Twelve Weeks in Dublin: Lists

– At the Bus Aras ticket office, they say they won’t give you a ticket if you don’t have your email print out, but they really will.

– It’s best to ignore the conversion rate between euros and dollars.

– A pint of Guinness can range from anywhere between €10 and €3,50, depending on how far from Temple Bar you are.

– You can go anywhere if you’re brave enough to buy a train ticket and a hostel room, and the internet makes both of those incredibly easy.

– If you’re running and you look like you’re dying, people walking on the sidewalk still won’t move out of your way.

– Student discounts are a beautiful thing.

– If you go somewhere and look like you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s okay. Nobody’s judging you, and if they are, ignore them. Nobody will always know what they’re doing everywhere, they’ll always feel unsure at least sometimes.

– You can go into nearly any pub/restaurant/cafe and get vegetarian soup and brown bread for about €4. When eating out, you walk into a restaurant and seat yourselves, and then go up to the bar to pay. And they will make anything vegetarian for you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to order the “ham panini without the ham, please,” and have the waitress laugh at me.

– The perfect travel attire is running shorts and running shoes and a rain jacket.

– NEVER ask someone for a ride.

– You can buy presents for everyone without stepping foot into Carroll’s.

– If you see a hill, climb it. Even in jeans or work clothes.

– Rain is not the end of the world, and it’s important to have a place to go with a noisy roof that you can sit under and listen to the rain crash.

– You don’t turn into brown bread if you eat it all summer :)

– Irish air is healthy. I can run farther than I ever have before, and I think it’s because of the air.

– There is exactly enough time in each day for things that are important to you.

– I spent the whole summer here and I still don’t understand totally what’s going on with the conflict with the North, and how people think of the Treaty and Michael Collins.

– It’s impossible to work when the sun is shining.

– To catch the bus, you have to throw your arm out. If you don’t, the bus won’t stop. Also, if you don’t have exact change for your bus fare, the bus driver will get grumpy.

– Cooking times for porridge depends on what kind of milk you use. Related: people in Ireland use whole milk almost exclusively.

– I need a job where I can talk to people all the time. The best part of my work here was the phone calls and client consultations.

– Sometimes, it’s important to not take pictures.

– Law is exactly right for me, and I want to be a lawyer . . . eventually.

– If you’re nice to someone, they’ll do anything they can to help you.

– Euro coins all look the same, and there are way too many of them.

– I’m a morning person.

– You can exist in Ireland and be fine even if you a) are a vegetarian b) don’t drink a whole lot and c) don’t swear.

– It is absolutely impossible to list all 50 states in one sitting. Impossible. Sarah, Stacy, and I all managed to forget the same state: Nebraska.

– Having thick skin and a sense of humor is crucial in everything.

– I don’t need as much sleep as I think I do.

– A prime lens is best for portrait photography (I have a 50mm and I’m obsessed), but impossible for landscapes. The best lens I found for photographing landscapes is an 18-270mm f/3.5-6.5 lens.

– I know what I’m doing.

– You’ll always feel welcomed by the Irish because they’ll always want to talk to you.

– It’s important to find a balance between getting too invested in work, and not being invested enough. Clients would come in and tell me their stories and I would have to maintain enough composure to take notes and fill out their forms and not give them a hug, but still retain enough humanity that I could put my hand on theirs and thank them, honestly, for talking to me, and realize that their words were a gift of trust. I wanted to feel it. There were times when a client would leave and I would need to just sit there and process what had just happened, but I needed to somehow sit up straight again and continue work. Balance is important.

– Boxing is the best Olympic sport.

– I can swim in any temperature of water.

– If you’re in rural western Ireland in a hugely Catholic household, you can’t talk for the minute immediately following 12pm after you hear the bells ring on the radio. This is called the Angelus and it’s a minute for prayer. If you do talk, especially about something mundane like eggs because you think it’s just an awkward silence, you will be glared at and most likely branded as a heathen.

– The only way to tell that you’ve crossed from the Republic into the North is that the dashed yellow line on the road turns into a solid white line, and the signs aren’t in Irish and English any more. Even still, the North feels like England.

– Irish and English humor is the best humor.

