I’ve been meaning to write this blog for some time now. I had every intention of making this a weekly blog. However, at first I didn’t think I had much to tell. Then, out of nowhere I became extremely busy and had no free time to do anything thanks to orientation. As one week passed, then a second, then a third, I felt as if I had too much to share, and there was no way I’d ever be able to get it all out. Here I am though, and I will attempt to let everyone know how these last three weeks have been.
In the past three weeks I believe that I have adjusted well and learned to love life abroad. And boy do I LOVE Dublin! I love the friends I have made, the food I’ve eaten, and all of the gorgeous places I’ve seen (pics to follow). Dublin really does feel like home, despite how temporary this is.
I realized today that I am VERY blessed in terms of housing. I “live” with four other pretty awesome girls, but we all have our own room and bathroom. While we do share a spacious living room and kitchen, I hardly get to see my roommates, because we are all in different programs. Our brief moments in the kitchen together are very much appreciated. I am lucky to live with people that can help me figure out how to cook for myself for the first time ever and don’t laugh when I ask question as to how long I should cook certain things! 🙂
In addition to my roommates, the friends I have made are incredible and have made the transition so easy! We instantly clicked and although we have not all been together at once since the first week, I am never without someone to walk to class with, eat a meal, or play a board game until 5 AM. I have not only found study buddies, and travel companions, but also overall really great friends. I am very thankful to have two Wofford friend here, too, so that I always have someone to cheer on the Terriers with.
One of my favorite things I have done since being here in Ireland is hike!! During our orientation, we had the opportunity to hike around Howth. This past weekend a few friends and I hiked from a place called Bray to another place called Greystone (and then to the restaurant we thought would be close to the end of the trail in Greystone). The views on each of these hikes are absolutely breathtaking, even when raining! I simply cannot put into words or capture in pictures no matter how hard I try the beauty of this place.
Speaking of weather, it is a lot different than what I was expecting. I assumed it would be rainy all day, everyday, but it actually doesn’t rain that much (yet). The weather does, however, go from feeling like 80 degrees and sunny, to rainy and sunny, to cold and rainy, to cold and cloudy, all to go back to sunny. I have learned to just wear layers and to bring a rain jacket and umbrella everywhere I go….no matter what the weather app says.
Other than hiking, I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool things! I got to go to the Women’s GAA Finals in Croke Park (Go Dublin!). I have gotten to take multiple off-grid walking tours for one of my classes. I’ve gotten to visit a jail from the 18th century that housed leaders from the Easter Uprising. I’ve gotten to visit a farm and learn how to make bread and (watch people) jump in a bog! And I already have plans to do so much more!
Lastly, I want to mention the actual IES Dublin staff. The IES staff here in Dublin have been some of the genuine, caring, and informative people I have ever met. I can honestly see why transitioning to life in Dublin was so smooth. It is because of these people. From running into me in the grocery store and asking how my weekend is going, teaching us Irish dance classes, going on walking tours of Dublin to learn about its history, offering afternoon tea and just sitting there talking to us, helping us figure out where we should go for dinner, helping plan a weekend trip to Galway and beyond; these people are amazing. I am so, so grateful to be surrounded by people who not only want to help us succeed in the classroom, but also want to make sure we get absolutely everything we can out of our very short time here.
So as I attempt to share and show everything I’ve been up to in the past few weeks, and as I continue to for the rest of my time abroad, I’ll try to keep in mind what a guest speaker said to our class today: “[travel writing] is your reaction to a place and no one else has that reaction.” So, I must keep in mind that while you, reader, may not find my short descriptions adequate enough or interesting, this is ultimately how I will remember my experience and that’s all that matters. BUT, if you think you like what you’re seeing through my pictures and through this blog, just imagine how it is to get to experience it first hand. I will never be able to accurately capture these moments, you honestly have to experience it for yourself, and I 100000% recommend getting over here ASAP.