On Saturday I left Ireland. It took almost 20 hours start to finish, including four hours of airport delay, an unscheduled stopover in Montreal and a missed connecting flight, but I made it home. I woke up at 4 in the morning Sunday; my jetlagged body thought it was 10 a.m.
Missing my family and anxious to start planning my life post-graduation, I was ready to leave. I won’t miss sharing a kitchen with 9 suitemates or inhaling second-hand smoke everywhere I walk, but I will miss many other aspects of Ireland: breathtaking scenery, friendly people, inexpensive cheese and cider, Gaelic pride.
I had planned to study abroad ever since I knew it was possible, and am so glad I followed through. I learned a new culture, met family, gained valuable international work experience and a new appreciation for history, music and travel.
I know I will be back.
Yesterday I wrote 3, yes 3, papers. The good news is that I’m done with college and will never have to do another analytical research paper ever again. The bad news is that I’m burnt out and don’t even feel like writing in my beloved abroad blog.
And so, highlights of my trip to Cork City and the Ring of Kerry in photos:
I’ve spent the last week doing routine Dublin things: going out in the city centre and interning for the most part. They’re worth mentioning though, because time is running out! Yes, it’s true, I have only 10 more days in Ireland.
My internship has picked up considerably in the last few weeks. I’m busy all eight hours writing, researching and editing for Hot Press magazine and its website (see my writing portfolio for samples). When I get home from work, I eat dinner with my suitemates, then go to class, work on cover letters or call my family.
On the weekends I’ve been trying to get out, see and do interesting things in Dublin and throughout Ireland, and I think I’ve done a good job overall. Still there is so much on my list that I haven’t gotten to! Newgrange, The National Museum of Ireland, the Chester Beatty Library, tons of restaurants and music venues. I still have next week though. And a lifetime of return trips…
I have been to three restaurants in the last two days:
Lunch, Monday: Govinda’s
The vibe at this vegetarian restaurant is very organic-zen-Middle East. I ordered the frankly named “take out tray,” a sampler of the joint’s daily dishes and ate it outside on a bench. For 7 euros, the “small” included enough food for two meals: basmati rice with lentils, a warm cauliflower chick pea salad, big paneer cubes in a spicy tomato sauce, spinach and potato pie. I’d classify the filling and flavorful meal Indian with a twist. I ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning.
Dinner, Monday: Green 19
This small airy gastropub has a one page menu, which they present on a clipboard. I had a burrito and chips (aka french fries). Sounds ordinary (whole beans, monterey jack cheese, onions) but it was actually one of the most interesting burritos I’ve ever had (jalapeno creme fraiche, tangy chili sauce). My friend ordered a beautiful salad of spinach, goat cheese, raspberries and walnuts. Both meals were simple and delicious.
Instead of going to London with my friends (a bummer because I’d already bought my ticket…) I worked the Oxegen music festival through my internship this weekend. Oxegen is HUGE here, and really important to Hot Press — they sponsor one of the stages and run a signing tent at the festival. Every year 90,000 people come, and most of them stay all three days and camp there the nights. Every year there are pretty big name performers. Jay-Z, Arcade Fire, the Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Julian Casablancas (lead singer of the Strokes) and 100+ others played six stages this year.
I was willing to give up my weekend to help out Hot Press — afterall, when will I ever have the chance to work a music festival from behind the scenes again? Or hear all that live music?
Once or twice a week I cover the front desk at my internship when the receptionist goes to lunch. It’s not bad, I mostly just read my email and the news, listen to music, sign for mail. The hardest task actually, is answering the phone.
All I have to do is transfer the caller or take a message. The problem is that over the muffled phone, the brogue does not sound like English. The worst part is deciphering names. Or spelling them to take down a message! A few particularly challenging names: Aoife (EE-fa), Niamh (NEEV), Saoirse (SEER-sha), Eoin (OH-in), Cillian (Kill-EE-ann). Once though, I had to ask a guy to repeat his name four times before I realized he’d been saying…Thomas.