Say “Craic” Again

Hello, everyone!  Sorry it has taken me so long to write another post.  Getting used to the Dublin grind takes up quite a bit of time.

Classes started on Monday.  Who knew you actually had to study during study abroad?  I am taking three courses: The History of Ireland, Contemporary Irish Society, and International Human Rights. I’m also taking a small class learning Irish, but not for credit. So far, they are also super interesting, and I mean that in the least shallow way possible.  While some people in this program are approaching this semester as a way to take a break from the sciences and boost their GPA, I am honestly looking forward to learning about a new society, with it’s own beliefs, customs, and history.  Irish culture is interesting in that, on it’s most surface level, it can seem quite similar to American or British culture. However, the more you live in it, explore it, learn about it, the more unique nuances appear until it stands out as something truly different. All my classes interact and carry over into each other, which makes it truly enriching.  Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember in which class I learned something.  I also can supplement information I learned outside the classroom.

Living in Dublin gives me an understanding of Ireland that I couldn’t receive from a classroom alone.  The statues of famous historic Irish figures in the city centre are riddled with bullet holes that are the remnants of previous battles and rebellions. I just went to a pub that is older than the Mongolian Empire.  Every native I meet seems to be a testament to the land’s history, able to trace their families generations back to the smallest of villages, with which they identify so strongly.  Dublin is an old city, but it is also a modern one.  I have yet to encounter an empty street, and the people I’ve met generally have more of a global awareness than most Americans.

I’m starting to get an understanding of the city, if only enough to realize there is so much I still have to see.  So far, I have seen the most obvious of tourist attractions such as the Guinness Factory, Trinity College, and the Temple Bar area, but not much more.  I have yet to discover a scene in which I truly feel comfortable, one that is not overpriced or geared towards an older generation. It is kind of awkward, the amount of time I have to spend here.  I’m here for too long to be considered a tourist, and I’m afraid that by the time I find out where I fit, my time here will be up.

However, this is just the end of the first real week.  I am still getting my bearings, figuring out what works in terms of food, travel, apartment-life, and expenses.  Dublin is a verryyy expensive city, only exaggerated by the fact I am making no money while I’m here.  I am prepared to come back to the States piss broke, but hopefully that doesn’t happen too prematurely.  That is what I’m most nervous about, actually.  It kinda sucks that my experience has to be perpetually soured by something like money.  Anyway, it looks like I’m going to be eating a lot of pasta and sandwiches.  Maybe my beer belly will balance out my starving limbs.

Another aspect I am sort of stressed out about is travel.  I haven’t explored outside of Dublin yet, which I will hopefully start to do this weekend.  And  I also haven’t booked any trips abroad.  I feel like everyone in my program is booking trips at a whirlwind pace and I’m standing here with whiplash and an empty calendar.  Here’s hoping I do not waste the short time that I’m here travel-wise, and that everything works out.

Anyway, I’m excited.  There are so many small stories and facts to tell already, the prospect of recording them all here is overwhelming.  I will start with explaining the title of this blog post.  “Craic”, pronounced “crack”, is an Irish slang term meaning fun or news or something like that.  It was originally an English word appropriated into Irish and is slowly being appropriated back to English.

So, what’s the craic?

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Jet Lag’s a Bitch

I’M IN DUBLIN!!! WOOOOOO

I am typing this a little bit before midnight on Tuesday, Jan 14th, Dublin time.  I arrived around 9am this morning.  The past day has all been a little surreal.  It is only hitting me now as I settle into my double in a 10 person suite that this is where I’ll be living for the next four months. I still need to buy small things like a laundry hamper and hand soap, stuff you don’t even realize you need until you’re there.  I would say I am more under-packed than overpacked, for once in my life.  But at least I’m not in the middle of nowhere and the stores aren’t very far away.  

Let me tell you that jet lag off of a red-eye flight is possibly the worst feeling ever.  I just woke up from a 2 and a half hour nap, before which I was awake for over 30 hours straight (yikes).  I have no idea what time my body thinks it is, but it is always hungry and always sleepy, except for right now, when it is inexplicably awake and kicking. 

The flight itself went as smooth as can be, which is surprising given my luck.  I kept half-expecting my baggage to go missing or have security say I am not allowed to enter the country or something like that.  The flight, only like 5ish hours, seemed to go by relatively quick, although it was still kinda sucky.  Lots of awkwardly bent necks, sore butts, and crying babies.  Sleep eluded me.  This one time, I was almosssssttt there, but then the lights turned on and they fed us breakfast (aka, an unripe banana).  Such is life.

The best part of the flight was the take-off and the touch-down. I departed from JFK, and it was amazing to see the little pinpricks of light get smaller and more indistinct.  Landing in Ireland was also amazing, a patchwork quilt of fields interspersed with villages, just waking up to the sunrise.  I didn’t have a window seat, of course, I sat somewhere in the middle.  So I just had to awkwardly crane my neck to look past strangers, bitterly resenting the window-seat people who were doing something lame like sleeping or reading.  I don’t care if I’m on a plane a thousand times, seeing the world through the eyes of a bird will never get old.  

