Our last week was all about endings, as one could imagine. We had our last exam on Introduction to Tourism Marketing on Wednesday and we finished with watching Revenge. To fill in the blank it left in us (and to cover the free time we had too much) we started watching American Horror Story.
Even before our last exam we had started to prepare ourselves for the departure and after fulfilling our last duties we figured we should finish the plans for going back home. We had heard unsettling rumors of ongoing bus strikes and on top of that we found out that next Monday, our travelling day would be a bank holiday in Ireland. To soothe our nerves we decided to pay the Tourist Office a visit on Thursday. To our great sorrow Aoife wasn’t there and the lady who served us didn’t seem to know nothing. She didn’t know anything about the bus strikes neither could she tell about the bank holiday schedules for buses – heck, she couldn’t even book a cab for us when we asked her! We saw it wiser to save our minds and come back the following day when Aoife would be at work.
On Friday we paid our last visit to Aoife, who answered all our questions and took our concerns seriously. We ended up booking seats to a bus which left Sligo at 6.30 – that left us with plenty of time before our flight. Our other option would have been at the airport at 15.35 and we were not willing to risk missing our flight like we did in Rome – especially as a women’s mini marathon was going to take place in Dublin on the very same day.
We had seen an ad of “Summer Fest” at Yeats memorial building on Saturday and curious as we are, we wanted to take a look at it. Turned out that there were just a few merchants in the main hall, but nothing that special. From the Yeats Memorial building we continued to A Casa Mia – our favorite café for heavenly slices of cheese cake in lemon and blueberry flavors. After a fill-up we figured to pay a last visit to Model. The exhibition had changed and we spent nice few hours wandering around watching art.
On Sunday we cleaned the apartment and emptied all our leftover groceries for our classmates to pick up. In the meanwhile we packed our stuff for good and heavy hearted left back some stuff we couldn’t bring back because our luggage was just about to be overweight. We didn’t hear anything of our classmates by the evening, so we left a note for our landlady to make use of the groceries we had gathered in bags and went to sleep early.
As our departure from Sligo was at 6.30, our wake-up alarm had to be set quite early. We ate breakfast in peace, packed our lunch to take with us and gathered all our luggage. We were sure to get to the pick-up point early enough, but as the time drew closer we became unsure about the cab. Way past the reserved time we figured that the taxi wouldn’t show up and we just had to start hurrying towards the bus station. Luckily our panic didn’t’ last long – another taxi came by as we crossed the street, so we stopped it and hopped on it. We caught our bus all right and once in it we could relax. We would surely be in time for our flight, too.
Conveniently enough, the bus took us straight to the airport, where we sat down to start our wait. By the time it was too early for us to even see our flight on the screens and we decided to go upstairs in search of a restaurant and a power socket. We sat down in a café and Noora tried to charge her DS – at the end of our cups we noticed it wasn’t even working. We changed places and camped outside a restaurant to watch some American Horror Story – anything to just pass time. As our hunger grew, we decided to have a little something and went to McDonald’s. Turned out that it was, indeed, a little something – the burgers we received had patties not thicker than little finger and they had run out of ketchup, too. Disappointed we ate and left just to notice that the baggage drop for our flight would soon open.
Soon enough the crew came and we checked in our luggage and could continue to wait our flight at the other side of the security check. We made some last-minute purchases at the shops and went on an adventure of finding the departure gate – in the end we had to switch gates three times because the airplane had had some troubles on its way to Dublin. The day had been long, but as we finally got in the airplane we could sigh in relief – we were really going to go back home.
On Monday we had our first exam – Event management & PR at the Sligo Tennis Club. The Tennis Club wasn’t as far as we had thought; the trip from IT took only approximately 10 minutes so we still needed to wait over 45 minutes for the exams to start. When the doors opened, we were anxious to ask somebody about the dictionaries we were entitled to and which we had applied for on the last week of the lectures. We asked one supervisor about them but she didn’t have the answer ready for us and ushered us to sign in the exam first. There were multiple name lists, categorized by the exam they were coming to take and we soon found ours. Except, we weren’t on the list. With the panic rising we asked for instructions and were told to sign in anyway. With that done and most of the buzz from people going in gone we asked about the dictionaries again. The supervisors couldn’t find the dictionaries anywhere and by the time it was too late for anybody in the exams office to do anything. We were quite puzzled of how could it be and the apologies didn’t warm our hearts very much. Noora decided to do the exam without the dictionary – as if she actually had a choice – but luckily Siru had her own dictionary with her. The supervisors checked the book thoroughly and she was then good to go.
After the exam we went back to school to meet up with our teacher. We had arranged a meeting with her because we wanted to ask her about an essay she had marked, but not given any constructive feedback on. When we asked about the grading she was confused and told us to come back again when she had read them again with a thought. Frustrated with the waste of time we went home and typed an email asking about the dictionaries, which we didn’t get even though we should have.
