Week one in Ireland.
My trip to Dublin was as uneventful as I could ask for. The night before going to sleep, I check my email, because I compulsively do so every hour—I know, it’s a problem. But thanks to it, I found out that my flight connecting to Washington—or was it Dublin?—was canceled. Instead, I was to take an additional connecting flight and board my intercontinental flight with a 30 minute layover. I freaked out, and with reason. I missed the flight due to delays, but I was lucky that another flight was leaving that same night.
I made it to Dublin on 2 hours of sleep, with back and neck pain, and a single meal in 24 hours. It just so happened that my flights and layovers were short enough that I could never sit down long enough to eat a meal. Despite all this, the view from over the clouds was breathtaking and I couldn’t help but feel at peace.
On the way from the airport, I took the taxi. The driver was an extremely friendly man. Through him I found out about Garth Brooks, a country singer I had never heard about going on a tour around Europe. Writing now, on Monday night, this weekend was full of people from all over walking around on cowboy hats and boots. Probably the biggest culture shock since getting to Ireland from Texas.
The rest of the week was uneventful. I had feared orientation would be like freshman year orientation, where we would be kept busy until we started classes. It was nothing of that sort. We were given a considerably open schedule for the remainder of the week to adjust and recover. This allowed time for me and one of my flatmates to explore the city and its shops, how to move around the town on the bus, the Luas, and DART.
Here is what I learned from this first week. Get your Leap Card ASAP and mindful packing.
To take either the bus, the Luas, or DART—latter two being trains—you need a Leap Card to pay. Getting one is easy enough at almost any Spar shop. However, as a student, we want either a young adult (19-23yrs old) or student card (24+ yrs old). To get one of these, we have to apply online and they have to get approved, then shipped to your Irish address. Apply as soon as you get here, they are half the price of a regular Leap Card. I say all of this, because I was extremely confused as to what the difference was and how to get each card.
Now, moving on to mindful packing. By that, I truly mean, don’t overthink it too much. Everybody said pack light, to pack half of what I would take. Turns out it was exactly that advice that threw me off. Yes, you want space in your luggage for the things you want to bring back. But in my stress to pack light, I overcompensated and did not bring enough. I brought no clothes to go out with, not enough sweaters, and only one pair of shoes. And let me tell you. As someone with flat feet, getting good shoes is expensive.
All to say. It’s an expensive first week for me. But now I know, and you do too.
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The first time I met one of my best friends, she thought I hated her. I was just busy thinking of things we could have in common to continue the conversation. Since then, I have gotten better at the talking part. I'm not sure I've gotten better at the friendlier appearance part. Just know that I'm always excited to meet someone new!