Beginnings and Elastic Weather

Getting started in Dublin has been fast and rewarding. From the start, I felt like a hit the ground running in my program doing exactly the kind of research I came to do. My course is Electronic Signals Engineering at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and it includes electronic engineering modules as well as a research project. For my research project, I am focusing on personalized medical device design. I am hoping to build a basic prototype device in the next year that stimulates muscles in a discreet/therapeutic way. My greater interest is on personalized physical therapy/device design based on the desires of the user. I am interested in all aspects of prosthetics, but specifically would like to learn more about the consultation process and how to build a device while keeping a person’s best (and preferred) interests at heart. In the future I hope to bring together what I know about engineering medical devices and what I have learned from first hand accounts of prosthetic users to be a part of providing medical care to military members and veterans. My program at DIT is allowing me to ask the technical and the social questions needed in order to get a holistic understanding of what users want from their prosthetics.

Now, the greatest lesson I have learned since moving here. The weather here has been terrible, but I believe it has made me a better person. Before now, I was always planning, packing, repacking, and re-planning my whole day out so I was never caught off-guard. Here, I am always caught off-guard and it is changing my brain for the better. There is no “plan” here. In the beginning, I would open the window, assess, get dressed, be perfectly dressed for the weather I saw, then walk outside and be like a panting dog in the heat or immediately get caught in the rain like a bad cartoon with the umbrella inside-out. At first this ripped me up. I had so much anxiety not knowing how to plan and what to expect from my day. Then I realized, the key is not preparing, just adapting. Something I thought I was good at, but actually turns out I am not. And I am getting lots of practice at it, which is great. Now I leave my apartment with an open mind and a willingness to accept things I cannot change. If it rains, I take my umbrella out. If it is windy, I have an extra sweater. If the sun comes out I immediately stop what I am doing and turn my face up to the sky. And to tell you the truth, I am happier! When caught in the rain without a coat or umbrella, I no longer crouch and frown. I shrug my shoulders and walk on. This is a theme evident in the Irish culture here that is hard to see unless you put a certain lens on and look for it. One of my Irish friends said to me when I first arrived, “If you want to know who’s Irish, look at who’s not wearing a coat. Only visitors have all the gear.” At the time I thought, how ridiculous, you’d think since they live here they would actually be the most prepared! But now, I get it. No coat required. Just a different attitude.

Below are some photos from my travels around Ireland!

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Howth Sea Walk

Howth Sea Walk

St. Stephen's Green, Dublin

St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

Guiness Lake, Wicklow

Guiness Lake, Wicklow

County Wicklow

County Wicklow

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