Posts Tagged ‘Dublin’


Jessica: An Cosain, Parliament and so many feelings

June 11, 2011

Pronounced On- Casahn, this is Irish for The Footpath. This place is in southwest Dublin in a place that has people in need of education and community services; this place has employed many women in the area and provided child care and education for many others at a fraction of the cost.

This place was started by two people who saw there was a need for all these things in the Tallaught West community. It seems like a simple idea but they actually did something about it. This place is truly a family–you have small intimate classes and start with short reflection time to get present/mindfulness with silence and song. Then you learn.

They have several different levels and programs- they have one for children, those for young mothers who couldn’t go on with their education, those for those going back to school, etc. They have gotten accreditation for many different programs to give these people a chance at a life. It’s really quite simple but so inspiring. It again, like Suffolk Lenadoon communities, reminds me of the value of one, the power of all. That it just takes ordinary people to push things in an extraordinary way–it could be anyone. So why not me?

What rules am I following that don’t exist? How do I box myself in? How can I make a vision a reality? How do I break things down? Who sees my vision with me and how can I deliberately go forward, creating a supportive network and environment to do so?

It’s so easy to fall in the trap of just ticking those tasks off your to-do list, to just get caught in the mundane and FORGET about your own to do list. I’ve forgotten about how to help myself succeed, how to get the most out of MY time. I just had to get a little reminder.

Saw most of Romeo and Juliet before we got so chilled to the bone that we had to leave. Whoops. I feel terrible because they were brilliant (and Romeo was so cute) but I would’ve died. Again let’s say there have been four days that have NOT rained.

The packing has started– it’s so crazy to know we’re going back so soon. So far 7 of us going in on my second bag. 

Yesterday we observed Dublin’s parliament–not surprisingly similar to the House at home, where men sit in a U shaped, stadium-style seating with individual booths and microphones where some higher-up presided over the conversation… where I also counted 7 people texting on their phones.

Also, I find that the higher up your title, the less direct your answers tend to be. AKA We’ve been asking questions that we don’t really get answered, just get talked about in circles.

We’ve been sharing our final presentations–a leadership analysis on someone we have encountered on this trip, their qualities, their success in this context and others, and comparing what our leadership qualities are in contrast. It’s been interesting to see who chose who and what their stories are. It tells me a lot about people’s perceptions about others and themselves.

We had a closing moment with telling the group what we’ve taken away from the trip. It was really touching to hear what people see as valuable and what people appreciated from the experience.

What I took away was pieces of everyone: being such a relational person, I believe very much in being shaped by the people we meet and the things we experience, so in essence, I learned a lesson from everyone on this trip. Believe me I’ve written them down in my journal. And they are things I will take with me forever.

Now, we’re all on the home stretch and starting the packing process. My suitcase is half full but somehow I’ll be cramming things into the thing near the end of the night. How did I end up with 6 glasses and 4 mugs? Beats me. But there are many things I’m excited for:

  • Chicken wings
  • Customer service
  • Being able to share little moments in my day with those close to me
  • Being able to text someone, “Where are you?” or “what’s the plan?”
  • Mowgli 🙂
  • Friends went unsaid
  • Dollar drinks. Anywhere.
  • Dollar bills – I’m tired of this dollar coin business
  • Being able to do my hair and not blow out my hair dryer
  • Having my own keys to my apartment
  • Flat walking paths
  • Toilets that flush nearly every time
  • Other songs besides Mr. Saxobeat, Give Me Tonight, California King Bed, and Judas
  • Mexican food
  • cute reunions

Jessica: Points of difference

June 9, 2011

There are lots of little things that make up culture shock between Ireland and home. Here are a few:

