I have made it to the halfway point of my time here in Dublin! The time has flown by, but I have also done so much that at times it does not feel that way. I still have so many fun things to look forward to that I am trying not to think about how quickly they’ll be done. You can fit a lot of fun into one week here that’s for sure. I went back to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre to see School of Rock after I had a blast witnessing the tour of Waitress the week prior. I also got to witness tech rehearsals for Party Scene, my company’s show they are producing, as it opened up in Dublin. Needless to say, I certainly experienced all the performing arts this past week and had a blast watching art come to life.
Now that I have spent a good amount of time in Dublin, I feel as though I have adapted well. It is not easy every day and I have occasionally run into obstacles. Something that took a bit of getting used to is the restaurant culture. In America, you are almost always seated and given a menu. Here, you usually seat yourself in most places, and at bars and pubs, you have to usually ask for a menu. I might have the mindset of going to a pub for lunch, but it seems like they automatically assume you are there for a drink. I am not sure if this is because we’re in the city or near the Temple Bar area or if it is the norm everywhere in Ireland, but it is something I have noticed on more than one lunch break.
Another city change, one I enjoy a lot, is how user-friendly the buses are. No hate towards the Pittsburgh bus system, but as someone who struggles with directions, I get lost very easily on them. Here, you have to wave down the bus which is nice since that way you know it will stop for you. My favorite part is all the buses are double-decker here so there is a ton of seating room. Since the buses are heavily used there are also charging ports and WiFi on all buses. The bus drivers are nice if you do happen to be confused as to where to get off for your stop, they will alert you if you need it. And when you need to alert them to stop, you just press one of the many red buttons. Getting home is just as easy since stops very clearly say which bussed stop where and will sometimes have electric signs that scroll with when your bus will arrive. It is a very simple system and it is no wonder it is used more commonly than in the states.
Enough about buses, let’s talk about work. The biggest thing to adapt to here in the workplace is not a negative thing, but how less stressful it is than working in the states. I am constantly told to take my time or to not hesitate with any questions and it has been a very positive experience because of that. I never feel like there are a hundred things on my plate but one task served a platter at a time. It was crazy to me at first since I had several part-time jobs back home with bosses who saw me as an employee first and a person second. In Dublin, I really feel like a part of the work-family where I do not mind helping others with their workload and they do not mind helping me. I always knew America was known for the emphasis on hard work and “the American dream” but I have never understood just how intense it looks from an outsider’s perspective. Ireland really treasures work-life balance and I find it so refreshing. I feel like my workload is reasonable and like I can go home at the end of the day confident in how much I completed.
It is funny to think back to right before leaving for Dublin. I was scared and worried I would never adjust or get lost and become stranded in a foreign country. It has actually been a super positive experience and I have never adapted to a place so quickly. I would be lying if I did not mention this study abroad experience inspiring me to maybe live here one day. Only time will tell. Now that I am adapted to this city, all that is left is to thrive in it.