Archive for September, 2008

27
Sep
08

garden of remembrance

caitlin, lucy, stephany, and i spent most the early after noon walking around dublin and checking out a few sights. checked out the national museum which was both cool and interesting. stumbled upon a really nice park where we ended up singing mulan songs. the oscar wilde house is now the american college dublin and no longer available to the public. very disheartening. we also wandered all over everywhere and wound our way over to the james joyce centre which is temporarily closed. a bit disappointing, but im sure itll be open again soon. positive thinking, yeah? all in all, a very fun day.

but the point of this is id like to mention a place we stumbled upon by pure chance. its the garden of remembrance on the north side of dublin. it has a very long pool of water shaped like a cross surrounded by flowers and nice, plush grass. at the end of the garden, theres steps leading up to an enormous statue. this statue is one of the most intense things ive ever seen. structured over a pool of water, theres three men falling in agony towards the ground. one of them with a hand outstretched towards you. their faces, pain and suffering. several swans fly straight skyward out of their backs. its really a beautiful statue and very striking. its colored very dark with green from the oxidization of metal. the figures are not smooth, but have undulated skin. not excessively, the figures all look distinctly human and classical as far as art form goes. it made an impression on me is what i mean. its hard to say how it made me feel, but i felt something powerful there. the pain of a nation and a people abused and downtrodden. but more than that, i felt something very human there. a connection perhaps. its somewhere i plan on visiting again.

next to the statue, theres a poem engraved into the wall.

We Saw A Vision

In the darkness of despair we saw a vision, We lit the light of hope, And it was not extinguished, In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision, We planted the tree of valour, And it blossomed

In the winter of bondage we saw a vision, We melted the snow of lethargy, And the river of resurrection flowed from it.

We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river, The vision became a reality, Winter became summer, Bondage became freedom, And this we left to you as your inheritance.

O generation of freedom remember us, The generation of the vision.

and this, too, struck me powerful. gives me chills reading it now. the garden is a memorial for all those who gave their lives for irish independence over the centuries. its really beautiful. the garden and grass is very beautiful as far as pure aesthetics go, but the statue transcends that, not like a michelangelo sculpture, rather a human beauty, something melancholic, a bit tarnished, nothing smooth on it, imperfect and flawed, but very impressive and wonderful. perfectly human, which, i think, is the most important kind of beauty.

just really felt like sharing that.

26
Sep
08

newly arrived

its my second day in dublin and fifth day in ireland. i live about ten minutes from trinity college campus. a nice breezy walk. we’re also situated right in downtown dublin with plenty of awesome places within a short walk. ive now a mobile phone, too. the numbers on my facebook if you must know it. all my recieved calls are free so i wont mind if you call. just try to not call me at absurd times. when its night for you, its not a good time to call me. im probbaly deep in sleep.

im still not sure what to say in this blog so i’ll use it as reportage of events.

i left sunday, still packing as i was walking to my parents car. the minneapolis airport was quite manageable and i mostly just waited to board the plane. restarted the long trial of nolan dugatti by stephen graham jones. the plane ride was also quick and easy. only about an hour or so in the air.

chicagos a bit different. their airports mad craze. several times the size of the minneapolis airport. on arrival i was a bit lost and confused as to where i should go. i ended up joining forces with a middle aged algerian businessman to find our terminal, which happened to be the same. after receiving poor directions from several airport employess, we found our way to the correct gates with only a few minutes to spare.

aer lingus, the irish airpline, is a nifty thing. the whole crews dressed in green and are all, i assume, irish. they all seemed irish anyway. it was an overnight flight, six and a half hours in the air. i finished the long trial, watched prince caspian and attempted sleep which was near impossible. we were to arrive at 730am ireland time which is about 1am my time. really wasnt very tired and i tried the ebst i could to sleep in those tiny little seats crammed together. but, alas, no sleep came. a bit frustrating because most people seemed to have no trouble sleeping. though, the plane ride wasnt bad, they fed me three times. very good schtuff.

flying above the clouds and watching the sunrise is a glorious thing. red and orange spreading across the sky with mountainous clouds below. ireland from the sky is an interesting view as well. like looking at a patterned blanket, all squares of different shades of brown and green.

