30 January 2012

Self Portrait

Today I'm participating in a self-portrait challenge hosted by The Paper Mama, my latest blog find. I love her freshness and honesty. I found her via Pinterest - are you on Pinterest yet? 

Currently I'm...

Obsessing over… what to have for dinner. Not an object - though that would have to be new hair-dos I suppose, but my stomach pretty much determines my day...I'm thinking left over soup and a peanut butter sandwich! YUM.

Working on… Videos for another blog I write for. I'm kind of in love with container gardens - they seem so easy! Too easy...also, all my school work for tomorrow.

Anticipating… Getting cards from my family! I have an Irish address, and there's nothing like getting mail from home, especially when you're thoughts are there.

Listening to… the telly (like my local slang thrown in there?). Currently it's on Scrubs reruns. Can you believe I'd never seen a full episode until I got to Europe?

Eating… Well, drinking coffee. About to eat my homemade lentil-potato-onion soup!

Wishing…  I had more time and energy to do everything I want on my blogs, for school, and with my new friends (and old!).

And yes, that is a bright, red, lipstick - Rimmel No. 12 in fact. It's a corral because I thought that would work well with my skin tone. I got several compliments today at school about it. Why, when I am a strong proponent of natural looks, have I suddenly donned a bright red? Confidence. I'm a firm believer that only the most confident women can truly pull off reds. And as a sign of my new found confidence (which, I should let you know is a work in progress) I wore red lipstick today.

What do you think? Does it work with my skin tone?


P.S. There's also this Red Lipstick Challenge. I agree with pretty much everything she has to say on the subject and once I figure out how to add buttons, I'll by announcing my participation in her challenge.

28 January 2012

How to Decorate Your Apartment With No Money and No Desire To Accumulate...

Okay, the long title says it all.

Emma and I have no money. Emma and I have no desire to accumulate things.

The decorations you are about to see are things that I got to take home, found, and otherwise spent 1.50 Euro on.


I found the tray in the bottom drawer of the kitchen. We got the candle for 1 Euro at the Euro store. The pinecones were given to me by the family in Spain. And I made the flowers using this tutorial out of a 2007 Ireland atlas I got for 50 cents at a Charity store.

Aren't the flowers so pretty? You're supposed to use a hot glue gun but since I don't have one of those I used safety pins through the bottom.

Next, we have the walls! The first one is my Barcelona wall.

I used the city map I got while there and added the postcards I picked up. It's a little sparse - I might find some ticket stubs that are still in good shape. 

This is the Ireland wall! It's a work in progress and a team effort. The letters and hearts I cut out of the same atlas I used to make flowers. The map of Ireland and the Limerick page also come from it. The other pieces are things we've done and picked up. 

Map, ticket stub, pamphlet, and some Indian food (because we've had it twice since we've been here!)

Well, there's two really low budget, low effort options for giving a very personal touch to your apartment - and spending very little money!!!


26 January 2012

Well hi! From Patrick St.

And now, for the long awaited and anticipated first blog post from my new apartment!!!

I have an Irish address. As in, Ireland. How flipping cool is that?!?!

It's above an art gallery (which is why I say we have a pet dog....because during the day they play this art film that is a black lab howling inside what sounds like an echo chamber...we can hear him two floors up). It's right across from the grocery store (which is a good thing, except being able to just run in and get something isn't good for my bank account). It's right downtown amongst all the stores (again, bank account). And...right around the corner from the best pubs (I don't need to explain that, do I?).
Got these pics from Emma.

We finally have internet, we have cable, we even have a home phone (because it was in the bundle). We have a washing machine. A dish washer. We added a coffee pot.

The stuff on the wall is a map of Barcelona and post cards I got there. Working on a similar one for Limerick.

Life is going.

Except for the whole bills part...that's fricking terrifying. Frickin. Terrifying. And being responsible and what not. Which is not to say that I'm a stranger to responsibility. I'm not. But on my own, in another country...well, it can get overwhelming.

Fortunately, I have a roommate. An ausome aussie roommate.

We did some touring of the city, I suppose you might want some pictures....

Click here to view these pictures larger


*drafted a week ago - only published once pics could be added.

22 January 2012


My Dad died yesterday. He was 69. He had many lung problems - he was always afraid he would suffocate, but instead he fell asleep and did not wake up. He had been sick for over 10 years, so while it wasn't unexpected, the death of someone so close is never expected and never easy. You always hold on to the hope that some miracle will happen.

I am not going home for the funeral. He did not want me to come home. He wanted me to stay - and I know that if I went home I would not be able to get on the plane back here. He is not there anyways. He said many times that he wished he could be here with me, travel with me, come see me - now he can.

This semester will be a struggle for me. You will notice this reflected in the blog, I am sure. The nature of this semester is very different anyways - there are no big trips planned, not even weekend excursions. Yes, I will get out and explore Ireland, but not in the way I did Italy. I will be taking four classes, participating in a choir, doing some work online, and focusing on breathing and taking each day at a time.

I have three months and twenty-five days until I touch down in the States again. In 41 days my Roma cohort, the great Natalie, will come to visit me.

I am honored to be going through this journey. I am honored to be continuing this journey. I am honored to have so much support from family and friends. I am honored that you are reading this.

Now, in the words of my stepmom, Sheila, it's time to "lock and load".

Thank you so much, dear readers, for you support and prayers.

