16
Jun
09

amerikan skies for irish ones

Back home. Or something like it. Where to start?

I live with some peeps right across the street from school. Very nice location. I’ve a room that’s bigger than one i’ve had in years, which came with an air organ that i’m going to learn how to play. Good times, yeah? Also, my computer broke. Terrible mishap, that. I want a new macbook, but instead i’m getting the same old model of Toshiba drudgery. Such is life. At least it’s free. Oh, and, luckily, i backed up everything a few days before it happened, so i’ve still all my music, musings, and memories from ireland and beyond. Still though, sucks to be without a computer for the next month. it’s why i’ve not said anything on here in so long. 

Let’s go back.

Leaving Dublin was both frightening and emotional. Not just because it was my home, but because of everything that’s happened this year and all the people i’ve known. Lauren and i survived the plane ride, got a little drunk in Newark, and then left to our respective lives in the middle west of amerika. 

Been hit by a lot of culture shock, more than when i went the other way. It’s strange to be back in my homeland. Stranger still how the world’s changed since i’ve left it. But i’ve friends here. A few anyway. Less than i remember, though. Bridges burn if you don’t watch after them and they burn faster when you light them.

Most of my friends from high school aren’t around. I don’t have a job. I spend the days in a daze of lethargy, wasting the hours and minutes till it’s time to do it again. I’ve many projects, though. Gonna get started on them soonishly. Bought fingerpaint, am learning to play the organ, got a tape recorder, and am conceptualising the mystery boxes i’ll be sending out. All great fun. Some of the projects have been put on hold because of the broken computer. I was going to write a play and a novella, but that’s lost for now. Also, i’ve a secret mission to complete using the wonders of technology. Oh, and i’m going to make ciphers. Yeah, lots of random tomfoolery.

I’ve always been a bit of a reluctant blogger, but i’m glad i came round to it and Ian forced my hand. It’s nice to have the year put down for my memory, which is constantly failing. But now, the site holds little use to me. Might be a very long time till i post again. But i think i did all right. I’ve had over 1,200 hits in just nine months. Not bad, i must say.

But, yeah, these must end.

Why not here.

04
Jun
09

will you still miss me when i’m gone?

It’s hard to say. Hard to say what needs to be said. How does one sum up a year? And of all years, this year, maybe the best and most interesting years of my life.

I’m sitting here in my apartment. This morning i said goodbye to Sarah after lunch with her and Lauren [i guess lunch makes this morning not this morning]. Then i came back here and cleaned for about four hours. Cleaned the whole apartment to keep from thinking about this. About all of this. But now there’s nothing left to clean. So i’ll clean out my head, i guess.

And i don’t really know how to go about this. I said i’d recap recent events, but i don’t much feel like doin that. Might do it later today or tomorrow or never. An exam tomorrow, too. Can’t seem to study.

What is studying abroad? It’s many things, but mostly it’s not real. You escape from the real world [your friends, family, country] and wander off into the light of another sun. Everything’s new, the ground, the air, the streets, the wind, the scent, the rivers, the grass. It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before because you’ve never been here. But it’s also so familiar, like you always belonged here and that’s why you’re there now. You live here amongst strangers, a stranger in a strange land with people who become your friend because there’s no one else. And you cling to these people. There’s nothing to hold onto, almost nowhere to even put your feet down. The world’s a blur, the days and weeks swirl around in your head and get confused, your life turns round and round. But then you look next to you and your friend’s right there, caught in the swirl with you, so you take their hand and hold tightly afriad to lose one another or even to slide a bit apart. And it makes it all okay because you know you’re not alone, that they’re there with you. And you hold one another up, make sure they don’t fall in a hole or get lost in a cloud or melt in the rain.

It’s only a year and it goes too fast but it lasts forever. You’ve only known these people for a number of months, but it feels like centuries. You’ll learn their whole life and tell them yours on a four hour bus ride to a place you never thought you’d go to. A train or a plane can make a stranger your new best friend. And you never want to lose sight of them again less they disappear or stop being real. Because none of this is real. It’s an imaginary life in an unknown continent you’ve only heard about through books and movies where you meet impossible people that you fall into so deeply and so hard that you’re bound together. You don’t want to cut those ties and you hope they never fall apart. because that would be worst of all. To discover that it never mattered, that it wasn’t real, that the people you fell in love with are ghosts.

And you go to all these places, all these places that never existed before you got their regardless of thousands of years of history. And i think i’ve said all this before, but i never stop thinking like this, about this. You pack so many experiences into so few months. It’s why friendships grow so strong. You put months of experience into a single day on a mountain or three hours walking the Seine.

