Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Next Life

It is hard for me to believe that is was just a few short weeks ago that I was walking down the cobblestones of Dame Lane, knocking over men's pints and being forgiven because I'm a woman.

Necessarily, it seems like a lifetime ago now. That's how it is with transitions. I'm living in converted barn which used to house migrant workers when the cherries were in season. This small town of Fish Creek is so definitively "American" it hurts my eyes sometimes. My eyes that were adjusted to the overcast beat-upon nature of Dublin.

Now all of this may seem somewhat flowery and hard to pin down, but it gets very real. I was diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency a couple of days ago, meaning that my very chemistry was changed by my sojourn above the 45th parallel.


This is all by way of saying, I had very good intentions to write about my week stranded in France and Germany at the hands of the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull Volcano (yes, I copied and pasted the name from Google), and my trip to the northern coast of County Donegal. However, I'm finding it difficult to submerge myself back in that universe and write a monster post about either of those things, so I have decided to reminisce anecdotally, which will be far more interesting for everybody involved. 


My cop-out takes the form of some pretty pictures: 









Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just sayin'

No, that last post didn't make sense to me either. Forgive me, english language. I am at your mercy.

The New Frontier Sucks

At some point during your preparation to study abroad, you are handed a piece of photocopied paper on which was a graph demonstrating the rise and fall of your hate/love for your new country. Typically, there is a honeymoon period, followed by hatred and frustration, then gradual acceptance and appreciation(Cobblestones are frickin' adorable, ouch cobblestones, cobblestones just old-fashioned cement).

The point is, right now, I'm in the "hatred and frustration" phase of my re-entry to 'Merica. It might have soemthing to do with the fact that my severe jetlag is coupled with a sinus infection, but I choose to believe that America simply SUCKS right now. Except for my friends and family, homecooked meals and water pressure.

My accidental vegetarianism is very confusing for me when I grew up eating steak and potatoes every night in this house. BBQ chicken just smells like heaven, but then I saw my brother ripping is apart with his hands and gnashing the flesh with his metal-reinforced teeth and I found my veggie-legs.

On the plus side, I can't really remember anything for longer than about thirty seconds, due to my brain automatically rewiring to think "Ow, my face hurts", so this entry will mercifully end now. Going to go buy some Bocaburgers at the Jewel, which I don't think I have ever done before. They will be all like, what Alice you're a vegetarian now, and I'll be like hell yeah I am, animals are people. But mostly I just really like bread.

This blog will be ending soon (Sorry, Mom), to be replaced my something else which will basically consist of hilarious anecdotes about annoying children at work who smash pizza dough into the table with incredible super-toddler strength.

Still need to write blog posts, however short, about my trip to Donegal(which was nothing short of amazing - in my top three of favorite all-time trips, and not just because I met a King and had nothing to say to him), and my epic journey home from Berlin via France and ferry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughts on a Sinking Ship

To start this off, I just observed a pair of tourists taking pictures of the front of my building. It was too cute, and also appropriate timing as I was having a moment of appreciative fondness for the cuteness that is Dublin.

On my way to get coffee today, my bus passed by the European Union offices on Dawson St., just down the street from Trinity. There was a pretty sizable demonstration going on outside protesting the bank bailouts in Greece. My taxi driver last night had some pretty strong opinions as well. He was saying, and I'm not informed enough about this to judge his opinion, that while Greece was being bailed out by the EU, Ireland had to save its own banks, and the working class people were taking on the brunt of the burden. He was also saying that its a double-standard to bail out the banks while there are thousands of homeowners drowning in debt from the mortgage crisis, and there was no effort to bail them out. He feels the Irish Dail is prioritizing the corporations over the working people.

One thing that I have noticed about Ireland, at least in Dublin as that is all I can speak to, is that everyone, from your barman to your taxi driver, is somewhat well-informed, and has an opinion, about what's going on in their government. I'd go as far to say that there is a far bigger tradition here of political engagement than there is in the US. Everyone has an opinion, however philosophical or out of touch with the realities of governing it might be. I find it refreshing.

Anywho, I seem to be finding myself at a point of transition. I'm leaving this gorgeous country in 13 days, which seems completely unfathomable. I've been coasting/racing through these past three weeks of exams, just wanting to get to a place where I can enjoy Ireland without stressing over political philosophy and Freudian determinism, that I am just realizing that after I take my last exam (Saturday), I'll have just over a week left here.

If I had been forced to return the states after last semester, I think I would have felt like I hadn't accomplished much, or hadn't taken advantage of my time here. I don't feel that way now. I've worked hard, played hard, and I'm kind of itching to move on to the next thing.

While I love Dublin, and Ireland, I feel like I'm just kind of waiting for my next adventure at this point. Namely, that would be moving to Door County and starting to waitress again. This year has been amazing, but I am happy to go home and spend time with family and friends before my last year at SLC (AHHH).

