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September 3, 2017

Whether you’re reading this as someone considering going abroad, or from any other perspective, welcome! I’m Miranda, but I also go by the name J.M., and I’m a writing student. There’s a lot I don’t know yet so I’ll share whatever I learn the next few months.

 

Study abroad is something I’ve spent a long time deliberating over, and I’m already happy I stopped throwing around what-ifs and decided to go. As a writer and as a person, I think this will change me a lot, when I let it; that’s scary, but also could be really good. And I think, for the ways of thinking I’d like to keep, that if they work then they’ll last a temporary leave from some of the things I’ve used to define myself so far. I spent a lot of college so far building up a self that I could like - a co-chair of the fencing club, an activist, a part of specific friend groups, a student journalist and then news intern.  I think it’s good to know I’m still me regardless of whatever responsibilities or career stepping-stones or friends I have. I’m going to focus on learning and on making stories, and not much else.

 

I’m working towards a career as a journalist as well as a fiction writer, but this is the first chance in a while I’ve had to work on fiction a lot as part of my academic work with the exception of animation. I’ve been more focused on nonfiction for a while, including for the science writing internship I’m doing this summer. I’m a bit nervous to have more people besides my friends reading my fiction again (with the exception of one very short story i published in a school magazine this past spring).

 

I really want to work on fantasy and science fiction as well as realistic fiction. I don’t know how that’s going to go in this program, but I’ll adapt however it is.

I love genre fiction so much partly because there are true things that can be said more clearly alongside “one impossible thing,” (which is the limit one of my favorite authors said she sets for herself when worldbuilding sci-fi and fantasy). When everything is written only as it literally is, buried things can sometimes stay buried. Digging things up can be helpful, and besides that it’s also fun.

 

When I think of this trip it feels like I’m about to float off the ground even without an airplane. As much as I love some things about my home school and New York City, and as much as I’ll miss my friends, I don’t have much room for sadness. I’m leaving a lot behind for now and I don’t know that I’ll miss it much. I’m not bringing clothes I don’t wear often, or books I haven’t had time to read, or the iron and ironing board I never bothered to use yet, or my broken umbrella. Although I will miss my guitar.  And while it wasn’t a primary reason I chose to abroad, it’s become increasingly tense to be in the US. Particularly with the political climate as it is now, going abroad feels like an escape. (As much as I know - and hope - it will also be a challenge.) I live a bit outside New York, in a place where I stick out as a trans person almost as much as I did in my hometown before college, and street harassment (and getting followed, and people throwing eggs and rocks at my friends, and so on) gets old fast. Maybe it’s no safer in Ireland but I think it’ll at least be different.

 

Past that, though, I’m excited to explore somewhere new, not just get a break from somewhere else. That’s important, I think; I’m going to Dublin to learn, and that includes outside of the classroom. I hope I can find places related to Ireland’s mythology, even if according to that mythology I should also be pretty careful around things like fairy hills. And there’s going to be a lot more visible of history than I’m used to. I want to draw as many old buildings as I can. And, maybe most importantly, I want to meet people with different experiences. So even though I’m not the most talkative person, I’ll try to make an effort to get to know other people in the study abroad program, at Trinity College in general, and if I can, outside of school. As long as I can still find writing and homework time of course.

 

Whether I’m with people or not, though, there should be a lot to explore. Starting, I think, with any used bookstores I can find. I also plan to get out of the city some weekends to go running and hiking.  I’ll try and post any good photos I can get of what things look like outside the city, as well as within it, and some drawings.  

 

And hopefully I’ll have a lot to share about Ireland, and less of my own speculation, for my next blog post!

 

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