And for me, it went in two phases. Phase One: Arriving here in the fall until i went back home for Christmas.

Coming to terms with all the sights and sounds that you never thought you’d see or hear. Meeting the country and other countries. I wandered a lot back then and only spent a handful of weekends in Dublin. I came here and met the people in my program. So much of it doesn’t exist in my mind, all erased and flipped away from me. But i liked it all, immediately fell in love with ireland and felt at home here. Felt stranger for me to be back in Minnesota, truth be told. But i kind of waited out those days until part two of Phase One happened and i met Michelle. She was a great time, a pretty and fiesty girl from New York. All sass and class. She made the last month or so a lot of fun until i bid her farewell around Christmas. She returned to New York for good and i spent two weeks in a blizzard.

Phase Two: Return and meeting my real friends.

And that’s not a slight to the Butler Program kids. But we just never really were good matches. I enjoyed them well enough, but we were no good for one another. Anyway, i returned hoping to meet someone new to make the last six months incredible. And i did. Enter Lauren. Met her in a class and we became a bit inseparable. A four hour trip to Cork proved to us that we were meant to be best friends. And this is the Era of Lauren, which never really ended. Even still, it’s going on. We spent hours just laughing and laughing, wandering around Dublin, causing ruckuses and defeating the irish.

Through Lauren i got to know the other IES kids, who’re a great time. TreVOR came next. We finally hung out, just the two of us, one fateful night we decided to see WATCHMEN. From then on, a friendship was born and it flourished. So i guess this is a sub-era dubbed TreVOR Time by me, just now.

Then the big trip through Amsterdam and Paris happened. Around this time, some confusion happened that none of us understand wherein i thought Lauren was mad at me and she thought i was mad at her. In reality, neither of us was mad at the other one. We’re just, i don’t know, idiots or something. But, because of this, i spent the time with TreVOR and Sarah where we became A-Team, trusted in Sarah, and she was my teammate.

Life went on, me and Lauren came back together and laughed about the lost time. Trevor and i were partners and we made continuous fools of ourselves around Dublin along with the rest of our merry crew. Time went by and the laughing and merriment never slowed. Then came Trinity Ball and my next big journey where i had to say goodbye to TreVOR. He’s off in amerika and we miss him. I guess that’s where the TreVOR Time ended and the Sarah Era began. We went through Munich and Salzburg, then returned to Dublin. And the last month, i’ve spent most of my time with her.

But we were all together here. We broke Dublin, hand in hand, singing and dancing drunkenly through the streets. I love these people.

Trevor–An amazing guy. Always up for a good time and so so so funny. There’s no way to describe his thinknig process, but it results in some brilliant things. Too, he’s like a cartoon character. He had a uniform and was just that kind of personality that you cannot forget or deny. If you want to get drunk and watch Entourage at two in the afternoon, all you need to do is give Trevor a call and make the walk over. Smart, too. He knows things and beyond the big personality and hilarity and drunken shenanigans, there’s a depth of feeling and emotion there. he’s very kind and generous and thoughtful. A good friend, one that i’m glad i got to spend some time with and hope to not lose. And the dances he invented and all the tomfoolery we caused, my god, i’m smiling just thinking about it now. And when he left, we all knew and felt it. It felt like i lost fifteen friends after he left. It’s hard to explain or describe, but when Trevor left, we all felt that we had way fewer friends in Dublin rather than only losing one.

Sarah–I’ve never met a mind like her. It’s hard to sum up Sarah as a person. She’s a nonstop surprise, really. I wish i could watch what happened inside her brain while it was working. She’s also probably the funniest person i’ve ever met. All beauty and laughs, she loves to dance and get wild, drink and smile, and she love love loves to take pictures. Before i met her, i had about 300 pictures on facebook, now i’ve almost 900. And after today, i’ll probably have more. I never get tired of her or the things she says. Too, she seems all innocence and shyness, but nothing could be further from the truth. And we lost her today, but i can’t imagine forgetting her. Kind of became my travel buddy, too. She’s been kind to me, a great friend, and always a good time. I feel like there’s so much more for me to say about her, but i can’t seem to find the words. I’ll miss her a great deal, too.

