Monday, January 26, 2009

I Miss Ireland

I posted this as a Facebook note back on January 6th, but I thought it would be appropriate to publish as a blog post too. Here you go:

I am SO incredibly homesick for Dublin. Yes, I am still in Alaska. No, I haven't even made it back to Vermont yet, which I also miss incredibly. I just flipped through pictures of our part of Dublin though and felt a lump swell up in my throat. I miss turning down Cumberland Road and looking up at the big red brick building with its golden letters reading "Lad Lane Apartments" beneath a cluster of vines.

I miss sitting outside on the short stone wall with Megan or Justin smoking a cigarette and wishing to hell it would stop gusting wind so we wouldn't be so chilly. I miss going in the doors and stopping to check the mailbox everyday even though I knew there'd be nothing in there but delivery menus. I miss being greeted by Rich the doorman and his cute little black lab, Heidi, even though Rich was a dirty guy and talked so fast with such a thick Dublin accent you could barely understand half the words he said anyway. I miss pushing the giant orange parking cone in front of the garage door so we could be let back in. I sort of miss being snuck up on by the musician guy from the fourth floor with the beard and glasses who played gigs every Wednesday and Friday night at O'Donaghues.

I miss 'Sal' in the elevator telling us when the doors would open and shut and which floor we were arriving at. I miss the horribly patterned carpet, identical on every floor, leading to the individual apartments. I miss constant chatter buzzing around in foreign languages and the friendliness of everyone passing who would at least say "hi" no matter how shy they might be. I miss walking into Room 508 which always smelled like food and plopping down on my little black leather sofa to watch TV, waste time on my laptop or take a nap. I miss that view.

God, how I miss that view. I miss waking up on occasion to a brilliant rainbow outside. Or hearing the sound of fireworks and cracking the window to sit on the ledge and watch. I miss running up or down the short staircase to the boys' rooms in 606 and 406 for help with my computer or opening a bottle of wine. I miss singing karaoke with the boys and getting beligerently drunk before even heading out to the pubs.

I miss going to 'quiz night' at the Barge every Wednesday with John Plummer and Justin trying to win 50 euros worth of Barge drinking tokens even though we would never know all of the answers.I miss walking along the canal. I miss passing the bench with the statue of a man sitting on it which never failed to creep me out, especially at night, or when someone sat down next to him. I miss the swans that always swam near the Barge Restaurant which was always so quaintly lit at night. I miss the tiny bridge across the canal just before the Maxol gas station with its car wash and price per litre sign which never made sense to me. I miss passing Starbucks and the Beshoff Bros. fish and chips cafe which was always so tempting and I always promised myself I would buy someday for lunch but never did. I miss rounding that corner around the pub and crossing the road one direction at a time. I miss the smells coming from the Milano pizza restaurant on the other corner. I miss shopping at Tesco with my reusable shopping bag for dinner every night. I miss Godfather's Pizza even.

I miss walking to campus every morning at 8:30am with all the business professionals. I miss watching the big blue and yellow double-decker buses whiz by. I miss going to the Kiosk (before 4pm of course!) and talking with the guy behind the register who recognized me every time I walked in and asked if I would like hot chocolate or coffee today with my sandwich? I miss making my way through bus passengers waiting on the front stoop of the academic center. I miss walking through the front hall and waving hello to Lilly every morning and sometimes poking my head in Stephen's office to say hello or to ask a quick question. I even sort of miss the little conference room where every single stinking class was held all semester. I miss the Fun Room upstairs with its giant bean bags, tiny brightly colored chairs and finally the big screen TV with Sky TV so we could keep up with the NFL!

I miss the catered events we hosted because I got to pretend like I was part of high brow society and made connections like I belonged there. I miss walking down Leeson Street towards St. Stephen's Green and passing Leggs Night Club and Sol Cafe. I miss coming home that way at night from The Palace night club and buying a slice of pizza from the two guys with their little vending kiosk. I miss stopping into the Bagel Factory in the morning for a plain bagel with cream cheese, cucumbers, sun dried tomatoes and pesto. I miss walking through the Green with it's plethora of statues, beautiful fountains and floral arrangements. I miss watching the people seated on the benches, or pushing strollers, or tossing a frisbee. I miss coming out through the archway and facing Grafton Street with the big shopping center up front and the giant glowing neon sign to the right illuminating "Captain America's" - the restaurant we unfortunately frequented so often at the beginning of our trip in light of the 3 euro pints and mixed drinks for students Monday through Wednesday.

I miss pushing my way through the Sunday shopping crowd trying to find a great deal on a new pair of shoes or a hot pair of jeans. I miss pretending like I wasn't snapping pictures of the street performers so I didn't have to pay them. I miss passing Trinity College and it's brilliant arcitecture. I miss the calming effect that the Old Parliament building had on me when I was lost and knew I'd finally made my way back to a place I knew.

