The week after my Inis Mr trip, I caught a flu. One thing I did not
like too much about being in Ireland in March was the cold weather. I
had really expected it to be a bit warmer, but I was constantly in need
of wearing tights under my jeans.

On some nights, however, I
did not do that (well, girls never listen to their mums or grannies),
so I had to bear the consequences. On Thursday night I went out to a
pub with some other students and after one drink of Bailey's, the room
was almost spinning around. I also have to say that I am not too used
to alcohol... but the next day, I was definitely not in my best form.

in conversation class, we were talking about workers who were skiving,
dodging work, by "ostentatiously dropping scarfs around their necks and
coughing"... I was doing both, but I was not pretending! My classmates
looked at me like I was - isn't the world mean?

After classes,
we were served a little Paddy's Day meal. The school was to be closed
on "The Big Day." We were served some pate, and some soft drinks, but
no green beer - it didn't get that corny.

After spending
Saturday and Sunday at home feeling sorry for myself, I mercifully felt
much better on Monday morning, March 17. St. Patrick must have put in a
good word for me on that day. I had arranged to meet some Japanese
people somewhere in Galway City, but we hadn't yet arranged where and
when. I decided to look for them around the cathedral because that's
what we had discussed. However, when I had just gotten up and showered,
my little host sister greeted me with an announcement: "Andrea, someone
is at the phone for you!" It was my Japanese school mate, and we
settled everything to meet.

When I got to the cathedral after a
nice, refreshing walk (of course there was no bus that early - it was a
holiday and we met at 10:30 a.m.) I met all kinds of people, but not
the guy who had phoned me. On my way to the cathedral, I saw a lot of
people in the streets selling little toy snakes, whose most obvious
characteristic was that they did not look like snakes at all. They were
longish, fluffy things in screaming pinks and yellows. I saw people
passing by, some with the Irish flag painted onto their faces.

still looked quite peaceful, but action would soon set in... the parade
that I so eagerly wanted to see was about to start. I expected a great
event of several hours. Were my expectations correct? Read about this
in the next issue...