I finally made it to Dublin yesterday morning! On my original flight, the plane from San Francisco to D.C. had major mechanical issues and had to be put out of commission. They realized only this after we had already been sitting on the plane for over two hours. By the time we deplaned and the airline found a new plane for us to take, the flight was almost 4 hours delayed. At this point it was obvious I was not making my connection in D.C., so I frantically began texting my CMC friends living in D.C. for the summer, who were (thankfully!) more than willing to take me in for the night. However, the flight wasn’t going to get in until after midnight into D.C., so I decided to rebook the same flight for the following day and stay the night at home. 8 hours later and sans two huge duffle bags later containing the majority of my material life in them, I was back home, anxiously praying that my bags would safely stay the night at SFO.
The next day, I made my way back to SFO, checked in, and was assured that I was “totally fine” regarding my bags (one could only hope…). I found myself sitting next to an older couple who had been on my flight the day before and was in the same situation. We swapped stories and all took a deep breath as we pushed back from gate on time. After being stopped on the runway for about 10 minutes, the PA system came on alerting us of a “maintenance issue”, causing us to return to the gate to fix it. I could not believe it. It was as if someone in the universe was actively trying to prevent me from getting to Ireland. Luckily, the issue was fixed relatively quickly, and we took off just an hour after our original departure time. I arrived in D.C. with about a half an hour to spare before boarding time for connection, which ended up being perfect timing to walk to my new gate and board my flight to Dublin. The flight to Dublin arrived an hour early, which was awesome, offering some sort of consolation for the previous 24 hour delay of my trip.
I arrived at Trinity College, and the boys working at the front desk were so sweet–helping me with my bags and showing me to my room. I have a single room inside a larger suite with a common area, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. I have my own sink in my room and plenty of space! Currently, there is one other boy living in the suite with me–Quentin from Belgium, who is here “taking English lessons” and is quite the character. It is a fabulous set up–a set up I wish we had in the CMC dorms. Trinity itself is beautiful and is perfectly located in the city. It is a large campus and is full of gorgeous gothic architecture and history. The Book of Kells is in the library here and is literally a 3 minute walk from my room–pretty incredible! I have been here two days and have already done more walking than I think I have done cumulatively the past 3 years at CMC. I learned today that the laundrette is located on the west side of campus, while I live on the farthest east side–probably a ten minute walk at least–just a little bit further than walk down the north quad steps to the laundry room.
Right outside the front gate of campus is Grafton Street, one of the most popular streets in the city. It is blocked off from traffic and is full of street performers, artists, and vendors. There is also every shop you could imagine in addition to an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and pubs. Everyone is casually walking with their coffee or sitting chatting outside of a cafe with their drink. Even though it is a big city, I still feel much more relaxed and at ease with the lifestyle here. Arriving Saturday morning, I spent all of Saturday and Sunday walking around exploring the city. I indulged in the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted at Butler’s Chocolate, which also came with a bonus free chocolate of my choice. I also went to St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful park just a five minute walk from Trinity. It is similar to Central Park in New York, just on a smaller scale. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time here, whether it is reading in the park, eating a meal, or going for a run.
I start my internship tomorrow, which is about a 15-20 minute walk away in Smithfield, or about 3 stops north on the Luas, their tram system. It is technically a bank holiday in Ireland tomorrow, but I am still meeting two of my bosses to get an introduction to the organization and learn about my role for the summer. Tomorrow night I’m also meeting up with a girl who just graduated from Trinity College and volunteered for the organization last summer in Cambodia, continuing to help out in Dublin this summer. I’m really excited to see what my internship has in store and to meet some local people!