– People on the Aran Islands made soil by combining layers of crushed rock and seaweed for years until soil formed.

– If someone offers to pay for you, you have to argue with them about it for a good few minutes and try forcing the money upon them, but you ultimately always let them pay.

– It’s not the place, it’s the people.

– I have faith.

– Swimming in the rain in the Atlantic [Aran Islands]

– Conquering my fear of heights [Cork]

– Watching Katie Taylor win gold [Dublin]

– Learning to surf and eating meals cooked by my family [Kerry]

– Being the American stranger at a nightclub [Mayo]

– Learning to love my accent [Dublin]

– The first experience of travel and discovery alone [Bray]

– St. Kevin’s Cell [Glendalough]

– The Damien Dempsey concert [Aran Islands]

– The Old Library at Trinity [Dublin]

– Discovering the most perfect country road [Cork]

– Dancing at an 80s night club [Dublin]

– “Who’s Katie Taylor?” :) [Dublin]

– Lunchtime dates with the girls in work [Dublin]

– Seeing a sword swallower for the first time [Dublin]

– Seeing the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle (aka Cair Paravel) [Northern Ireland]

– Reading at St Stephen’s Green [Dublin]

– Seeing a real pub session [Galway]

– 99s [Kerry]

– Getting lost, and finding my way back again [Aran Islands]

– Running [Dublin]

– Making friends with a cat [Howth]

– The picnic we had at the People’s Park farmers market [Dun Laoghaire]

– Moonrise Kingdom [Dublin]

– Discovering Kopperberg pear cider [Cork]

– Seeing the Cliffs of Moher (aka the Cliffs of Insanity!) [Clare]

– Boggle and bananagrams [Kerry]

– Climbing Bray Head on accident [Bray]

– Things I’ve gotten to share with friends I’ve made: headphones, milkshakes, bus rides. [Dublin]

– The Lacuna [Dublin]

– Adventures with Sarah [Dublin, Cork, Galway, Aran Islands, Dun Laoghaire]

– Dublin vs. Mayo gaelic match [Dublin]

– Running in the St. James Hospital 6.5k fun run [Dublin]

– Pride Parade 2012 [Dublin]

– Swimming at the Connemara Beach [Galway]

– Feeling honest-to-God happy [Ireland]

Looking forward to:
– My birthday

– Halloween costumes

– Football games

– Pumpkin flavoured everything

– Trader Joes shopping

– Dream Project

– Sushi, bagels, and pancakes

– Nestling in to my new apartment

– Colorful leaves and brisk air and wind that sounds right

– Rain

– Cold-weather clothes

– Visiting my family

– Reunions with friends

– Applying for Teach for America and the Bonderman fellowship

– LSJ classes

– Starting new jobs

– A trip to Portland

– Photoshoots

– Movie nights

– Voting

– Graduation

– Finding my way back to Ireland

Thank you, everyone, for everything. Thank you for reading this silly little blog, thank you for commenting on my pictures, thank you for letters, thank you for sending your support and love 6,000 miles across the Atlantic. I could feel it. I had the most incredible summer, and I loved being able to share it. Thank you thank you thank you<3

“She said, I think I’ll go to Boston . . .”

Lots of love<3

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Eleven Weeks in Dublin

-It’s weird being away from home today, just like it was weird being away for the Fourth of July. I feel extra foreign today, just because the people around me aren’t weighed down by the date, like I know Americans are. I’ve been thinking about 09.11.01 all day. People in Ireland wouldn’t even say nine-eleven easily like we would, since they write the day the other way around. 9.11 looks like November ninth to them. I’ve been thinking a LOT about what it means to be American since I’ve been here, and how it weaves into my identity, but I’m not sure the thoughts are coherent enough to be distilled into words yet. I’ll just say this: I’m incredibly excited to vote.

-Also, just a point of clarification: this whole summer when I’ve been describing my observations of the Irish, I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable using the word “them.” But I’m not sure how else to say “9.11 looks like November ninth to them,” or things like that. As much as I’ve tried to integrate into Irish society, there’s a lot I’m still observing from the outside. So in saying “them” when referring to the Irish, I don’t mean to objectify them (gah I hate that word!) or turn them into foreigners to be observed. In international studies class, we call it “otherizing.” I don’t mean to, but it seems inevitable. It’s just the easiest way to convey my observations. (Sooo, is it obvious yet that I’m a social science student?)

