My oral exam in Irish tomorrow

I know, my last post is not that long ago but I feel like I have to write another post before my oral exam tomorrow! Let’s talk Irish! I’m really scared, so maybe this post will help!
Around 12 tomorrow morning (or noon) I will enter a room in #myUCD and stand (or sit?) in front of two (or three?) examiners (or experts of the Irish language). They will probably greet me first and say: Dia duit! And I will then proudly reply: Dia is muire doibh! So far, so good. The hard part will start after that. I will be given a short Irish text to read out loud for them. Happy pronunciation. Luckily, they already put the text (or a similar one) on the intranet and I could practise it a little. But, alas! then they will start asking questions. And there is nothing I can do about it. I’m just hoping I’ll understand them! You must know, there are three different accents of Irish. I mean there are three main ones. Not to mention all the different varieties I have never heard of. But the conversation will (hopefully) go somewhat like this:
Examiner: Cad is ainm duit? – What is your name? OR (in a rude way) Cé tusa? – Who are you?
Me: Aoife is ainm dom (EVA IS ANIM DOM).
Examiner: Conas atá tú? – Wie geht’s? – How are you?
Me: Tá mé go breá, ach tá mé neirbhíseach, go raibh maith agat. (There’s no way, I’ll give such a long answer but you can dream! But seriously, look at these words! How would YOU pronounce that?) – I am well, but I am nervous, thank you.
Examiner: Cad as duit? – Where are you from?
Me: Is an nGhermáin dom. – I am German (Deutsch!)
Examiner: Cá gcónaíonn tú? OR Cá bhfuil tú i do chónai? – Where do you live?
Me: Cónáim i mBaile Átha Cliath anois. – I live in Dublin(!) now.
Then the examiner might ask me (I hope he won’t) if I live on Campus. I do not. But I might not understand the question, so I will look confused and I might remember how to say EXCUSE ME? in Irish, which is TÁ BRÓN ORM? (But this little phrase can also mean I’M SAD, so I’m not sure if we made any progress by this point.) We will probably move on without an answer.
Examiner: Cén tsli bheata atá agat? – What profession do you have?
Me: Is mac léinn mé. – I am a student. Literally, it means I am a son-of-learning, so I might say “Is inion (daughter) léinn mé” instead. If I am in a feministic mood. But again, I’m not sure if you can actually say that.
Examiner: Cén aois duit? – How old are you?
Me (happy because I know that answer!): Tá mé trí bliana is fiche d’aois. – you have to figure this out, yourself! It’s not that hard.
Now we’re done with me and turn to me folks. Hahahahahaha…
Examiner: An bhfuil deartháir nó deirfúr agat? – Do you have any brother(s) or sister(s)? (For some reason they don’t use plural here.)
Me: Tá beirt deartháiracha (try saying this word! of course, NOW it’s plural!) agus deirfúr amhain agam. – I have two brothers and one sister.
Examiner: Cad is ainm dóibh (pronounced like the German word doof)? – What are their names?
I will then tell him their complicated German names and we will turn to their ages. Which is total fun because it’s already so easy to remember these in German! If you have more than one sibling, you’ll know what I mean. I think I will vary their ages a little bit, to make it as easy as possible.
Examiner: Cén aois iad? – How old are they?
Me: blablablablablabla
At least, I don’t have any pets. That makes it easier. But then there are still my parents, their complicated German names, their difficult ages and most importantly their strange jobs. Try to explain a job that doesn’t exist in any other country than Germany (as far as I know). I will just say that they’re teachers. Is muinteóirí iad. Oh, and then I almost forgot, I will have to talk about the weather in present, past and future tense. That’ll be fun! Tá sé ag cur báistí anocht. – It’s raining tonight.
Wish me luck! Luck o’ the Irish!