i made my way through immigration and such without a hitch. made my way to the bus station to travel to orientation in limerick. i met lucie there who would be my travel companion. the bus ride was nice, but long, very long. impossible to sleep, too. off the bus we found our hotel where wed be staying for the next couple of days. all check in and what not. then we walked around a bit. at this point we were near two days without sleep and we eventually returned to the hotel, quite tired and quite early by irish time.

the next day, tuesday, i was by myself. i woke up around 645am and wandered the city until about five at night. looked at the sights, walked up and down the shannon river, smoked cigarettes, ate soup, and watched a bit of english television. bob ross had a full hour which was great. bob ross is a severly underrated tv painter. also watched some english nickelodeon which was pretty funny, i must say. genie in the house is prime.

i met the group at dinner that night. eight girls and me. a bit surprising, but not all bad. we ate and got to know each other a bit. all nice people, it seems. the woman in charge of us, lisa, is a wonderful woman, too. ive a feeling i’ll love these irish women before my time here is through. she told us about a bar that had traditional irish music that night. we decided to check it out after dinner. very enjoyable stuff. it was also my first time being in a bar. id like to say it felt weird, but it didnt. we drank a bit and talked a bit and watched some irish men play irish music. good times.

wednesday was a pretty full morning of orientation. we were given the rundown on all sorts of things involving the program and the homestay wed have. im going to spend a weekend with a family with four kids. should be a good time. we also got our roommate designations. i currently living with lucie, who i met my first day here, and leila.

after the orientation schtuff, we had a few hours to ourselves to browse about limerick. we checked out the phone situation and various stores. i ended up not buying anything as most things here are quite expensive. we eventually made our way back to the hotel and waited to be picked up for dinner which was to be held at a castle about twenty minutes away.

bunratty castle, a beautiful place, entertaining too. the servers there are also performers. te performance is all traditional irish things. irish dance, sinigng, and bits of comedic banter between the mc and the customers. the food was good, too, and large in portion. they also served wine. lots of wine. i really had a great time. reminded me of watching my sister dance at competitions and such. if i knew how to upload pictures or videos, id do that, because im not doing it much justice.

we got back and a few of us went to a pub again. we chatted, drank, and walked back to the hotel for the last time.

the next morning, thursday, we took the bus back to dublin. a long boring ride, but loads of landscape to see. ireland really is a beautiful country. driving in it is frightening. i dont know how they manage, the roads all so small and packed together. the bus dropped us off at our apartments finally. we got to see them and i was pleasantly surprised. my roommates are determined to redecorate. im a hard person to bother and i actually think the decoration is funny. i like it. anyway, then we all reconvened at trinity college and had a quick look around campus. then lisa showed us areas of dublin where shopping and such could be done and showed us where we were to eat that night. lisa then departed and left us to our own devices.

very quickly my roommates snuck away from the group and the rest of us looked around the shops and such. all of us that didnt yet have phones bought them. there are a lot of cool shops in dublin. especially the music stores, much better selections than most american stores ive been in. they love tom waits here. seriously, his stuff is everywhere, he nearly has his own section. ireland is truly a great place. eventually we all returned to our apartments and waited for dinner.

dinner was at the mongolian barbecue. they have them in america, too. you choose your ingredients for a stir fry and the cooks prepare it in front of you. its great. after dinner we ran into lots of indecision and decided to all return home and possibly go out later, though the night was already well under way. my roommates and i returned home. they spent most of their time in their room and i went to sleep early as ive been a bit sick.

i woke up early this morning and wandered around the city. found a lot of cool places and shops. a few more music stores which are also great and a dvd store that has everything i could ever dream of owning. so glad to even walk through there. book stores here are about the same as america. everythings reallyclose to where i live, though. very cool.

havent really seen much of anyone today as i didnt get anyones phone number and no one has mine. bad planning on my part. my roommates get along like two peas in a pod, but spend most of their time together in their room. im not one to disturb. so, thats where we are presently. im going to try to get a few phone numbers from my roommates soon. see what the rest of the bunch is up to.

ireland is great. my kind of weather, my kind of people, i think i’ll get on here quite fine.

13
Sep
08

a forced first post

well, they made a first post without my consent, so i should fill it with some thing, yeah?

a bit confused on here, really. trying to figure things out and what have you.

all because of ian, a blog for you, my friends, by me, your friend.




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