That said, I had an amazing day on Tuesday. I visited the Hugh Lane Gallery across the river, which has on display, in a very creepy orange-tinted side room, a reconstruction of Francis Bacon's studio. This is bizarre on many levels. I really do like Francis Bacon, but they made a lot of hay out of the fact that his studio had been gifted to them by his sole heir. This would have been cool if the studio has any special significance, other than what they seem to have concocted. On the walls were all these quotes from Bacon about how he couldn't paint anywhere else other than his studio, and that its filth made him feel creative. If anyone has ever had an artist friend, or visited a studio, this is a pretty common thing. The artistic mess? The studio itself was moved and rebuilt inside the gallery, with the visitor being able to stand inside this little three-walled glass box that was recessed into the room. There were also the original windows that could be seen through, and one could walk over the staircase (yes, over, it was covered in plexi-glass) - the gallery made a very big deal about the steepness of the staircase, and that it had a rope in place of a banister...cool? I, although it may just be me, just couldn't see what the big deal was. Inside the room was just a bunch of junk - old photos, hundreds of paintbrushes, and an old rusty circular mirror that, oh jeez, might have been designed by Bacon himself, given that circles were a big theme in his furniture designer days. How revolutionary.

Anyway, it seemed to be just a tourist attraction. Just a gimmick, which I think ended up making Bacon look very silly. Perhaps he was as self-involved as the juxtaposition of the quotes with a reconstruction of his junk piles made him out to be, but I'm sure that wasn't his intention when he bequeathed the space to his heir.

This has been a theme with many of the Irish art galleries I have visited - painfully overselling their mediocre collections, which just serves to make it awkwardly obvious that they don't have a lot to work with.

All this being said, I always love Jack Yeats, in any gallery, anywhere.

After this painful exercise of pretending I know what I'm talking about (Political Philosophy exam on the books for Saturday), I'm off to Donegal to take advantage of my last change to immerse myself in the breathtaking beauty of this place. One day will be spent climbing the Slieve League, which are supposedly the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Hopefully, I won't get blown off. Although, this seems to be a possibility as they warn against climbing the thing in misty conditions or if you have vertigo. I assume they warn against the trek if you are overly in-touch with your Freudian death-drive, as well. Har har
har.

Good afternoon, and good luck to me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Promise

I have to take six exams and write a paper, so I'm not doing this now, but I must write some sort of epic poem about my journey from Berlin to Dublin at the mercy of the volcanic ash cloud.

Recommence anxiety attack.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

If You Are Sane, DNR (Do Not Read)

Once I've bought the Redbull and consigned myself to a night of work (and perhaps the next morning, too), all motivation for my task goes out the window. Perhaps said motivation is given wings, as the Redbull commercial advertises?

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I remember this time a couple of terms ago, I wrote my 45 page conference paper in two nights (without any prescribed assistance, I might add). Now I find myself dreading the commencement of a simple seven page exercise in regurgitation.

Seven pages! I balk! Child's play, I say.

Hopefully, once these dreadful assignments are behind me, I shall be able to ruminate here on topics other than my procrastination and the loathing that it spawns. For now, however, my mother will just have to get a real time update on how her tuition money is being squandered.

My overall feeling of the day is that I hate the internet. As my main outlet for procrastinating, I have delved further into you, ye devil of technology, than I had ever wished to. You have stunted the sense of humour of our youth. No, I do not LOL, nor do I ROFL. Rather, I WFH (weep for humanity).

With the utmost hypocrisy, I challenge you to RAFB (read a fucking book).

That's enough for now.

P.S. An Irishman referred to "nite" as the "American spelling". Way to go, USA. We suck.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dublin Bucket List

I have yet to accomplish many of the things that have been on my Dublin To-See List since the very beginning. So, I preface this list with this: Yes, it is embarrassing that I have been here for so long and have yet to do these things, but I was caught up with other things like school... and drinking. Up until a short time ago, my time here seemed infinite - May was miles away. Well, now it's April. Bucket List Time.

1. Phoenix Park
2. Hugh Lane Gallery
3. Bray
4. Howth


This will obviously be added to in the coming days - Just had an itch to get this thing down on internet-paper.

To Berlin on Tuesday to see the fabulous Amanda Faraone. She is a blessed creature with whom I look forward to consuming viele Bieren.  Hopefully she'll be kind about my Deutsch.  And, come to think of it, my English.

Oh, I should probably work now. (Anybody up for some online Boggle?)


Update: Restaurants
Gruel
Queen of Tarts
That Burrito Joint That's Supposed to be "Legit" on Baggot St. 

Thinking About a Guinness?

Thinking About a Guinness?
Always.