-We’re not going to talk about the whole “only six days left” thing. I’m in complete, complete denial.

-On Saturday, I spent a tourist day in Dublin, going to visit the National Library, the art gallery, and St. Patrick’s cathedral, where I happened to wander into a women’s choir performance, and there was perfect streaky light through the windows. In the afternoon, Sarah and I went to see a play called Guerilla Days in Ireland, which was about the Cork rebels in the 1916 uprising and the war that happened afterwards. It was good to see a play again but it was really hard to follow, there were only four actors who kept changing roles and it was more narration rather than acting. We went out for dinner and ended up at the Pavilion, a bar that’s on Trinity’s campus, but nobody was actually in the bar, everyone was spilled out over the lawn in the sunshine. It was such a cool atmosphere, and I’m so glad to have met Sarah while I was here :)

-That night, I spent the night at Katie’s house so we could leave at 5:45am to go to Northern Ireland! We’d booked seats on a tour that brought us to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the coastal drive, the Giants Causeway, and Belfast. The best part of the day by far was the Giant’s Causeway. I had a blast hopping around taking pictures, and trying to figure out how it’s actually real. The Giant’s Causeway, along with the Aran Islands and Kerry, were on my “DO NOT MISS THIS OR ELSE” list for this summer, so I’m happy not only that I got to go, but that Katie went with me!

-The latest office adventure has been clearing out the storage room, basically. It’s not really a storage room, it’s an office, but there was tons of stuff in there that needed to clear about because one of the workers at Brophys was returning from maternity leave. (Also, can we please discuss how awful the American maternity leave system is? They get so much more time off here.) Anyway, Ruth and I had to move one of the file cabinets. Even though it was empty, we had to “walk” it down the hallway and it sounded like a giant or a monster or something clomping around. A client was due to show up just as we were crossing reception so we had to go double-time.

-Okay I said I wasn’t going to talk about this, but I leave in six days. I’m absolutely freaking out, but still . . . on the bus ride back from Belfast, I was daydreaming, and found my thoughts wandering to the election, and classes, and football games, and Dream Project, and Halloween, and what I want to do for my birthday, so maybe I’m subconsciously transitioning out of Ireland, and naturally back into college. As much as I wish time would stop, it can’t. It will continue, and I have to go as well. It’s natural to have the seasons change, and to go back to school. It’s natural to graduate eventually. It’s part of the pattern, and there’s no point agonizing over it. (I mean I’m going to anyway, but it’s progress, right?)

-This morning, I was eating breakfast at the kitchen table in work and a print out of a  High Court judgment was resting on the table. I’d researched the judgment for the Brophys blog but I was curious about the actual text that the judge had written, and found myself completely engrossed. I know I’m a complete dork, but it’s nice to get little unconscious reminders that yes, law is actually the perfect thing for me. (If anyone is even remotely interested, it’s this judgment: (And this is what I had to say about it:

Lots of love<3

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Ten Weeks in Dublin

-I fly to Boston two weeks from today. How is that possible?! Sarah leaves one week from today :( I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of the summer adventures. Time is going way too fast, make it stop!! But still, 14 days is loads of time. I’ve gone from walking around thinking, “I’m actually in Ireland!” to thinking, “I’m still in Ireland!” haha :)

-That being said, I miss my family, McKenna, Michael, and my friends at school so much. I’ve invited everyone to visit me at least once a week and nobody took me up on the offer. I mean, I know there’s this whole “expensive plane tickets” thing whatever, but I wish I could have brought everyone over with me. Now that I know I can travel alone, I don’t want to any more! I want people I love to come with me!

-Last week, Ruth and I undertook an Epic Feat of Daring involving me standing on the desk for 20 minutes trying to hang the blinds back up, and her directing me. They’d fallen down last month and scared us, but we wanted to put them back up, and the metal hangings almost bested us but never fear, we succeeded eventually!