I haven’t explored much of Dublin, yet.  Between the exhaustion and scheduling, there wasn’t much time to.  The campus of DCU is very nice, although a bit quiet now, since all the students are preparing for finals.  It is a smaller, more traditional campus than BU, which will be nice to experience. Although, I have to say, I now remember what it is like to be a freshman again.  The awkwardness.  Not knowing what to do or where to go, with the constant fear that people are judging you, sensing that you don’t belong.  I couldn’t figure out how to open a door, guys.  The struggle is real.

The rest of the week is orientation activities, including a central Dublin scavenger hunt tomorrow, so I will be able to post soon about the rest of Dublin!  I haven’t taken any pictures yet, but those too are coming!

Everyone I have met so far, the other students in the program, the people in charge, or just regular Dublin residents, have all been extremely nice and accommodating! I can already tell I will have an excellent time here, and can’t wait to see what the rest semester has to offer!

P.S. excuse the poor grammar and spelling.  Jet lag.  

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Three Days ’til Dublin

The Intro

Hi.  I’m Morgan.  Even though most of y’all already know what I’m about, I’m gonna assume some of you just stumbled on some weird girl’s blog by accident, lost and confused.  I’m 20 years old and my main interests include Netflix and cats.  Originally from Preston, Connecticut, I am currently a junior at Boston University with a major in sociology.  In a few days time, I leave for my study abroad experience in the lovely city of Dublin, Ireland.

I have a few reasons for wanting to keep a blog documenting my thoughts, musings, and experiences while I’m abroad. The most pressing one is my current procrastination about somehow packing everything I will need for the course of four months into one tiny suitcase (really, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!).  Another is me just wanting to scratch that writing itch I’ve been cultivating for a while. However, the main one is just me trying to create a space where I can express myself to those I love who are an ocean away, as well as a comprehensive record of my travels that I can look back on in the future.

Why Abroad?

I’ve been wanting and waiting to go abroad ever since I decided to go to college.  Traveling has always been a goal of mine, which has largely gone unfulfilled.  I’ve only ever been to states that touch the east coast. Once I spent approximately three days in the Bahamas on a Disney cruise when I was kid which I largely spent in a food court.  The only time I ever traveled for it’s own sake was when I went to Greece for twelve days the summer after I graduated from high school.  It was a very structured Education First tour, which true to its name, offered only a surface-level whirlwind glimpse of every major tourist attraction in the country.  The only Greek I got to know was my extremely tan tour guide, Kostas, and the only things I know about him are that he likes coffee and cigarettes. While it still remains one of the most memorable times of my life, I crave the freedom and excitement that living in another country will bring.

I want to truly get to know the city and its people.  I plan to enter Dublin with the vigor of a stranger, able to appreciate its everyday charms and mysteries with a sense of wonder. I want to carve a place for myself, however temporary, amongst its busy streets.  And when I leave, I hope to do so with the familiarity of a good friend saying good-bye.

I’ve lived exactly two places in my life.  The small town of Preston, Connecticut, and the city of Boston, Massachusetts (which, apparently, I still do not know how to spell…).  So basically, I have spent my entire existence in the tiny blip-on-the-globe that is New England.  And yet, I don’t think I’ve found my homeplace. Don’t get me wrong, my home is where my friends and family are, but a homeplace is entirely different. To me, a homeplace is that spot in the world where you feel that you fit.  The place where you can imagine yourself spending the rest of your life.

I think of Preston in the same way that I think of my parents.  It’s the place that raised me.  It embarrasses me sometimes, and I don’t always agree with it, but it has a piece of my heart that can never be touched.  I always feel safe here, and I resist the thought of it ever changing.  I know that no matter what I can always come back to it.

I think of Boston in the same way I think of a sibling.  I can love it and hate it and I can complain about it, but the instant anyone gives it shit, I will defend it to the death. We can have a fun together, and I can’t imagine this chapter of my life in any other place.  But I accept the fact that my life is going to take us in separate directions, and that’s okay.

I’m not saying Dublin, or any other place I travel to in the next four months, will be my homeplace.  I’m not expecting to move to Ireland and meet a ginger hunk and have lots of Irish babies (although that is a popular daydream of mine).  But it can’t hurt to experience new things, visit new places, and meet new people.

I expect a lot to go wrong and a lot to go right. I expect to be stuck at a train station at 3am because I missed the last train outta there until morning. I expect to be hopelessly lost in some dark part of a city where no one knows my name. I expect to lose an important object/document at some point or another.  I expect to see things I’ve only seen in art history books, and then cry about it like the nerd I am.  I expect to encounter fascinating people who live lives I’ve never even considered.  I expect to be drink, travel, and learn.  I expect to have the time of my life, essentially. It all goes towards making me realize who I am as a person, and what I want out of life and out of myself.

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