A great day to Softball!

10 04 2011

Lately, we have been having some great weather in Dublin. Today temperatures rose to 20 deg C, and the sun was out in full force, and therefore it was a great day to go back onto the field to play softball :). After my initial Irish softball experience, I was planning to start playing with the Flyers. However earlier on in the week I got the bad news from one of the girls, Cora, that the Flyers were no more 😦 Luckily she suggested another team: the Renegades. They also play in the Northside, however they are by no way as close as the other team (or more accurately they are still quite close: 15mins by car…but it took me 1 hour 15mins to come back by bus).

I was put into contact with one of the guys form the team, who picked me up and off to softball we went. I really enjoyed being back on the field. I made a couple of blunders (ball straight through the feet anyone?), but it was not all bad. I also got my first nice round bruise on my thigh. The first of many yet to come 🙂 I have still much to improve, but I am pleased with the way things turned out. The people on the team are also really nice 🙂 They have around 4 teams in the club, so I am sure they will find some place for me 🙂

Can’t wait for the next training session on Wednesday. I have decided to get just 1 bus and walk the rest of the way. I will see how that goes 🙂 Wish me luck 🙂


My First Visitor…Day 1

26 10 2010

Sorry for not posting much lately, but I have been kept quite busy over the weekend. The first visitor to my humble abode came on Saturday afternoon and left early this morning (too early might I say but anyways). And this was no ordinary visitor…weeee I got a visit from my dear bf Bernard. Luckily Monday (yesterday) was a bank holiday here in Ireland. Therefore I got the whole day to spend with him :). We had figured that out after he had already bought the ticket, so it was a pleasant surprise.

After picking him up at the airport, we immediately made our way to my residence. Luckily I do not live far away from the airport (10minute bus ride), and so we were soon there. We dropped everything off and we left to go to the Omni Park nearby, here I generally do all my shopping. We went round for a bit since it was soon closing time (yes shops in Ireland have quite short opening times, especially at weekends and public holidays) and then went to search for someplace to eat. I do not get round much, and the area I live in is quite residential. So restaurants are not that plentiful. However at the omni park we found Eddie Rockets store and we decided on that (we also had McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and a Chinese restaurant to choose from…it is surprising that in such a small place you would get all the main fast food restaurants within less than a minute’s walk from each other…generally these are joined by Subway as well…but this is a recurring theme in Dublin).

I had a Grilled Pineapple Hamburger whilst Bernard had a Smokestack. After dinner we opted for an apple pie with ice cream and a milkshake. The food was really delicious  and the portions quite big MMMMMMM. We have nothing to complain about that. Any complaints are regarding the service, if there was any. After around 10minutes of having sat down we had to ask for a menu to be brought to us. Then we had to flag down a waiter to get our order taken (although she did excuse herself). However once we were successful at ordering, the food did not take too long to arrive and it was mouth-watering. Another complaint I would make would be that we ordered a combo. However on the receipt they place on the table, the price of the separate items is shown. Then when we ordered dessert, we got another receipt showing just the deserts we had ordered, however we got a price of around 30Eur. We ate everything and went to pay. We were told that the receipts always come out like that. Then they will discount the combo meal and the total price would show on each additional receipt even though nothing shows this.

At this point we were full and tired. We went back to the residence, I watched some Grey’s Anatomy whilst Bernard set up my Irish mobile. Then we had a good night’s sleep 🙂

Visit to Belfast!

21 10 2010

Yesterday I made the long-awaited trip to Belfast. The main reason for the trip was to visit my supervisor who is located there (read more about it in my research blog). I have been looking forward to visiting this city, moreover since I will be spending at least 3 months there as part of my PhD studies. I had two options to get there…by bus or by train. Most people told me to get the train, but I decided I wanted to get the bus…why might you ask?…well the bus leaves from a place closer to where I am staying, and it only takes 2.5hours as compared to 2.10hours by train. So it was not worth the hassle.

Early morning (OK 8:30am) saw me getting the bus to the airport, and at 9:20am the bus left Dublin airport to Belfast. I had my trusty Lonely Planet: Ireland book, which my sister had sent me as part of my belated birthday present :). I started reading it, but did not feel all that well. So I had a short nap, then woke up to find myself in the UK weeeee. We went round some picturesque villages/town, and finally we reached BELFAST!

