by Josie Verchomin
High: I traveled the 2.5 hours to this beautiful city with my new friends, Maria, Julia, Kim, Audrey, and Jordan. We left in the wee hours of the morning, 5am. We got to Dublin around 8am and immediately embarked on our mission to find Avalon Hostel. Of course none of us knew where we were or where the hostel was in comparison to our location but that did not worry us in the least. After pulling up a map and orienting ourselves to ‘the liffey’ (the local name of big river that runs through the city) we found our way to our one night home. We of course were not supposed to check in until 2pm that day but the people at Avalon were so sweet they gave us security passes and let us rent one of their lockers for the day (which fit all our backpacks). They also said we could help ourselves to the free breakfast, which we did of course (one thing I have learned here is to attend anything and everything that has free food).
One of the best parts of traveling in a group is that we always feel safe because we never feel lonely. This allowed us the freedom to roam around Dublin with little stress. Without guidance we managed to see some of Dublin’s greatest sites by just wondering (of course luck did have some say in the events that went down).
Have you ever been walking along and realized that everyone around you is extremely well dressed, oddly arranged in groups, and weirdly following the direction of a random guy telling them to quickly walk this way or that way….? Well this is how we felt when we bumped into the filming of either a tv-show or commercial shooting on the streets of Dublin. We did our best to get into it but alas were asked to wait until they were in between shots.
The next lucky thing to happen was our run in with a street musician who sang and played the saxophone. His voice was rich, bluezy, and completely his own. We stopped and all chipped in a couple euros. We even danced a bit. When he was done with his song he asked us to wait. He said that together we had given him 10 euros, which was the amount he was selling his CDs for so he gave us one to share.
Next we happened upon Saint Stephans Green another remarkable landmark of Dublin City. There we took in the sun, made friends with the ducks and seagulls, and made our wishes into one of the fountains. Next we accidentally found four museums, all free, and in the national library museum an exhibit devoted to the work of W. B. Yeats. Yeats was a huge contributor to the Abby Theatre. Being a theatre major I was truly happy we happened upon this exhibit. After stopping for lunch we visiting Trinity college campus a beautiful site. We did not go into the historic library, for another time I guess. After we left campus we ran into a parade of protestors against the proposed water taxes. After which we roamed the famous Grafton Street. Within ten feet of turning onto the street we came across a street performer who promised comedy, fire juggling, and for his finale sword swallowing. We stayed for his entire act, which was hilarious and terrifying.
I have never felt luckier walking around a new city, and to top it all off I met up with a Smith Alumna Shannon O’Brian, and one of my current Smith friends Brady. It was a great comfort to meet up with them. In many ways our dinner together made me miss Smith but also made me realize I was in the right place.
Low: Week three I got really sick, not just runny nose little cough sick, but full on fever, could not hold a cup of water without it shaking, sick. This was definitely my low for this first month. The cold is still hanging on and I have a wonderfully loud cough in the evening because of it. However this low did bring about some good moments. I was able to check out the free clinic at my school, and the local Boots pharmacy! This low also brings me to my glitter.
Glitter: Ok this may be a bit cliché, but the friends I have made during this first month are my glitter. Embarking on this trip I was most nervous about feeling alone. I understood that I would be the only Smith Student studying in Galway this semester but it wasn’t until I was at my new home that I realized I truly did not know anyone here. I quickly realized that I was not alone in feeling that way. This realization came when Julia (now one of my flatmates) came to with the assistant landlord. There was a mix up in housing. Julia along with three of the four other women from Canisius College were placed in a four person flat when they were supposed to be in a flat that could accommodate all five of them. The were hoping that, at the very least two of them could room together in another flat while I moved in with the other three. I decided to meet the four that were here and immediately knew that I had a wonderful opportunity. I decided to move in with Julia, Maria, and Kim so that Audrey and Jordan could room together in my previous flat. I am incredibly happy with how this all worked out. Going back to how my low brings me to my glitter, well, when I got sick my flat mates helped me out. Julia made me tea, Maria walked me to the clinic, and most of all after only knowing each other for a few weeks they cared about me, and I can say the same.
I am a junior at Smith College studying at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) this spring. At Smith I am working towards a theatre major, psych minor and Native American and indigenous studies certificate. While in Ireland I hope to explore the culture, and history, as well as the local theatre life.