This past week was filled with many activities, but what I found most exciting was meeting some of my cousins who live in Longford. My dad’s side of the family is quite large, and I’ve always known that I’ve had some distant (2nd?) cousins living in Longford, but I didn’t know any of their names or ages, and for those reasons I initially didn’t feel like getting in contact with them. However, as fate would have it (aka my dad tagging a picture of me leaving for Dublin on Facebook) I got a message from a woman named Marguerita almost immediately after landing, asking if I ever wanted to meet for dinner in Dublin. I eagerly agreed, and this past week I met Marguerita and Irene, both who are in their early twenties and know their way around Dublin from either from going to University here or by frequenting the city for better shopping opportunities. Together, the three of us went to River Bar for food and drinks and we just chatted about our families and our interests and got to know each other. They both were such lovely people and I’m pretty sure we are going to hang out again soon. It was really cool meeting them and I feel like I am more connected to my family’s roots and that I have two more friends!
Other highlights of the week include further exploring Dublin with my roommates. We found a great gelato spot, a cool bookstore on Dawson Street, and also went to a café called Queen of Tarts which had a tremendously tasty breakfast menu and beautiful tea cups which made for a great morning. I also made a solo trip to Howth and the Malahide Castle this past weekend. At Malahide, I learned about the Talbot family who had ownership of the castle from the 1100’s to the 1970’s. It was pretty hard to wrap my head around how many historical trends that castle lived through, all with the same family. The tour guide for Malahide, Jake, was also very passionate about history and made sure we understood the significance of different pieces of furniture or architectural design; and he also thoroughly creeped out everyone on the tour by convincing us that the castle was haunted and that the eyes on the Rose Talbot painting followed us when we were walking up the stairs. Howth was also quite nice, I enjoyed walking by the water and looking at the houses close by. I also tried fish and chips for the first time, and successfully walked around with that takeaway without any seagulls snatching it from me, so I am still glowing with pride from that experience.
I am getting into somewhat of a routine at my internship at Friends of the Elderly. The supervisor who I am working under went on a vacation this past week, so whenever I finished the tasks she had asked me to complete in the mornings, I felt uncertain over what I should be doing with the rest of my day. One time, when I didn’t have anything to do, I asked my other boss if she wanted me to do anything, and she simply told me that she wasn’t sure, and then went off to a board meeting. The ambiguity is a little challenging to handle, since I like to feel like I’m accomplishing things throughout my day. However, I’m sure that once my supervisor comes back from her vacation I will get more tasks to complete. Not having much to do also helped me learn how to still be productive and create tasks for myself. Sometimes after finishing my work in the morning, I would go down to the adjoining thrift shop to help out, or I would go through the donation data and make sure that all of the information about the donors was correct, or I would go through the volunteer files and make sure that all of that information was in order as well. This way, I am at least always in the middle of something productive.
At three weeks in, there are times when it feels like I’ve just landed in Dublin yet other times when it feels like I’ve been here for months. For example, I feel confident when navigating the bus system or walking through city center, but I also still look left and then right when crossing the streets. As time goes on, I’m surprised how comfortable I can feel in this city that is so far away from home, and I’m curious to see how it will feel when I am eight weeks in.