I’m back from Ireland. All of my nearest and dearest want to know all about my trip, which is completely reasonable, but I seem to be lacking the ability to tell a linear story at the moment. Blame it on the jet lag. Blame it on the sudden change in climate. Blame it on the sudden extreme change in accents? I don’t know.
Following post-journey UW tradition, I’m going to work through my haze with a list. So for now, in no particular order, here are small, random pieces from my month in Ireland.
1. I crossed the Ha’Penny Bridge a grand total of four times.
2. I checked out the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology and the National Gallery of Ireland. If I were pressed for time, and only had to choose one, I would go with the National Gallery. If you’re an art history nerd, your will heart stop a couple of times in a good way. Just don’t read about it beforehand, or else will ruin the surprise!
3. I’m pretty sure I drank my weight…
…in hot chocolate. My last week in Dublin, I drank it every single night. Nope, I’m not ashamed.
4. Not to disappoint, I also drank more than a couple of pints of Guinness. For the cultural experience of course! Seriously though, Guinness will never taste as good as it does in Dublin. For all the fancy travel technology that I heard about during a tour of the factory, the black stuff just doesn’t go abroad all that well.
5. Speaking of Guinness, I walked by the factory every morning. As you might expect, it smells like fresh regrets.
6. I lived right behind a train station in Dublin. I’m still hearing phantom departure alert sounds.
7. I visited a school of falconry. I saw kids dressed up as Harry Potter characters traipsing about on the grounds. It filled me to the brim with emotions.
8. My family came with me for the first week in Ireland. We stayed in a castle for a couple of days. At first, they were the ones hyped about it, and I was all like, whatever tourists. But one high tea later and seeing castle walls outside my window, I was right in there with them.
9. I’ve officially visited Galway on purpose more than any other place in Ireland (a total of three times). I know that I appreciate its character, but I’m not entirely sure why.
10. I learned that half [insert hour] in Ireland means half past. Half 10 = 10:30. It took me a week to figure that out.
11. Life illuminated something unexpected. A well-driven Dublin rain put that light out. But I brought the matchstick home. [SNAPS] It’s art. Don’t try to figure it out.
12. I commuted to school on foot every day, and learned that most Dubliners walk really fast! It feels kind of shameful when ladies half your height and three times your age speed by you. They could outrun New Yorkers any day.
13. I gave directions in Dublin. I can’t even do that at home, where I’ve lived for a decade and a half. Maybe it’s because I feel so deeply connected to the city. It’s more likely that it’s because Dublin is teeny tiny. Whatever. Victory is mine!
14. I’ve yet to experience extreme cold in Ireland. It’s always been between the high 30s and high 50s. Maybe it’s because I was flying in and out of NYC in the midst of winter every time? Am I missing something?
15. I met people who have a sense of humor that mirrors mine an ocean away. Well, sometimes they took it too far. But in general…
16. If I had the choice of hearing one Irish word in my daily life, it would be craíc.
17. I greatly regret failing to buy one of the T-shirts that read “Craíc Dealer.” It’s the price I must pay for trying not to act like a tourist.
18. I could see the River Liffey every day from my classroom window. It felt a little bit epic.
19. I used all four of my languages at some point for communication purposes during my time in Dublin. Thanks, language professors! I didn’t completely waste your time after all.
20. I thought that I was going to be all alone on my own this time in Ireland. Instead, I found some of the most engaging, hilarious, and giving people that I’ve come across in my life. It reoriented my perspective, and for that, I am thankful.