And so the blogging begins! First thing’s first; yes, north of The Wall is a Game of Thrones reference. Maybe The Wall is the equator, maybe Australia’s borders are. Whatever. It works, okay? And yes, I am writing a blog about my UK university exchange. Mainly because I feel like there is so much that I want to tell everybody back home about it, yet I am restricted by my easily distracted brain and limited wi-fi. Also, it is a great way of keeping a journal for myself, except this one is on the internet, and I can attach photos. Lastly, in all honesty, it is showing off. I’m spending 5 months in Europe; I’m going to brag about it damn it. Come on guys.
So I said my goodbyes, packed preposterously heavy bags and jumped on the plane for a 26 hour transit to Dublin. My muscles are sore from bouncing around on trampolines the night before and my brain is numb. I think it finally hit me that I was on my own for 5 months. No parents, none of my friends, no comforts of home, no Pippin. I was skipping off into the complete unknown. So there it was: my freak out. Basically 20 hours of staring blankly at the screen in front of me, thinking of everything I wouldn’t have for the next 5 months. Let’s hope it was my only one. Thankfully, as we neared our destination the prospect of being in Ireland punched my anxiety in the face and I was able to feel some excitement.
Ah, Ireland. The Motherland. My first trip here and I am blown away after my first day. It’s so old and pretty and charming! The first landmark I stumble across is the Christ Church Cathedral, dating back to 1030 AD. No big deal, right? Australia’s first building is built nearly 800 years later. That’s pretty much the same.
I also visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness storehouse and Kilmainham Gaol. There was a lot of walking involved, as well as taking photos of half of the buildings I saw and underestimating the vigorous mist that is Irish rain. I looked like a drowned rat and my paper bag holding all my souvenirs had broken. This is one issue I have with this beautiful country- Ireland, why do you sell things to people in paper bags? Seriously, most of the stuff you buy gets given to you in a paper bag, in a country where water is falling from the sky almost constantly. It’s outrageous, and yes, more environmentally friendly. In all honesty though, that was not my first concern as I was carrying around a torn bag like a baby. A baby that, at any second, could finally rip at the bottom and leave me scrambling for all my stuff with no other way of carrying it home. Yeah, I feel like that was a pretty well crafted metaphor.
My hotel is right down the road from the Christ Church Cathedral, backs on to The Liffey and is in the Temple Bar region. It’s an amazing spot. Also, to get to my room I have to go up three flights of narrow stairs. Imagine the fun I had with all my luggage! The building is old, the window has no lock and at night you can hear every drunken tourist from the street below, but I’m still darn stoked. Because here I am in Dublin, awake at 6 am (stupid jet lag), watching the sunrise over the empty cobbled streets, listening to the sound of the seagulls flying over the river and contemplating my site-seeing route for the day. I may be tired, sore, quickly burning through my money and on my own, but god damn is this city one hell of a comfort to me.