I miss the giant globe marking the entrance to Temple Bar. Heck, I even miss the incredibly over-priced food and beer in Temple Bar. I miss the kebab shops full of drunk people early in the morning. I miss the palm tree bench. I miss walking along the Liffey and looking at all the bridges, day or night, they're always beautiful. I miss looking up O'Connell Street at the Spire in all its grandeur and feeling nervous every time I walked by it (go stand under it someday, you'll know what I mean!)

I just miss the feeling of the hustle and bustle of a European city. I miss looking around a place so far away from where I have always called home and realize how familiar I've become with it. I miss the people. I miss the music. I miss the pubs. I even miss all of the really bad dancing on all the dance floors at night clubs. I miss knowing that I made really amazing friends with people I may never have otherwise talked to. I loved how tight-knit we became and I miss that security. I'm nervous it'll never be the same between us. I just... really miss Dublin. I am so excited for everyone that is going to live there this semester. I will be living vicariously through their photos and blog entries until I can gather enough money in my bank account to make my own way back across the pond!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No Internet in the Apartment

Sorry I've been so lousy about updating recently. I've finally made it home to Burlington again and gotten all settled into my new apartment! Woo hoo! Unfortunately, we don't have internet hooked up so I am unable to get on here as frequently as I would like. This also means no pictures, but in the meantime I can fill you in on what I've been doing in the new year.

I've begun my first semester as a senior! I've gotten back into my paralegal courses, which I missed tremendously while I was in Dublin. They're going to be a lot of work, but that's what they always have been. I am also working for the Director of Champlain Abroad in the study abroad office. Basically I help recruit students to the Montreal and Dublin campuses, I attend planning sessions, study abroad fairs, and coming up on the 8th of February I'm obliged to go on the free bus trip to Montreal for the day. Darn! Haha, no I am super excited for it! I'm getting really excited for the day trip actually because I've recently begun considering another semester abroad in the fall in Montreal. Of course, it would depend on a lot of things financially right now, but as far as my course load is concerned I would still be on track for a December graduation! We'll see how everything turns out.

In other news I've landed (sort of) an internship with a family law and personal injury litigation firm downtown. I haven't started yet, but hopefully I will soon. It's unpaid, but I'm receiving classroom credit for it. My work here in the abroad office is also unpaid (sort of) but I'm receiving a $500 scholarship towards my tuition so that's helpful.

I'm still looking for a job to fill my time (and my pockets) on the weekends. There's a new brick oven pizza place opening in Williston that I walked into today and chatted with the owner. I'd like to find something a little sooner, but if push comes to shove I could wait out the opening.

Josh comes home in two weeks! It feels like it's been forever since I said goodbye to him doesn't it? I am SO excited :)

Anyway, off to my public speaking class! Will promise to keep you updated and *hopefully* will post some new pictures soon.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

A reflection on 2008

My cousin Andrea made a quick list in her blog of all the fun things she took her family to do over the past year and as I read it I wondered what my 2008 would look like in a paragraph. So here it is:

Made a gingerbread house, waited tables, visited Washington DC, road tripped down the east coast, visited Atlanta (and Andrea!), took a forensic science course, went ice skating, worked as a legal intern for a real estate firm, went to the Coca-Cola factory, moved into my first apartment, read book in a hammock on the front deck, went to a giant bonfire with great friends, became a senior in college, cut seven inches of my hair off, learned how to cook, watched fireworks while laying at the waterfront, cared for a little orange kitten, bought my first house plant, went to a country music festival alone in the pouring down rain, went to the drive ins for the first time, ate soft serve ice cream at the beach, met my amazing boyfriend, attended multiple Lake Monsters baseball games, turned 21, moved to Dublin for four months, went on a musical pub crawl, went to the zoo, visited a 17th century prison, visited Ireland’s west coast in Galway, sat on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, walked through ancient castles, visited the Guinness factory, learned how to take the train, bet money on greyhound races, voted in the presidential election via absentee ballot, went to Scotland for a weekend, visited my cousin when she came to Dublin, attended a catered event for the Vermont Senator at my campus, attended a party for the Senator at the United States Embassy to Ireland, visited Northern Ireland, wrote my name on the Belfast Peace Wall, stood inside a UK red phone booth, went to a Death Cab for Cutie concert in Paris, visited the Louvre and Notre Dame, got hustled in Milan, hiked the Bell Tower in Florence and saw the real Statue of David by Michelangelo, walked through the Coliseum in Rome, took my first 8.5 hour flight across the Atlantic (the first one was ‘only’ 6.5), and visited a giant snowman in Alaska

Can’t wait to see what 2009 will bring!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Here's To 2009!