-Kathryn Mill has shown up finally! I haven’t seen her since graduation but we’ve had fun together so far. Last week we went to Beweley’s, which is one of those must-visit-while-in-Dublin places, and last night we went to Croke Park, along with Kathryn’s friend Josh, for the all-Ireland semi-final gaelic football match, Dublin vs Mayo! Obviously we were supporting the Boys in Blue :) We grabbed our jerseys and found our seats, and somehow I managed to find us second-row seats which was unreal, to be so close to the pitch. 81,000 people were there and the noise was deafening. Mayo ended up winning which was a big upset because Dublin was the all-Ireland champion last year, and it would have been fun to celebrate with a win. Still though, the atmosphere was incredible and it was such a cool thing to get to experience. I’d wanted to go to a gaelic match since my first week and I expected they’d be sold out, but somehow I managed to find amazing tickets and we had a great time.

-Also this weekend I went to Kilmainham Gaol, finally! I’ve been trying to go since my first week when I got lost and ended up in Phoenix Park instead (umm . . .). Anyway, I loved it. It’s so interesting, and so hard to comprehend. It brought out the huge LSJ-dork that’s hiding in me, and it was really cool to recognize terms like “panopticon” and people like Bentham. Also, this gem was filmed there:

-My auntie Rose’s 70th birthday party was on Saturday, and it was great (and slightly overwhelming) to meet a whole bunch of family members. It’s such a cool thing to have happen while I’m here–how many study abroad students get to go to a family party while they’re away? I’m so glad I picked Ireland :)

-Here are some musicians I’ve fallen in love with this summer:

Ed Sheeran:,

Ryan O’Shaughnessy–Ruth’s second cousin!:;

Olly Murs, obviously (this is a stupid video but my new favorite song):;

the Coronas:;

and Lindsey Stirling (she’s American, but oh my goodness I just discovered her and I’m obsessed):

Also, obligatory mention of CAN’T WAIT FOR MUMFORD AND SONS’ NEW ALBUM OMG (sorry for yelling): Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait. Is it possible that it could be even better than their first one? I introduced Ruth to DMB today too :)

-I got a haircut today! A sweet, shy Asian guy cut my hair for 22 euro with just the instructions, “Make it shorter and add layers, please.” It’s the shortest and thinnest it’s been since I was fourteen (as McKenna reminded me via embarrassing old picture on facebook), but I think I like it. What better time to cut off half your hair than a life-changing summer abroad, right?

-When’s the soonest I can come back to Ireland? Anyone want to come over for Christmas with me?

Lots of love<3

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Nine Weeks in Dublin

-Apparently my English cousins have found my blog. Hi guys!

-I’ve been teased about this, but I don’t care. The first thing I want to eat when I get to Boston in September is an iced vanilla latte and a bagel from Starbucks.
-A group of other American interns and I went to the Tall Ships festival this weekend, and it was amazing. Over 50 massive ships were moored on the river Liffey over the weekend, and a huge festival was organized to welcome and celebrate them. There was a street fair, food, a concert, a carnival, street performers, artwork . . . everything. So many people came on Sunday that they had to shut it down early. After the festival on Saturday, we went dancing at Madonna’s, which is an 80s nightclub, and absolutely fantastic. 80s music is the best.
-Sunday was spent at the People’s Park Farmers Market in Dun Laoghaire, which was lovely. Sarah, Stacy (another intern!) and I had a picnic, where Sarah and I ate ciabatta, goat cheese, and pears, and it’s my new favorite thing to eat. Pears right now here are perfect. It was such a peaceful farmers market, and I loved being able to see the ocean easily.
-The “I’m going to miss this”‘s have started. How are there only three weeks left? It feels like years since I’ve been State-side. I’m so used to it here, and I have no idea how I’m going to feel when I land in Boston in exactly three weeks. I’m SO so so excited to see everyone, but as for the physical fact of being in America again . . . I don’t know! I’m expecting severe reverse culture shock, which I’ve never experienced before, so it should be interesting.
-Even though I’m not taking classes, I’m still getting credit for this internship. 12 credits total, which means about 25 pages of essays and 140 hours of work, minimum. But the credits mean that I can graduate on time, which is incredible. I have 7 credits to complete for LSJ and 5 for SIS, and while I have no idea what to write about yet for international studies, I picked my topic for LSJ, finally. I’ve decided to write about EU Treaty Rights, reverse discrimination, and the Zambrano (2011) case. EU Treaty Rights are the rights that citizens of the EU acquire automatically, because they’re citizens, but they have to be exercising those rights, which means they have to be exercising their right to free movement, and working. Reverse discrimination occurs sometimes, where EU nationals living in a member state that’s not their country of origin have not more rights, but rights that are more easily accessible, than EU nationals living in their country of origin. For example, an Italian national living and working in Ireland has his rights granted automatically, whereas an Irish person living and working in Ireland has to apply for those rights. The Zambrano case deals specifically with rights of parents who are not EU nationals but have an Irish or EU born child, and their rights to reside in the state. Basically, even if non EU parents whose child was born in Ireland are living in the state illegally, their child has the right to reside in Ireland, and the right to free movement, and the deportation of her parents would infringe upon her right to reside and freely move. I find it absolutely fascinating how the law all weaves in on itself, and the line of precedence that’s recently been woven around the Zambrano case. Plus, there’s not really an equivalent, that I’m aware of, of EU Treaty Rights in America. Maybe I’m wrong, I haven’t done too much research yet, but I’m excited to dive into it.
Lots of love<3
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Eight Weeks in Dublin

