The ocean is the same everywhere (but here they have Hobnobs)

Gaby Lemieux
June 11, 2022

Bobbing in the sea off the shore of Howth only five days after arriving is when I first realized, “Oh man, I’m really gonna miss it here when I have to go home." Stella, Jack, Declan, and I had hiked the cliffside and absorbed stunning views: the vibrant blue of the peninsula, screeching puffins perched percariously on the rocks, and a herd of amorous llamas enjoying each other’s company on the rolling green hills. We spontaneously decided to take a dip in the sea, capping off a perfect day.

I swim a lot in the Puget Sound, the ocean waters of the Pacific Northwest, which I consider my home. Swimming in the Irish Sea was a moment of what my Irish literature professor Stephen McMahon might called ‘resonance’, or a spectacular instance of universality. It was an experience that began to foster my feeling of belonging, and even though Stephen also advised us to live “on our tippy toes” and not make Dublin our new home, I really feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Especially when I’m on a sleepy DART ride home, smushed up with my friends, people I met less then two weeks ago who I already adore, with their salty hair and sunburned noses. 

Perhaps my feeling of belonging began even earlier. The first night I arrived here, after more than 24 hours of traveling, I slumped into the backseat of a cab and fell into conversation with John, my driver. John was eager for me to listen to classic Irish ballads, handing me his own cell phone so I could watch his favorite rendition of ‘Grace’ by The Dubliners, the tragic story of a couple married on the eve of the husband’s impending death. I was honored that he trusted a young, sweaty, exhausted American girl to hold onto his phone and that he wanted to share some Irish history with me. 

I’m meditating a lot on resonance, or the quality of being deep, full, and reverberating. I feel sort of exalted when I can’t hear the sound of my own voice in a rock bar like Fibber Magees, or when my new friends and I collapse back at Beckett House after miles of walking the city, or when I take the first bite of a full Irish breakfast. I have such gratitude for the people and the land of Ireland and I am so excited to learn and live and eat and dance some more. 

These are the good days and they are precious to me! I love Dublin! I love friendship! 

I feel like a brave genius because I knew coming here would make my already boundless heart expand even farther. I love proving myself right. Off we go!

Further highlights because it has been full on since day one: 

  • Chicken strips and a Guinness at Mema’s (my first meal in Dublin - divine) 
  • My first Celtic Myth and Irish Literature classes!
  • Lounging in the sun at St.Stephen’s Green
  • Playing smash or pass on the busts at Trinity Library (and appreciating the deep cultural and historical significance of the Book of Kells)
  • Dancing on Sandymount Beach
  • Finding a pair of outrageous black platform boots in the swap pile at Beckett House that make me sound like a slutty horse 
  • A family outing to the Dublin Zoo 
  • Attending an Irish Catholic Mass and being blessed and winked at by the priest 
  • Wine Wednesday
  • Movie night and watching American Pie for the first time ever (Why? Why here? Why now?) 
  • Going to the Irish Modern Art Museum and Declan explaining that the key to modern art is to just “close your eyes and….imagine.” 
  • Donna DeCesare’s lecture at the Gallery of Photography 
  • Hobnobs <3

Gaby Lemieux

<p>Hi, I'm Gaby and I'm here to tell you all about my summer in Dublin! I'm a writer, artist, and full-blown human being who was born once and now is walking the cobblestoned streets of Dublin with an eye for all things tasty, beautiful, gross, and enlightening. Originally from Portland, Oregon, I'm part amphibious and am anticipating fitting right in to Ireland's cool and damp climate. I'm passionate about unfolding the most out of an experience as possible- come along with me as I make mistakes, learn, grow, and eat a shepherd's pie or two.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home university:
University of Puget Sound
Hometown:
Portland, Oregon
Major:
English
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