G o o d b y e, A m e r i c a. H e l l o, I r e l a n d !
A little over two weeks ago, I packed my life into one suitcase, one carrying on, and a backpack.
Not sure what to expect, I got on a plane in Ohio and stepped off of it in Dublin (including a short layover in New York). I then took a bus to the small town of Maynooth, where I immediately met some more international students. Within hours, I moved into my shoebox of a room. I was the first to arrive in the apartment, but I slowly met the rest of my roommates.
The first week was filled with exploring the quaint college town of Maynooth, including a (very non-interesting nor informative) three day orientation for all international students. It’s quite bizarre being an international student. I’m technically a third year, but here I feel like I’m repeating my first year of college (“freshers” as they are called). At the end of the first week, I have made plenty of international friends from all over the world, but I am lacking in the area of Irish friends (but thankfully, that is slowly happening with time).
Classes started at the beginning of the second week, and I have already noticed plenty of differences between the education system as compared to back home (a separate blog will be dedicated to this at a later date, but already I prefer the American style of teaching).
Even though I haven’t resided here for long, I have fallen in love with the city of Dublin. Due to the efficient public transport here (seriously, I LOVE the trains), I have traveled to Dublin many times…
On the weekend, I hopped on a train and took a solo day trip to Howth (rhymes with “Both” — a small coastal town in Dublin). I explored the docks, the village, and went on a beautiful (absolutely glorious and refreshing) walk along the edge of the cliffs. There is hardly anything more calming and relaxing then being surrounded by nature. Nothing but green space, cliffs, and the ocean.
Some notes on things I’ve noticed…
1) The Irish know how to party (and I cannot keep up with them). Thankfully, I have become good friends with one of my roommates who thinks the same way as I do — the night scene is not where I am often found. Most nights, my roommate and I decide to just stay in, instead of spending all our money (and energy) in pubs. (It’s 11pm currently and I’m getting ready for bed– still feel like a grandma, but I am a proud-happy-energized granny). I feel like the Irish pub / beer stereotype is surprisingly spot on.
2) BUT a pub with live music is never a waste of time!
3) I never realized how spoiled I was with central heating, as well as having an ample, unlimited amount of hot water whenever I pleased. All we have here are a handful of wall heaters and a small water boiler which has to be manually turned on/off all the time. If you don’t turn on the hot water on and wait at least thirty minutes, then my friend, you will be taking an ice cold shower (which I learned the hard way).
4) There has been spectacular, mainly sunny, weather lately. September and October are fabulous months in Ireland. Some normal, rainy days here and there. But in general, the weather has been b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!
5) Regardless, I’m still always cold.
6) While it isn’t perfect here, there honestly isn’t any other place I would rather be in this stage of life. Words cannot even begin to express how grateful I am to be given this experience to evolve. Whenever it starts to get tough, I just remind myself of where I am.
This is proving to be a very humbling experience.