  • No one seems to use half and half. For anything. So I cool down my Americanos with “semi-skimmed milk” or whole milk.
  • The washer and dryers are in one unit- and take 5 times as long, sounding like rocket ships taking off
  • The symbol of Ireland is the Harp, and the color of the country is Blue, not green. Huh.
  • “What’s the Craic?” (pronounced “crack”); the term means “fun” or “what’s good,” hence why they made a shirt that said, “What’s the craic, Barack?” when he visited
  • Flipping off people is the peace sign, knuckles facing out
  • All students in Belfast seemed to wear uniforms– which leads to some ridiculously high heels and crazy hair
  • Shorts are the “going out” outfit, as they don’t often wear them during the day due to rain, it is the risque way to show leg going out
  • They wear rompers. And jumpsuits. A lot. With heavy floral pattern. Imagine Jasmine’s flouncy pants but with flowers all over them. In real life.
  • There’s a lot of dyed red/magenta hair–and it’s not frowned upon
  • Lots of consignment shops dedicated to cancer research or pets in need of vets in Belfast
  • Dogs dont have to be leashed–they run freely and are well trained to stay with their owners
  • The flute is a manly instrument here
  • Fire doors. EVERYWHERE. Fire extinguishers. Everywhere. We’re lucky that we found the ONE for our entire Minneapolis apartment building.
  • You have to switch all the outlets on to use them
  • The “goth” look is… cool?
  • Everything shuts down pretty early unless it’s a pub. But in Belfast they close at 1.
  • 9 Euro for a pack of cigarettes; or about 8 pounds in Belfast
  • Ireland is home to the highest heels I’ve ever seen. There are no heels in a normal range for me, I am on my tip toes.
  • In Dublin, you pay 1 Euro extra for each additional person in the taxi.
  • Many places in Europe charge you for bags at the grocery store
  • Less preservatives here–food spoils faster; apparently the EU doesn’t allow chemicals unless they’re proven to be safe. The USDA allows it until it’s proven harmful. Good job, America
  • Everything is in military time
  • People don’t really wear leggings. Just tights.
  • They greet you with “hey-ya”
  • Solicitors here means “lawyer,” “to let” means for rent, “take away” is take out, “chips” are fries, “crisps” are chips, a man’s wallet is wallet, a woman’s wallet is her purse, and her purse is her handbag, “prams” are strollers, they say “holiday” instead of vacation, “give way” instead of yield signs, and countless others that Kelsey Bitney would be better at remembering…
  • I can’t find chicken noodle soup ANYWHERE.
  • The days in the summer are LONG here–it is light out till 9 or 10 in May
  • I don’t ever see locals wearing rain boots.
  • Lack of public restrooms and trash cans. Bad news.

Anyway this is NOT an exhaustive list.

But I must say, Dublin doesn’t seem to have any Irish culture but rather just a metropolitan, going-out, tourist culture. It’s very hard to find it endearing when it feels SO commercialized everywhere–it’s quite the culture shock from Belfast, which feels like home.

Not to mention several rooms in the hotel have run out of toilet paper but apparently so is the main office soooo we’ll see what happens with that. Rationing TP is not what I planned for in a hotel. Overall it’s kind of hilarious because the plan is now to hoard TP at every dining establishment we go to from now on.

Other recent happenings:

  • St. Stephen’s Green with Rachel- a giant beautiful park in the middle of this crazy city
  • Caught short parody performance of Macbeth there
  • Got tickets for Romeo and Juliet for Wednesday, since tonight was sold out
  • Shopped at Penneys
  • Went to part of a church service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and listened ot the men’s choir sing- GORGEOUS acoustics in the chamber.
  • Analyzed my spending so far– ew. Not pretty.
  • Watched Michael Collins for class
  • Laughed hysterically with my roommates

Jessica: History, history, history

June 6, 2011

I feel like I’ve spent like 8 hours just learning about history. All day. Two hours learning Irish history with the founding and the development of the city. Then 4 hours learning about the history of random things in the city on a bus tour. Then another two hours learning about literary history on a pub tour. I’m tired of history for the rest of the summer.

