This past weekend I, along with a few others, was able to explore outside of Ireland with a quick trip to London. I travelled to London several years ago with my family and it has become one of my favorite cities so I was excited to go back. A big item on my list was to visit the Portobello Market which is a massive street market with vintage clothes, souvenirs, amazing food and much more. You could spend an entire day there and still not stop at every booth. After the walking up and down the market, I headed to Kensington Palace and then on to Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Hyde Park is massive and while it was cool to walk it, next time I think I’ll take the tube. For dinner that night we stopped at a pub near Trafalgar Square where I had a steak and ale pie (absolutely amazing) before walking past 10 Downing St on our way back to the tube stop. Our hostel happened to be right near the Tower of London so on Sunday we went to take pictures of the Tower Bridge as well as the Tower itself. I had visited the tower on a previous trip so I decided not to get a ticket to go inside. However, there was an event going on for the Queen’s Jubilee. In honor of the Jubilee they spread thousands (probably millions) of wildflower seeds into the moat of the tower and they were in full bloom. It was something I stumbled upon but ended up being one of my favorite things from the trip. After a quick visit to the Tate Modern and Globe Theater I headed to Leicester Square to find some dumplings in Chinatown. I then finished the day off by returning to Hyde Park to the Speaker’s Corner where its tradition for people to give speeches on Sundays against whatever they have grievances (the crown, government, etc.). There was a small crowd gathered, split up into small groups as they debated Brexit and some other issues. A quick flight on Ryanair and I was back in Dublin absolutely exhausted. I was also lucky enough this week to see Harry Styles perform in Dublin with some last minute tickets and it was probably one of my all-time favorite concerts. This weekend I’m excited to just stay in Dublin and relax as I feel like the past few weeks have been go go go from the minute we touched down in Ireland.
This week at work has been focused on research, mainly of Francis Bacon and his writings as well as King Henry VII, who is the subject of one of Bacon’s more famous books. I was able to handle some of the books (including one from 1622) as I tried to determine which ones would be featured in my exhibition. I am finally starting to feel settled in but there are definitely some cultural differences that I’ve had to adapt to. My supervisor has us take tea breaks to go and grab some tea from the canteen which has been weird. In previous jobs, lunch was the main break with maybe five or so minute here and there throughout the day. It’s especially weird because I arrive at 10am and the tea break is 11am or sometimes earlier which to me feels too early for a break. I’ve been trying to use it as a time to sit outside and enjoy the sunny weather (when the sun happens to be out). Things have definitely been more relaxed here in Ireland which takes some getting used to. I’ve been told to take as long as I want for lunch and take as many breaks as I want (which is weird coming from retail where you got a 15-30 minute break and that was it). No one is in a rush to get anywhere and there’s no eating on the go. As someone who is used to taking breakfast to go on my route it was interesting to see that no one else was. Many don’t take coffee to go and instead sit at a café to enjoy it before moving on with your day. There are no massive lines at Starbucks to grab a to go coffee for the commute but there are plenty of people enjoying the seating as they sip at their cappuccino. It is definitely a nice reminder to slow down and enjoy what’s around me without feeling the need to be continuously working or doing something.