I was feeling quite dizzy at this point, so I made my way to the University campus (a 15minute walk away from the bus station) and stopped at a Starbucks shop for a hot chocolate. It was my fist Starbucks hot chocolate, and I must say I was NOT impressed. But I felt quite better then so no complaints.

I still had some time for the meeting to start. Therefore I went around the University a bit. It is quite an old University and very nice and picturesque. I even got to enter the Great Hall at QUB, since they were preparing for a function later on in the evening and I snuck in to see. It is quite an impressive room, and I would love to have a function there some time (they also do weddings there they informed me…so who knows :P).

The Great Hall, QUB

The Great Hall, QUB

I also so that a Careers fair for Science, Engineering and IT students was happening. So I went in and checked out the companies represented. I got some good information, and more importantly I got Freebies. I am really enjoying such freebie opprotunities…I cannot wait to get more. Some of the stuff is quite useful. I have gotten mugs, key chains, a rule, highlighters, a bookmark and of course loads of pens :). What I need now are some more USB sticks (haven’t gotten any of those free) and a mouse pad (or two…one for Uni and one for home).

Time had come for me to meet my supervisor. So off I went to find his building and office and knocked on his door. You can read more about that in the research blog however. After the meeting I walked through the botanic gardens and back to the bus station to get the bus back home.

I will be back in around 1 month for the first ATWARM meeting. And I should spend around 3 months of my PhD studies there. So I have certainly not seen the end of Belfast. Cannot wait to explore more!

Strasbourg Day 1: Getting there

20 09 2010

Greets from my humble abode in Strasbourg

Day 1 of my September Trip 2: Strasbourg experience is nearly over and here I am writing from my Apart-Hotel Room. I had a very good flight to Frankfurt, where I knew one of the air hostesses (or whatever guy hostesses are called)…he lives 2 roads away from me back in Malta and we were good friends once upon a time…and the couple next to me were really nice…a lady from the US working with the US government in Germany and her Turkish-German partner who were returning from a 9 day trip to Gozo. The lady was a chatter box like me…or more than me I think…and so the flight passed by quite quickly. At the airport however I had a bit of a scare…no luggage aaaaa. I spoke to the representative who saw my luggage receipt tag and said ahhhh…you have checked in for the Airport bus to Strasbourg…your bag will not come here but on luggage rail 16…off we go to 16 but hmmmm…it was not moving…he tried calling to check about it and they said it is not in their system :(…he then started to input my details in the system of lost luggage :(…but then he called to check again and they said it should be coming to no. 16 in about 10-15mins…so he told me to go wait next to carousel 16, and keep him informed. So I off I go to wait and finally…yes…my luggage came wippie (this was around 30mins after all the others had gotten their luggage…and he told me next time never let them check in for the airport bus as,  well…cos it ends up in transit and then it comes out later).

Luckily I had 2 hours until the airport bus left (now 1.5hours hihi) and so off I went to wait for the bus. I immediately found where the bus leaves and then started walking around….hmmm…I saw a guy looking at me…he looked Maltese and I thought I remembered him from the plane…so I said…Int Malti? (are you Maltese) and he said yes and we started talking. Apparently he knows my sister slightly haha cos he worked with her when she worked in a pharmaceutical company. He has now changed job and he was going to Strasbourg for a 5 week course related to his work.

At 8pm we went towards the bus stop, and whilst putting our luggage on 2 different people heard us talking and said…Intom Maltin?…(and we suspect there was another lady who was smiling whilst we were talking hihi). And surprise…one of the guys was coming to the same course. So we boarded the bus and we chatted a bit and then settled in (we had 2.5hours on the bus).

Once we reached Strasbourg we all said our good byes and made our way to our places. I got a taxi (walking around Strasbourg at 11pm with my luggage was not something I cherished) and arrived at the apart-hotel. I inserted the codes as informed (the reception is closed during the weekend) and found my key and made my way to my room. But hmmm where is the bed?…Then I noticed the large sofa with a lot of space inside it…so I pulled it apart and dadammmm…I have my bed.

The room is quite nice and big…I also have a fridge a cooker and a microwave…they will stay as they are however hihi. I entered my bed, read a bit then slept a good night’s sleep.