Nothing spells a Dublin winter like sweaters. Seriously. Never before have I felt so welcomed for my love for turtlenecks. People who don’t wear turtlenecks don’t know what they are missing out on. It’s like wearing a jumper and a scarf, but sexy. They’re practical too. I have never been cold with a turtleneck on. Even on the most chilling winter days, my turtlenecks never fail to warm me to a modest sweat. A gentle dampness. Just enough to wonder if I ought to take another shower before I get into bed for the evening. Sure, if you don’t wear a layer underneath sometimes they get a bit itchy. But it’s winter! We should be layering anyway. Plus, wearing a turtleneck makes me feel like a professor of English literature. (Every CS student’s twisted fantasy.)
By the way, if you’re the type of person that washes a sweater after every wear, please stop reading here. We can’t be friends.
It’s 7:32 am. I wish I could say I had woken up, had a coffee, and was on my way back from an exhausting leg day at the gym, but actually, I was still asleep.
It’s 9:27 am. I arise from the depths of my down-filled duvet (an Irish winter necessity I have come to learn) and with my data visualization final project due in just seven hours, I stumble to the kitchen to begin the day’s work.
“All project reports must be submitted in size 10 Helvetica font,” the rubric read. Who even decided Helvetica should be the default font for assignments? I wondered. We live in an amazing era of technology. Sentient programs like ChatGPT can answer any intellectual question we propose; our phones can instantaneously translate text in a photo to hundreds of languages; facial recognition software can identify a person with haunting accuracy. Most importantly though, text editors have dozens of beautiful fonts to choose from. Why should we be bound to the sterile dryness of fonts like Helvetica and Arial?! It is time for a revolution, and I’ll be the pioneer! No more assignments turned in with Helvetica font! No more writing in Times New Roman! To death with the stale and dull aesthetics of the past!
On Trinity Campus
Trinity is simply stunning. I just got back to Dublin two days ago, and taking the bus from the airport into the city center felt like I was transported between two worlds: from the unceasing mundanity of suburban New Jersey, into the wintry fairy tale of a frosty Dublin. Maybe one day I’ll build a train from New Jersey to the front gates of campus. I’ll name it the Trinity Express.
On Hot Water Bottles
Now, this is perhaps the biggest paradox of them all. How I’ve gone twenty-two years sleeping in barren solitude, I cannot tell you. Hot water bottles—small furry pouches filled with hot water before bedtime—have changed my life. Not enough to go out and buy one, but just enough to acknowledge the physical (and emotional) warmth and well-being I have denied myself for years. They help relieve stress and ease pain, and, particularly during these winter months (cuffing season), mimic the gentle warmness of a friend, partner, or sibling snuggling beside you.
On Oscar Wilde
I am ashamed to say that all my life I have been pronouncing the Wilde in Oscar Wilde incorrectly. And for a computer-science graduate who scoffs at the idea of any text where periods represent the end of sentences, maybe this isn’t that much of a surprise. Thank you, Maebh, for correcting me without judgment by the way.
The other day I wandered into Hodges and Figgis, the local bookstore by campus, where I can proudly claim I spent more last month on books than I did on groceries. (I leave it to the reader to conclude if this is a boast about my astute husbandry in grocery shopping, or about how much I spend on books that never get read.)
On this day, I stumbled out with Wilde’s Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast, which, I think sums up the past few months here in Ireland quite nicely. Early routines have faded in and out and mornings have often turned into afternoons. Through all of it though, not a bland moment has passed. I’m excited for the adventures to come. For more wily Irish witticisms, for more spontaneous quests around the island, and for more time to soak up the wonder of each and every day.