16 January 2012

So you want to live in Limerick....

Not a problem! (apparently)!

Emma the Ausome Aussie
Emma (my Ausome Aussie roommate) and I arrived Thursday night. Friday afternoon at three we saw an apartment (in a prime location I must say) and pretty much decided it was the one for us.

We submitted our paperwork and, barring natural disaster, we move in tomorrow! (at which point you'll get pics - they've taken it off the listing site).

I'm waiting for the ball to drop. This was too easy. As I said, it's in a great location near the river in the city centre of Limerick. It's right across from a large grocery store and pharmacy. It's just down the street from Penney's  - which might be more con than pro ;) - and...yeah.

I've had my eye on it for over a month. Emailed the lister, inquired about a four month lease, made an appointment for Friday afternoon, gave our reference letters (bank statement, letter of acceptance at MIC), paid the deposit...and we move in tomorrow!

I thought it would be harder. Something tells me it won't be this easy in August when I get a place in Chicago.

Don't worry, more posts to come about Limerick, Ireland, and the Irish...I'm working on compiling lists of witty observations.


13 January 2012

Dublin, or...

...how I almost got deported before ever leaving the airport.

Yes, you read that right.

from babypicturesphotos.com
That's how I felt (and looked for that matter) yesterday at about 12:30PM or so Dublin time. 

At approximately that time the Immigration Official (Mr. Grumpy) informed me that since I didn't have an official letter from MIC stating enrollment I was going to be sent back "to where I came from". (Which, I suppose, would have been Barcelona). 

Heart. Stopped. 

He refused to let me enter as a tourist (because I couldn't "be both student and tourist and I said I was a student and now I just wanted to change my story"?). I couldn't check my email because I couldn't register for 10 minutes of free wifi because I didn't have a cell phone for it to send my password to. I couldn't be escorted to a phone to call MIC because there was a line of people and, as Mr. Grumpy put it, "Did I expect all those people in line to wait on me to be escorted to a phone?" Also, he refused to give me my passport back. 

He told me to just go sit down. I did. I tried not to dissolve into a mess of salty water. 

After Mr. Grumpy and his partner, Mr. Unconcerned (now with his feet up on the desk - not kidding), had dealt with the other 12 or so people in line he waved me back up. He asked for the name of the school I was supposed to be enrolled at. Then he asked how much I paid for these classes I was supposed to be taking. He looked up the number, called MIC, and said "I have a young woman here by the name of Mari Lynn Thompson who is presenting herself as a student at your university for the semester but she doesn't have a letter."


They confirmed my enrollment. As he began to stamp my passport eh said "You didn't present yourself very well here this morning."

Um, no shi* Mr. Grumpy. I've NEVER had to go through immigration when going from one EU country to another. I didn't know I needed the letter - I've been in Europe...

"And I am very very sorry." Truer words never spoken. 

Mr. Grumpy took my picture, gave me my passport back, further instrctions about having only a month to go to the local police station and get all my blah blah blah. 

I got my suitcase and dissolved into a salty water mess. 

Then, bus to Limerick where I met Emma. She's awesome. She brought me peanut butter. 


10 January 2012

Yum tea....

By the way, I'm on Pinterest now.

But about the tea!!! New tea post for MyDailyCupOfTea!


08 January 2012


Hola guys, this is just a general catch-up post to let you know what I've been up to.

I've been on walks and seen beautiful vistas...

I've fed the animals...


I've been interviewed by a Spanish News Station...(hope the link works!)

I've been to a Three Kings Day parade...

I've started a new project...

And in five days, I'll be in Ireland!!!


06 January 2012

Christmas and the Animals of Mas de Madelena!

Guess what…I wasn’t alone for Christmas! The (amazing) family I’m staying with/wwoofing for went to Castellon and Valencia to visit family, but their neighbors came over and we three had a wonderful meal!

Christmas morning I went out and fed the animals. Get ready to meet the nicest animals ever!


05 January 2012

Barcelona Day 5 aka My Birthday

So, I turned 21 today. Must say, most useless turning of 21 ever since I have been able to legally drink and purchase alcohol since I arrived in Europe on August. 31…nearly four months ago…


The people that work at the hostel have been amazing! I watched The Pianist with them last night and mentioned that it was my birthday – and all day they’ve been calling me “birthday girl” and wishing me Happy Birthday. Seriously, every time they see me. It’s great.

I returned to Parc Guell today. Brandon (the same who led the trip to Montserrat) led a Gaudi tour today. I 
had someone to take pictures of me!

Me, at the highest point in Parc Guell, Barcelona behind me.

We then saw two other Gaudi creations:

Casa Batllo
Then I went to Montjuic!

It had awesome views of Barcelona and the sea.

I also got to see the sunset from here!

Then I returned to the hostel, made some pasta, and packed for the farm…pretty good birthday.


04 January 2012

Bacelona Day 4

Today I climbed a mountain. Ok, not really. But I did go up to Tibidabo!

And here be the pics!
My birthday is tomorrow!


03 January 2012

Barcelona Day 3

This was a chill day. I went to Sagrada Familia (but not inside L) and Parc Guell, both by Antoni Gaudi.

Here’s a video I did at the park in front of Sagrada Familia!

And here are pictures!

02 January 2012

New Year's Roman Style

Well, if this isn't a fun way to ring in the New Year....

(Btw, I've taken photos from that bridge! :) )


Viva Italia!