Monday, September 1, 2008


Hello all! I have arrived safely in the land of green and am loving every minute. As always, travel was eventful. The flight from L.A. to Georgia was very low-key. I sat by two unrelated middle aged men who were both wearing ungodly short shorts. (Not just one, but two! What are the odds?)

In Atlanta, my two hour layover turned into a four hour layover. There were a few insane Irish children hopped up on candies while pop pop lived it up at the airport pub and mum’s tired voice went right over their heads. One child was in a monkey harness (the tail is held by guardian to prevent an escape). Well. Said child escaped, jumped on table (the same table I witnessed another Irish child jump on), acted like it was a surfboard, jumped down to the other side and began whipping me with his monkey tail. I started fake screaming (the kind with little sound). He started laughing, then moved on to the guy across from me (who also started fake screaming) and an elderly woman knitting (who also started fake screaming). The assault led to a conversation with the other victims that lasted until we boarded.

On the flight from Atlanta to Dublin I sat next to a latin man named Felix who graduated from USC a few years ago, he was meeting his girlfriend in Dublin and they were going to a wedding. Felix was also wearing a kilt. Was the wedding the reason for this kilt? No. It was a surprise for his girlfriend.

And surprised she was. (I’d imagine)

For now he lives in Bakersfield where he is a local newscaster. I asked if he was a Bakersfield Celebrity and he said that one time he was at Costco (he likes the $1.50 hotdog/drink special) and some guy approached him, recognized him and bought his hotdog.

I would like one day to reach that level of celebrity.

Together Felix and I dominated InFlight Trivia. PAAAM, the previous victor, didn’t know what hit her.

When we were getting close to landing, the clouds finally thinned and I couldn’t believe how green it was. Absolutely gorgeous. I got my bags from the baggage claim and then waited in line at the taxi queue. Ernie, the toothless, obese cab driver showed me the sights. I once heard that all cab drivers are secretly comedians and they chose to practice their routines on their charges. I wouldn’t say Ernie was a comedian. He was very knowledgeable about politics and history, a kind fellow, but no, he was not a comedian. There was something about his demeanor that was anything but. He told me how the Irish don’t teach history to the youth of Ireland as much as they should because the Irish have a history of remembering too much. He pointed out a pub called The Tap, where Kevin Barry was arrested in 1920. Barry was a member of the IRA and his participation led to the deaths of three british men. Before he was executed (at the age of 18) he was tortured. Ernie added the gruesome detail that when they did so, they pulled off all of his fingernails. Welcome to Ireland.

But really, that is what is so fascinating about this city. Around us there is history everywhere. The buildings are ancient, many of the streets are cobblestone, but as old as everything is, there is such a vibrant, young air about Dublin.

I arrived on Fishamble Street around noon on Saturday and was greeted by Susanne and Sigita, both absolutely wonderful people who I look forward to getting to know further. Susanne is the head of the program here and Sigita is the RA.

The first night, after naps all around, and a quick orientation, a bunch of us went out for fish and chips at Burdock’s. We realized that Dublin is EXPENSIVE and since then have been cooking a lot of our meals at home. There was nowhere to sit inside, so we walked a little while and decided to sit on the walkway by the river Liffey and after went to pub called O’Neil’s. It was a lovely night.

After three days here I have yet to fully unpack (I’m sure non of you are surprised.) But I’m positive it will get done sometime within the next month.

Yesterday, we realized that our water heater (which must be switched on) takes a lot longer than 20 minutes to fully heat up. Nia took a shower first, walked out declaring it was the coldest shower she had ever taken. Next was Monica. We figured the water must have been hot by then, it had been more than an hour since we switched on the heater. A few powerful, dramatic screams errupted from within the bathroom, and she came out declaring how horrid her shower was as well. I went in next, because I figured it really must be warm by then. I turned on the water, and let out pathetic yelps akin to Old Yeller after he contracted rabies, but before he went psychotic on little Johnny.

