My New Years Resolutions, 2005…
REPEAT 2004 CHRISTMAS IN 2005 ~ Galway is decked out wonderfully over the Holiday season. Over half the city energy supply seems devoted to Christmas lights on the cobblestoned pedestrian walkways. Truly spectacular. Despite exams held throughout December, the pubs are still filled with students and the mood is noticeably jolly (also despite the weather, see below). I returned to the United States on December 20th for the 3 week Christmas break, and spent time in Boca Grande, Florida, Philadelphia, Princeton, New York City, and my hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. It was enormously relaxing and provided the chance to wrap-up some projects in the US.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS ~ I returned from Christmas break to find my world in shambles (not really). Most of the study abroad housemates who have doubled as my travel-mates over the past semester have returned to their respective countries of origin. A new crop has arrived in my apartment complex. And so a whole new set of opportunities awaits.
MAKE OLD FRIENDS ~ I have become increasingly better acquainted with the Irish students in my economics classes, to my significant benefit. I have been surprised by their familiarity with the United States, as most have spent at least one summer across the pond. At home, they are often as insightful in matters concerning the Galway pubs as in economics. And they are very inclusive in inviting me (being the lone international character) to their social outings. We had a wonderful end of the semester dinner after the December exams that lasted for… not one… but four hours. Although that was not due to any initiative of our own, the conversation did not suffer for lack of food. Many of these Irish colleagues plan on emigrating to London to work in the finance, so in that sense they are identical to economics students in the United States, if one were to substitute New York for London.
VISIT MORE COUNTRIES ~ On the itinerary so far for this second semester…. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, France and Spain. I have previously stepped foot in four of these eleven destinations, but I feel a bolder tourist now than ever before. In addition, I will spend 1.5 weeks driving through Dublin, Belfast, and around the northern coast in early April, covering the major territories of this beautiful island that have yet to reveal themselves (to me). Plus events with the other Mitchell Scholars, and it all makes for a spectacularly exciting four months.
LEARN SPANISH ~ It might seem strange to attempt to reinvigorate my Spanish in a country such as Ireland, but I’ve always wanted to do so and so this year I shall try.
RUN A MARATHON ~ The obesity issue does not seem as ubiquitous in Ireland as in the U.S. That is amazing, because most cities seem to have more McDonalds per block than buildings. But I have always sought some goal for my exercise since my athletic heyday (at the age of eight), and so a marathon amidst the preternaturely slim residents of Ireland seems a natural fit.
UNSUBSCRIBE TO THE WEATHER CHANNEL ~ If “I’m Dreaming of a Wet Christmas” were a song, it would probably be purchased by Gallwegians (residents of Galway). Such a song might fail without their support. And an appropo song it would be, because the wind is so strong in Galway that roofs are often involuntarily deconstructed, rendering wetness a common theme both inside and outside. The local hockey rink was housed in a tent, the tent was blown away in one of the storms that battered the western coast, and the hockey rink is now open air (and closed). So in 2005, I resolve to ignore the weather entirely, since what I don’t know can’t hurt me.
For anyone interested, pictures of some of my experiences so far are posted at:
Feel free to take a look!