The last month

The last 4 weeks in Ireland lie before me and I’m starting to panic (not literally). Although I finally managed to do all three things mentioned in my last post (visit Bray, go to Phoenix Park and eat the best Fish & Chips in town), there is still lots of stuff left on the imaginary list in my head (if I can remember it correctly). Let’s be clear, I’m not one of those people that make a real list of the things they want to do before they die (or turn 30 or leave Ireland or whatever). I’m rather a spontaneous person. Either I’ll make it to Dingle in this last month or I won’t. I might not but that’s not a total disaster. I know I will go there someday. Or not. But if I won’t, there will be a very good reason for it. I could be needed elsewhere for example. Then again I love these little surprising thoughts of remembering something I long wanted to do and then realising that there is just the opportunity to actually do it! Like last week when my friends decided to go to Phoenix Park and I joined them. I know I made a small list about what I wanted to do before I left but it was pure chance that I did manage everything! I still haven’t seen so many things I once thought of. I still want to go to the zoo in Phoenix Park, see the deer in Phoenix Park, visit the grand house of Phoenix Park. And this is only connected to the Phoenix Park (where I’ve been already!). What about all things James Joyce? I want to visit the James Joyce Centre, listen to a reading at Sweny’s, be here for Bloomsday(which I won’t be able to), stay in Bloom’s Hotel (haha), finish Dubliners, let alone read more than twenty pages of Ulysses. But to be honest, this is not really my no.1 priority, as you can tell from my so far unsuccessful reading of Joyce’s works. I’d rather meet Colm Tóibín. Which I probably won’t. He’s not going to be at the International Literature Festival in May. But I will. One thing that wasn’t on the imaginary list. There you go.

Oh, I almost forgot! College is officially over! Last Friday was the last day of term. I went to the last Filmabend with free pizza thrown by the German Society, wrote my last piece for my creative writing class, saw the last movie in UCD’s cinema shown by the film society, took one last trip with the International Students’ Society (to the historical Newgrange and the cozy Causey Farm), got my last Irish lesson and had my last Victorian literature lecture in UCD. This is all very sad, but it is also a most beautiful ending. What’s left, is my one essay and the dreaded exams. Then I’ll meet the author Jo Baker and maybe visit Cork before I go home. Berlin is waiting.

It’s time to think about the end of term

It’s time to think about my last few weeks here in Ireland and how I want to spend them. My flight is booked, my exam dates are set and my Irish teacher announced today we’ll only do revision in our next (and last) sessions. Whaaat??? I need to start thinking about what’s still left for me to do here and which of it is realistic to acchieve. I still want to go see Bray, take a stroll in Pheonix Park (and maybe take a look at the zoo animals there) and have the best fish & chips in town(forgotten the name of the place, but I do know it’s real close to Christchurch – keine Schleichwerbung hier!). Okay, these things are quite realistic and manageable. In fact, I might manage to perform all three things this week.
More unrealistic are the travel plans I made a long time ago. So to say, I meant to see all of Ireland. I wanted to see places like Killarney, Cork, Dingle, and Limerick. So far, I’ve seen Galway, Kilkenny and Belfast. Pathetic, I know. But fear not, I will conquer this.
Let’s have a short introduction into Ireland’s geography, so we can all see more clearly (including me).
There are four so-called provinces which consist of 32 counties in total. The four provinces are called Connaught (Connacht), Leinster (Laighin), Munster (an Mhumhain) and Ulster (Ulaidh). Just to be clear, the names in brackets are the Irish ones. I live in Dublin (and visited Kilkenny), therefore I am in Leinster and I’m la(u)ighin(g). I went to Galway a few times (maybe twice?) and was then in the beautiful province of Connaught. There you can find places like the magical Connemara . Without my knowledge I’ve already been in Munster (MONSTER!) and saw The Burren. Quite groovy there! The scary Cliffs of Moher (which I’ve also climbed twice already) are also to be found in Munster, but most importantly Kerry is waiting for me there. Now, last but not least (I hate this phrase!), the divided Ulster. The right(wrong?) part of Ulster doesn’t belong to Ireland(the Republic), but to the lovely UK. I went there when I visited Belfast just before Christmas. However, the other (left) part belongs to the old (young?) Republic and I read that it’s got the richest landscape. I can’t support that statement yet – but I’m sure it’s at least almost true.
Like I said, I won’t possibly make it to see everything I meant to, but if I won’t, all the more reason for me to come back! Maybe for a long vacation without having to worry about my studies. And after all, Dublin is already pretty cool. The bookshops make me happy. Molly Mallone makes me smile. The Ha’penny Bridge and O’Connell Street make me walk. St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch make me awe-struck. The National Gallery and Trinity’s Long Room make me feel inspired. There’s a lot to be thankful for.