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March Towards Midterms

With two weeks of classes down I was fast approaching my first set of exams. I’m used to the Irish system in which your entire grade rests on your final exams of each semester. Therefore, smaller “bite-sized” exams or quizzes were a welcome change of pace. That is not to say that I find one system easier than the other. I would describe them as two different ways of getting through a similar workload. From having made sure to stay on top of my work and adding in some routine study I felt well prepared for my first in-class quizzes. Also by this time Fall had very much taken hold. T-shirt weather was getting rarer and rarer and Halloween decorations began popping up here and there. Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes dotted storefronts up on Market and Chestnut streets.

My classes went by smoothly this week. I have a well-established routine of work and study. However it is my sleep schedule that is most difficult to manage. Not necessarily as a result of anything under my control. The noise of the city is perfectly fine during the day, customary even, however unlike back home it doesn’t to go away at night. Cars speeding up the road at night and jackhammers in the early hours of the morning aren’t the most conducive circumstances for a long night’s sleep. Needless to say moving from the quiet Irish countryside to city living will probably take a bit more getting used to. The fact that cars can still pass in front of you when you have the light at the crosswalks is still pretty jarring. I’ll be a city boy soon enough though… hopefully.

Next week my parents arrive for a week-long visit from Ireland. They have previously lived in Philadelphia for my father’s job before I was born. As a result they have a reason for visiting more than just myself. For instance the Shady Maple in Lancaster County. An all you can eat smorgasbord style restaurant that they enjoyed. Friday I went and got lunch with two others from my building. Both grad students from UPenn and Drexel. We got some grub from an amazing food truck called Dos Hermanos Tacos. I would highly recommend their breakfast burrito!

Saturday I took the SEPTA out to the suburbs of Philadelphia. My girlfriend’s family lives in the greater Philadelphia area so I headed out to Glenside to do some gardening work for her aunt. The suburbs certainly have a different feel to the city. One that more closely resembles home.

Philly sports teams really seem to have brought their A game this year. The Phillies won their Wild Card Series against the St Louis Cardinals to progress to the National League Division Series and on Sunday the Eagles maintained their winning record with a narrow with over the Arizona Cardinals. Next week the five for five Eagles go up against the Cowboys. Something I’m very much looking forward seeing. GO BIRDS!

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