On Friday morning, Kristina and I finally took care of our immigration cards. This was my third visit to the Garda station; the first two times, the place had been too full and the workers too inefficient to see me before the office closed. This time, though, I arrived a full half hour before the place even opened, and I was first in line. I had all my paperwork, and the only problem the lady had was that my insurance didn't indicate how long it would be effective for - it only said when it would take effect. She actually told me to come back when I had proof that it would cover me the duration of my stay, but had a change of heart after the next girl in line had the same issue. I don't quite understand it myself - why would insurance documents indicate an expiration? Isn't the whole idea of insurance that it's there until some nebulous future time at which you need it? At any rate, she did let me have my card, and I'm now legally a resident of Ireland until far beyond my departure at the end of May.
After we left the Garda station, Kristina and I bought bus tickets to Ballineen, where we planned to visit a castle called Ballycarigga (or something like that). The thing about the bus system in Ireland is that it's not marked; there are no announcements or displays on the bus that tell you where you are when the bus stops. So we accidentally overshot Ballineen by one stop and ended up being dropped off in a tiny town called Dunmanway. We had lunch, and briefly entertained the idea of walking back the way we came to Ballineen. However, it would have been an 11-kilometer hike, and neither of us knew how far that was in miles. So, afraid of missing all buses back to Cork, we opted to wait around in rainy Dunmanway until the next bus headed to Cork arrived. We saw two swans in a lake across the way, and wandered up a tiny paved road near the bus stop, until it turned out that it was someone's driveway and all that was at the end was someone's home. All in all, it wasn't too eventful; the bus driver grudgingly took us back to Cork without charging us again ("It's a round-trip ticket to Ballineen." "But this isn't Ballineen, this is Dunmanway! ...Oh, fine, get on.") and we walked back to my apartment, still in the rain.
Today, my new friend Susan and I went out to Cork City Center (a place I've now been often enough to know better than Norman). We went inside a department store, which was connected to a mall by, of all things, a tiny grocery store. We bought lunch at the tiny grocery store, then got some grocery shopping done at Tesco before heading back home. The weather, for once, was beautiful. Susan also came back down to my apartment later that evening (we live in the same building) to have some company during dinner. I like spending time with her. :) She's a very nice person.
I've been spending a lot of my free time watching episodes of House online. It's a very good show.
That's about all that's new around here. Write later!