Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week One

Survival of the fittest they say - but what happens if you are scraping by on four euros for five days? Wonder if it can be done? Well if I live through tomorrow on my diet of water and poorly made pasta then yes Virginia, there is a cheap substitute for healthy living. But of course, the journey up to this epic ascetic life is interesting of its own right so I suppose I should tell you. I certainly hope you don't mind my pseudo-rant and slight whining for a brief moment. (Of course, if you didn't, you really wouldn't have signed up for this would you.)

The week started out well enough. Woke up on Monday morning, rolled out of bed, and went to my Philosophy Department meeting. Met a few nice people there, but a bit strange for me. You see, as far as I have come to learn the differences between the countries, Irish people don't mind jumping right into a conversation. If you walk up to someone and merely say your name they will talk to you like you've been friends for life. So note my fear when I see everyone jabbering on about whatever around the room and I think I'm the only odd man out. Well finally, forgetting where gusto got me last time, I dove right in and said hello to a few people.

Now, instead of getting dragged to a bar and breaking my tooth I was in for a much more mentally breaking surprise. Because someone had said to me, "Robert, why don't you come to the first class and check it out." Sure, why not. What was it on? Merleau-Ponty, ah well - that should be good. Here is where I gleamed three important. One, Irish people can't sit anywhere for two hours without breaking for tea (they might get something else to drink, but they call a tea break). Two, the Irish accent is only compounds the complexity of philosophy. And three, two hours is not enough time for a complete overview of Husserl's philosophies and its growth into what would become Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology. Needless to say the latter almost sent blood shooting out my nose when the class ended from my brain being overloaded.

The next part of the tale I am reluctant to tell because of the matters with which it pertains. But I have been asked to tell it anyways. I am not certain if many of you know this, but there is a drink in Ireland and probably other parts of Europe (from Ed's agreement in this I think it is a definite) which is called Squash. Now Squash is not some vegetable, but rather a term meaning the concentrate of the drink. Of course, you are suppose to mix this with water and it flavors up the tap quite nicely. I didn't know this and when I first bought the drink I took a healthy chug of it. It tasted a bit off but I thought, it is natural and I suppose this is Irish life. Later I would notice the "concentrate" part in the back of the label and how I was suppose to mix one part Squash with four parts water. It was even a little while later that I would learn Squash is an impressive laxative when not mixed properly. Granted this was a liter later and whatever part of my brain didn't exit my nose from my philosophical experience certainly had another chance of escaping out the back door.

But there I am, alone in a strange new world having survived the strange drinks and it was time for my second day of class. I was still trying out classes as one's time had not been decided, the other didn't meet until Wednesday, and I had a free elective. So I went to Law, Liberty, and the State and fell in love. The class was amazing, everything I could have wanted in my philosophical education. Meanwhile, in the background, e-mails were being sent to solve a problem - which Greek Language course do I take in the second semester as mandated by my Ancient Philosophy Core. See, I had noticed that the only classes offered in the second semester were continuations of the first and I was completely new to Greek. So I couldn't just hop right in and hope to survive.

Well, wouldn't you know it - a solution was found. Come Wednesday morning I have an e-mail telling me that I need to sign up for beginner's Greek this semester. Of course, it meets four times a week and one of the times is right over Law, Liberty, and the State. ARGGG! Oh well, I made it through my first Greek class and it was fairly painless. I rather enjoy it actually and am glad to be learning the language. And my Ancient Theories of Mind course is equally enjoyable, even if I do have to read every book ever written on the subject of Aristotle or Plato. But hey, that is what I would do in my free time anyways.

After that, aside from my Greek class, my week was rather uneventful up until Friday. That's when I found out that the phrase "Who wants to go to the bar" is literally tossed around like a beachball. I don't care where you are or what you are doing - that phrase will come up. We were even in a bar and someone said that in order to move everyone to another bar! But good times were had by all and I needed it. Because earlier that day I found out that it was going to take until Tuesday for the money from my loans to be usable in my bank. PSECU spoiled me, I felt like I deserved my money immediately upon handing them the check.

But I was out of cash. I was banking on that money (hmmm, I wonder if there is a connection to those words) because I was running low. In fact, after paying nine euros to do my wash I only had four left. But nope, there was no way to do it. I had to wait for my money. Now you might be wondering, "But BoB, you had four euros and needed to eat - but went to the bar?!" No worries, I survived on the good graces of my friends to gain me the nectar of the gods. Then, as we all were philosophers, we spent the next six hours going through as many topics as we could in a confusing tangent of debate. We hit such topics as Joseph Campbell, Bondage Sex, Anne Rice's novels, Irish Law, George W. Bush, and Time Travel. We had three people leave us in disgust and confusion (a number we were proud of) and began bartering with the table of science students for slices of their pizza.

So all in all, a fun time. Sure, there might have been some rough patches - there always will be. And I might be entirely too full of pasta. But I got to enjoy a great experience and many more to come. This week we are going to be signing up for clubs and I am very excited about that. Not to mention I finally get to go to my Platonism in Late Antiquity class tomorrow - an experience I have been anticipating.

And sorry for the delay in posting - I will try keep them a little less spread apart (Meaning they will also be shorter in length--maybe). I miss everyone and I am sure I will talk to you somewhere and somehow.

Until next time.


  1. It sounds like you're having a blast! minus the running out of money....And I am glad that you told that drink story, hehehe, it made me laugh because it's totally something that I would end up doing xD At least you learned and it wasn't a life-threatening experience! Better to have fun stories like that then be boring P: hehe

    Embarrassing stories make life better. *nods*

    I'm definitely super jealous that you're taking Greek...I wanted to take it at Etown but could never seem to fit it into my schedule. You'll have to keep me updated on how all of that goes!

    And laundry cost NINE euros to do!? NINE!!!??!??! WTF!

  2. Well, three for wash and 1.50 for drying. I had two loads, so overall nine euros. I have learned that whites and colors can match if they are not new, so I am living by that standard and saving some money.

  3. Wow... I thought laundry was expensive when I was in my apartment, I now feel better about $3 dollars a load I spent.

    Sounds like Bob could use a care package of food for when you run out of money...haven't been able to go grocery shopping yet? have to tell me if you can find peanut butter, my Nana tells me it's not as big in Europe as it is over here.

  4. btw, Bob, I'm still waiting for that addres!!!