I want to start by saying thanks for all the feedback on this blog, everybody! People keep saying things like “your blog is great,” “you’ve been hiding your crazy really well,” “do you want this quesadilla,” “can I have some of your milk,” and “I dreamed you took all our beds and put them in the living room for the Mountaineering Club to use and told us we could just sleep on the floor.” So thanks for being so supportive! And yes, that last was actually a dream my flatmate had – gotta be careful not to overstep my bounds when it comes to hospitality!
This is gonna be a quick post because I skipped a once-weekly class last Thursday and haven’t read the lecture slides yet for tomorrow (#studyabroad #onlyhavetogetaC+). This has been an excellent week of friends and adventures, starting with Friday, when I partook in Dublin Culture Night – there are some great museums in the city. A sample:
On Sunday, I joined the UCD Mountaineering Club and went on their Freshers’ Hike in Glendalough, the site of a 6th century monastic settlement in County Wicklow. Given the option between an easy and a hard hike, I chose the one that ended up not actually involving a trail most of the time, and included climbing up a very steep squishy peaty muddy hill, avoiding rabbit holes hidden beneath what one lad helpfully identified as “Irish plants,” and general trudging past sheep in the rain in a beautiful glacial valley. Don’t worry about all the bushwhacking though – I asked somebody if there was poison ivy in Ireland, and they were like “what’s that?” I was also told that the most dangerous animal in Ireland is a cow, so that’s grand – and no snakes anyway! Also I really love peaty mud. It’s the best mud. It’s just muddier than other mud. Mmm. Mud.
So that was lovely. Tuesday we had Soul Food in my apartment, and got to hear and discuss some really cool questions and perspectives on the meaning and purpose of life, while eating fried rice described by one friend as “gorgeous.” We’ve got a really good group of people that I already love a lot, and it’s great craic – the worst part was that we had to end the time in the middle of some great conversations. I’m really looking forward to facilitating discussion next week! It’s just such a privilege to be able to get to know so many people, and to show them love by listening to them and providing for their physical needs (read: making fried rice and lots of tea). It’s super hard not to become self-centered in daily life when I’m spending so much time planning trips, studying, writing blog posts, etc., and this is a reminder every week to take at least as much care in thinking about the needs and desires of others as I do in thinking about my own needs and desires (which is still a constant struggle). I highly recommend inviting people you’ve never met into your house for food and discussion about the purpose of life. 10/10 stars, would do again. Also, fruit shortcakes are the best biscuits ever.
Then I took a friend from the States to the Traditional Music Society (or TradSoc)’s weekly session, which is just three hours of musicians sharing tunes and jamming (we only stayed about ten minutes though). I took my mandolin but got stage fright and didn’t actually play a single note, until I got back to my apartment and spent an hour and a half learning new tunes from the society’s online tunebook – I literally played until I got a blister.
Speaking of blisters, my finger burns are looking nice – went rock-climbing in the UCD climbing gym with the Mountaineering Club today and ripped the blisters all up. Mmm. Hardcore.
Ooh also I had a class this morning where we just looked at dirt and described it. Sorry. “Soils.”
Tonight was spent with a lot of Americans at the Lansdowne Hotel – the UCD international office took us to a lovely dinner-and-a-show by Irish House Party. I was going to post a video but can’t, so just imagine: Salad with Cashel Blue cheese; Guinness beef stew; chocolate cake; trad music on guitar, uilleann pipes, Celtic harp, fiddle, and tinwhistle; solo and sean-nós (old style) Irish dancing. And check out the band here. Lovely evening!
That’s all for now. Gearing up for a weekend in Galway – I’ve got to practice my Irish for the Gaeltacht!
Cheers (sidebar: please someone tell me what to say in response to “cheers” when it’s used as “thank you” because I don’t know what to say so I just kind of grunt/mumble/grumble in acknowledgement and walk away),
p.s. here’s an artsy picture of a bag of oats