I’m the kind of person who will form a very strong opinion, and fast.
So if my journey to Dublin is any indication, I’m pretty sure that I am falling head over heels for this place already.
Words cannot describe the scary mixture of emotions I felt at the airport saying goodbye, as I boarded the plane to leave for five full months and watched the sparkling NYC skyline disappear into the darkness. It sounds melodramatic and cliched, but it truly felt like my entire life was completely changing in the blink of an eye.
I had intended to spend the red-eye flight sleeping so that I could hit the ground running when we landed at 7 am, but that plan went out the window when I realized that I had a spectacular selection of free movies and TV shoes at the touch of my fingertips. Crazy, Stupid Love, Friends With Benefits, Arrested Development…much too tempting to pass up. Plus, I obviously couldn’t fall asleep and risk missing the delicious airplane meals! But still, two (albeit questionable looking) meals is pretty impressive for a six-hour flight, considering my last flight was five hours long and we didn’t even get half a pretzel.
But my first real stroke of Irish luck came from my seat neighbors. Though initially quiet, we soon started chatting and I quickly made friends with the two of the nicest Dubliners I could have hoped to meet, who were homeward bound from their American honeymoon. They were kind enough to write down a very comprehensive list of insider tips…best place to get a pint, best traditional pubs, secret sights to see that are untouched by tourists, other must-see beautiful views and ancient Irish historical sites, countless places to shop, other recommended countries to visit (I would have never thought of Croatia!), advice on how many quids to give when tipping (Uh… what? Quids? You lost me). They even offered me a “sweet for my ears” during the descent 🙂 They were the friendliest and sweetest people with the most charming accents, and if they are a glimpse of my times to come and the people I’ll meet, I know without a doubt that Ireland will be amazing.
The sun was nowhere to be found well after 8 am, but even the dark misty drizzle was exciting. I am still doing a million double takes at the reversed driving. Not to mention how creepy all the cars looked at first, because without a driver in the typical driver’s seat, it looked like there were phantom cars everywhere driving themselves.
But the sun must have snuck up on us as we took in all the sights of Dublin city in shock and awe. I didn’t have enough eyes to do this new world justice–a feeling i can’t wait to get used to in these coming months.
Before we knew it, the sun was up. For a country that is known for incessant rain, we were greeted by the loveliest sunny morning welcome. And then (I swear I’m not making this up) as I grappled with it all in disbelief, a beautiful, full, swooping rainbow emerged. I was thoroughly enchanted.
Which I like to think is a grandly promising start for the best semester ever–and the beginning of the first day of the rest of my life.
That evening, I ventured for the first time into Dublin city.
I’m not going to pretend like I know what any of those places are at the moment, because I don’t have the slightest idea.
Of course, this first night required the obligatory first pint of Guinness, which we had the honor of tasting at The Duke.
My apologies for the blurriness