Sugar, Spice, and All Sorts of Nice Things

Let me tell you, I had such a wonderful day yesterday. I finally was invited to register, because at Trinity you need an invitation, and that just opened a lot of doors. I didn’t actual walk through the two major ones until today (setting up a bank account and getting my student id) but it just felt great to finally have that done. It was supposed to have happened a couple weeks ago. Golly.

Another thing that happened yesterday but bore fruit today was the package I received from my mother. I was gone when they tried to deliver it and had to pick it up at their facility this morning, so I had an hour long walk. But. It mostly contained the few things I couldn’t fit in my luggage, but it also contained a bag of rye crisps (possibly the greatest snack of all time) and fuzzy slippers. So that was fabulous. There was also a shaker of cinnamon (I felt I had to tell you to make the title true. But there was actually cinnamon. For real. I just wasn’t going to mention it).

Then, I encountered a new Irish candy bar called Lion that has a white chocolate version, and obviously it was nothing short of miraculous. This would be the sugar part of the title. FYI, white chocolate is my everything.

Then, having given up on waiting for my Trinity registration to go through, I spent some quality time in a book store and just bought The Count of Monte Cristo (which my local public library, embarrassingly, didn’t have). I’m sorry if I talk about books too much, they’re just a huge part of my life. And my phone just autocorrected part to party, and basically. Books are just a huge party.

I finished the day in a cool coffee lounge with a sort of kooky decoration style, having a lovely mug of tea and a slice of Nutella cheesecake. I don’t have to tell you the ecstasy of that dessert. I probably couldn’t if I tried. And passed the time in pleasant conversation with some be friends from church.

So yesterday was just really, really exceptional. I just want to tell you all how sorry I am that your yesterday was so lame in comparison with mine. My sincerest condolences.

Anyway, on to what this term has in store. I’m taking six classes that meet once a week for two hours. They are: United Nations and Conflict Resolution; Conflict Zones Case Study–Colombia; Race and Ethnicity, Theoretical Concepts; Colonialism, Conflict, and Liberal Intervention; Race, Ethnicity, and Social Policy; and Research Methodology. Obviously that last one terrifies me. Terrifies.

Additionally, I am now a member of the University of Dublin Choral Society which rehearses one a week. This term, we will be performing Handel’s Messiah which, interestingly enough, primiered in Dublin, or so I’ve heard. I also auditioned for the smaller Trinity Singers group and haven’t heard back. Honestly, I think the audition went terribly, but I’m not too broken up about it. I still have Choral Society.

Enough about me, on to more important things.

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This week’s cat pictures generously provided by the wonderful Aarathi and Becca. His name is Captain Kirk. Obviously, he is a delightful animal and I love him from afar.

On a totally different note, I truly hope you took some action based off my challenges to you last week (didn’t realize this blog would come with challenges, didya? Don’t worry, neither did I). Nothing important or profound this week. But I do recommend the Wikipedia page for electrum. I found it really interesting. Let me know your thoughts.

That’s all I have. I’ll write again next week, provided I survive my first week of grad school.

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Written Words

Libraries will get us through times of no money better than money will get us through times of no libraries.

I don’t recall when or where I first heard that, but golly it has always rung true to me. Sort of an odd place to start a post, but believe me when I tell you that it is both relevant to current Keegan happenings and pertinent to current Keegan musings. Just bear with me.

First, in the most topical sense, Trinity’s Old Library is glorious. Consistently rated one of the most beautiful in the world and, I believe, the largest single-chamber library in the world. Interestingly, books aren’t arranged by any library system, but by size so as to maximize use of the space. Also houses the famous and gorgeous Book of Kells and one of the oldest Irish harps remaining in existence. Fun fact, Trinity is still a legal deposit library for the UK, which means that they get a copy of every single book published anywhere in the British Isles. Something like two thousand a week, or some crazy number like that. Wow.

But also, a little more directly to my life, I got a city library card on Saturday (don’t ask why I don’t just use Trinity’s, it’s complicated). Anyway, I’ve basically been holed up in my room reading contentedly for the past week. I mean, I have continued to explore and had ‘orientation,’ my time has been reading. And trust me, orientation was very boring, my actual course meeting is this Monday. Currently reading my third book since Saturday, having enjoyed all of them. So I just wanted to put in a good word for libraries because they are amazing places. A thousand dreams and a thousand lives, escapism, realism, fantasy, reality; books are the magic of this world. No offense (but actually kind of…) I have never been understood people who don’t read. You don’t have to read any particular type of book or with any particular frequency, but everyone should read. It makes us better than we were before.

So there are some words about reading. But, you’ll say, the title is about writing. What do you have to say about that?

Well, in fact, quite a bit. I enjoy writing (even blogs, as I’m learning). But there’s something particularly special about words that have actually been written. Like, physically, pen-to-paper written. Some of you may know that I write letters on occasion, and it’s something that I find a great deal of pleasure in– both composing and receiving. My grandmother sent me here with a story she had written up about my great great grandfather, who came from England with an eighth grade education and beame one of the most influential people in Pocatello, Idaho. He strikes me as someone who would have written a great deal of very eloquent letters. Naturally, I sent her a letter telling her how much I appreciated it and how I was doing here so far. Eloquent, maybe not, but I did so enjoy writing it nonetheless. An underappreciated mode of communication in an age of ample technological means of communication (says the man writing a blog). As such, I think it conveys particular sincerity and care.

