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?