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Leg 4: Of Sligo and Sickness 02/17/2010

Posted by Jenn in Uncategorized.

So the good weather persists, for the most part. With the exception of one moderately rainy day (and even then, sprinkly at best), it has been riotously sunny for nearly the past week. This fantabulous weather would come in quite handy on the big surf trip to Sligo!

A bit of background before I launch into the grand Sligo adventure–I signed up for a couple of sports teams waaaaay back at the Orientation, and finally heard back from the surf team. The girl in charge (Lauren) was extremely kind and helpful, and when I e-mailed back to confirm my interest, she responded that, though it was quite short notice, the surf team was going on a trip to Sligo for an island-wide University surf invitational, and if I wanted to come along I was more than welcome.

Pssh…yeah! Portstewart pretty much shuts down on weekends, so I was very appreciative of the opportunity to see a bit more of the country.

We piled into the two vans Friday afternoon for the four hour or so trek to Sligo. I was in the car with Lauren, Emmett, Roisin, James, and Charlie, and we all played the Name Game (except for Emmett, who was driving) where we put the sticky notes on our heads with a celebrity and tried to guess who it was. Good times!

Now, this will excite anyone who went on the Wesleyan Ireland Trip in 2008…of ALL the hostels in ALL of Sligo for us to end up in, which one do you think we got?

Otto on the bed at Harbour House.

Otto on the bed at Harbour House hostel in Sligo.

You guessed it. Harbour House. Same one as in ’08. I nearly died when I found out.

Anywho, that first night was pretty quiet (for me, anyway). I had started feeling a little under the weather that day, and turned in early. And as I tried to sleep, I realized that that weird crackly noise keeping me awake was COMING FROM MY LUNGS. And by the next morning? Lo and behold, a brand spanking new chest cold. Ew.

But the surf competition itself was pretty great! We got there at about 8:45 in the morning to get the competitors ready for their respective “heats” (15 minute windows where the surfers go out and compete). The name “heat” is kind of ironic, however, considering how FRIGGIN’ COLD IT WAS OUT THERE! Sure, if you were surfing you got to move around and had a nice wetsuit, but for me? Fuh-reezing.

Otto and the waves.

Otto and the surf off of Strandhill beach in Sligo. I doubt you can see them, but there were surfers on those waves behind him.

Anyway, to kill some time between events (and to ensure I didn’t lose the circulation in my toes due to FREEZING COLDNESS), I went for a walk along the beach. It was pretty nice! And no walk on the beach would be complete without a completely random hike up a giant sand dune for no other reason than “it’s there.” Which is exactly what I did. Here’s the view from the top:

Otto on the beach.

Here's Otto (ground-level here) on the Strandhill Beach in Sligo.

Otto from the top of the sand dune at Strandhill beach.

Otto from the top of the sand dune at Strandhill beach.

Most of the surfers stayed at the beach for a bit longer, but around 2:00, Lauren, Emmett, and I went back to the hostel to have a bit of a lie-in, me because I was sick, and Emmett and Lauren because of late-night driving and the accompanying worry, respectively.

When the rest of the team got back, we all made a pasta bake, which was pretty tasty, and then got ready to head to The Dunes, the pub that was kind enough to host the final awards from the surf competition. We, of course, stayed for a few drinks once the awards were done. ^_^!

Lauren, Roisin, Otto, and Thomas at The Dunes.

Here's Lauren, Roisin, and Thomas with Otto at The Dunes, a pub in Sligo. Fun note: Lauren was selected (with another surf club leader) to host the invitational for NEXT year, and Thomas got, I think, second place in the longboarding! Yay!

Otto on Roisin's head.

Otto on Roisin's head!!! ^_^!

Emmett and Otto

Though you can barely see either of them in this low light, here is Emmett with Otto at The Dunes.

Craig and Otto

Though I'm having trouble telling for sure because Otto is up by his face, I do believe this is Craig in this picture.

Again, because of my spooty, spooty cold, I returned to the hostel to sleep while another chunk of the team went out to a night-spot that was open a little bit later than The Dunes. Blargh. Sickness.

Woke the next morning…still sick and gross. But despite the sick, I was still able to wake up pretty early of my own accord and was therefore able to snag a shower before the others were awake. Score!

We had until 10am to pack our stuff and get out, so once we hit the road at about 10:30, we decided to look for waves.

And we found…none. Sunday was completely flat just about everywhere we looked. But because we were looking for waves, we ended up taking the scenic route back home, which was rather nice! We stopped in a town called Letterkenny to eat at a fast food restaurant I’d never heard of before called Four Lanterns. It was…alright. I ordered the chicken bites, though, and they were a huge rip-off! They were so tiny! But we made it back to Coleraine without a fuss, and I pretty much collapsed again and fell asleep the minute I got back home.

But Sunday was not completely over! No, no, no! Sunday was Valentine’s Day, and also, horrifyingly enough, my fifth anniversary with Jerry. *le gasp!* This was, however, pretty anti-climactic when you consider how sick I was and how busy he was: he was gone most of the day drafting MtG, and by the time he got back, he had to go to tutoring. But we DID chat for a bit, which was nice. ^_^! And then I went to sleep…like you do.

And thus, because of my spooty, spooty sickness, I have very little else of interest to report for this week, as I’ve largely been lying around sleeping and trying to kick this ridiculous cold. Monday I barely made it to class for having to drag myself out of bed, I lost my voice in the middle of seminar, and though I did go into town to buy a backpack for this weekend (and also cold medicine!), the minute I got home, I pretty well collapsed into a weird fever coma for the remainder of the afternoon. Unfortunate, as I had homework due…but I finished it anyway. And then I slept some more.

Mardi Gras, or as they say here, Pancake Day was similarly uneventful. I DID get a package from my parents for Valentine’s Day, but given the amount in postage it cost to send here, I doubt I’ll be getting another one. EVER. :P I DID eat pancakes though!

Otto and pancakes.

The pancakes come pre-packaged at Tesco's! You can just BUY them! Like you were picking up a pack of pita bread or something! AWESOME!

Otto with the jammy pancakes.

One of the coolest things I've seen here so far? Pancakes as DESSERT. I've lived so long in the US, where pancakes are solely a breakfast food, only to be eaten with a variety of syrups, or with whipped cream and fruit. But after the ceildh dancing night, when dessert largely consisted of cold pancakes with butter and jam on them, I realized pancakes could be more than simply breakfast food. They could be conduits for jam and butter, to be eaten at any time. Like toast! BRILLIANT! Try it next time, folks. Make some pancakes. Let them cool. Then put butter and jam on them and eat them up. They're CRAZY good. ^_^!

Me, Otto, and a jammy pancake.

Mmmmm, pancakes. Not a King Cake, perhaps, but it will suffice.

And then there was class in the afternoon. And napping. And then Anto called and asked if I wanted to go the _The Wolfman_ with him and some others. So I saw _The Wolfman_…meh. A far cry from fabulous, but I wasn’t expecting greatness anyway. And after this I, you guessed it, went home and slept.

And I woke up today (Wednesday, for those of you playing the home game) and am STILL SICK! *grrrrr!* But it is much better, anyway. Lucky I had no class today and could sleep for much, much longer! ^_^! But that has been my boring, boring week thus far. Tonight I have dinner with my host mom–so at least that should be fun!

But tune in next time for Otto’s adventures in–are you ready for this?–LONDON! Yup, I’m going to London tomorrow! ^_^! Stay tuned!



1. Rachel - 02/17/2010

OMG I can’t wait to see you! I’ll definitely be arriving tomorrow night!

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