Lauren–My best friend. And i don’t just mean best friend here or best friend this year, but maybe my best friend ever. I could probably talk about her for days. She means the world to me. Too, another one of the most interesting minds i’ve met in my life. I can’t think of anyone i’ve spent more time with just laughing and laughing and laughing. There’s something in us that just fits perfectly together and makes so much sense in my head. Europe wouldn’t have been the same without her and i’m infinitely glad i met her. Not just because she introduced me to the rest of my friends here, but because she’s indispensable to me. She’s my other half here, my tag team partner, my Grandma Bufftastic. She’s perfect and i’m going to miss her most of all. Luckily, i don’t need to see europe without her. We’re flying back together, but i’ll be saying goodbye to her in New Jersey instead.

And those are probably the three most important people to me here. And i love each of them a great deal. I’m really going to miss them. A lot. Because i can’t imagine losing them, not seeing them in just a couple of days. All day today, i’ve felt tears filling up just behind my eyeballs. Trevor being gone didn’t really feel real and still doesn’t. But now with Sarah leaving, it’s all hitting me. The fact that i’m going home, that i’m losing friends, my best friends. I really do love these people.

And i’m sad and afraid.

But technology makes things easier. We’ll stay in contact the best we can. And though i’m terrible at it, i’m going to make a real effort to stay in contact. Because i need it.

Also, i don’t mean to exclude friends by only mentioning Trevor, Sarah, and Lauren. There are many more awesome people here that i’ve met. Sam, my canadian lioness, with the Tommy Pickles’ walk and the ability to always have a good time and make everyone around her have a good time. Kristen, Lauren’s brain or secretary or maintenance woman. Josh, the funny jew who seems to have a limitless knowledge of basketball and hiphop.

But i don’t mean to jabber on like this. Really must study and figure out how to handle all of this.

I’ll miss these people. All of them. More than i can even express.

02
Jun
09

and so it goes

One more down.

I’ll make a proper post Thursday to recap these last couple weeks, throw some pictures up maybe.

And then we’ll discuss how i feel about all of this. My departure, returning to the real world, and the departure of my friends.

Till Thursday.

29
May
09

Like dominoes

Two more friends down.

Four left.

Dublin’s dying and it’s all too soon.

Feeling down in the mouth. I’ll make a proper post soon.

Adios, Sam and Josh.

27
May
09

Demons caught my tail!

Well, not really much to report. I’m done with four of my five finals, two of them went smashingly, two of them went, well, they smashed me, i guess. I don’t much care, though. The year’s just about done and so is my imaginary life here in this imaginary continent its inhabitants call europe. Too, that means i’m heading back to the real world that i normally live in with all those real people that live in Minnesota. The friends i’ve met here will be left here. And it’s very sad, but i don’t want to talk about that now. I’ll get to it later. Afraid to put it down in words and make it an actuality. Best to let it drift a bit until leaving is inevitable, though it’s only eleven days away, i think.

This last weekend went quite well. It was Africa Day here in Dublin and there was a big africa festival. A very good time, that. Too, saw The Republic of Loose again there, which is an irish band that’s a bit funk, a bit soul, and a lot of a good time. I saw them for the first time way back in January at RagBall, which was also a good time that i think i never mentioned on here. I get lazy, it seems. I should link a video here of the Loose boys, but i’m feeling lazy.

Been spending my days doing not very much. Everyone’s off studying for their finals. Then Sam and Josh leave on Friday and there will only be a very small bit of our friend team together here. Writing some stories, about three being written at the same time here. All very different as they tend to be. One’s all surrealism and probably impossible to make sense of. Another one is conversations without context. And the last one is about a dead girl. Yeah, um, i don’t know. They’re all different in terms of style and structure and all that.

Well, i’ll get to more things at a later date. Just wanted to update life on here. Things are kind of winding down and it’s a bit sad and frightening.

Life goes on even when you wish it wouldn’t.

Oh, and i’m home on June Seventh, can’t remember if i mentioned that. Get hyped.

21
May
09

this is not for you

Published today over at RedFez Magazine. Here’s a link to my story, This is Not for You. Save you a bit of time there. I’ve yet to read the other stories, but i recognise some of the names, such as Christ Dwyer, Alex Martin, Colin McKay Miller, and Gavin Pate, so check them out, too.

My story, meh, i wrote it over a year ago. Some of you read an earlier draft for it either in my class or on facebook. It’s changed a bit from then, pulled back the violence, but it’s still dark and brutal. Probably the darkest thing i’ve written. It’s not right for my current direction, but i forgot it was out there searching for publication and i got the surprise e-mail of acception for it. I mean, it feels good to be published, but it’s, well, just whatever, i guess.

