The flight was horrid. Between the babies crying, the gross food, and the lack of sleep I stepped off the plane suffering from nausea to the tenth degree. This queasiness was not eased by the fact that we had to wait in a customs line for nearly 2 hours. As the line continued to move along at a snail like pace, my nerves got worse and worse. I traveled with two other girls from Holy Cross, Molly and Julie, who kept me sane and kept giving me water to prevent me from throwing up in public. What a way to start, huh?
We quickly grabbed our bags and ran to the bus station. We were exactly one minute early for our bus. The bus driver was starting the engine. Lugging our HUGE baggage to the bus was absolutely absurd until some man found a cart for us to use for free (since you have to pay for everything here). Every person I ran past labeled me with their eyes “American”… trust me you can tell they know.
We all mostly passed out on the bus because we hadn’t slept in hours. Jet lag started to set in and it wasn’t just an inconvenience, it was truly painful. We didn’t have time to really settle in. We arrived at our accommodations (town homes.. really modern and nice) and had to immediately go out and buy Irish phones, pillows, sheets, hangers, bath towels and OH SO MUCH MORE. Food shopping was another stress that literally almost killed us. Since foods in Ireland have no preservatives or hormones, they expire really quickly so we had to learn the hard way what we can and cannot buy on our budgets, which something we are also trying to figure out.
We started to get our home life settled and we immediately had to jump right into campus and start orientation. This campus is hands down the most confusing campus. It has no organization and registering for classes is so different from the US, thus we all left really confused and unsure of how we are going to handle all of this.
I guess I always assumed that I was going to a very “Americanized” area since I was not facing the language barrier like some other students. This was a mistake. The cultural differences are quite noticeable (more on that later) and adjusting to life here is really hard. Mostly because we still have not caught up on sleep and have been thrown into everything so fast. It is really comforting that all the boys and girls in my group feel the same way. There were tears, lots of emotions, and a general feeling of “how am I going to do this for the year”.
There are little glimpses of times when we can see how this will all get better. Meeting super nice people (the kids are SO NICE..when they aren’t making fun of American accents), going to super quaint and cute bars, and finding your “new drink of choice” (thank you Colleen!!). Transitions are hard and I suppose I was only looking at the good and not realizing how this wouldn’t be all sugarplums and roses right off the bat.
Now that we have internet (we went days without it=death) and we are starting to take tours and settle in, we are all looking ahead. I have this feeling that once my classes are all figured out and we all understand the area a bit more we will hit our groove.
I promise my next post will be a little more positive and will include some photos. But this little blog is for me and I want to make sure I remember how Molly and I nearly hopped on a plane back to the US before we entered customs. Ha!