Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Culture Shock-o-rama

So I’m on the first leg of my 12 hour flight… I don’t think it has really sunk in yet, but I’m getting there. My ass is numb from sitting here for so long, and I am trapped next to the window and won’t go pee because I feel guilty having to climb over the two gentlemen to my left. At least the airline fed us some fruit. Thank God for iPods and neck pillows. Last night was a barrage of feelings… sadness (to leave my loves), excitement (I’m going to Dublin for 2 months to work with an amazing arts organization and travel like mad), anxiety (I have public transportation anxiety and fear of being lost), and immense gratitude (does this one need explaining?)
I was so blessed to have my wonderful cohort member Lydia host a fabulous going away party for me, and thank you so much again to everyone who came as well as sent their well wishes. I will truly miss you this summer, and am so glad that you have good instructors… I feel slightly less guilty now J
Day One:
Off the horrendously long plane ride. We’re all haggard and running on very little sleep, and its 6:55 am in Dublin. The first thing I see after I get through customs is a giant display of Jameson (including all the different bottles). Down the escalator, more Jameson. Try to exchange all my American coins, they shake their head at me. Into my suitcase pocket it goes. All my luggage made it through in one piece, thank God. Wait 1 hour for the bus to take us to the apartments. Get to the apartments. Decide I’m probably going to get another tattoo while I’m here…. Because I’m so freaking lucky, I’m Irish, and I can. Walk into the bathroom of my apartment and there is no shower, just a shower head on the wall with a fold-down chair attached to the wall next to it. The toilet is padded and has side rails. I realize I got the handicapped room. Sweet roommate Colleen so graciously switches with me so I can have shower walls. EXHAUSTED. Go buy toilet paper and lunch. Unpack. First orientation: walk to bus stops, local shopping center and grocery store, Dublin City University (with the most incredible, green, giant expansive rolling hills-filled park I have ever seen), a beautiful stone building with bright purple rows of flowers and a giant blue door, the pharmacy and health center, and back to the apartments. Go to shopping center to buy bath towels and hangers and pound some juice. Back to apartment, hook up internet, take shower, PASS OUT.
Day Two:
Up at 4 am. Sleep schedule still adapting obviously. Having fun spending money that looks like it came from a fancy board game. Looking up tattoo parlors. Will also buy a new nose ring. Planning weekend trips to the Galway Arts Festival, Amsterdam, England, Stonehenge. There are no plug ins in the bathrooms. Second orientation today at the National College of Ireland, and then meeting with the head of the Education department at the National College of Art & Design. Hooray! Feet are killing us all from yesterday, going hunting for a massage parlor. Nutella and bananas for breakfast, yoga afterwards…. And off I go into my second day! Was a big culture shock yesterday… but its already getting better. And so the adventure begins….

Much love and gratitude,
Emily Jo