Yeah, all from me. Give it a read if you’ve time. Also, in case you’ve not noticed, i’ve set up a page with all my published works in it as well as linking the stories over there on the right side of the page.

20
May
09

four planes, seven trains, six buses

Possibly more trains involved there. Hard to tell. What am i talking about? My most recent travels. First, though, we need to head way back in time to Trinity Ball. Oh, and all pictures are courtesy of Sarah Burton, once again, because she’s our photographer and i’ve yet to upload any pictures on facebook. Oh, by the way, this si sure to be a post of epic proportions. Should probably cut it up into thirds, but whatever. Take a break midway through and come back to me.

So, Trinity Ball, a time to get all dressed up in the nicest of clothes and get wasted with over six thousand schoolmates whilst concerts are going on. And, yeah, that was the intention. We’ll get to that. I put on my tux around four in the afternoon to see how it felt and how sweet i looked. Pretty sweet, turns out. I headed to Trevor’s around seven and they’re still preparing themselves. Apparently him and Rob, his guest at the time, drank the day away, fell asleep, and finally woke up to prepare for the night of drinking about to start. We bumble about in his room and finally head up to the girls around eight or nine or something. We all party and get ready and try to take group photos though it’s impossible to get a good one.

That’s probably the best one we got. From left to right: Trevor, Sam, Claire, some idiot, Sarah, LR, Josh [not pictured: Brittney (Sam’s guest) and Rob]. Anyway, the fun continues and we head to the Ball.

Immediately the Ball goes a bit wild. Claire hurts her leg and her and Sarah disappear with the medical crew. That’s the last i saw of them for the night. The night was spent bumbling around in the dark whilst drunk with a constantly cycling number and variety of teammates. Me and Trevor were together for most of it, though. Sometimes Sam was there, sometimes Brittney was there, sometimes Josh and LR, sometimes my friends from the Butler program. I’m not sure if it was really a fun time, but it was definitely one worth noting. A very strange time, mostly. Oh, and part of the problem with getting lost is that my phone ran out of credit about ten minutes after arriving there. Apparently my free texts stopped being free, but i did receive about thirty texts only saying, ‘Where are you?’ or, ‘Come here.’ But, yeah, no credit so i couldn’t say where i was or ask where they were.

But, yeah, i’ll just say it was a good time and defiitely worth experiencing.

Oh, and Calvin Harris was there and this song below would dominate a lot of my earspace for the trainrides. The video, mostly.

So funny, that.

Anyhoodle, the next day we head to Barcelona. This is bus one, by the way, going to the airport, i mean. The plane ride, number one,  is unreasonably cold and i get a bit of cabin fever, but we make it there around 930pm. Of course, then we need to take a 90 minute bus to Barcelona because Ryanair never really takes you to where you’re going. Bus two. We check into our hostel and just kind of wander the streets of Barcelona for a while. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob buy some sexy beers as the random dudes selling it on the streets called it. Later, we would find out that they store the beers in the sewers. Real sexy.

We go to sleep and head out to explore Barcelona the next day. Mike, Sarah, and i take a sightseeing bus tour in order to see as much as possible. We do. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob, we would later find out, spent the whole day on the balcony of our hostel room getting drunk. The corner our balcony overlooked was also apparently the drug corner of the Gothic District. Very funny stuff went on from the viewpoint of that balcony. Anyway, some pictures of what we saw around Barcelona while the others drank the day away because it’s better than me writing it all down.

Most things of interest in Barcelona were constructed by Gaudi. He’s quite a famous architect who built amazing;y intricate and interesting looking buildings. Anyway, that night we went out and had a good time out in Barcelona, even ate some Spanish cuisine.

The next day, the last day i would see Trevor in europe, was beach day. Unfortunately, the weather was against us. It didn’t rain or anything, but it was quite cold, or colder than we would’ve liked. Pictures of the day spent on the beach and wandering around Barcelona.

A nice team photo to end there. Some of those pictures are from miss Brittney Winter as well because Sarah was missing some key moments in time.

After that, we had to say goodbye to Rob and Trevor and Mike. Mike we’d all probably see again, Rob was only here briefly, but we enjoyed him. Trevor, though, man, Trevor’s a real loss. I mean, him being gone here is like a huge hole in Dublin. He was my partner in bafoonery for the last couple of months. I mean, now there’s no one to call midday to start drinking a bottle of wine with and watch Jay-z mashed up with The Verve. I’m being serious, so don’t laugh. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet since i’ve been mostly studying the past three or four days, but today, man, i’ll feel it and i’ll feel it more when the whole group gets back together. But, yeah, sucks to have a true friend disappear, especially here, because back in amerika, we live a thousand miles away from one another. Gotta keep in touch, though. I’m bad at it, but these people here, i want to remember them and keep knowing them. I’ll get to more of these thoughts later, probably at a different time. When leaving europe is just around the corner.

