Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Recap/First Week of School

Hello. Last time I posted, I was writing in my dorm room in Cork. I am now sitting in the living room of my new apartment in Albuquerque typing away before I get started on my homework. Not much has really happened since I left Ireland. I came home(after traveling for twenty-four hours straight), slept a lot, got really sick and slept some more, packed up my stuff, moved back to Albuquerque and started school. Some other stuff happened too, I saw some friends, had some friends come see me, went out to lunch with my mom a lot and spent time with my family (who are all crazy busy with school and sports and work and I just don't know how they keep up with everything). My brother and I are going to school together, so we live together in a nice, roomy apartment off campus. It's been pretty good so far, minus all the drama we went through to get internet set up in the apartment, and Monday is Labor Day, so this weekend is a three day weekend (which is awesome). I think I like all my classes, but it's only week two, so that may change. I do know for sure that I will be very busy this semester, once work starts up, but that will make it go by faster, as long as it doesn't drive me crazy first (which is a real possibility). Oh, and I remember how I said in this post that I was finally going to get a tattoo in 2013? (I barely remember either, it's okay.) Well, this semester, I really do think it's going to happen. I made plans with a friend and everything. I just need to save some money, is all. So now I have that to look forward to as well. But I'll stop rambling now and finish this post. I just wanted to give a quick update in case anyone was following my trip to Ireland and thought maybe I died in a plane crash on the way home or chose to go off the grind and live in Ireland forever (which I did think about doing). Love you all and hope you had a great summer!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ireland-Post 5

I cannot believe my time in Ireland is almost over. It feels like I just got here, but it also feels like I've been here forever. I'm excited to go home, but I'm really going to miss living in Cork, especially after visiting Dublin last week. Dublin is just crawling with tourists, and it's a really busy city. Cork is the second largest city in the country, but it feels smaller and quieter than Dublin did. Dublin was great for museums though. There's so much to do there. On Wednesday, after arriving and checking in to Trinity College, we went to see Christ's Church and St. Patrick's Cathedral. After that, we split off into groups to go out and see some of the other sites of the city. We were given a list of things that we 'had' to see for class, and anything else we had time for. We used our afternoon on Wednesday to go to the Guinness Storehouse. It was a cool place, but there were way too many tourists to really enjoy the experience. Also, Guinness is NOT good. I almost choked on the tiny amount they gave us to sample. I am not a fan at all. On Thursday we got in line early to see the Book of Kells, which was so cool. After that, we went to the Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced jail), which was a sobering experience since we had just talked about what went on at the jail in class the previous week. After the jail, we went to an unfortunate museum of natural history and then on to Dublin Castle, which was beautiful. We found a bar that had relatively cheap cocktails and Irish dancing, so we ended our day there. Friday, I wandered around Dublin until it was time to go to the airport. I spent my weekend in the Netherlands, visiting friends in Amsterdam and family in Friesland (northern province). That was an amazing experience, and I'm so glad I got to go and do that. Yesterday was our last day of lectures and today was our last day trip. We went out to the Dingle Peninsula, which is the westernmost point in Europe. It was absolutely beautiful. It was also gray and rainy, which is what an Irish summer usually looks like. Tomorrow and Friday we have presentations and then our program is over! I'm going back to the states on Sunday. It's crazy.
(and here comes an obscene amount of pictures. I'm sorry)
Christ's Church

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Guinness Storehouse

Trinity College

The Long Room (library at Trinity where the Book of Kells is held)

Kilmainham Gaol

Museum of Natural History (awkward photo)

ballroom at Dublin Castle


Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)

Museumplein (if you look closely, you can see me in front of the 'r')

On the Blauwbrug over the Amstel River(Amsterdam)

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ireland-Post 4

And just like that, another week is over. We're at the halfway point already! This week was a little less chaotic than last week, and I think I've finally adjusted to the time change. The weather is still unusually warm. No rain yet, but it's been pretty humid. Yesterday, we were told that the average temperature for the month of July is 64. It's been consistently in the 70's for two weeks now. We're all hoping it cools down. I know that this weather is cool compared to the desert back home, but I had been hoping to wear jeans and sweat shirts every day. But really, I can't complain. We visited Killarney National Park this last week and saw some amazingly beautiful scenery. Last night, some friends and I found a good spot for fish and chips, which were amazing, but SO GREASY! I think I've filled my quota for the month. This weekend is going to be pretty quiet, I think, to prepare for the crazy schedule we have next week. We have another day trip on Monday, and then on Wednesday we're leaving for Dublin. From Dublin, I'll be going to Amsterdam for a little visit, which I am super excited about. After that, there's only one week left and then I'll be going home. Time is really flying by, but in the best way possible.
The Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park

