I've been home for about three weeks now and my abroad experience seems like a distant day dream. I’ve settled back into the daily routine, adjusted to the lengthiness of transportation in America (all those highways that stretch from city to city), and I’ve been lost in my own thoughts more often than naught about the adventure I just completed.
I think the strangest part of going abroad was just how quickly the life that I had established in Dublin would slip away. Within an evening, I completed my final showcase at GSA, went to a traditional Irish restaurant for one last bit of “craic”, went home extremely late, packed up all of my belongings... No... All of the life that I had made into a carry on and suitcase. And, off I went. Before I knew it, was sitting on an AirCanada flight back to Florida for the holidays.
I left behind a transformative adventure. One that genuinely shaped me personally and academically. I feel like I’ve evolved into a more well-rounded, street smart, and responsible person. Dublin was truly the first chance I got to try my hand at “adulting”. It’s the small moments that made me realize I was capable of living independently to the utmost degree. I found no trouble in going on long walks in the evening alone, past pub after pub, in the evening’s glow of neon signs and statuesque buildings. I didn’t feel stressed out at the seagulls swooping under and over bridges, coming a little too close for comfort, everywhere I turned. And, most importantly, I actually loved being the one to pick up groceries for the apartment, just so we could make a delicious pesto-based pasta meal with a piece (or two… or three…) of Nutella toast for dessert.
All the little things aside, I became much more comfortable in my own skin living on my own. My studies at The GSA took that to an even deeper level. I got to grow as a performer in numerous ways that I would’ve never expected. The school challenges you emotionally, physically, and academically to do your best work, which is precisely what is expected of you when going into acting as a profession. In Dance, I learned how to shim-sham across shiny wooden floors and to count beats within a group of different dance abilities. I was taught by my acting teacher, in a really subtle way, that storytelling in the root of all performance. Every show is a story that is to be told (Thank you, Kristian Marken, for being the absolute best). I even ended up being quite disciplined in the teachings of Mime work! I know now that it is a special art form that can aid you in a greater art form. All of my classes ended up being subcategories of performance that I can utilize together to create my best work as an actress.
But, I know for a fact, that I grew the most as a person by simply living in the wonderful city of Dublin. Through every chance encounter with a new Dubliner, I became more informed about their special culture. I was inspired by the importance of oral storytelling in their city and beyond. I was fascinated by how much history (good and bad) was embedded in their daily lives; some forgiven, but never forgotten. It was the friendships that blossomed in Dublin that I will never forget.
So, here I am; in bed, recovering from getting my tonsils taken out. I wish I could travel about. I want to go here, there, and everywhere, but it almost seems impossible with the state I’m in. However, these memories of abroad can take me back to Dublin in a heart beat. I only have to remember the nights running about town with friends, the hot mashed potatoes and fish on the old porcelain plate, the witty comments made by newfound pub goers, and all the rest to take a journey through my own mind. I sift and sift through my subconscious and so forth for every lingering memory I can. And I realize now, that all of the times abroad were pure, absolute gold; speckles in the face of a big, wide world. A home away from home.
Slán Go Fóill, Dublin.
Slán Go Fóill, Ireland.
I love that Celtic saying. It means goodbye, but not really. The most accurate translation means, “So long for now”. And that is exactly the sentiment about that beautiful country that will always resonate with me. All my love and more to the Emerald Isle, itself.
I have some last, parting pictures of some highlights of my journey abroad. Some are from Dublin, some are from Ireland, in general. All are just plain, good memories. I hope you've enjoyed following me on my journey! Now, it's time to start your own!
This is a picture of me in front of the (then) freshly painted mural on the back of a pharamacy building right across from the Aparto-Binary Hub. The Binary Hub definitely holds a lot of memories: movie nights, pizza baking impromptus, laughter in someone's living room. But, I remember waking up and looking out my window to have seen such a plain building transformed within a night to a declaration of flower power and color. It was a lovely surprise, that's for sure.
This was a beautiful Irish breakfast that I had one morning with my friend, Reilly. Two sunny-side up eggs, a pile of toast, hash browns, and some traditional Irish bacon to start the morning off right. Sprinkled with some spinach? And I was all set to take on the day. Not to mention the "orange juice" that was actually just cocktail flavored orange juice in a cup that advertised a James Joyce stage adaptation of 'The Dead'. It's the little details in the breakfast that made it so charming. This is also near the Aparto-Binary Hub! It's called O'Rourkes! and is very affordable for all the food they give you.
