Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Tale of Two Reunions

Recently had two small reunions, so here they are combined. I had to leave one after an hour, but I still had a wonderful time. Shoutout to the weather for co-operating!

Saturday 19th September

There were a lot of session one people at this reunion, so I got introduced to plenty of new people. Which was fun. Also got Ben to come, which is rare. 

Get ready for lots of photos. 

John Joe balancing feat. Amazingly Photogenic Gabi, the actual real-life meme. 

I'm starting to think balancing was a theme of that reunion. 

Everyone arranged in order of height. Some people defeating the purpose by not standing straight but hey, it was cool. Ben wasn't there at that point because his bus had been at five. It was nice walking him over. 

A group of people from that reunion went to Welcome to Nightvale that night and said it was good. 

Then last Saturday, the reunion I was at for about an hour and a half. 

It was beautifully sunny so me and Gabi just sat on the green and talked about a bunch of things before everyone else arrived and we hung out in Burger King. It had a lovely chill reunion vibe. Ben walked me to my train station. 

Until next time. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Higher Options & QUB Horizons in Physics

Higher Options

Higher options, for those of you who don't know, is an annual Irish college fair spanning several days, where universities, ITs and related organisations have stalls around the RDS and hold talks throughout the day. It's supposed to show you the variety of colleges and courses you can apply to after secondary school and broaden your horizons. Probably. 

Nearly my entire year went, in three buses. When there I wandered around for a while and bumped into Kat, talked to some people at stalls and eventually met up with Ben, with whom I spent the rest of the day. I hadn't seen him in a while, so that was fun. We continued touring stands and collecting mountains of prospectuses, then met up with John and Kat for lunch. 

Unfortunately, the UCAS talk was too full for us to get in, but we went to the Oxbridge talk, where a very well-spoken woman took us through the Oxford and Cambridge applications processes and answered questions. I was disappointed to find out that Cambridge offers no scholarships to international students at all, with only a needs-based bursary that doesn't come close to covering costs. C'est la vie. 

It was a pretty good day, but a tiring one, so I didn't get much done that evening. 

Horizons in Physics @ QUB

This was our Physics trip. Four girls from 6th year physics and about 12 from 5th year got into a minibus and went up to Queens for three lectures on the nature and applications of light. This was my first time visiting Queens, and I discovered that it's hugely picturesque and at least three of the lecturers are really enthusiastic and charismatic. So that was great. 

Our first lecture was on Light and Colour, with Prof Alan Fitzsimmons showing us how phone screens make colours and reintroducing us to the electromagnetic spectrum. He did a cool trick with an infrared camera and a projector. The second lecturer did something similar and taught us about excitation and how photons are emitted when electrons return to lower energy levels. We'd done this already in Physics and Chemistry but it was still enjoyable. The third lecturer showed us how light and the Doppler effect can be used to find exoplanets and exomoons. I had a question at the end about how you know which way an exoplanet is rotating and she answered it perfectly, which was very satisfying. 

Another tiring day, after which I just chilled before getting ready for a reunion the next day. It was a really good experience though, and I've decided to include Queens in my college applications. Which was probably the point. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

August Review

I very nearly forgot to do this post, thus why it's halfway through September already by the time I'm writing it. 

For the first few days of August, I just slept a lot and was very upset about leaving CTYI and missed people. Thanks to Aaron, Cian and Jason for the calls around then, by the way. They were helpful. 

Friday 7th
I think I met up with Cian at some point in the first week because we'd been looking forward to it since CTYI ended, but the first concrete thing is Niamh's 18th, which was on Friday 7th. I remember taking a lot of trains and having fun being typical teenagers at the party, and making friends. We got out of there in the early hours of the morning, so I slept over at Katie's. 

Saturday  8th
Then Katie, me, Cian, Amy, Joe and Chloe went into town together the next day to celebrate my birthday early because I'd be at Outbox for the actual thing. It was quite nice. I love this photo:

Sunday 9th - Wednesday 12th
I went home Saturday night and the next morning Dad dropped me off outside DublIn airport and i haphazardly made my own way through. It was time for Outbox to begin. I spent most of that day with Christine. 

In the first few days of Outbox, I hung out with my roommates Gabi and Grace, had a gang of girls burst into my room at midnight to celebrate my birthday, attended interesting sessions and marvelled at the pantry. Here's Christine as David Bowie during the makeup sesh. 

Thursday 13th - Sunday 16th

Talked til 4 am with Cian on Thursday. Pretty jam-packed few days as everyone was preparing for Demo Day. Had wonderful jam sessions, especially with Ciara J. Demo Day on the Saturday. Had a lot of fun at Olympic Park with Amy, Gabi, Christine, Kate and Aileen on the Saturday afternoon. 

Pulled an all-nighter on the Saturday night because a load of girls would be going home the next day at 630. On Sunday, said tearful goodbyes to Christine, Ciara J, Aoife, Lauren and Aileen. 

You can see Christine and I in the left foreground there. 

On the Sunday around forty girls went to see the Sherlock proms. I didn't because I was tired, but on the bright side that meant I could welcome Chloe (CTY) to the house and have a nice chill chat. 

Monday 17th - Wednesday 19th
Having Room 7 with all three CTY people in the house was amazing, we had such a fun time. Best roomies ever, especially as Ciara and Amy became honorary members. 

On Tuesday it was Gabi's 16th birthday so a bunch of people burst in at midnight with a cake they'd rustled up from the pantry. 

One day we got to get out of the house and go on a lovely evening walk to the local playground. Gabi and I were super close, which was lovely. Had fun on the swings with Christine. Around then, the Stemettes took the wonderful pantry away. 