The biggest things I noticed today, specific to my own experience and those around me:

  • It’s notable if you find a local. All tourists here.
  • I could get a meal deal of a 6 inch sandwich with a drink for 3 pounds (5 bucks) in Belfast and here it’s just 4.20 Euro for just a 6 inch sandwich. 
  • Customer Service is not common. AKA my friends waited an hour for their food at a restaurant, had to get their cold sandwiches thrown into a box and threw money down to pay because they had to leave; Jodie hadn’t gotten her food—they took her order but never wrote it down. No food.
  • I got a double Kraken and Coke in Belfast for 5 pounds (which is on the expensive side) and here, that same thing is 10 euro. Insane. 
  • There are more “hen parties” and “stag parties” here than I’ve ever seen in my life back home—aka bachellorette and bachelor parties. They take it to the max, make it a destination thing, everyone dresses up in a theme, and it’s usually something insane for men and promiscuous for women
  • Trinity College isn’t really real—it existed hundreds of years ago as a divinity school; it’s now Dublin University

This morning we were walking to our destination and all the sudden we hear a crack. We turn around and there was a man who had just fallen into the street and cracked his head. We ran toward him and pulled him off the street before the traffic light turned green. He was bleeding everywhere from his head and was breathing but passed out. We assumed he was severely intoxicated. Everyone was gawking as they drove by, naturally, but two cars stopped and one called 999 for help.

Bri and Shannon kept the man calm as he started to stir, and we waited forever for police and ambulance. There was some kind of wound on his side, blood smeared on his stomach, and some other scratches on his back. It almost made me vomit watching it all happen. It shocked me how passersby would just come up and ask him what was going on, if he was drunk, etc. I’ve never seen anything like that happen before.

Tomorrow I’m planning on walking around to the gardens, some shops just for fun, watching a boy’s choir sing at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and seeing Romeo and Juliet at Trinity! It’ll be nice to get a break from the group experience, as tensions have started to rise, and we need a break.


Miles: Lin Week

May 15, 2011

Since I got back from travelling (which will be the subject of this post) I have been entertaining/hanging out with/talking to a friend from the U who was visiting me and writing a take-home exam for my Gender Equality in Nordic Countries course. This has left me with bare litt tid for blogging.

Forgive me,

it’s been so sweet,

and so warm out.

(Okay, okay, so I love William Carlos Williams. I’ll get back on track now.)

From May 1st through May 7th, I was traveling. The itinerary? Dublin and Berlin. So what did I call it? Lin Week, selvfølgelig!

I spent a week traveling alone. Before leaving, I was a little nervous about spending so much time by myself. I was afraid I wouldn’t meet cool people at my hostels, I was afraid I’d go days without having a conversation. It turned out to be a great experience — not only did I meet great people, but when I was by myself, I was calm in the solitude and just enjoying my surroundings.

First stop was Dublin. I got in on Sunday, and spent the day walking around the city. Sunday night I checked into my hostel and met Aggie, a french woman who was on a trip from her study abroad term in Wales. She’s fluent in English and French (And mostly fluent in Spanish) and keeps a running list of all the French words commonly used in English. (I taught her about RSVP.) We went out for a beer and ended up spending Monday together as well.

Monday, because it was a bank holiday and most of the city was closed, Aggie, Two Brazilian men (Leandro and Fabricio), two Portugese women (Sandra and Ariana), and I went to Howth, a suburb of Dublin along the sea. We hiked around the cliffs, ate a picnic on a beach, and tried to fight against the horrendous wind. Fabricio barely spoke English, but had a portable speaker set with him and kept playing goofy American pop music. (Somewhere in Portugal, there is a video of me singing Justin Bieber…oops.)

Tuesday and Wednesday were for wandering. I saw Phoenix park, Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, the Modern Art Museum, the Yeats exhibit at the public library, and a bunch of other fun sites. It was nice to be in a city that spoke English, and to be able to converse without feeling like I was missing out on something important.

Early Thursday morning was my flight to Berlin. When I landed, I navigated the S-Bahn to my hostel, where I checked in and dropped off my stuff. I wandered around for a while, sleepier than I’d wanted to be, and decided I couldn’t handle any museums — I didn’t have the attention span to make it worth spending the money. I ended up on a street called Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm. Apparently it was celebrating it’s 125th birthday. There were a bunch of stations set up along the road with champagne and small pastries, and anyone with a gold wristband (I don’t even want to know how many euros they paid for those) could drink and eat as much as they wanted. While standing awkwardly amongst a giant crowd of people all slowly walking up the street, I overheard someone point to an important-looking man and say “Yeah, that’s the acting Mayor of Berlin.” I quickly snapped into tourist mode and took a picture of the Mayor, just as he was stopping to ceremoniously drink and toast to the street.