-Add this to the list of Ways to Terrify Your Intern: pile dishes haphazardly in the kitchen  cabinet so when she takes a break from working to make a cup of tea they come crashing down and shatter. I am now an expert clearer of glass shards.

-I told my eleven year old and thirteen year old cousins that I am currently obsessed with Olly Murs and this was the reaction from both boys: “Oh no, not him!” :)

-My uncle was born in America but has been living in Europe for ages, and we enjoyed being able to speak “American” to each other. Nobody else at the table knew what we meant when we said, “Ready, and BREAK!” but we did.

-Speaking of which, I’ve made peace with my accent. The way you talk is such an important part of who you are, and it was exhausting to be shy every time I spoke.

-Katie Taylor jokes have replaced Chuck Norris jokes here, and I love it. Think something along the lines of, “They named a street after Katie Taylor but they had to change it because NOBODY CROSSES KATIE TAYLOR.” Haha :)

-I will always need to call my dad when there’s an emergency, no matter how old I get, or how mature I feel, or how far away he is, or how expensive the call is, or even if it’s not really an emergency and I’m just stuck at a bus station in Killarney, which is not Cahersiveen, which is where I needed to go, and I don’t know what to do. He’ll always have the answers.

-My heart is in Kerry, always.

Lots of love<3

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Seven Weeks in Dublin

-I spent the weekend in Galway, on Inisheer (the smallest of the Aran Islands), and seeing the Cliffs of Moher. It was one of the highlights of my whole summer–there were so many incredible moments. Some of my favorites were swimming at a white sand beach, swimming in the rain on Inisheer, getting lost along the coast of the island, and going to see Damien Dempsey on the island with a few local boys that we met on the beach. I want to go back to Galway as soon as possible.

-The time difference between here and Seattle is my new #1 enemy. The fact that McKenna and my family are eight hours earlier than me sucks. A lot.

-Also speaking of Seattle, the public transportation in Ireland has made me realize exactly how awful the bus system in Seattle is.

-When Sarah and I were in Cork, we heard one of the workers at a hostel tell this story–I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’m going to choose to believe him because it’s awesome. Someone said they were checking in at the hostel for two people, and she held her two fingers up with the back of her hand facing him. He said that gesturing that way is the Irish way of flicking someone off, because in some war against some king, the king was afraid of the archers of the other side, and said that if he captured any archers, he’d cut off their pointer and middle fingers, so they couldn’t use their bows. The archers knew they were going to win when they went into battle, so before drawing their bows, they raised their hands in the air and pointed their pointer finger and middle finger at the king, to say, “Up yours, king!”

-Apparently this magical thing exists: a “life-proof” iphone case. If you have it, you can take pictures underwater. Having one is immediately necessary for me.

-When we were going out in Galway, we learned that “pre-gaming” is called “having prinks” by some girls in Ireland. How cute is that?! “Prinks” like pre-drinks. I love it.