I went to this beautiful salon called Style Club by Powerscourt (a fancy-schmancy complex for shopping and dining, or, window shopping and imaginary eating). I was getting my hair tested to see if I could get it bleached in Ireland, but they wouldn't take me. They're very particular about what products they use on people's hair (so if you also dye your hair, take note that they will be very picky to take you in). They're just professional and don't want to ruin your hair entirely, which I actually appreciated!
This is one of my best friends from GSA, Conrad! He is AMAZINGGG and I got this candid of him in a guitar store we stumbled upon on a whim with a group of GSA friends. Guitar model? I think yes. After this, we walked around Dublin, got some burritos (after searching and searching for a place that wasn't too crowded; the holiday rush had begun), and watched a rugby game out at Trinity College.
A funny little sign outside of Siopaella, a chain of really cute, trendy thrift stores around Dublin. I probably saw 4-5 different ones on various street corners, so keep an eye out if you want to snag a super beautiful, unique piece of clothing. If you want something even more affordable... Go to Lucy's Lounge! It's a pink building and in the basement of another thrift store. I found a beautiful gown that fit me like a glove for the GSA Winter Gala for only 10 EURO. Craziness, I know.
This is the stereotypical, but still-just-as-beautiful picture of The Temple Bar in Temple Bar. This area has some amazing good vibes and some great craic. I highly recommend going to get burgers at Bunsen Burger (which is right across the street from The Temple Bar) and maybe even a Kinder Bueno sundae at Cloud Nine/Temple Bar. You will NOT regret it.
A gorgeous picture of John's Lane Church on Thomas Street one evening. If you want a quiet place to pray, that maybe isn't as busy or populated as Christ Church... This is your place. And, even if you aren't the most religious, I highly recommend going to see the various churches and cathedrals around the city. They're so awe-inspiring and gorgeous to see.
I may have posted this on my blog post about The GSA. Even if I did, I want to post it again, because these people in 1B meant so much to me. I definitely made a ton of life long friends while studying with this group. So many fun times. So many jokes. So many great pieces of theatre from such talented, passionate people. 1B forever!
My beautiful friend, Leslie, basking in the cold winds of Killiney Beach (on a GSA field trip). We went to practice our Oscar Wilde scenes and improv by the sea. Definitely one of the best field trips I've ever been on.
Conrad and I posing on Killiney Beach in the style of 'Come and Go'. We can feel the rings...
My friend, Kevin, and I serving up some fierce glances on the beach that day. We let the wind do it's magic with our hair.
A really vibrant Oscar Wilde mural on an electrical box (that got a tad grafitti'd up), but hey... It's urban. And what's inside the gate behind this masterpiece? It's even more beautiful.
This is Merrion Square, a park that boasts beautiful statues, busts, and remembrances of Irish culture. They also have so many little paths to wander and foliage that could shade you on rare, sunshiney Dublin days. My favorite part of the park was the ode to Oscar Wilde (who I have fallen in love with since studying him at The GSA). He has a sprawled out romantic nature on this huge boulder. That pretty much sums up his writing and persona in one image.
Another view of Oscar Wilde's section of Merrion Square. A female form looks over a pedestal that has many of Wilde's greatest quotes engraved on it.
Outside of Dublin, my friend, Reilly, and I took a day trip to The Cliffs of Moher. It's definitely a must-see if you're looking for an easy day of taking a nature trek/hike and you want to see some breathtaking views. This picture was of the opposite side of The Cliffs. A castle stood silent on the very cliffs edge. So beautiful!
A candid picture of me at this pad of natural stone structures nearby The Cliffs of Moher... Forgot the name of it, but if you go on a trip to The Cliffs, I'm sure you'll stop here!
In regards to the pictures above: One weekend, a couple of American GSA friends got together with a GSA student from the midlands (Tullamore, to be exact) and we had a really fun day of riding in the back of a tractor (hay bales and all), past curious cows, ancient bogs, and ruined castles. We ended the night with hot winter drinks and a traditional Irish dinner prepared by her kind parents. It was really a relaxing day away from the city.
This is a picture of my connecting flight from Toronto to Orlando, going back home. Though my beautiful abroad experience had ended, I still had beautiful views like this to guide me home.
Again, thank you for joining me on my own, personal journey abroad in Dublin! I can't wait to see what future IES Abroad Correspondents have to say about their experiences in the city. :)
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<p>Hello all! My name is Francesca Mouery, but a lot of people call me 'Franny'. I am a rising Junior at Denison University, which is located in a quaint, historic town called Granville, OH. Though I go to school in a very Midwestern area, known for it's farmland and pleasantly cloudy days, I am originally from sunny Orlando, FL. Now, I am ready to journey on my next adventure to Dublin, Ireland to seek out an amazing education in conservatory-style performance and theatre making.</p>