Friday was all about Alternative Berlin. I took the Alternative Walking Tour, which covered a lot of the street art and Artist Collective houses in West Berlin. We also stopped at a place called YAAM that has a bar, skate park, patio, and puts on live shows. The tour was phenomenal, and I definitely fell in love with Berlin and the arts community there. On the tour I met a bunch of art students from Sweden, and when we learned we had Scandinavia in common, we started talking and they ended up inviting me to hang out with them for the rest of the day. I ate an amazing vegan bacon cheeseburger at a goofy little restaurant, and then we spent the evening hanging out near the river and drinking the cheapest beers I’ve purchased in Europe. (Side note: totally legal to drink in public in Germany. Awesome.)

And on Saturday I returned to Oslo. It’s incredible — each time I travel, coming back to Oslo feels more like coming back home. I’m not ready to think about what it will feel like to leave.

Things I have learned:

IT’S OKAY TO PUSH MYSELF. I find that social situations often make me really anxious. Couldn’t tell you when it started, but it’s something I need to keep working on. Traveling alone forced me out of my comfort zone and into a world of meeting people and talking to strangers. I felt really proud of myself for saying “Yes” and pushing myself to hang out with all the great people I met that week. It wouldn’t have been the same place otherwise.

WHEN I TALK ABOUT WE, SOMETIMES I MEAN NORWAY: During my travels, I’d often find myself comparing certain things (public transportation, eating habits, alcohol laws, etc.) with the people I met. When I gave my contribution, I was almost always talking about Norway. Over the past few months, I really have found a nice ownership/sense of belonging in this place. It’s a beautiful feeling, and one that I don’t want to give up quite yet.


Adam: Passing Not Running Up Bills

September 15, 2009

I’ve been in Norway for over a month! Or rather, I haven’t had Starbucks in over a month… Instead of talking about joining or not joining the European Union, Norwegian government needs to address the issue of not having my number one addiction anywhere in sight. I’m not saying they have to be on every corner, but one wouldn’t hurt.

Monday we visited the Norwegian Parliament for class. Since I geek out for anything that has to do with government, this was the best field seminar yet. We got a tour of both chambers of parliament and even got to sit in the chairs. Again, probably not that thrilling to the other ladies, but the photos taken of me show just how excited I was.

Also, we learned though the media Tuesday that we arrived at parliament right after a bit of a showdown between the leaders of three political parties. Honestly, we talked about it at the beginning of class, so I wasn’t really paying attention, but I guess a lady named Erna Solberg was peeved by something these two other bros did, and something, something, something…. This story sounded so much more interesting in my head, but that’s probably because I imagined it as a true rumble. I suggest you do the same.

Living in Sogn continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Well, except for doing laundry. The washing machines are confusing and the dryers seem to do everything else, but dry your clothes. German friend Lisa and myself make dinner a lot, and by dinner I mean a lot of pasta with cream sauce. Obviously, this is a complete disaster and I need to start eating healthy Norwegian things, like veggies and fish. So that’s what I’m going to do. Tomorrow. Or the next day, I swear.

Time is flying by real fast and planning/anticipating various trips only seems to speed it up. In addition to Dublin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, plans for Bergen and, as previously mentioned, Tromø are on the table. Traveling around Europe is obviously worth it, but the key is to find everything on the cheap. Ryan Air is a great go to for flights (it’s what Erika and I are taking to Ireland), although since they are so cheap, I’m picturing  tiny, shaky, explosion-prone planes.

I finally feel as though I’m figuring out how to stretch a buck here. What’s my secret? Being frugal. There’s a little convenience store that’s really close to class and has the most amazing warm, filling bread-thing filled with tuna and peppers for a mere 20kr. A steal, as the kids say. Although, and this goes back to eating like a garbage disposal, they’re probably not the healthiest thing in the world and it didn’t feel great when the worker who I see everyday knew what I wanted when I walked in the door.

Things feel familiar and comfortable and usually include eating and enjoying everything Oslo has to offer. I can’t complain.

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