My first two days, fruit and an important discovery

My flights to Dublin this year were all trouble free, a definite plus.  But I couldn’t help noticing how uncomfortable coach is compared with my first and business class experiences last year.  Besides being unable to sleep a wink, the breakfast served was a pitiful croissant roll and yogurt.

But, oh well, I made it.  After standing in line at customs for a long time (two big flights were being serviced at the same time), I was finally in Dublin!  I caught a bus that stops in front of the University College Dublin where I’m staying.  But, reminiscent of my bad luck with the {heavy suit case + long walk from bus stop = sore shoulders} formula from last year, I had to drag my bag about half a mile to get to my room, which I had a hard time finding.  A kind student named Gwen, who is working on campus this summer, came along about 3/4 through my trudge and offered to help me with my bags, which lifted my spirits so much!  Before I left home, I was pretty proud of how I had cut down on the amount of stuff I was bringing; on this hike, I was less so.  I decided that in the future, I’ll pack the bare minimum I can get away with.  I also kept thinking that I should throw some of my stuff away before the trip home.

I left my luggage in Roebuck Hall (where my room is) and caught the bus into City Centre, about 4 miles away and roamed around for a while admiring the charm of the city, and finally ending up at Christ Church Cathedral, built in the 11th century.  It’s a lovely cathedral with a fascinating crypt open to the public.  They had a display of traditional icons coupled with modern religious art.  Compared with my experience of the packed St. Patrick”s Cathedral last year, I was pleased to find this one almost empty.

This morning, I woke up after about 12 hours of sleep, got ready to go get breakfast thinking that I would leave immediately to explore the city more, but found myself sick at my stomach and spent the morning lying down.  But I made it up in time to go to Trinity College for a meeting with the head of their English graduate program at noon.  As I arrived on the hall where his office was, I noticed that many of the professors had posters and cartoons and such things posted on their doors.  It reminded me of the English Dept. at ACU, and I felt a little bit less intimidated.  Then, Dr. Jones came in with a Hawaiian shirt on, and I felt even more comfortable.  I thought the meeting went alright.  He told me what I could expect and how I should prepare if I chose to come to school there and was very kind.  I did not throw up in his office, which was the most important accomplishment of the day.  But I felt like I was able to present myself reasonably well.

After that I found my way to a restaurant called Quay’s (pronounced “key’s”) Irish restaurant, where I had some delicious potato and leek soup and brown bread.  I spent the rest of the afternoon in my room, resting.  This evening I ventured out to the campus grocery store and picked up fresh fruit and breakfast things, including a genuinely tiny jug of milk, apples, and Irish strawberries.  And I discovered that theIMG_0885 produce was riper than what I find at home and the apples hadn’t been waxed.  Both the apple and the strawberries I had tasted better than what I buy back home!  I look forward to trying the peaches I bought tomorrow.

Part of this trip has become for me an opportunity to see if I will want to come live here.  On of my biggest fears about leaving home is that there will be no one to take care of me when I’m sick.  But today I found out that I can take care of myself.  I’m not terribly sick, but at home I wouldn’t have gotten up for anything but the bathroom.  I may not have done a lot today, but I did enough to convince myself that when I leave home I’ll manage.  I’ll be able to take care of my dog and myself.  I’m sure I’ll find people who can help me as well, but I discovered that I’m capable of more than I had believed.

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