Sep 26, 2012

Dublin, Part II: poetry in a pint

At 4:30 pm on Friday, I woke up with an imprint of my scarf on my cheek and the following graffiti on the wall outside my bus window:

It doesn't get any clearer than that, I thought groggily.  The excitement in the air was nearly tangible as the group trooped off the bus; as you might imagine, the Guinness Brewery visit is one of the most popular excursions on this entire term abroad.

Sep 25, 2012

Dublin, Part I: a bit of a schemozzle

So my moving plans have changed slightly...I just learned that the room I'm to move into "hasn't been readied yet", whatever that means.  However, I was promised that I'd be in by the end of the week for sure.  It's a small inconvenience, but one that can be dealt with.  Oh, well.  On to a more exciting topic: Dublin!

Sep 24, 2012

First day on the job

Hello, friends!  I'm back in Galway now, after a jam-packed weekend in and around Dublin.  I'll be posting photos and stories about everything I experienced there in the next few days.  There's so much to tell, in fact, that I'll probably have to do it in parts.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying this quiet room for the last night I'll spend here (I'm moving tomorrow afternoon), and have almost caught up with all of the reading I thought I'd do during the many hours I spent on the bus this past weekend.

Sep 19, 2012

The day I leaned over the edge of a cliff

One new development, friends, before I tell you about my first class excursion:

Those of you who know anything about me know that dance is a surefire way to keep me happy...and I haven't done any real dancing in months, so imagine how glad I was to find the Dansoc at Socs Day.  This society offers weekly classes in a whole bunch of different styles (i.e. hip-hop, Irish dance, salsa, ballet, contemporary), which suits me just fine because I'm always raring to learn something new.  Anyway, the Dansoc had a meet-and-greet on Monday evening, so I gave myself permission to leave the library early that day.  As I mingled a bit and got a feel for the crowd, I was surprised by how quick the Irish students were to approach me and introduce themselves.  (Perhaps I've been too quick to judge them...)  Before I had to leave, I was able to watch a mini-demonstration given by one of the student teachers, and was quite impressed.  I can't wait to check out the classes!

Sep 18, 2012

Settling in

Hello, friends!  I'm writing to you this evening from a little niche I found in a corner of the library.  (By the way, nothing on the computer front has changed, but each day is a new day, right?)  Oh, and speaking of new developments, here's one: I'll be living in a different apartment by this time next week.  (There is, of course, a reason for this, but if you're interested in hearing the details, let's stick to a more private forum, like e-mail.)  My new address will be:

126 Gort na Coiribe
Headford Road
Galway, Ireland

Sep 14, 2012

Of nimble spirit and nimbler feet

Update: I got an A on this paper!

Friends, my posts may be a little sparse for a little while...because unfortunately, I opened my bag this morning to discover that my laptop has a crack in the corner of the screen that has rendered it useless. Repairing it will run me at least 100 euro, so I'm making calls and shopping around to see if I can find a rental or something to at least tide me over until I find a more lasting solution.  In the meantime, Teresa graciously lent me her laptop so I could back up my files onto her flash drive, and finish/submit a paper that is due this evening to Prof. Jenkins.  And after I submitted it (a few minutes ago), it occurred to me that you all might be interested in reading what I wrote for him.  The prompt was something along the lines of:

How would you, based on your experience of Galway during the past few weeks, define Irish music?

Sep 12, 2012

Showing up

A tea shop.  A real live tea shop.  Teresa and I stumbled upon this gem yesterday...and it has nothing to do with anything I've written below, but is worth posting just for the name of the place.  Cup├ín Tae...get it?  (Hint: say it out loud.)
"Sometimes, community is just about showing up.  Showing up when we don’t know what to say.  Showing up when we don’t know what to do.  Showing up when all we’ve got to offer is Starbucks and a smile.  We try to make community more complicated than it needs to be.  But really all it means is being there.  Not hiding.  Not believing the lie that someone else could do it better.  Not even waiting for someone to reach out to us.  It’s just making ourselves available." - author Holley Gerth

Sep 11, 2012

Back to school

When my family and I moved to Ardsley, we lived just far enough from my middle school that I had to ride the bus.[1]  Fast-forward some ten years...and I now not only live on a campus, but my residence this year is also situated ridiculously close to everything I could possibly need, day or night.  Here in Galway, on the other hand, I have a twenty-minute walk between my house and campus.  This is by no means a complaint, but rather a comment about what a difference it actually does make to live away from the place where I take my classes.  Maybe I’m way off-base here, friends, but you can tell me if I’m not making any sense: I somehow feel more grown-up, more independent, because I can think, now I’m leaving school, and I’m going back to my house, where I’m going to make myself a cup of tea, finish my homework, and watch another episode of “Psych”.  (And if you're an adult reading this, that's right - "Psych" is for grown-ups, too.  James Roday is an equal-opportunity entertainer...and a skilled one, at that.)

