The last week has been a whirlwind of exhaustion, potato-based bliss, new slang, and the shocks of my life. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Before I left home, I said little goodbyes to each of my cats Honey, Snowball, and Tiger, as well as my room, and to the idea of no longer being 20 years old. I wanted to quietly say these goodbyes with no eyes watching, so I could begin to teach my mind I’m capable of letting go. I can leave. I can venture. I’ll be okay. So under my rainbow twinkle lights, in my glowing pack rat room, I said a silent ‘see you later.’
- I hate saying goodbye to my dad. Once my bags were checked and I was sufficiently uptight, we had to say a few words before dashing through security. I felt scrambled and childish. Once I started to cry I tried to explain: “It’s only anxiety, I know I’ll be fine.” And so my dad just chuckled and stood waving till I was out of sight.
- My roommates are lovely. Maggie’s from the Bay Area and goes to Purdue. Hannah’s from Chicago and goes to the University of Iowa. Kate’s from New York City and goes to school just an hour away from me at Boston University.
- Guinness tastes like coffee to me. But only slightly. It’s delicious.
- Jet lag doesn’t just make you tired, it makes you nauseous.
- The city may be Irish, but the culture is international. George Bernard Shaw’s has the best Italian coffee by native Italians.
- According to some of my Irish professors, I have a “french face.” Have yet to figure out what that implies.
- When bonding with new friends, if you get them to say “I can’t believe I’m telling you this!” you’re doing it right.
- “Um” becomes “Em” in an Irish accent. “Top it up,” means add on. “That’s not on,” means that’s not okay.
- And this is the big one:
As Americans of course we know that fries become “chips” and chips become “crisps,” but there’s much more. “Jelly Belly” is not something you want to be called. “Craic” may be pronounced the same as “crack” but it’s a word for spirit and fun, whether used as a verb, noun, or adjective. To hear about Good Craic is great a sign as any.
But all drug jokes aside, we all had quite a shock yesterday. On the very first day of classes, as the other seven acting students and I opened the door to our new school, two of the girls witnessed junkies shooting up heroin just feet away. And that’s the image that sank into our bones as we began orientation. Up until this very point, gratitude overwhelmed me. How could I have ended up with so many amazing people in such a beautiful, safe, adventure-filled place? How could this be my new life? But that began to fade. Through class we discussed the sense of place, the feeling of home. But all I could think was that I would never feel safe here again. What if this couldn’t become another home for me?
A few days ago, when talking to my new friend David, he asked me “What’s your biggest fear about being here this semester?” It stumped me a little.
“If I’m being completely honest back home my friends really take care of me. They support me in a way that I can’t always do on my own, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to take care of myself the way I need to here.” His immediate response?
“Well, I’ll take care of you.” And you know what? I believe him. I trust my friends. I trust my gut.
So here’s what I’ve concluded from my new teachings: in the land of luck, I’ve seemed to have found much.
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<p>I was once told that acting is professional lying. But in my work and in my art I'm constantly reminded that we're all looking for truth, whether that be the simple truth of a friend's laughter or the truth of a moment in time. And that's why I'm here, to find a little bit more. I'm sure I'll come across something.</p>