Having been in Dublin for several weeks, I’m still very much enjoying my time here. I love the city and the people, and I continue to experience new things everyday. I am, however, growing tired of being a tourist. At this point, I’m annoyed with living in a student residence with several young kids from other programs who travel in huge, and I mean absolutely outrageously large, groups. They crowd the buses and the sidewalks and it gets frustrating in the mornings when I’m trying to make it to work on time. Along these same lines, the sidewalks and streets in the city are so busy sometimes it’s overwhelming. I just want to get where I need to be but because of all the traffic it usually takes me twice the amount of time to travel as it should. This is growing old and I wish there was just less crowded areas.
It’s still not awful, though, because Irish people continue to surprise me with their kindness. Just last night we ran into two middle-aged women on the sidewalk and they just started talking to us about our trip and how we are liking the city. They were so friendly and outgoing. In America I feel like I rarely would just start up a conversation with a stranger on the sidewalk. This makes the crowdedness and large groups of people less overwhelming because at least almost everyone is trying to be as friendly as possible.
I’ve also met a few interesting characters while on my lunch breaks at work. Apparently what I thought was just an eccentric crowd that gathers in a small park near my work, is locally known as the “drunk park.” I’ve had conversations with people there about books, and Dublin. They are very cultured drunks, at least.
I still haven’t really experienced culture shock. Honestly, I’m still confused about that term. It sounds so daunting, like you have to be homesick or scared to feel it, which I am not feeling at all. If having culture shock includes wanting mustard on a sandwich in a country that worships mayo, or refusing to call lettuce and tomato on a burger a “salad,” then I most definitely have it. I picture it as being more serious than this, though, in which case I have been living without it. I guess I will see what kind of culture shock I experienced upon returning to America and reflecting on the experience in its entirety.