-Some music news: As soon as I get home, new Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons albums will be released, and Olly Murs will break America. So exciting, BUT. Also as soon as I get home, the Civil Wars, Bon Iver, Owl City AND Postsecret are all coming to Dublin. -_-

-There are many skills that I will never master, and boiling eggs is one of them.

-Being here is making me less afraid to travel. Now I want to go to Vancouver and Portland and Missoula and stay in hostels and wander around, whereas before, I never thought I was able to do things like that. I will really, really miss being able to romp around Ireland though. These weekend adventures are the best. And I leave for Kerry tomorrow!!

-I’ve been told several times by Irish people that I have a nice accent, which is a good compliment but I think they are crazy because I just want to sound like them! Also, apparently in PS I Love You, Gerard Butler was putting on an Irish accent, and apparently it was so bad that the Irish were really offended. He had to issue a formal apology and everything.

-Katie Taylor won the gold medal! I ducked out of work for a few minutes to watch the match in the pub next door, and I have never been so nervous in my entire life. I’m surprised that I got so invested, but I badly, badly wanted her to win. It was such a close match, she was down a point after the second quarter, and everyone was shouting at the tv, “GO ON KATIE!” over and over. After the final quarter, Katie took her helmet off and mouthed to her dad/coach, “Is it me?” but it wasn’t immediately obvious who had won. Everyone was losing their minds. We looked at each other and realized that she actually might not win. My heart was beating out of my chest as I watched the boxers pace back and forth, waiting for the results. The referee grabbed their hands and the announcer shouted, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S LIGHTWEIGHT BOXING MATCH, AND THE NEW OLYMPIC CHAMPION, WITH A SCORE OF TEN TO EIGHT . . . KATIE TAYLOR!” And we leapt to our feet as she fell to her knees, and everyone cheered and shouted congratulations to her because we knew she could hear us, she could hear the whole country cheering for her. The importance of Katie Taylor winning this gold medal for Ireland cannot be emphasized enough. She’s a hero, and everyone loves her to pieces. She gave us something to hope for, and something to celebrate. She came home to Bray yesterday, and 20,000 people came along to welcome her. The newspapers this morning were plastered with pictures of her with tears in her eyes, bringing the medal home to share with everyone.

Lots of love<3

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A Weekend in Cork+Six Weeks in Dublin

One of the other IE3 interns that I met two weeks ago at the pub crawl is called Sarah. She and I got on well, and when I heard that she’d been planning on taking a solo trip to Cork last weekend, I invited myself along. I hadn’t planned on going to Cork, but in the end, I’m so glad I went along.

We took the train on Saturday morning, and I listened to my favourite four Olly Murs songs over and over as I watched the country blow past me. We hadn’t made a plan besides which hostels we were staying at, so we arrived in Cork and headed over to our first hostel. A sweet heavyset woman greeted us at the door, showed us our room, and loaded us down with maps and information and good cheer. We decided to head to Blarney Castle straight away, and spent the bus ride chatting about our internships.
Seeing the castle was amazing—it’s interesting, but nearly impossible for me to imagine actually living there. The kitchen was up something like eighty stairs, can you imagine? And the steps were so narrow! We made it to the top and stared in awe at the view before kissing the famed Blarney Stone, and now we’re each much more eloquent. J After that we strolled around downtown, including a brief turn around the English Market, before heading back to the hostel to change into pjs and watch the Olympics with the other young travellers that were staying there with us.

We had planned to spend a while longer on Sunday walking around the English Market, but we planned badly and it was closed for Sunday and Monday, a bank holiday. So we took a bus 45 minutes south to Kinsale, which is the cutest Irish town we’ve come across. We spent the day walking around the edge of the water, and then walking up and down the streets, going into each one that struck our fancy. We fell in love with a golden colored dog named Robbie, discovered the most spectacular view of our life, ate fish’n’chips, and found a little café that sold books, where we had coffee and a cupcake. I found a gorgeous Irish love story that I bought for four euro. We headed back to Cork City on the last bus and found a pub where we watched the Olympics again.

