Welcome back, minions, and stay awhile! But seriously, I haven’t written in forever, so this post might be on the large side. I can’t officially comment on its actual size, because I’ve only written 2 and a half sentences so far. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.
I. Am. Done. With. Grad School. Classes. Don’t ask me how I’ve pulled it off, because I slept so little and drank so much caffeine while it was happening that I can’t really remember. All I know is I wrote approximately 16,000 words in a week and a half. That came out to be about 60 pages; how I don’t have carpal tunnel is absolutely beyond me. The essay I concentrated most on (That’s right-I chose favorites. Although this isn’t quite like the rule ‘you can’t choose favorites amongst your children’ that you always hear, so I guess you’re not really judging me right now. Carry on.) was for my graduate seminar, which focused on Nazi propaganda as a microcosm of radicalization. I’ve always been interested in propaganda, but don’t have the language abilities needed to study it for my dissertation. Silly little American. So I used my seminar as a loophole into studying the Nazi propaganda machine, examining several books dedicated to the topic and reviewing them for a historiographical essay. At least, I think it was a historiographical essay. I’ve never written a historiographical essay before, so keep your fingers crossed people. I also used the term ‘historiographical’ waaaay too many times there, didn’t I? My apologies. Anyways, I absolutely cannot believe that it is already almost June and that I’m in the final throes of an MA program that I waited so long to start. Like the ol’ saying goes, time flies when you’re up to your eyeballs with work! Or something like that.
While I was in the middle of climbing ‘my Everest’, I took a little trip to Dublin, Ireland with Jenn to celebrate her birthday. It was only a quick trip, but we packed in enough to rack up 27 miles of walking in about 2 and a half days. We flew out first thing on the 18th, and I really do mean ‘first thing’…I got up at 3 AM so we could catch a taxi to Heathrow at 4:30 AM. That’s right-I voluntarily woke up before dawn. Say whaaaa?? Jenn found a website that was not only legitimate (AKA, the website was not created by serial killers posing as cab drivers. Although at one point he was driving on the wrong side of the road…if an American can tell you’re driving on the wrong side of the road, you know you’re doing it wrong.), but mega cheap to get us to the airport since we were leaving before the Tube started running for the day. So while I was in disbelief that I had just been driven to the airport for less than a total of £40 I didn’t have time to feel the anxiety creeping in. The disbelief continued as I was greeted by a machine that took my picture on my way to airport security, which matched that photo with the one a machine would take right after security. AKA-Heathrow is now being operated by robots, and I am kind of ok with it. So I started a journey without having a single anxiety-riddled moment! THAT’S A FIRST!! (But that’s really boring for you guys. Sorry.)
Our first day we wandered around Temple Bar, admired the beautiful flowers that have finally blossomed now that spring has finally arrived, and crossed something off my bucket list-Trinity College Library. When I was finally introduced to Pinterest, I told myself that I would only use it to ‘pin’ food that I would never create, things for my future spinster home, and travel destinations. One of the first things I ‘pinned’ was this amazing library. It’s so strange when your Internet fantasy travel list collides with reality. And? It’s even more beautiful in person. After we finished drooling over bookcase after delicious bookcase of books that will live longer than I will, we called it a day and headed back to our bed and breakfast to check in. Only to find that the wireless Internet didn’t work, and our window refused to close. So I did what all Wyoming girls whose fathers can’t let a problem lie do-I MacGyvered it. With? A single bobbypin (pictured below). You could basically send me into the jungle with a Q-tip, Swiss Army knife and some nail polish and I could build a giant shopping mall. Or however that quote from ‘Six Days, Seven Nights’ goes.
Day number 2 was Jenn’s birthday, and Mother Nature gave her the best present of all-a day full of sunshine! It was the only nice day we had while we were there, so we walked the two miles to the Dublin Zoo. It was amazing, because the day before we were both so annoyed at the ridiculous number of American accents we heard over, and over, and over, and over again. At the zoo? Only Irish accents. It was pure bliss. So we enjoyed being the only Americans while Jenn got some birthday ice cream while watching the adorable seals and various monkeys. On our walk back to the city center, I went off on a side-tangent-photo-binge because we passed an alley beautifully decorated with graffiti. I don’t know why I love it so much; maybe it’s because I find anyone with the slightest artistic ability amazing, and this is just the latest trend that I’m obsessed with. No one really knows. Although I haven’t really asked anyone, so that’s kind of a biased statement. Anyways, after Jenn pried me away, we headed to Dublin Castle. Which was closed, but the outside was neat! It was just so nice to be outside in beautiful Ireland with the sun shining down that simply staring at the facade of a castle was quite satisfying. The enjoyment sadly had to come to an end, for I dragged Jenn to the least exotic place on the face of the earth for the second day in a row: Starbucks. As I said earlier, I was still climbing ‘my Everest’, and couldn’t afford to take a day off from writing. But Jenn was beyond amazing and brought a book to read for fun to keep me company/make sure I didn’t start slamming my head into the table. She was probably just worried that she’d be associated with ‘that crazy American girl who cries a lot’ and decided to cut that problem off at the pass. (Have you noticed how hard I’ve been trying with cliched phrases? And how badly I’m failing? I should give up…but I won’t. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force them to drink that water. Or whatever.)
On our last day, we had several hours until our flight, so we tracked down the remains of St. Valentine. And by ‘we tracked down’ I mean, of course, that ‘Jenn tracked down’. That’s probably the real reason she came to Starbucks with me-she knows how horrendous my sense of direction is, and was scared I’d get extremely lost. (Or she’s just a kickass person. That’s probably more likely..) I know, I know-why is one of the world’s most cynical people interested in St. Valentine? I actually have no idea-the idea of seeing people’s ‘remains’ after centuries is kind of cool. That’s probably it. And it was within the church that held this man’s remains where the weight of the journey really hit me, and I broke down. You see, this was an emotional trip for me, as everything seemed to be a constant reminder of my grandparents. I was initially supposed to visit Ireland back in October, as my Papa and family were coming over for a tour of Ireland. But Papa was called up to the Big Guy Upstairs before that could happen. As my mom’s side of the family is Irish, I remember being little and going through photos of my grandparents in Ireland. And so I found myself throughout my stay in Dublin constantly wondering if I was looking at buildings that my grandma had stared at decades ago. I don’t know why I wanted to make that small connection with her; it may be that I haven’t laid eyes on something that I know for sure my Alma Jeanne had gazed at in quite some time. Either way, I felt closer to her and Papa than I had in months, and so I found myself within this church crying and thanking God for the opportunity to feel that again. I still wear the Claddagh ring that my grandma gave me when I was in the 8th grade; it never comes off my finger, and it probably never will.
So Dublin was a trip I had wanted to take for both aesthetic and spiritual reasons, and it gave me everything I was looking for. The pint of Guinness right before my flight certainly didn’t hurt either…
Happy Wednesday! The next post will bring tales of my birthday in Venice, so you can go ahead and start feeling jealous right aboooooooout…