We had an amazing race in the main room to CTY and Queen songs, during which I ended up standing on the table. It was a wonderful distraction. 

On the Wednesday, we spent the morning in Bloomberg. It was an interesting experience. They weren't a fan of the Communism jokes though. 

Thursday 20th - Sunday 23rd

The last few days involved strengthening bonds with people, especially Ciara and Amy, watching GBF in Room 7, receiving this amazing circuit board card from Amy, learning new things about the people there and some delayed trampolining. 

Oh, and party games. 

A ton of Irish girls flew back together at the end of Week 4, all of us except Gabi going through Gatwick. Chloe, Ciara and I hung out in the duty-free before we left. 

Chloe and I sat beside each other on the flight back. Twas nice, although we were both very tired. We all hugged goodbye at the airport, and then there was post-Outbox loneliness to add to the post-CTY loneliness.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 

Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th

Sat at home. Recovery period. 

My sister and I in the kitchen. 

Thursday 27th

The day of Ciaran's Debs. Caoimhe did my makeup in the morning and we had a wonderful time, only getting back to his at 6 am. 

Friday 28th

Had coffee and went to an art gallery with Cian in Dublin, then ukulele jammed with Alice and had a sleepover at her house. 

Saturday 29th

A really wonderful CTYI reunion. Squad goals. 

Sunday 30th

Shopped with Alice in Tallaght. 

Apart from missing CTY and Outbox, it was a great month. You can find proper posts about almost everything written here by scrolling back through my blog. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Summer's Last Weekend: Saturday and Sunday

This was so long ago. Sorry, blog. Hopefully I can remember at least some. 

I got the bus in with Alice, tragically forgetting my ukulele in the rush. It was the day of a big water charges protest, so we were told to be careful. 

When we got to Stephens Green, I jumped on and hugged a lot of people and vice versa. I hadn't seen so many of these people in what felt like forever. There were so many CTYIzens there that it felt almost like CTYI itself. Big reunions bring me great joy. 

There was, of course, at least one ukulele present. Here's Alice looking blurred and artsy. 

I got some really amazing squad photos at that reunion, ones that make me really happy. 

Here's the Outbox squad plus Alice (who's going to apply for Outbox next year, aren't you, Alice?)

I have a ton of two-person selfies but with so many photos I'm just not going to put those up. Since it was so long ago, I sadly can't remember all that went on. I know we went to Burger King and the Rock Garden. 

Don't even ask what my hair is doing. Ain't we cute?

The cutest. 

we went ambling around town then. We hung out upstairs in Stephens Green until we got kicked out, went to Eddie Rockets (interesting jaunt to Dunnes with PJ, who's awesome). I hung out with Cian a ton, of course. He was adorable altogether, including buying me three copies of New Scientist. 

Hello, side of Cian's head. 

We went to a Forbidden Planet, as usual. Here's a photo of us nearby. Why? Because. 

That's the complete Outbox squad, since we called PJ and Cian while in there. 

Also, I adore this photo: 

Gelle@Outbox 2k15. 

If I were to describe Saturday in two words, they would be squad goals. 


I was wanted back home by 4 on Sunday, so I could only have fun with Alice until two. We went shopping in Tallaght in the square, and I discovered that Alice is even more wonderful than previously thought. Also has an obsession with novelty teas. 

Then her dad drove me to the train station, where there was a very dramatic process involving comfusion about train timetables and taking about five trains. 

And then one of the best weekends of the life was done, finished, complete. School the next morning. 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Summer's Last Weekend: Friday

Friday was a lovely, relaxed day - except for the morning. Having gone to sleep at 6 am after CiarĂ¡n's debs, I woke up feeling alarmingly rested at 12.44, then got up in a panic because I had been supposed to meet my bestie Cian at the Spire almost an hour before. I got dressed quickly, ate cereal (thanks Tracey!), packed my stuff and was driven to O' Connell Street by Ciaran's Dad (thanks Ronan!). 

I managed to sneak up on Cian, then we were off for our mini day out. I didn't have any plans in mind, so we walked to Trinity and he brought me to an art gallery, where he explained the meaning behind the artwork and I took the piss. It was a lot of fun. 

Here's us in front of a modern art installation: 

After that, unless I'm forgetting a bookshop jaunt or something, we went to Costa and he got me hot chocolate and a chocolate square, which were delicious. Yet another shoutout to Cian. He lent me one of his philosophy books to read while sitting there, and the rest of the time we talked. So nice. 

Around four, we walked up to Stephen's Green together to meet Alice, who'd just gotten off school and would be hosting me for a sleepover. Alice is great, and wonderfully enthusiastic about the things she likes. It's amazing to watch. 

We dropped Cian off at the Luas, then spent an hour on the bus from College Green to her house. I fell asleep during the journey even though there was wifi. I was so sleepy that day. The bus stop is right opposite her house, which is really cool. 

When we got in, we said hi to her family then played Wii games for a bit before I did a Skype interview for the 99% Podcast alongside Ciara Judge, talking about Outbox, the Young Scientist and girls in STEM. We were interviewed by Lucien and Michael. It's always funny being interviewed, since I interview people myself. Kinda interesting to be on both sides of the table, although probably less nerve wracking to be the interviewer. Good for versatility anyway. 

After the interview, Alice came back in and we had an amazing ukulele jam session. I just love doing music with Alice - she has a gift for singing harmonies and her ukulele playing is wonderful, and there's this huge sense of connection while jamming. We did a ton of songs, and I played the piano for a couple of them. 

We did some sleepovery things then. Compliments on your room, Alice. 

Here's Alice looking adorable with something on her head:

We fell asleep fairly early on the airbed - like I said, tired. 

Such a lovely day, only to be topped by the next. Look out for my reunion post.