Exhausted but Exhilarated

Week 3 in Ireland and fatigue is starting to set in, but in a good way. Before going abroad I prepared myself to be tired because I wanted to make the most of the experience, which means keeping busy! My first week of work ended smoothly. I feel like I always have a good amount of work to do during the day, but nothing too difficult or that I am unable to manage. My boss is responsive and answers all of my questions patiently. The flexible schedule is a huge blessing, especially since reading that many of my other classmates are not afforded the same luxury of short hours in their internships. I am nervous about approaching my boss to ask for the evaluation sheet. It is due next Friday, the same day that County Council will take a vote to elect her as Mayor of South Dublin, and she has been extremely busy lately. It can be difficult in a workplace to assert my needs, even needs as simple as fulfilling the requirements for this course. I see how busy she is, and feel like my problems are trivial in comparison. 

This weekend myself, Lucy Bornhorst, Lucy Wydeven, Valerie Davis, and Tegan Lapp took a train to Galway. We left Friday evening and returned, exhausted but exhilarated, on Sunday. After arriving late on Friday, we checked into our hostels and quickly fell asleep. Saturday morning was an early wake up call! We caught an 8am bus out to Doolin to hike 5 miles along the Cliffs of Moher. Even in occasionally less than optimal weather conditions (a sudden downpour and scarily strong winds coming in off the water) I could not get over the beauty of the landscape. As we walked along the rising cliffs we could smell the seawater wafting up from below, with the occasional flecks of sea foam flying up to meet us, like pieces of snow. The winds were so strong the seagulls could fly just fine with their wings outstretched, gliding along the coasts peacefully, no need to struggle or flap. Along the way we met a couple visiting Ireland from Pittsburgh! They noticed our Pitt flag and were excited to make the connection! Later on in our hike they pointed out a rock down below covered in little black dots…puffins! They were too far down to get a good look, but it was so cute to see a colony of tiny little puffins huddled together, there were easily hundreds. 

I love the outdoors and being in nature. My “self-care” since arriving in Ireland has been long runs on the nature trail around University College Dublin’s campus. Hiking over rocks and hills, passing farm animals and taking in the sites of the water was a small slice of my individual version of paradise. I ran up the last steep hill just for fun. As exhausted as I was, there was something empowering about it, running the last difficult stretch.

That night we got dinner at an Italian restaurant in Galway. I have never tasted better food. That or I was just really hungry after not eating all day. Exploring the city that night and the next day was really fun for me. My family history can be traced back to Galway, and my grandmother was extremely excited that I was able to go and explore the area. Galway is one of Ireland’s larger cities, but is a simple fishing village in comparison to Dublin. The seafood was excellent, and it was the perfect weekend trip. Today (Thursday) is really the first day I feel fully recovered from the weekend. I have slept really well the past few days trying to regather myself.

On Tuesday Amanda, Annabeth, Valerie, Lucy, and I saw Waitress at Bord Gais Energy Theater in Dublin. Tickets were unbelievably cheap and I have wanted to see Waitress for a long time. The show exceeded all my expectations. School of Rock is playing there in two weeks, and I think I’m going to try to get tickets to see that too. I’m less familiar with that show than I was with Waitress, but I want to experience as much as I can while I’m here and art has always been very important to me. 

Within my internship I have experienced uncertainty, unclear directions, and ambiguity in some of my assignments. Currently my boss is engaging in a lot of politics as she tries to secure votes from her fellow councillors to be elected as Mayor, which means she has been absent from the office for the entire week. All of my communication with her is done via email or WhatsApp, which makes clarity in instruction very difficult. Some of the terminology she uses to describe her needs is foreign to me. Just two days ago she requested I produce a “top note” on the agenda for an upcoming meeting. I did not know what a top note was, and had to ask many questions to clarify the content and format she wanted for the finished result. I have had to learn to be confident in not knowing, and asking many questions to ensure I understand the tasks assigned to me.