Our train home on Monday was at 3:30, so we woke up semi-early and went to Cork City Gaol, which hasn’t had any prisoners since 1923, and is now a monument/museum. An audio tour guided us around the old cells and some of the information was really hard for me. It was very heavy—but still cool, to see history spread out before me. We walked all the way there to save on bus fare, and we wound through the neighborhoods on our way home to explore a little further, ending up at St. Ann’s cathedral, where the famous Shandon Bells are, but we didn’t want to pay to ring them. Our last activity of the day was finding a sports bar where we could watch the quarterfinal boxing match between Ireland’s Katie Taylor and a British boxer.

A word on Katie Taylor: she’s the reigning world champion for women’s boxing, and according to all the announcers, she’s the reason that women’s boxing is in the Olympics. I don’t know anything about boxing—it was a struggle to even get me to watch Cinderella Man, which I ended up loving. But it is so exciting that she’s doing so well in the Olympics. She’s Ireland’s best hope at a gold medal, and everyone is showing her so much support. Sarah and I got to the sports bar about an hour before the match because we couldn’t walk anymore, and the only other people in there were there old guys drinking dark, dark beer at the bar. We munched our sandwiches quietly, watching the women’s sailing, when one of the older guys starts giving out to the bartender about us. He loudly complains, “If you like the Olympics, there’s nothing left in your head,” “Fecking Olympics,” and “Those girls only paid three euro for their food and they can watch whatever they want, and I paid more and I’m sitting here watching the fecking Olympics.” We ignored him as he got louder and louder, and I’m glad we got to observe such a fine specimen of Cork men <–sarcasm. As the time for the match got nearer, more people joined us watching, until there were well over two dozen people with their eyes trained on the screen.

All conversation stopped as soon as the match began, and every so often, people would say, “Go on, Katie,” as either a cheer or a prayer, depending on how she was doing. That’s all anyone said, “Go on, Katie,” over and over. Everyone cheered when she won. There’s a poster on one of the buildings that I pass every afternoon on the way home, that says, “Only the strongest shoulders can carry the hopes of a nation. Proud to support Katie Taylor.” I’m proud to support. :) She won the semi-finals today—Katie and I took a late lunch so we could watch, and the final is tomorrow! I hope she wins!! I never imagined that boxing would be my favorite Olympic sport . . . haha.

Yesterday marked halfway through my time in Ireland. I don’t know how to feel! I LOVE being here and I’ll be so sad to leave, but there’s also lots of love waiting for me back in the States. Here are six weeks in Dublin thoughts:

-I miss Trader Joes so much. If you live near one, please go and buy TJs food immediately, and think of me. But I’m already trying to figure out how to bring home enough tea, porridge, brown bread, chocolate, ice cream, and milk to last me until I get to travel to Ireland again. Any suggestions?

-I’ve seen a few more signs for “Probably the best . . . in Dublin,” so I think that’s just Ireland’s humble way of saying, “THE BEST . . . IN SEATTLE,” or “AMERICA’S BEST . . .”

-Sarah had a genius idea when we were watching the Olympics last weekend. She suggested that they do a feature where they take someone ordinary, like me, and make them swim the freestyle next to Michael Phelps, or someone like her and have then run a 100m sprint next to all the female runners. I think it’s hard, sometimes, to remember that the Olympians are truly extraordinary athletes, because you’re watching them compete against more extraordinary athletes! Watching me swim next to Michael Phelps would provide a hilarious reminder of just how amazing he is.

-I like the tradition of calling on people. Edward and Ann dropped by last night just to say hi, and I love that. At school, everyone always needs to be doing something. When you hang out, there has to be a plan, and a reason to hang out. It seems hard to get together just to chat. I don’t talk to people enough at school, and I’d like to fix that. I hope all this practice in being brave and talking to people here will translate into being brave and making friends at school.

-When I was in Belmullet, I was told that I had American teeth, and American hair. ?

-Also when I was in Belmullet, I realized how completely I don’t understand Irish sarcasm. Irish humor is incredible, but the sarcasm is beyond me. One of Shane’s brothers made a flippant comment, saying, “America is deadly,” and I got all huffy and said, “It is NOT!” before he explained that the Irish say “deadly” (also “savage”) to mean “awesome.” . . . Oh.


Lots of love<3

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