As I am writing this I can feel winter turning to spring—it was sunny and warm out today. There were people eating their lunches on the benches by the playing fields. I was surprised to see flowers blooming already. In Boston this time last year, there was still snow on the ground! I am getting ready to leave for a month in Italy and Spain, and when I come back I hope spring will be in full force! (I’m going out to buy sandals right now!) My mom is coming for a visit in April, and I’m excited to show her the city.
I feel like this is very much the turning point in the year. Because Trinity has three terms, term 2 ends next week, and all my classes are winding down. I am looking forward to some down time, because it has been a very busy past few months. Soon I will find out who my advisor is for my thesis, and spring will be spent working on my writing, with no classes. It will be wonderful to work one-on-one with one of the professors here.
I have been hearing back from a lot of the graduate schools I applied to in the US, with many acceptances! It is comforting to know where I might be next year. I think taking this year to be in Ireland was absolutely the best thing I could have done. I am sure I would not have gotten into so many great programs in the US without it. The whole experience has just been so worthwhile. First of all, for the first time in my life, I am financially no longer dependent on my parents, which has made me feel like much more of an adult! I am 22 years old, and I have already traveled more than most people get to do in a lifetime! And, by the time I leave, my writing will actually be on the shelves of dozens of bookstores. It has all really been a dream come true.
At the same time, now is about the time when cravings for American culture set in! January and February are hard months, everywhere—it is when things get mundane, it is cold, it is dark, etc. This past week the Oscars aired (in the middle of the night here in Ireland), and I definitely craved a bit of good old American celebrity (I don’t know who they’re talking about in all the tabloids over here!). And part of me also can’t wait to see my family again this summer when I go home. However, I can’t believe that the next time I write this journal I will be leaving for the U.S.—the year has really flown by.
One of the best parts of being in Dublin in February, though, was the Jameson Film Festival. This is definitely worth setting aside a whole week to watching movies! I saw Half Nelson, Sherrybaby, and The Painted Veil—all of which I had heard about in the U.S. but didn’t get a chance to see when I went home for Christmas. Really, the film festival is amazing—they show over 100 films in theatres all around the city. I also recently saw Julius Caesar in the Abbey Theatre, which was very worth going to.
This weekend—before my big vacation starts—I’m excited to be going to Derry for a few days with some of the Mitchell Scholars. Traveling around Ireland has been amazing—by the end of the year I will have been to Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, the Giants’ Causeway, the Blarney Stone, Kilkenny, the Ring of Kerry, Listowel, and more. Irish Rail offers these great, and cheap, day tours, which my mom and I will be doing in April. They are each about 12 hours long, and they take you by train and then bus to different sites throughout Ireland. It’s really the perfect way to see the countryside as well as the city.
More again in a few months!