I arrived in Dublin around 4:00 a.m. local time (10:00 p.m. central time) on Monday, January 22nd. My arrival came after departing my Des Moines apartment at 5:30 a.m., getting held up at the Des Moines airport for a half hour because of a bag of goldfish crackers in my bag, flying to Newark, getting helplessly lost at that airport because it’s a metropolis, spending a six and a half hour layover watching Weeds and working on the new DPR website (link coming soon when it looks better), and spending another six hours on a plane which didn’t lend for more than about two hours of sleep.
After we touched down and I made it through the lax EU customs and passport check, I had another six hours in front of me as I waited for the rest of the students in my program to arrive. Eventually they came and together we trekked to Maynooth University, which is to be my home until June. With only about twenty minutes to check out our new apartments then meet back up, my jet lag was starting to kick in and yet, we just kept walking. We picked up some necessities, such as sheets, snacks and toilet paper, and were let loose early in the afternoon. The jet lag beat me as I swore at my fifteen Euro duvet cover that I was convinced wasn’t actually a cover and the impractical shower, which turns the entire bathroom into a large puddle. After showering, I climbed into my incomplete bed and, mostly unintentionally, bailed on any possible social interaction in favor of taking a three-hour nap before waking up for three hours, figuring out my duvet had hidden buttons, away from the corners I was searching, and going to bed again before another long day.
The first day showed us around the college neighborhood but the second was when we ventured to downtown Dublin. Maynooth is actually just outside of the county limits for Dublin at about a 25-30 minute car ride but takes over an hour by train or bus, not to mention the bus stops and train station aren’t all that close to campus. Tuesday meant a lot of walking, approximately ten miles worth, in shoes I hadn’t properly broken in and a trip to the tourist attraction bar with a group of primarily underaged Americans, excited by their legal status in Ireland. We returned to Maynooth as the arches in my feet slowly collapsed and I was rendered more or less immobile.
Wednesday I also got to meet up with a friend from Iowa who has been working as an Au Pair here for the last four months and, despite my achy feet and inability to understand bus stops on my return home, I was really happy to see her and hear some of her thoughts on Ireland so far.
Thursday meant actual college orientation activities, most of which were dull, but it meant that I’m getting closer to the actual studying part of study abroad.
Today I forced myself out of the apartment to buy some more groceries and ice for my still flattened feet. I had to forgo hiking with some people I’ve met here, unfortunately, but this weekend my study abroad program is going to Dingle and the Ring of Kerry on the other side of Ireland and I need my feet to cause a little less pain.
I can’t say that Ireland is perfect so far but it’s a really unique experience and I know it has to get better (I have to get used to the foot pain eventually, right?). I’m taking classes where I’ll be learning about the history and heritage of the country, which means a lot of travel to historic and famous sites and, as nerdy as it may be, I’m really interested to learn about the media law here so I can go back to Drake and be that annoying kid who says how much different, and possibly better, Ireland is. Also, travel is coming. I’m already planning a trip up to Northern Ireland (technically a different country) and my program has us going to Edinburgh next month. I also have some long weekends and very few final exams so I plan to get all over the place and keep this updated.
For other updates on this whole Ireland thing, follow my Instagram or Snapchat and keep checking back every week or so for new posts. Eventually I’ll get better at this whole blogging thing…