First of all, jetlag is a drag, friends. After travelling for many years with at least one other person to motivate me through this stage, I am finding it very difficult to force myself to stay up past 5pm.
Scene: 12:30 (Must use the 24 hour clock now). Students start to pour into the common room of the Abbey Court Hostel, awaiting the 2:30 check-in time with exhausted eagerness. I pass out for an hour in a couch, and wake up about thirty 20-30 somethings sprawled out on various surfaces throughout the common room, obviously suffering from the same illness as I. I.E. It's four in the morning in my body!
However, I can’t be too disappointed in myself. No, my day was not jam-packed with activity, but I completed a fair amount of “holy-shit-i’m-in-dublin”. Did not take any pictures, did not do any strictly tourist activities, but rather simply let myself acclimate to the surroundings. I’ve found that if you try to absorb a city too quickly, before you are mentally prepared, you end up with a general feeling of a place, rather than specific memories. I generally feeled Dublin out today, but made some memories as well. It’s only my first day, and already so much has happened.
Darkey Kelley’s, the bar I had dinner in, has a propritier named George who’s son is studying at Trinity as well. He asked Chicago was indeed windy, to which I responded “why, yes, we do talk a lot”. I think my response might have been lost in translation.
This evening, while I was reading my orientation packet on the bank of the River Liffey, I met a man named Nelson. He asked me for a lighter for his cigarette and proceeded to ask me many questions about myself, and my goals in life. His personal philosophy is to always pick the positive route in life - that’s how you reach your goals. Dublin, he says, is filled with negative, a city full of sin. It’s always easier to choose the shiny (or in his words ‘golden’) negative path, but that will get you nowhere. He appreciated my study of philsophy, saying that asking questions is the only way you could get answers. Born in Africa to a mother from Madagascar and a Camroonian father, Nelson (or Emmanuel as he later asked me to call him) had lived in both the States and in Europe.
He described his love of survival - that’s why he chooses to live in cities like New York and Dublin, where he believes daily life to be a fight for survival. He feels it makes him appreciate his life more. I don’t know if that is the life I will choose, but I can say for sure that I admire it. Surviving by choice, not by force of circumstance, is the path of a person strongly committed to their beliefs, not just in theory, but in reality.
Emmanuel asked me to accompany him to some birthday party at an undisclosed location that was in need of fresh blood, but the savvy traveler in me took that as a cue to say my goodbyes. Although I know I made the smart decision, I’m disappointed I won’t get to hear more about his philosophy and how he is living it.
I always admire people who can share so much of themselves with some random person on a park bench, and so eloquently. Emmanuel has no idea who I am, but I have a blurry picture of his outlook on life from that five minutes on the side of the river.
Scene: The Negative Path. 1500. Outside a young adult club behind my hostel on Abbey Road. Five or six young teenagers loitering on a stoop laughing and chatting with a member of the Gardai (Irish Police Force), while their friend is passed out on top of herself precariously balanced near a pool of her own vomit. The Gardai is laughing along with the kids, barely glancing at the girl. This strikes me as extremely disturbing, but in actuality, it could be a quite positive moment. Maybe progress has been made in creating a more productive relationship between the Law and the Youth? I'm sure I will discover a more concrete answer soon. Again, I'd like to reiterate that it was 3pm. Perhaps I like the fact that the drinking age is 21 in the States, so I don't have to see my friends little brothers and sisters passed out on the stoop of the Woodlawn Tap at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Cheers for now!