Hopping off the plane groggy and sleep deprived early on Monday morning, it didn’t hit me that I was in a completely different country. I was on autopilot, navigating customs and searching for my bags amongst a sea of colorful suitcases. The taxi ride was a bit rough as our driver rounded corners and sped alarmingly close to passing buses, all while driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Jet lagged and cranky, I made my way to my new apartment (all the way up three flights of stairs), took in my new surroundings, and fell blissfully into bed.
It wasn’t until day 2 that it finally hit me—I was in Dublin. For those of you who don’t know this, things work a little differently here. The street signs are barely visible, making navigation a struggle, the food brands are close to what we have at home but not quite the same, and—perhaps the most jarring—the light switches are on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom, making for some pretty awkward bumping around in the dark after forgetting to turn the light on. The people here are friendlier, the beer stronger, and the sun doesn’t set until 10pm. The buildings are older, filled with a rich history that just can’t compare to anything in America, and people use slang and phrases unlike anything I’ve heard in the states. Worst of all, as anyone who knows me can attest to, the Starbucks in this country don’t seem to understand the concept of a plain old iced coffee!
I’m not saying that any of these changes are a bad thing—quite the opposite. But there’s still a bit of a culture shock, and it will take some time getting used to life in a different culture. As I continue to explore this incredible city, I know I’ll find even more differences to life at home, but I also know that I’ll work through them and embrace them; by the end of these 2.5 months, I’ll be acting like a local!