On Tuesday we were studying together for the upcoming exams when we noticed we had received an email from a teacher. It said that she would be in her office, should anyone want their reports back with the feedback. Siru wanted to stay and study for the exams, but Noora wanted desperately know how she did and more importantly; what she should take into account in the next day’s exam to do well. She went to the school, but the teacher was nowhere to be found and her colleague told her she missed her by mere minutes. He didn’t have any idea of where she went or when would she be back, so in the meanwhile Noora decided to take care of other things while at the school. She met with some teachers at their offices at with some by an accident on the corridor. That all was done in less than 30 minutes and the teacher wasn’t still in her office, nor had Noora seen her anywhere else. Slowly growing more and more impatient she took a chair and camped outside the teacher’s office. Some other teachers passed by once, some twice, the colleague left and locked the office and the minutes passed. There were some other students looking for her, too, some who upright turned on their heels when they heard that Noora had waited for an hour, some stayed as her company for couple of minutes and one even told her he had been there before her, not seeing her anywhere. Finally, the teacher arrived. Smilingly she agreed to meet with Noora even though “her office hours had actually just ended at four”, but her smile faded just as quickly as Noora told what she thought of sending an email of “I’ll be in my office for you to meet for the whole afternoon” and how long she had waited. A whole lot more aloof the teacher took out Noora’s report and gave short feedback on it.
Back at home Noora looked into her email and there it was – a response for the email regarding the dictionaries-issue. The tone of the text was sour: it’s not our fault if you haven’t applied for it in time. Furious of all the ill-sorted issues she typed a fair but firm response for the poor recipient – anybody in their right mind should agree that three weeks in advance is well in time to apply for the dictionaries and as we had visited the exams office just last week and confirmed the whole thing with the dictionaries, it should all be clear.
On Wednesday we had our Adventure Tourism exam in Knocknarea arena. The Gardaí – the Police – were surrounding the whole school area because there was a special happening that day. Charles, the Prince of Wales, was coming to visit the IT with his wife Camilla. It was an event of great importance and honor for the school and the security measures were arranged accordingly. Everybody coming in to the campus would need a photo ID with them and bags and vehicles would be subject to searches. We could have booked tickets to attend the event beforehand, but we chose not to as it wasn't as big a thing for us as it could be for some. Instead, Noora saw the helicopter landing with the royal couple at the football field after her exam.
When Siru had finished her exam we headed for home as she had agreed on a Skype-talk with her mom. In front of Model there was a large crowd and for a moment we wondered why. Soon enough we realized the Prince would surely visit the gallery while in Sligo and that they were actually in at the moment. We decided to stay and see them. Before they came out a black cat ran through the yard and made everybody cheer – in Ireland a black cat is believed to bring good luck. Finally all photographers took their positions and soon the royal couple came out. They waved for the crowd and Camilla shook hands with some people at the front row of the viewing area. Siru took a couple of pictures but as it was so crowded, it was hard to get any. In the end Siru was a bit late for the Skyping-session, but she had notified her mom of the delay – she had a lot to tell because so much had happened. Later we made some dinner and decided to watch a movie to congratulate ourselves for doing yet another exam.
On Thursday we went to the charity shops once again. We visited just a few of them but didn’t really find anything. On our way back home we noticed a new charity shop was just about to be opened for the first time. There were balloons on each side of the door and the mayor of Sligo had been invited to cut the ribbon on the new charity shop. A photographer took a picture of the ceremony and once the doors were opened and people came inside, a priest blessed the place and the people who would work and shop there. The mayor also gave a short speech for the owners and the new shop. After the formalities we took a look around and Siru managed to find a lovely, old-style dress that fitted her perfectly.
The Friday was a time for changes – Noora's flat mate had left back to Germany early in the morning and Siru's flat mate would leave in the evening. When Siru had woken up she came to Noora's place and borrowed her laptop for Noora to skype with her grandmother. We decided to cook lunch there, since we had been cooking so often at Siru's place lately. We watched a few more episodes of Revenge before going to Siru's place. Siru had just got to know her flat mate better so she was sad to see her leaving and wanted to meet her one last time.
We talked about our apartments being half-empty and decided it would be sensible to move Noora's stuff at Siru's place – we wouldn't have to be alone and always move places to make food. On Saturday afternoon Noora started to move in. Siru had a migraine and tried to sleep it off while Noora moved a fair share of her things and as Siru woke up she joined Noora for the last load of Noora's stuff.
On Sunday studied together for the upcoming exams. After a few hours of reading we wanted to go out and left for Doorly Park because to get some oxygen. After exercising a little we went straight to Aldi to do some grocery shopping and back at home we started to study again. Noora got fed up first and went to pack her suitcase, while Siru stayed to read for some more time. Eventually she, too, stopped and tried to pack her suitcase. We found a scale and tested our luggage to find out whether we could take our stuff back home or not. The result was not as hoped – our luggage was overweight already. Desperate, we started thinking of possible solutions –buying extra kilos, extra suitcase or taking less baggage with us.