Sep 8, 2012


 The last few days have been relatively nondescript.  I’ve had a few Neurophysiology lectures (Endocrinology doesn’t begin until mid-October), and they’ve all been manageable.  I’ve spent some time keeping house - sweeping floors, taking out the trash, organizing cabinets and drawers, and the like.  Last night, I met Y and a few other people from the Salthill trip at a pub in town, just to scope out the nightlife around here.  (I found it to be moderately lively...but then, New York does set a pretty high standard in this arena.)  It was discouraging that I couldn’t spend my time developing my relationship with Y, because she had been drinking long before she arrived in town and so was in no state to talk about anything meaningful.  (I’ve long been aware, friends, that the bar scene is not for me.  If I’m going to have a drink, I’d prefer to do it with good friends, ideally in a setting that’s conducive to solid conversation and growth.)

Sep 5, 2012

Mussels made of yarn

I went to the beach today!

This morning at the student center, I ran into two ERASMUS students (two girls - L from Germany and L from Italy) whom I met a few nights ago, and they suggested that we meet later that afternoon to make our way down to the bayside.  Although I was quite taken by the idea of leaving campus – especially to go to the beach – my knee-jerk reaction was to balk (internally).  I don’t know if I really want to hang out with these girls, I thought…and instantly, shame overtook me as I realized I was hesitating because I wasn’t sure that these potential friendships would “pay off”.  Take your eyes off yourself, I chided myself.  Quit thinking in terms of how your relationships can serve you; that’s no way to treat people.  You want friends?  This is how you make friends.  You’re only going to connect with people if you actually spend time with them…and you’ve got to keep your eyes on them, not yourself.  Get yourself off that high horse, girl – you could learn something today.  And even if you don’t, not all will be lost – I mean, you’re going to the beach!

Sep 4, 2012

Hakuna matata

When one of my friends (who studied abroad here last fall) found out that I had chosen Ireland, too, one of the things he told me to expect was an Irish housemate.  American universities, it seems, have figured that a good way to make American students mingle with/learn from Irish ones is to have them live together.  So Teresa and I waited, and Conor arrived on Sunday.  Now, I have to say that I wasn’t crazy about the idea of living (i.e. sharing my bathroom) with a boy – my closer friends know that this is just one of those things that I’ve always been very particular about.  Thankfully, Conor contradicts a lot of generalizations I often make about boys.  How, you ask?  He cooks.  He cleans.  He won’t allow either of us girls into the kitchen to help him.  He even fixed the three of us tea last night, before bed…and he does all of these things of his own volition.

I must admit…I’m impressed.

Sep 2, 2012

Moving to the rhythm

Time to go home!

When I rolled over in bed this morning, groping around on my nightstand so I could hit "snooze" on my cell phone alarm, this was the first thought that crossed my mind.  And then I realized - again - that until December, I’m here.  For the next fifteen weeks, I’m here, and so much that is important to me…is not.  In the grand scheme of things, four months isn't a very long time; that's certainly true.  But, you see: Rishi isn’t here.  My friends aren’t here (except for Teresa, of course, but there are other people, obviously.)  
My church isn’t here.  Union isn’t here.  My guitar isn’t here.

Sep 1, 2012

When can you come over again?

9:30 am: It's a quiet Saturday morning...and although the sky is decidedly overcast, the light in this warm living room is so soft that I don't mind.  This is the first day so far that I haven't had to be at campus in the morning for an orientation event, so I'm taking the chance to settle into the day.  Teresa and I are going to check out downtown Galway today...there's a farmer's market in Eyre Square (which is a transportation hub of sorts, analogous to Times Square) on the weekends, close to a church I'd like to scope out.  Oh, and speaking of churches, here are some photos of Galway Cathedral, a simply awe-inspiring church just off-campus:
This is what you see as soon as you walk through the doors.  It's a magnificent structure, really.