjoyed a surprisingly leisurely drive up to Weirton to visit my grandparents for a couple of days, and as luck would have it, I was there in time for my grandma’s birthday!

Home of the Smiley cookie! Seriously, eat one. They rock.

I actually got my grandpa to smile in a picture! My grandparents at Eat and Park for a birthday lunch!

So that was a good deal of fun. And that night even, Otto and I went off to the theater!

The Plaza Theater...nifty place.

Otto is seen here biffing around the Plaza theater waiting for the movie to start...he didn't have long to wait. :P

We saw _The Blind Side_, which was pretty alright by all accounts. The next couple of days I mostly spent doing laundry and visiting my grandparents and otherwise preparing for the big trip. Which of course brings us to…


We started in Pittsburgh airport–


A very fuzzy (in more ways than one) Otto poses by the killer T-Rex skeleton in the Pittsburgh airport.

Otto--the Admiral of Awesome

Otto (if you can see his tiny little self on that placard there in the middle) takes his awesome place between the Pittsburgh greats--the Steelers and George Washington.

Otto and George--a match made in awesome.

Admiral Otto and General George--it has a nice ring, don't you think?

Please won't you be my neighbor? Oh yes, yes I will. ^_^

Pittsburgh is famous as the hometown of Mister Rogers. Can you spot the Otto in this display case full of Mister Rogers paraphenalia? ^_^!

After the Pittsburgh airport, we took a flight to Dulles. Unfortunately, there are no Otto pics from Dulles because it was…well…it was dull. And I was too plumb tired to take pictures on the plane itself, so we’ve got no plane shots either. Really, the reason there are no photos is because this leg of the trip was tragically unremarkable. Yup. Pittsburgh to Dulles, the only thing that happened was that we got there before the scheduled time (oh wonder of wonders! A plane that lands on time!) where I essentially biffed around the Dulles airport for my two hours or so until the flight from Dulles to Heathrow.

Dulles to Heathrow was about a six and a half hour flight, which I spent most of the time trying to sleep through. It wasn’t made easy by the fact that on the same exact plane as me there was a massive group of Americans who were all off to study abroad in Italy en masse and I kept getting lumped in with them. One of the flight attendants even asked if I was excited about going to Rome. I replied, “Sure–if I even go.” I believe I confused the man, but it didn’t matter, because I conked out after downing a Benadryl soon afterwards.

But apparently my desire to sleep through the flight kept me out of some juicy plane drama! When we landed in Heathrow and I woke up, we weren’t allowed to leave the plane immediately because a) someone was having a medical emergency and the paramedics needed on the plane first and b) apparently one woman punched another woman mid-flight over some manner of disagreement, and no one in that general area was allowed to disembark until the police had taken statements. Yeah, very interesting flight. But we eventually got off the plane, and I got my first taste of Heathrow airport. It went a little something like this.

Otto in front of Harrod's, the quintessential British department store.

Yeah, that's what I said exactly, Otto. "Why is there a frickin' Harrod's in the Heathrow airport?" Whatever, I'm not here to judge. :P

I’m not sure when the entirety of Heathrow became a giant shopping plaza, or if has always been that way, but it was a very strange airport overall. However, I wasn’t there too long before my plane went off to Belfast, at long last! My jubilation was short-lived, however, when I realized that I had to get both me, Otto, and three sizable suitcases to Coleraine on the bus alone. Eep.

I caught the airport shuttle to the major bus depot with no major problems, though, and I had the absolute nicest bus driver in the world on the Coleraine-Belfast stretch. I don’t know who that nice bus driver with the ponytail was, but if I see him again, I’m going to hug him. He helped me with all my bags, and even set me up on the proper bus to get me from the Coleraine bus depot to my University campus (Free of charge! He told the other bus driver that I already paid him–that guy is awesome!!!) which was extremely helpful.

Once there, I met randomly up with another American girl named Sierra who helped me find the Accommodation Office so I could get set into my new digs at Agherton Student Village! Yay!

Welllllll……in this case it was more of a “nay.” I was put into temporary housing at first because my room wasn’t ready just yet. So instead of going into my current unit, I went into unit 17.

Oh. Em. Gee.

After 36 hours in transit, ALL I wanted to do was collapse onto a nice bed. And, to be fair, the bed and the room I was in was actually very decent, and I loved the layout of the place, I really did.

But whoever lived there before me? It was like they had the most epic New Years’ party of all time and then just…left it that way. The common areas were absolutely disgusting! The bathroom wasn’t too bad, except for the fact that part of the sofa was in it (it was a sectional), but the main common room? Holy. Moly.

Words cannot accurately depict how rank that room was. I took no pictures of it because I’d like to erase it from my mind as quickly as possible. Bags of trash (at least six) were piled up on the one side, there were empty (and not so empty) beer bottles and wine glasses all over (some of which had a good collection of mold growing on it), a carton of milk was left on the counter, there were cigarette butts and trash everywhere, and WORST OF ALL, the electricity was out in this house when I got there, so everything in the fridge? Rotten. Ew.

So that first night, I ended up eating take-away from a shop down the street and then heading back to bed at 7:00pm so that I could conserve warmth for the long night ahead of me. I had no electricity, and therefore no heat and no hot water. Honestly, that first night? I was about ready to throw in the towel. Only the safe knowledge that no other flat in this place could possibly be as bad kept me going.

Otto in my temporary digs.

Otto chills atop my ever-important towel in my (very messy, sorry) temporary digs. Sorry I don't have any horror pics for you, but I simply couldn't bring myself to photograph that awful mess. I'm just glad I no longer have to live there!

Anyway, Orientation was strictly informational, though the International Office was very sympathetic to my weird housing plight, and were nice enough to get me a map of the surrounding area as well as let me phone home from their office phone so I could let my parents know things were going well. I even figured out how to get electricity in my flat! Oh wonder of wonders!

Anywho, I could blather on some more about what I did, but this post is getting most dreadfully long. In any case, I did meet back up with Sierra the next day and go to Coleraine on what must have been the crappiest day EVER (cold, wet, AND windy–it was a triple header!) but we had fun anyway.

But that night was pretty fun as well!

And on that note (it’s not meant to be a suggestive or salacious note, it’s simply a convenient stopping place) I do believe I will be heading to bed. I promise, not all the posts will be this long in the future, but the first few days were pretty action packed! Tune in soon for the exciting conclusion of “what I did on night 2” as well as a lot of other fun tidbits from my first weekend in Northern Ireland. Cheers, folks!


1. Clark Kent - 01/24/2010

I know that name from somewhere… Kanjar Ro was a GL villain right?

2. Kate - 01/25/2010

Why yes, Dulles is incredibly dull. And I can’t figure out why there’s a Harrod’s mini store in the international section of Heathrow either. It’s nice to go in and look, but there’s no possible way I could ever afford anything in that store.

3. jennloveschicken - 01/27/2010

Yes he was! But now he’s with Braniac and the R.E.B.E.L.S., I think. His name is just fun to say, lol. ^_^!

And yes, I was also confused by the presence of a mini-Harrod’s! That’s why I took a picture of it–it was so odd to see! And yes, yes re: expensive. I like Paddington Bear as much as the next person, but that’s a crap-ton of money for a little bear plushie!

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