I haven't written in ages, and I miss it. Now that my life has settled down a bit from being a nerve-wrecking, perpetual roller-coaster, I can finally sit and reflect. Over the past few days I have felt more relaxed than I have in over a month. As I went into before in my earlier entry, I have been trying to manage a way to stay here all summer. As I noted in my most brief entry below, that opportunity has actually materialized. Only in the past few days since the end of exams has it actually begun to sink in. I feel like I am finding my footing again, and now I have the free time to realign myself mentally for my summer stay. I will go into detail about that, but first I need to recap the past month or so, which passed in a blur.
I've never been one to make plans. However, the level of uncertainty that I lived with for the entire month of April was so burdening and stressful, it honestly took a toll on me. I knew trying to stay here would make for a lot of extra work on my part, but I also knew that if I didn't, I would literally be driving myself crazy with the "what-ifs" that would parade in my head for the entire summer. All month long, I gazed up anxiously at my undecided fate and hoped that it would not all come crashing down on me. On one side, I go home to NJ. On the other, I move into a new apartment on main campus and stay here until mid/end of August. These two equally probable scenarios left me torn in two opposite directions, unable to prepare for the realization of either of the outcomes. I was at a total standstill. For a weeks I lived in indecision, not knowing if in a month I would be in Dublin or New Jersey. I felt like so much was hanging in the balance, and despite all my efforts, I couldn't seem to catch a break. Despite encouragement of my friends about how everything would work out in due time, I still felt like I had no control over my fate.
However, I failed to account for the sincerity and graciousness of my parents. I maintained constant contact with them via email throughout April and early May, and I think they saw how hard I was trying to make this happen. Even though I have yet to find a solid job, they have allowed me to finalize my stay here weeks ago. Additionally, thanks to the help of Reene I did manage to solidify a sublet for my house in the Brunz so that eliminated a huge burden.
The fact that UCD gives an entire WEEK off to students BEFORE exams even begin doesn't surprise me in the least, but I try to still appreciate how awesome it is. Kelly came to visit me that week, and we got to see a lot of toursity things that I hadn't endeavored...Guinness & Jameson factories (we were whiskey testers...BAD idea), Kilmainham Jail (awesome/cold/creepy), watched people play cricket at Trinity, (wtf kind of a sport is that?) and took the DART to Bray in Co. Wicklow.
Then we did some things that weren't so new to me:
A ride on "the piss bus" --> some bus routes within Dublin are notorious for being shitholes. Sticky floors, old buses, dirty, littered, old drunks on the bus in mid-day, (although I shouldn't discriminate, I've seen that elsewhere) and most importantly prone to drunks pissing on the second floor at night time.
Going to bars --> We hit Messrs, The Living Room, Bruxelles, Whelan's, "Shiti" Bar, and Porterhouse....maybe some more but those are the ones I recall.
Get harassed by drunks --> OK, so, long story short, there is a creepy 30-something guy here in Dublin that I always encounter when Renee and I watch United matches in town. At first we would just chat about soccer but then he started being increasingly creepy each week. He bought Renee and I drinks many weeks ago. Then on St. Patrick's Day, my crew and I kick off the drinking at Murray's (it's on the top of O'Connell...perfect for the parade) and he slips me his phone number while NANCE is watching from afar...FML! The last time I had seen him, he was with his friend (who was our age?) and they bought Renee and I drinks all night and got us hella drunk then it started being super awkward and creepy. After this incident, we decide never to go back to Murray's (sad)....So back to the present, Kelly and I seek refuge in a different pub, on the same street as Murray's. Suddenly, a creepy guy blows in my ear LITERALLY 15 seconds after I was telling Kelly how relieved I was not to ever see him again...IRONY. I almost threw up and fell off my barstool when I saw it was him. He bought us a pitcher but Kelly was giving him some fierce looks so after only a few creepy comments he left us alone for the match and then we snuck out without him seeing.
In this same pub, we also encountered severely drunk people in Dublin at 4 pm, this isn't exactly a diamond in the rough but these douches happened to be Canadian hockey fans. Incoherent, getting in our faces, trying to kiss me on the cheek (W T F). For the second time in 30 minutes I almost fell off my seat in revulsion which is when I decided after the match is over that I'm not ever going back.
Whelan's --> This is the bar where they filmed scenes from P.S. I love you, (when they first see the guy playing guitar...I don't know his name in the movie or in reality but all that matters is it's DENNY from Grey's(!) Hot.
Rachel strikes again --> Kelly and Sarah and I went to Citi Bar (SHITI Bar) on a Wednesday after watching a United match at Bruxelles and we got really hammered, to put it mildly. It was 2 euro drinks and unknown to us, Wednesday is "Shag Tag" which is pretty stupid and I don't even feel like explaining it. Needless to say, it was a total sausage fest and I won't be frequenting Citi Bar on a Wednesday ever again. I actually got a text the next day from some rando number reading "Hi Rachel!! are you today in Citypub?" This reveals two things: One, I give out this name as a reflex, since I was hella drunk and don't remember consciously using my fake name, and two, I drunkenly give foreigners my phone number.
Well, in typical Irish fashion, UCD final exams are a total shitshow. Exams are taken in an illusive place called the "RDS" which is at least 20 minutes away from the school itself. Then, you enter a massive lobby area and search alphabetical lists of all the students to find your name which denotes your assigned seat. This number ranges from 1 to OVER 1,600!!! What the FUCK. You literally are taking exams with over 1,600 other students. It is really unsettling, especially if you are a first timer. I was late to my first exam even though I allotted ample time to get there. Apparently I didn't account enough for Dublin AM traffic into the city or the fact that the "RDS" where we were to take exams was no-where near the actual RDS itself, which is a concert venue. So, at my first exam, after literally sprinting into the building, finding my name and seat, (I was very lucky that my number was in the 100s) I sat frazzled for the first 10 minutes as I tried to take in my surroundings...This was such a mess. The building itself made me think of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I was waiting to hear the deafening rip of a chainsaw to come up from behind me while I was taking my exam. Not to mention they have proctors stalking up and down the aisles ALL EXAM LONG. I have never had to take an exam where there was someoone looking over my shoulder at least every 10 minutes. It was really annoying. The professors are no where in sight so if you have a question it's tough shit for you. Additionally I was stressed because I hadn't purchased a single academic book since I arrived here, and for 3 of my 5 classes, the final exam was 100% of the final grade. HILARIOUS!! WTF Dublin!!! Get your shit together UCD! (and Nicole). Hopefully I was able to pull it together for the big finish, but I won't know for a few more weeks because (SHOCK) it takes UCD until mid-June to get grades back.
After talking to my friends, I was comforted by the fact that they too thought the setup was backward and had different reactions to it. The list that I compiled mentally is as follows:
The RDS is remniscent of:
- a warehouse
- a stable
- a refugee camp
- American Idol try outs
I think it actually was an old mega-stable because the building is fucking huge, lofty lights and ceilings, built like a stable...and I wouldn't be surprised if there was horse shit in the corner from decades past.
People are leaving. Everyone, actually. Except for me. People are continuing to leave until Wednesday, when everyone will officially be gone. I haven't even started to process this. I have a bit of starting over to do here in Dublin. I am really excited and hopeful for a great summer, but it is going to suck leaving some of these people, especially when I think about how far away some of them are, and how we will never be in a living situation like this ever again. It actually sucks a lot. The past week has been just staying up, drinking, hanging out, lots of singing and dancing, some tears, just trying to soak in whatever time we have left in this old nunnery. I am just lucky enough that it is only a partial goodbye and that I get to stay here, even though things are changing.