One Week.

Beatrice Gantzer
January 13, 2014

Well, I made it to Dublin! This is more surprising than you might think. Anxious about forgetting my passport or fumbling through security, I forgot to worry about the weather until my mom happened to check my flight status as I rounded up suitcases. It just so happened to be the day a massive winter storm hit the East Coast. Thousands of flights were canceled and it looked like I might arrive four days late, but after a few hours of pleading phone calls (turns out that even after 63 minutes of hideous hold music, the person on the other end of the phone can be astonishingly nice) I made it onto a plane, sat on the tarmac for four hours (level with me, United Air, were we really just deicing?) and arrived in Dublin to gale force wind.

The last week has been full of orientations, exploring the city (when they say bring comfortable shoes, they mean it), and get-to-know-you events with the other visiting students. A non-IES visiting student I met told me that her orientation program involved a special segment on the Irish custom of “slagging,” in which one must learn to take a joke. You might think this sounds straightforward, but the main difficulty with slagging isn’t that it stings but that you often don’t really notice it. For instance, at a cafe:

Hapless American Student: “Slice of cake, please. Do you make it here?”

Jovial Employee: “Yes, we do.”

Hapless American Student: “Wow, it looks really good.”

Jovial Employee: “We don’t actually make it here!” *erupts in laughter*

Or, in another case, when a group of kids were walking into a restaurant:

Jovial Employee: “Hang on, don’t use that door. That door is exit-only.”

Hapless American Students: “Oh, sorry about that.”

Jovial Employee: “It’s a door, of course you can walk through it!” *erupts in laughter*

See what I mean? When the joke revolves around cluelessness, newly-arrived students aren’t the most adept at playing along. Even in the face of our obliviousness, though, everyone we’ve encountered has been friendly. Speakers at welcome events keep warning us all that it’s hard to make friends with Irish students halfway through the year, but classes start this week and my roommates and I are ready for the challenge.

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Beatrice Gantzer

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Bea Gantzer, and I am a junior English major at Washington University in St. Louis. I&#39;m a distance runner, baker, and Minnesotan. This will be my first time out of the United States, and I look forward to experiencing a new culture, soaking up Dublin&#39;s rich history, and getting little-kid excited over seeing buildings older than the U.S. itself.</span></p>

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