We figured we would leave our water heater on all the time now.

Last night we wenr to Fitzsimons where we had our first encounter with a live Irish band. They played cover songs, mostly Oasis and U2. REALLY FUN!

We get free membership to a gym a short walk away, and tonight we decided to do a spin class. We dragged our bikes over to the center of the work out room, got in a circle. The instructor had very buff arms and very small legs and told us that we must use the hand break if we want to get off or else we WILL fall off the bike.

About ten minutes into it, we were intensely peddling and I literally thought I was either going to die, or worse, vomit. I looked around, did not see either a bathroom or a trashcan, and had visions of me wandering aimlessly around the room, really NOT finding either, and then class would be canceled, the custodial staff would be called in and I would forever be the spin class pariah.

We were just talking about the Darwin awards today. Stupid deaths that shouldn’t have happened. I mentioned one about a guy who was driving a motorhome and decided to put it on cruise control and go on back for a cup of coffee.

While in first position I decided to write my own Darwin Award obituary.

Alexandria Kathryn Henigman died today. In Spin Class. She did not utilize the hand break. Poor soul.

About half way through, about the time they played Eye of the Tiger I had a sudden burst of energy and thought, if Rocky went through all of that extensive training, I can make it through Spin Class without being in the Darwin Awards and without having public vomit humiliation.

With that said, so much has already happened that I couldn’t possibly fit in one (already too loud and rambling blog). And I will try to constantly fill all you in at least once a week. It has truly been a really great experience so far. I love Ireland and all the people involved in this program. (Classes start tomorrow!)

I’m looking forward to traveling around Ireland and Europe!

And, no, there has been no sign of Seamus thus far.


Mom said...

This is such a great idea! I will pass on your address to all..xo Mom

Paul said...

Not quite being there, but very entertaining and I look forward to keeping up with your experiences. Have fun. - Paul

Charles Pecoraro said...

Oh man, I'm looking forward to these stories!!:)

Aunt Barb said...

I'm reliving all my travels in Ireland through you. Get Celtic Thunder DVD or CC. They are great. Love, Aunt Barb

Aunt Anne said...

I can't wait to see your next blog, Lex!! Fantastic writing!

Aunt Anne

Carolyn said...

So sorry I missed seeing you in California. I am lovin the blog. You will remember these times for the rest of your life. I can recall so clearly living in Scotland and going to High School. The friends I made there are still in touch with me even after 31 years. Have a glorious time.

Cousin Carolyn

Mom said...

We need pictures!!

Sissy said...

Sounds like alot of fun Sissy! Keep blogging and tell us if you are having trouble with trolls.

Dana Dickson said...

Now I know why you are the writer and I am not. Spin on, Girl! Keep a look-out for that Seamus. Maybe there will be many... (what is the plural of Seamus? Seami?)

Rhonda said...

I'm stuck on the taxi driver and fingernails, oh boy, fingernail soup!
Your adventures have just begun.
By the way, Dave has returned from Burning Man, with many wild stories.

Joanna said...

Lexi!!! I really love your first blog post! you capture so many unique moments, that i almost feel a part of them as i'm reading it in the nyu printer lab on washington place.

Although i loved it all, the kids on the plane, the taxi driver, and the spinning class, i must say my favorite line was "I turned on the water, and let out pathetic yelps akin to Old Yeller after he contracted rabies, but before he went psychotic on little Johnny."
i know that moment.

anyway, i miss you more than you know!! i just had colorsync and i will tell you more about it! Now i will send you a facebook message. To the next post and beyond!

Aunt Mary said...

Enough already! Get on with it! We need our next installment! LOL!
Hope you're having a wonderful adventure!

christy said...

Hi Lex- Glad to see you are safe & having fun. We can't wait for the screen play. Is there any room in your dorm for your mom & I to visit?? Keep on blogging, Love, Christy