I’ve officially lived here for five weeks.
I don’t know how to describe it… it feels like I just got here, yet I’ve been living here for months. I am adjusting to the culture and getting more comfortable everyday. While I’ve only lived here for five weeks, there are so many things that I adore about living in Ireland and, in general, Europe. To explain my love for this place, I have already found myself researching different options I have in order to move back to Europe once I finish my undergrad.
Last week I woke up earlier than normal on Sunday in order to catch the train down to Dublin…
I had made connections with a friend who is living in Dublin, Sarah, through both of our parents. We had never met in person, but had made plans to meet for coffee at a little café, Fixx Coffee House, on Dawson Street in Dublin. I not only got great coffee, but also had one of the best casual, intellectual conversations with someone since I got here. With Ireland being such a tiny country, and I love how easy it is to make connections!
Since I had the whole day off, I decided to delay going back to Maynooth for a while and meandered around the city instead. I was right by Grafton Street, so I walked around the streets for a while before entering Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre (but my real excuse being: I needed to find public toilets and assumed there would be some in the shopping centre). And it was a very cute, to say the least:
Once my bladder was relieved, I took a walk through the park at St. Stephen’s Green.
If there is one thing I love, it is walking around in green spaces. I love nature. It’s a calming and relaxing escape from the rush of everyday life. I always find parks in cities to have a magical feel to them– It’s an immediate escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Before heading back on the train, I stopped and listened to the band Keywest, who were were playing on Grafton Street. In Dublin it is so easy to just walk into what feels like a free concert on the street. The music is honestly one of my favorite parts about the city. And then back home…
Other life updates include:
The past week has been good. I had my lectures, auditioned for the Dance Society here on campus, and settled more into Maynooth. I made the lyrical intervarsity (aka competition team) and jazz for the mixed intervarsity– much excitement to be maintaining dance in my routine! I had my first major essay due this past week though, and due to procrastination, I spent multiple hours hiding away with my computer doing research and writing. Time management has not been on my side while being here, but it’s study abroad, so do I really care? Nope.
Thursday night was girls night in with my roommate, Emily, and good friend, Ffion. We had a night full of giggles, pizza, and Pitch Perfect 2. (We had been craving pizza, so it tasted extra delicious!)
Friday, I spent time with some great company during the day, then that night I went with my friends over to the Brazilian house (self explanatory– a house filled with a bunch of Brazilian foreign exchange students) and got to relax and listen to a jam session full of violins, guitars, a bass, drums, and occasional singing. This is my kind of “night life.”
Saturday, I slept in, did a lot of planning for my trip coming up (look out for another blog on this soon), and did some grocery shopping. That night one of my other roommates, Heath, had a bunch of friends over since one of his buddies from home was in town. I hadn’t planned on staying up late, but the night went on till around 4am. A good night, but I was beyond exhausted by the end.
And then Sunday… My original plans was to take a solo day trip out to Dun Laoghaire, but due to staying up later than expected, trying to catch a 10:40 train didn’t sound like much fun. So instead, I got my sleep and then went to watch the end of the rugby game in the student union pub on campus. This was the first rugby game I have gone to watch, and sadly Argentina beat Ireland. I’m pretty sure that means Ireland is no longer part of the world cup… So not the most exciting game to go to. All of the devoted fans were depressed by the end.
Additional experiences or thoughts I have had since I’ve been here….
- I guess I must look like I live here or know what I’m doing, because I tend to get asked for directions a fair amount. This started happening the first time I visited Dublin and just continues to get more frequent the longer I am here. It’s a strange feeling to know I’ve been here long enough to at least seem like I know what I am doing.
- I have officially registered with Immigration and have gotten my GNIB immigration card. Yay! I can legally live in the country until next September!
- The food— If there is one thing I hate about the States, it is the mass food industry, specifically the meat industry. For those that don’t know, I have been vegetarian for a little over 10 years due to ethical reasons. But the food industry here is not like the food industry back home. First off the dairy products taste better. I still buy the cheapest foods (because student budget), but the milk and yogurt just tastes better, and the weirdest thing I’ve found, is that the shells on eggs are tougher and harder to crack. I’m assuming it is because the chickens are producing healthier eggs with stronger shells…? In general, the food is more local here. And I love how (basically) any food product you buy from the store will say “suitable for vegetarians” on the label. One of the biggest realizations I’ve had, is that if I grew up here instead of the States, I probably wouldn’t be vegetarian. The whole reason I went veggie to begin with was ethical– I don’t want to support the mass meat industry in the States, because in my opinion the whole process is animal cruelty. But I feel like here the animals are treated better.
- And the last topic I will discuss in this blog is a little more personal. Due to many reasons, a little over a year ago I made the decision that I would basically stop dating entirely and would put all my focus on myself and my life instead. After being in relationships and normally always having a guy by my side, it was kind of hard at first. But eventually I became happier than I really have ever been in my life, because I started learning how to really make myself happy and not rely on outside sources. I originally told myself I would open my heart again once I got to Ireland, but in all honestly, I really just fell in love with being on my own. I adore solo traveling because it allows for complete control over what I choose to spend my time on. I do feel like I have completely opened up my heart since I’ve been here, but I’ve simply opened my heart to life. I’ve never felt as independent or free as I do now, and it’s a feeling I never want to lose. While casually dating is still a thing every once and a while, I’ve realized it’s going to be very hard for me to want to actually settle down or have a serious relationship again. I never thought I would love being on my own so much, but right now life is pretty close to perfect and my heart is full. Bottom line, by forcing myself to stop dating, I discovered a way of life that makes me feel whole on my own. It’s lovely being able to create life and happiness on my own, and it’s going to take one hell of a special person to change that.
And now it is about 4am here in Ireland… and like always, I have lost track of time. It is just so much easier writing at night with all my thoughts churning in my head.