The Muckross House, Killarney National Park

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ireland-Post 3

My first week in Ireland is almost over, and it has been one of the busiest weeks of my life so far. (That is probably a huge exaggeration, but it's okay.) I am still adjusting to the eight hour time difference, and I feel like I'm always tired, but somehow I power through. Ireland is BEAUTIFUL. I really am loving it here. We've been in class every morning this week, and then gone out to see the city or the surrounding country-side for the afternoon. My FaceBook friends probably hate me right now, since I've posted close to two hundred photos this week alone. There's just so much to see! I won't share that many here, but I will share a few at the end of this post. Class lectures have been interesting, even more so since we can go out and see the history that we had just been discussing. Cork, our 'home base' city is so incredible. My friend and I have found our pub for the month. We went on Monday night and made friends with the barman, the musician for the pub and one of the regular customers. They really do love having Americans here, and the musician was telling us about Cork, the history of Ireland and, of course, all about how terrible Dublin is. Corkonians (as the residents of Cork like to call themselves) believe that the 'rebel city' of Cork is the true capital of Ireland, since Dublin is an 'English' city. Our musician friend was VERY bitter towards the English.

Tonight, a bunch of us are going out to celebrate the Fourth of July American-style, which probably means going to McDonald's and finding some Budweiser. As of yet, I have no plans for the weekend, but that will most likely change, given that there's a ton of stuff to do around here. We are going on a mini pub crawl tomorrow to see some live music, including the band of our musician friend. It's going to be pretty awesome, I can imagine. Thankfully, I can't afford to drink too much, so there's no danger of getting out of control. Stay tuned for more adventures! Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates if you'd like.
Barryscourt Castle, a reconstructed ruin

Blarney Castle, home of the famed Blarney Stone, which I kissed

the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Cobh Harbor-last point of call for the Titanic


St. Fin Barre's Cathedral here in Cork

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ireland-Post 2

I am here! I made it to Cork safely, my flights went smoothly, the bus was easy to find at the airport, I was able to find a cab to get to my apartment in Cork and I am all settled in. I am staying at University Hall, and my room is pretty nice. I even get my own bathroom, which is fabulous. The weather so far has been beautiful, very warm and very sunny. I know that it won't be like this for the whole month, but I'm definitely enjoying it now. I went on a bike tour of the city this afternoon, and I'm going to city centre tonight with another girl from my program to walk around and do some shopping. I am still adjusting to the time change though. I was super exhausted this morning, but I slept okay last night, so hopefully another good night of sleep will make things better.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ireland-Post 1

Hello all! I took an unofficial break from my Pinterest posts to spend some time with my family before I left for Ireland. Those posts will most likely return when school starts in August. This month, I am studying in Ireland and so will try to fit in a blog post every so often. If I don't manage to keep you updated while I'm there, I will do a recap post when I come back at the end of July. I am currently sitting in LAX, waiting for my first flight of the day. It is, of course, delayed, but so far only by 25 minutes, which means I will have plenty of time to make my connection. Hopefully it's no later or I may have issues later in the day. I still can't believe I'm actually going. It seems so crazy to me. I'll probably arrive and still not believe I'm there. I will be posting on Instagram throughout the trip, so follow me there if you'd like. My username is mtolsma. I also brought my nice camera to take some good pictures to use as art in my new apartment, so hopefully pictures that I post here will be better quality than the quick snaps I take with my iPhone. Happy Weekend everyone!

Friday, May 24, 2013


So, as you've probably noticed, my Pinterest Finds posts have missed a few weeks. I should be back with those next week *fingers crossed*, but in the meantime here's a little bit about my life at this moment.

Loving/Making me happy: Summer. I have so many things to look forward to in the next couple of months and I am excited for what is in store. My semester ended a couple of weeks ago, and I really feel like I have the time to focus on my summer plans now that I don't need to worry about school.
Watching: Well, I finished watching Friends, and I didn't know what to do with myself for a little while. Last weekend I rented a few movies from RedBox and had a mini marathon. Now, I'm using some of my free time to watch Justice League on Netflix. I know it's cheesy, and meant for kids, but I can't help myself. I just love super heroes, okay?
Looking forward to: So many things. In the immediate future, going home. I leave bright and early Monday morning and I am beyond ready to be home. I'm not working at all while I'm home, which will be awesome. I'll be able to just hang out, go visit people and rest before my European adventure. I have 35 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes until I leave for Ireland, and 56 days, 6 hours and 4 minutes until I get to visit Amsterdam. I still can't believe this trip is happening. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures and try to blog a little bit while I'm there.
Listening to: Still listening to Demi Lovato. I bought her new album when it came out last week and I love it. I have a feeling I'll be listening to it for most of my drive on Monday.
Eating: Whatever food I have left in my pantry. Since I'm leaving, I'm not doing any grocery shopping, so I'm consuming lots of cereal, sandwiches, and snacks that were left over from me being in school. I am super excited to stop at In-N-Out on my way home though. I've been craving an animal-style cheese burger for weeks.
Reading: I started a new book called The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery last week. It's interesting so far, but it's hard to tell where this is going. We'll see how it goes. I did borrow Les Misérables from the library, but I couldn't concentrate on what was going on, so I returned it. I will read that book at some point, but not when my brain is so scattered.

And that's my life right now. Thanks to Danielle at Sometimes Sweet for the inspiration for these posts!