before I tumble homeward, homeward —
mumford & sons, “lover of the light”
I’ve been in Dublin for one month (which means only three months left! Ack!). I’ve made new friends, signed up for courses in a new university, consumed far too much tea, enjoyed pints with friends on Quiz night, eaten lots & lots & lots of amazingly delicious pastries, and even become vaguely fond of that eye-sore of a monument (but only vaguely fond, mind).
I am, to put it briefly, enjoying myself very much, and I certainly don’t intend to stop enjoying this trip
anytime soon ever. That being said, there are some things (some small and some big — here’s looking at you, Philadelphia!) I miss about the States.
01. fam & friends — okay, okay, hopefully that was an obvious one. Still — I hope you all know that you are loved & cherished & missed (& that I would love a letter or two or thr— kidding, kidding. I jest, I jest!) & that I look forward to telling each of you about this amazing adventure as soon as I’m back.
02. City Church. Obviously.
03. Trader Joe’s & Target. I mean, Aldi’s is great and all, but I miss my fig bars & my cheap almond milk & my multigrain baking mix & my dark chocolate covered pretzel thins & triple ginger snaps & dried Montgomery cherries & Target… but mostly Trader Joe’s.
04. Pumpkin. It’s not a thing here, y’all. It’s not. It’s the middle of september and not a pumpkin flavored anything in sight. I think I might have to take things into my own hands & introduce these people to the wonderful things that are pumpkin cookies (and muffins and pancakes and lattes and — wow, we Americans sure do eat a lot of pumpkin stuff during autumn).
05. Online course registration. Say what you will about Penn in Touch, but compared to it? Trinity’s system is a frumpy old relative who doesn’t have an e-mail. (Paper registration four days before classes start? Tell me how that makes sense.)
06. Libraries that make sense — aka let you actually check out books.
07. Texting friends. Sigh. I’m that needy.
08. my large box of all different types of tea, including my two tins of looseleaf. mmm.
09. insomnia. The cookies here are great, sure, but they aren’t quite the same melt-in-your-mouth-gooey-warm-choclatey-goodness you can get from Insomnia, and we don’t have RA/GA staff (which means no floor meetings with free gooey goodness).
10. Free laundry. ’nuff said.
11. the small things — breakfast with mom or dad on a random school day, try-new-cuisine nights with Becky, bubble tea with the sis, spontaneous hugs from brother at church, tea and fresh baked cookies with my roommates…
12. I never thought I’d say this, but… Penn’s student health. Dear Lisa, Sheila, Liz, and even Paula — I miss you. Please see fit to move to Ireland and convince TCD’s student health that they are totally capable of administering my allergy shots. Love, Connor. (…please?)
13. Did I mention pre-registration already? Oops. It’s the first day of classes and I’m still not completely registered, so I’m feeling a little bitter
and lost and just why is this registration process so confusing I mean I don’t get why it’s so difficult there’s really no cause for it and the lack of information I have about how to get into these courses is somewhat handicapping my ability to, you know, register.
To balance my “what I miss” list, here are some things I love about being in Ireland.
01. city life — city life here is extreme, folks. There are street fairs and craft markets and food markets and for goodness sakes, book markets every weekend. The street performers are remarkably talented, the street art is beautiful…
02. old friends — seeing the Gilliams so much has been delightful!
03. new friends — Lis and I spent three and a half hours on a lunch adventure today. On Friday, I went on an adventure through town with friends I’d made through the CU. On Wednesday, Lis, Tyler, Eileen, and I went to Harry Potter Quiz Night and made lots of new friends. So many new people! So many new friends!
04. food — Have I mentioned the food? I just – just – it’s so. good. Today, I had a meat & veggie pastie from the Temple Bar food market and it. was. so. good. So. Good. Fresh, delicious, nutritious — what more do you want?!
05. tea & scones — yes, this does totally count as its own thing.
06. city spirit — yes, the Dubs won yesterday (in case you’re not in the know, yesterday was the Gaelic football All-Ireland final, Dublin v. Mayo, and Dublin won), but despite rooting on its home team, Dublin was decked up in not only the blues of its own players, but also the red and green of those from County Mayo. This also includes my bewilderment at the friendly competition that exists — there aren’t riots, no shouts of hatred or how despicable the other team is. It’s all quite friendly, full of camaraderie and incredibly good sportsmanship.
07. the ease of travel — sick of Dublin? No worries. Pop on the DART for twenty minutes and you can be on the beach. Don’t want to hike Howth’s coast again? Not a problem. For €10, you can get a roundtrip bus ticket to Galway, on the completely opposite coast of Ireland.
08. chocolate — again, worthy of its own category. Do you know how long it’s been since I had consistent access to Cadbury? Answer: I’ve never had such consistent access to delicious Cadbury at decent prices.
09. City Church — what can I say? I have a soft spot for church plants named City. I was pretty much determined to like it here for this reason alone. Then they threw me a curveball — a sermon on purposeful community drawn from Jeremiah 29, with an emphasis on how important it is to sink roots into a place, however long or short a time you may be there — and I was sold.
10. The bewildered looks I get when I introduce myself. Today I had a pharmacist ask if Connor was my surname. No, I said, it’s my first name. I thought defying the stereotypes of my name when stateside was difficult — how many e-mails have I gotten that address me as Mr.? — but those times don’t even hold a flame to the amount of confusion I’ve caused here in Ireland. Thank you, parents, for providing me with a lifetime of amusement simply by deciding on Connor instead of Flannery (no, seriously, thank you).
11. School schedules — assuming mine actually works out, I only have twelve hours of class a week. That’s less than half of what I had last semester, y’all. Less. Than. Half. I really wish I could get a job here — having all this free time and, apparently, very little homework, is going to confuse me. A lot. I have no idea what I’ll do with it all! Probably go on more adventures & continue to photograph them to an absurd extent.
12. The fruit vendors on Moore Street. Why yes, thank you, I’ll gladly take twenty clementines for €1. Don’t mind if I do.
13. the architecture in this place is amazing, beautiful, and just all around really, really cool. (Can you tell I’ve never studied architecture before? Sorry, friends. All I can say is that it’s lovely.)
In summary: Ireland continues to be amazing, I might be going to Belfast this weekend, and while I’m pretty settled in here, I am definitely looking forward to finishing up all of my course registration & starting classes!