So here’s my challenge for you this week: write something and send it off. Not just a quick note, either. A full page, at least, a real letter. Mind you, I struggle to do this too. But just do one. Send it to a coworker you particularly appreciate or a friend you have been meaning to thank, but keep forgetting. Or a special someone to show them they are on your mind (a certain Enchanted song comes to mind–that’s how you know). Trust me, it will make a difference for both of you. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, just honest.

Anyway, musings for the day. Take them or leave them. Fresher’s week starts on Monday. Not much else to report. Until next time.

November

I wish it was November.

For a lot of reasons, I’m putting some major hope in the month of November. I get that life never lines up exactly, that a little chaos is both unavoidable and even desirable. Nonetheless, I wish it were November. Because I’m hoping that by then, I’ll have at the very least a better grip on this current dose of chaos.

Let me tell you, getting into this house has been quite an adventure. Last night, I slept in the sixth bed in eight days. This one was special, though, because it’s the one I’ll be calling home for the foreseeable future. I’m all moved in, things are on their way to nooks and crannies, and I’m not feeling like I over- or under-packed, which is glorious and gloriously unexpected.

It was a tough week, mostly waiting. But here I am. There’s a bit more to do, both in the house and for school, and I’ll be tackling those tasks with a bit lighter heart now that I’ve finally moved in. Orientation is this coming week, where hopefully I will get some more information on the actual schooling that will be going on this year. The week after that is ‘freshers week’ and when I hope to be joining choir and Russian club. Then school!

It’s a lot to look forward too, but also be frightened of. I make friends very slowly and am more of a homebody than I would guess are most twenty-one year old guys. Another reason to look forward to November. But, as I frequently am reminding my mother, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

And, of course, November will present its own things–bundles of them, I’m sure. It will be my first Thanksgiving celebrated outside of the country and the second (the first was freshman year of college) without family. Classes will be wrapping up and that’s rarely a fun time. On the other hand, I am coming home for Christmas (which I’m already excited about, both going home and Christmas itself). Currently listening to Christmas music on Youtube. Never too early, I say.

But for now, here we are in September. Bloom where you’re planted.

Fáilte

So here I am. In Dublin. Yay!

I didn’t write a post immediately upon arrival because my first few days were a lethargic mixture of tired, hungry, anxious, and terrified. Truth be told, I felt a little ill. This stems mostly from the fact that, while I had finally secured a place to live a couple days before I left, I wasn’t able to move in immediately because paying rent from another country is tricky. It was a whole thing arranging things with the landlady and setting everything up. But anyway, here I am, still alive, and set to move in hopefully by Monday. Then a couple weeks of looking for a part-time job, orientation, and classes start at the end of the month.

Ireland. Dublin. It’s a lot. Luckily for you guys, I have a whole year (at least) to describe it, so you’ll get it in manageable doses.

First, Dublin literally means overcast and chilly (misuse of literally, it actually means Black Pool). But all you Washingtonians will appreciate the fact that it’s very grey, always a chance of rain, and just generally “mild” in the worst sense of the word. And when it rains, sometimes it pours, but often it’s just a drizzle, or an inconsistent sprinkle, or a fine mist. It’s very much like Gig Harbor but a little colder in the summers and warmer in the winters. The average annual temperature variation is something like 65 – 45 (that may not really be accurate, but it’s thereabouts. I’m too lazy to look it up just now. You can–you’re obviously on a computer). Anyway, all that’s to say that I love it. Sweater weather all year round and green (surprise, Ireland is green).

Also, you can all sleep soundly, I have found a place that bakes pasties. An explanation on pasties (probably more than you really wanted to know but I don’t care, I love them). First, it’s pasty rhyming with fast-y, not pasty rhyming with tasty. Second, they were invented in Cornwall and I first indulged in them while studying in England at the University of Exeter (in Devon, the county adjacent to Cornwall). Basically, they’re a bit like English calzones, so that crust/pastry thing traditionally filled with potatoes, beef, and rutabagas (there’s a whole thing about alternative terms for rutabagas in England, but I won’t go into that now). Other varieties exist, like lamb & mint and steak & stilton. Suffice to say, they’re delicious and I love them. They’re not really a thing in Ireland, but I’ve found my place, so there’s that.

So the title of this post is ‘welcome’ in Irish (not Gaelic, Irish) and it’s pronounced Fall-chuh. Irish spelling and pronunciation are the absolute worst. Exhibit B: the Republic of Ireland (the southern, Catholic, most of the island part) is Poblacht na hÉireann. Yes, that is a lower case h in front of an upper case E. Because Irish is the worst. Of course, I still love it because it’s awesome and I love basically all minority languages. Fun fact, Irish is the most spoken Celtic language, both by population and proportion of population. The other Celtic languages are Scottish Gaelic (spoken in Scotland), Manx (spoken on the Isle of Mann), Welsh (spoken in Wales), Cornish (spoken in Cornwall), and Breton (spoken in Brittany). So that was a ginormous tangent, but I don’t care because minority languages yay!

I would be writing about my experiences in Ireland but, to this point, I haven’t really had any. I’ve just been wandering around the city, orienting my self, revisiting the sights I saw when I was here a couple years ago (which is to say, spring before last), and watching Netflix–which is the worst because most of my shows aren’t on Irish Netflix.

But anyway, there you have it. A bit of a disappointment in terms of first blog posts from a foreign country, but it’s honest and that’s all I can do. To make it worth your while, here are some pictures of the cutest cat in her cutest pose. I call it the “Don’t look at me world, I’m too shy.”

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Until next time, then, that’s all I have for you.