On Monday we made food that reminded us of home - Geek Burgers that Noora traditionally makes with rye bread. This time we decided to put in some garlic mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, tomatoes, quarter pounder minced beef steak, pineapple, cheddar slices, bacon and salad, served with home-made potato wedges. After a tasteful lunch Siru skyped with her mom who hadn’t had a working computer for a while so she was waiting to see her. Later on we decided to pay a visit to the charity shops where, as planned, Noora found herself some books to kill time with. In the evening we watched Revenge before going to sleep.
On Tuesday it was sunny, so we wanted to go outside. We went to the center and then just picked a direction randomly. We found a nice looking church and decided to go in, too. We just sat there for a while to admire the beautiful inside of the church. We would probably have stayed longer had not there been a renovation going on. We walked out of the church and saw another one not far away from the first. The outer gate seemed to be closed but Noora noticed that a small door in the wall was open and we could go in and see the church closer. The church itself was closed, but on the courtyard we saw some old gravestones that were split in half and covered in green moss. From there we headed for the Garavogue river and back home, since we had thought of going to see Age of Adaline in a movie theatre and we had to eat first. On Tuesdays there was a student discount we hadn’t yet made use of and realizing it was the last week we actually could go before concentrating fully on cramming for the exams we just had to go. The movie was a heartwarming romance fantasy film and it was easy to watch. After the movie we went home and as we came, Siru’s flat mate and her boyfriend were just about to leave to see a later show in the movie theatre. Siru first went to bed, but decided to get some water before going to sleep. Luckily she did, because in the kitchen she noticed that the stove was still on after her flat mate. She turned it off and by doing so avoided a potential catastrophe.
On Wednesday morning Siru decided to ensure that Noora woke up and tried to call and text her for over an hour. None of the attempts could reach her. Puzzled, Siru skyped with her mom before going to see what’s up with Noora’s phone. Just before Siru came, Noora received all the messages at once – all the bad luck with technology was piling up and the phone was obviously starting to go crazy. We got dressed and went to the outdoor gym via the Curiosity Shop, which had become Siru’s favourite of the Charity Shops. The lady told us there would be a big flea market in Dublin in the end of the month and an idea started to form in our heads. After exercising for a couple of hours we studied a little and started planning our departure via Dublin. The big flea market sounded appealing for us and we made some alternative plans for the departure. The mood was set by the departure planning and we daydreamed of going back to Finland and counted the days we had left.
On Thursday we practically lived in Siru’s living room and studied, watched series and cooked some lunch for us. We were staying there for a reason – Siru’s room is so small that we couldn’t both fit there. Her flat mate was understanding about it – she didn’t have as many exams anymore and the studying she still had to do she could do in her room, which was bigger in comparison. To take a break from the endless studying we went to this new charity shop we saw a poster of in another charity shop’s wall. It was in a small basement, but it proved itself very interesting – just within minutes we went crazy and had piles or garments in our hands. In the end Noora found a bag full of clothes and got it pretty cheap, too.
After the fun we returned back to business and found out about the exams the following week. We knew that some of our exams would be held in Sligo Tennis Club, which was located at a distance. We were told that there would be buses operating from the IT to the Tennis Club but to our surprise on the web pages it said we should have booked a seat couple of days ago. We still could make the booking, but decided to go to the exams office to confirm that we would still get to the bus. The exams office reassured us we would get in even if we hadn’t made a reservation – some of the student’s don’t bother at all. It’s just that those, who have reserved a seat are of priority in comparison to those, who haven’t booked a seat. Once we were at the school, we printed out the plane tickets. Back at home Siru started to make food – she had promised to cook for her flat mate and she had settled a menu of hard rye bread filled with salmon and cream cheese, tomato soup with blue cheese and tuna and as the dessert oven made bananas. In the meanwhile Noora took advantage of Siru’s computer and chatted with her friends in Siru’s room.
Early on Friday morning Siru went to work out in the stairs until she had hard time to breathe but afterwards she felt so good. After Noora had woken up she came to Siru’s place to read for the exams together. First we made a list of the things we thought most important and which would be most likely to be asked in the exams in each subject. Then we started going through all our notes and make compact notes of each important area. To reward ourselves from the hard day’s work we continued watching some Revenge. When Noora got home she was still loaded with extra energy so she packed more things in her suitcase.
On Saturday we were bored because the weather wasn’t very nice and we had been just studying a couple of days so we decided to go to charity shops again. Noora found more books, which were urgently needed – she had been reading every night, book after another, because she didn’t have anything else to do. From the charity shops we continued to Tesco for some groceries for lunch. After lunch we watched some more of the series and tried to study occasionally. On Sunday we were actually studying so we would do well in the Introduction to Event Management & PR exam the following day.