What a first week it’s been! It’s been largely getting settled, but Champlain has given us plenty of opportunities already to immerse ourselves in this new culture. So far I am definitely in the honeymoon phase of getting settled, and I definitely look like a tourist: eyes looking up at all the new buildings, asking locals for directions, and just generally looking like an American.
My roommates and I have adjusted pretty well to the time difference of five hours, and it sure as hell beats the 12 hour difference from when I went to China in 2012. Ian, Melissa, Danielle, and Jacob seem to be on the same page for a lot of stuff and we’ve already been out for food and pints of Guinness together. The apartments are super modern, which I personally love, although I’ve already slipped up and said, “why do the ovens only go up to 200?” Followed by a face palm and, “Celsius, ya eejit!”
The walk to our academic center is about a 25-minute walk, taking us near St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. Speaking of which, I’ve never been as close to seagulls and swans as I have in the park there. They just chill out and walk next to you like it’s nothing. That shot of the seagull you see was taken at 35mm, uncropped (so super-duper close).
So far, the food here has been stellar, and the price to get food is far more reasonable. Two weeks-worth of food only ran me about 55€, and I’ve cooked some pretty good meals so far. But best of all, the company I’m around is fantastic. I’ve made some great friends already, and our program directors are awesome people as well. I may not be used to walking anything more than five minutes, but these folks make it worthwhile.
A couple of highlights from the week: Church Restaurant. Wow. The food was phenomenal, and the beers I had—Five Lamps and Liberties—were equally as good. The restaurant has quite a bit of history to it, and the setting is just amazing as well. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!
The highlight of the week for me was definitely hopping on my first train ride in about 15 years to head down to Bray near the coast. This was my first time away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin and to experience just a sliver of what coastal Ireland is like. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a small village with a beach going along the side of it, and I honestly was just left speechless. Seeing the cliffs, the hills, the fields, the architecture, the sand…it was just unbelievable for this uncultured dude from Burlington. All of my senses were just on absolute overdrive, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had to date. I definitely intend on village hopping as far as the trains will take me as soon as possible to have that feeling again.
That’s about it for the week! Plenty of fun was had in the evenings as well, and it is crazy to see how alive the city becomes on the weekends compared to weekdays. Can’t wait to share more about what is going on here in Dublin!