Everything is perpetually soggy here. It doesn’t actually seem to rain all that much – except accompanied by gale force winds when I’m on the way to my 9a.m. class – but somehow, nothing ever seems to dry out. Everything is impossibly green though, like someone just turned up the saturation on the landscape and made everything seem like it belongs on a postcard. Ireland is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to, with actual rolling hills and ancient castles casually dotting the horizon. A lot of this semester has seemed very surreal, and a lot of it has just been really wonderfully weird.
Irish people, contrary to popular belief, are not drunk all the time. Although they do enjoy a pint of Guinness at the end of the day, it would be pretty hard to have a functioning country if every inhabitant was a raging alcoholic. They are all incredibly friendly (except the city bus drivers) and very strange. For example, President Obama visited his ancestral village in Ireland a few years ago and in response, the entire town is now more spangly than I ever expected to see on this side of the Atlantic. There is an “Obama Cafe,” decoarated with a likeness of the Statue of Liberty with his face on it. In the middle of the Irish countryside.
A typical week for me begins with classes, only 50 minutes long with very little homework. After my mild obligations are out of the way, I usually choose to take a double decker bus into the city center to soak up downtown Dublin, especially on Mondays (the biggest party day for the average Irish college student). At any given moment, I could be standing on a Viking site that is thousands of years old while also being within a stone’s throw of a Burger King, which are almost as common here as Walmarts in the states.
Ireland is constantly surprising and wonderful, with nothing turning out as I think it will. Everything from the chip flavors (called crisps here) to the settings in the laundry room (which make no sense at all) keep me on my toes and make me miss my home on the river a little more, despite the fact that I’m having the time of my life. St. Mary’s, as you rock your reindeer parkas to deal with the bitter cold, know that I miss you and I can’t wait to be home, although Ireland is doing a pretty good job of changing my life.