Well, hello there! And as everyone keeps saying, “you’re all very, very welcome to [this blog post].” I have been reassured by people constantly telling me how very, very welcome I am, because I have been a ridiculous human for several of the past four days.
Day One. Tuesday. I arrived in Dublin at about 9:30 am local time (4:30 am by my internal clock), having maybe slept an hour on the plane. I had an airplane breakfast croissant in my backpack, a passport in my mandolin case, and a deliriously goofy wow-I-am-actually-in-Ireland smile smack across my face. Taxiing to our gate, I first noted that all the grass alongside the runway was actually yellow, not the stunning emerald I had been promised, and I faltered a bit until we passed a field full of cows, at which point I felt better.
An immigration officer wished me the best of luck in my studies, and I waltzed right through the “nothing to declare” customs doorway and found myself suddenly in Ireland. Fast-forward through the bus ride, registration, move-in, unpacking, etc., which were all fine. Actually, that’s all I remember of Tuesday, because then I hit a brick wall of exhaustion and jetlag. My flatmates (who are very nice – three Californian, one Canadian, and one Irish) and I were going to go to a pub in the nearby village of Blackrock that night, because that’s what you do in Ireland, but just as we were about to get on a bus I realized that I was probably going to fall asleep on top of some poor old Irish granny, which would likely be frowned upon. I managed to get back to our apartment, into my room (which was difficult, since it has a fire door that requires most of your body weight to open), and then I slept for 13 hours solid. It was lovely.
Day Two. Having slept almost until noon, I then ate breakfast. Then, of course, I started thinking about lunch, because I hadn’t eaten properly since our airplane dinner on Monday (if you can call that proper). I went on a grocery run to the nearest Tesco, which I was delighted to find had better wireless internet than UCD does, and bought the necessities – shampoo, a mug and bowl, balsamic vinegar, some feta cheese and arugula (‘rocket’). And a can of sweet corn, because why not. I proceeded to return home and make a giant salad. I know it sounds odd, but trust me – the shampoo really balances out the acidity of the balsamic vinegar. I recommend something fruity yet inexpensive like Tesco Luscious Raspberry and Pomegranate for Fine Hair.
Then I probably figured out my classes or my credit cards or something. There are lots of things to figure out here, like how the elevator (‘lift’) works and why you have to push a button on the wall an hour before you want hot water and what on earth a flapjack is (delicious, is what it is). I spent the evening with flatmates and new friends, and got a fancy UCD scarf from the university president, which I just realized I already lost. Darn. I gotta go look for that.
Day Three. Met with a staff member of Agape, the Cru ministry in Dublin I’ll be working with. We had a grand old adventure trying to find parking anywhere on campus or in the nearby neighborhood of Donnybrook so we could get coffee, which took about 25 minutes. After a lovely chat with her, I had an exciting day of orientations and academic advising meetings, as well as some food and new friends. I then bought a bike, which was exciting. It hasn’t even been stolen yet!
It’s still only freshmen and international students on campus, which has been interesting. I kind of wish there were 25% fewer Americans and 100% more sheep here. Don’t get me wrong – I love Americans, but there are lots of them at home, and I would like to see a sheep, please. Moreover, the Irish people I’ve actually spoken to have been extremely friendly, but everyone I see walking about on campus is about as friendly as people at Yale, where I was kindly told my first week to stop smiling at people on the sidewalk “because they think you’re weird.”
So Thursday afternoon I walked alone around campus, which looks like this:
Also I found these…
… which I’m fairly certain are blackberries, because I ate one and didn’t die, and then later I also Googled “Are there plants in Ireland that look like blackberries but are poisonous?” and didn’t find anything. So I might go pick the ripe ones tomorrow and make jam or something.
… And then, having not died, I made dinner. We now interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a note of warning: If you’ve never had processed peas, don’t. I don’t know exactly what ‘processed’ means, but it seems to mean ‘these were perfectly good peas before we exploded them and cooked them in salt and smelly stink juice and put them in a can.’ Eat flapjacks instead.
I later went to a ceilidh where a lovely woman was teaching traditional (‘trad’) Irish dancing to a bunch of completely overwhelmed internationals, which really amused my flatmate and made me regret leaving my dancing shoes at home. Then I was hungry again so I broke open the emergency store of peanut butter my mom got me at home – they definitely do have peanut butter here, Mom (‘Ma’)! No worries!
On Day Four, I mostly learned that IKEA in Dublin still feels like a whole other world of meatballs and Scandinavian design, that not every Starbucks has Wi-Fi (but the city buses do), and that Dublin bus drivers all seem to think they’re driving the Knight Bus (they squeeze their double-decker buses through spaces that can’t possibly be big enough, do hairpin turns so all the little schoolchildren fall down, and stop within mere inches of cyclists, cars, pedestrians, and other buses, when they stop at all).
Altogether, a successful first week-ish, I think! Sorry for the long-windedness. See you after the weekend for Oh Yeah I Have to Go To Class On Labo(u)r Day.