Crypto and blockchain and food… oh my!

This week has been quite a whirlwind here in Dublin. A wonderful whirlwind. My internship began this week, which invited a pretty dramatic change of pace. After a week devoted to exploring and getting acquainted with Dublin, my knowledge of the bus system and awareness of the city was put to the test. Although I loved that the first week devoted to exploring, I’m thankful to be in a sort of a schedule and am happy to be in a work environment that I’ve looked forward to going back to each day.

I have a feeling the phrase ‘expect the unexpected’ will be in my back pocket throughout this summer internship. Prior to my first day, I had received some small details about what I’d be doing in the internship, but not enough to formulate an image of what the summer would look like. Which, looking back now, I’m incredibly thankful for. There was a sort of excitement with entering the first day with no concrete expectations and, instead, an opportunity to appreciate each moment for what it was. Upon my arrival, my boss/supervisor, Victoria, welcomed me with open arms and a very important question: would you like a cup of tea?

Victoria currently runs two companies, both of which I will get to be a part of this summer. One company is Caffe Parigi, a small catering company that serves a variety of corporate clients in the Dublin area. Caffe Parigi is rather established, but operates as a pretty small business with a fairly lean staff and intimate company culture. Most of their clients have ordered from Caffe Parigi for years at this point, revealing the high quality of the cuisine and service they offer. My work with Caffe Parigi will mainly revolve around strategy moving forward with the company. They are currently in the process of putting together a new menu, a process I have the opportunity to facilitate.

As for the second company, it is a small (very, very small) start up working in the crypto currency space called FXCH. Other than a brief (very brief) understanding of what happened with the crash of Bitcoin, my knowledge of crypto currency and blockchain in general is incredibly limited. That being said, I’m incredibly thankful to be able to have this challenge and embrace this space that is, at the moment, a bit uncomfortable for me. My evenings after work have involved watching many YouTube videos and reading a multitude of articles in attempt to understand the crypto currency space and the position of FXCH in the industry. FXCH is a clearing house, which means they essentially facilitate the trading of different crypto currencies for various corporate clients using a technology they have been perfecting for several years now. Currently, FXCH is in the process of developing relationships with potential clients and getting them on board with the technology. My role with this company will relate to this stage in the process. I’ll have the opportunity to work with the project management aspect of the company, which includes onboarding clients with FXCH.

Although the two companies are involved in very different spaces, I’m very excited to connect the dots between the two. I’m drawn to dynamic environments where everyday looks different, which is consistent in both the food and technology industry. The steep learning curve and challenge associated with working in these two spaces has left me looking forward to going back to the office each morning (and the fact that I’m getting to work in two industries that I’m very interested in and intrigued by).

I’ve loved getting to know the people I work with. It’s a very small community of people made up of a total of about 6 people between the two companies. Additionally, there are 5 interns (including myself), three of which are from France and are leaving to go home at the end of the week. I’ve enjoyed conversing with my co workers and hearing about their backgrounds, both professionally and personally. The small size of the space cultivates a culture that encourages collaboration and community. It’s been interesting to pick up on slight differences between company cultures I am familiar with and this new environment. There seems to be more of a balance between work and life, and an increased interest into the personal lives of others seen in conversations about family or upcoming vacations (“holidays”).

Getting out for runs in the evening has been a great way to decompress after work days where my head feels like it’s spinning (in a good way). Albert park rests about a half mile from our apartments and has become a favorite spot. Another favorite spot has been a small, boutique grocery store called Fallon and Byrne which is across the street from where I work.

 

The weekend involved a small excursion up to the northern part of Ireland, with stops in Belfast and Giants Causeway. Dublin has been a wonderful scene to be a part of, but branching out beyond the city was a refreshing treat. “Ireland is beautiful” is an absolute understatement. The views I have witness have left me in absolute awe and wonder.

The northern part of Ireland has an incredibly complex context that was really interesting to hear about. That part of Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, in contrast to the rest of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) which is independent. Our time in Belfast included a tour of the city, which is literally divided by a wall that runs through the city, separating the British from the Irish. Hearing this piece of information and the division that is present because of this separation was very unsettling. Additionally, hearing about the human rights that are compromised because of their situation put in perspective the rights that I have that I take for granted. I hope to continue to spend some upcoming weekends outside of Dublin to develop an understanding of Ireland as a whole, and to continue to witness beautiful views and scenery.

I feel incredibly grateful to be here in Dublin, and am reminded of how incredible of an opportunity this is multiple times a day. I want to remain open to challenges and open to being placed in complex situations as those are the places that welcome growth.