But, yeah, we bid them farewell. Sam cried, which made me get real sad about it. After we gathered ourselves and tried to pretend like we’d see Trevor in just a couple of days, we ate and Sarah and i walked Sam and Brittney to the metro because they moved to a different hostel.

We spent the rest of the time planning Munich and Salzburg. Got to sleep early as we had to wake up at 4am to catch a bus to the airport to make our plane on time.

Yeah, the next day would prove to be nonstop traveling. We check out of the hostel and walk to the bus station, arriving around 5am. We wait for the bus, the third of the trip, to take us to the airport, our second plane.

The busride goes by as it’s meant to. We make it through the airport easily and then have about an hour to wait for the flight. The flight goes by in flashes and blurs, constantly falling asleep, but only staying asleep for about five minutes at a time. We arrive in Hahn where we take a bus, number four, to Mainz where we would be heading to Munich from.

Okay, something to keep in mind, we saved about fifty euros each by traveling in the manner i’m going to explain. However, it also, we discovered, meant six extra hours in transit. At Mainz, we take a bus, number five, to a train. That train took us to another train, which took us to another train and so on. Hard to tell how many trains we rode. Somewhere between six and eight that day. Also, neither of us speak any German and the train stations were very unhelpful about planning your journey. Basically, unless you know where you’re going, you’ve no business on the trains. We didn’t. We thought we were lost for a very long time until we talked to a train employee who barely spoke english. He told us how to do the rest of our trip.

At this point, we’ve been riding trains for about eight hours and we’re losing it. So, what do we do?

Yeah, we get candy, ice cream, soda, and Jagermeister. It was the first time Sarah had ever drank Jag and we decided to make a game of it. Everytime the conductor said something we didn’t understand, we took a shot. The Jag went quickly. It was a very funny time and there are more pictures from these two hours of drinking than there are of the rest of the day. Oh, too, the weather was miserable the whole day. Cold and rainy. And we’re dressed in shorts, the only people in Germany wearing shorts, truth be told.

We arrive in Munich and have trouble figuring out how to get to our hostel, so we take the underground, even though it turns out our hostel was about a fifteen minute straight walk. We check in, get a drink at the bar, and basically go to sleep. After more than fourteen hours traveling, there’s not much else to do. Especially because it was already near midnight.

The next day we went to Neuschwanstein Castle. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in dedication to the operas of Richard Wagner. It’s truly a beautiful place. It’s the castle that Disney’s castle is modelled after. Also, it’s built in the Alps, so there are amazing views everywhere. It’s a long steep walk up to it, though. It was supposed to be cold and rainy that day and we were dressed appropriately. However, it turned out being hot and sunny and the climb made you a bit sweaty. But, yeah, pictures because it saves my fingers time.

That’s probably sufficient. But, yeah, the glory and folly of kings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we got a few. It’s a magnificent castle, but mostly unfinished inside. Funny how the castles that bankrupted Bavaria is now what make it the most money through tourism.

We got back to Munich and went to catch a pub crawl that never ended up happening. We waited for it, the guy eventually came and told us that we were the only two tonight, so it wasn’t going to happen, but he gave us a free beer and told us good places to go and how to get there. We headed to the Haufbrauhaus, the famous beer hall where the first Oktoberfest happened.

It was glorious in so many ways. They had traditional Bavarian music playing, traditional dress for all the people working, huge liters of beer, incredible traditional food for cheap [by Dublin standards, anyway]. Songs were sung, food was had, beer was drank. It was a great time and so much of it reminded me of being a kid and hanging out with my dad. It was quite nastalgic and my dad was right, i do love Bavaria; he promised me i would.

After that, we headed back to the hostel, feeling good. We drank at the hostel bar for a while because it was really cheap and we wanted to go to bed relatively early. Sarah had her first Jagbomb there, too. Eventually Sarah went to sleep and i just planned on finishing my beer and heading up with her. Instead, i got talking to one of the bartenders who wasn’t working that night. We talked and then when i was ready to go to sleep, around 130am, he asked me if i wanted some chili. I did, so i followed him up to the employees area where he fed me chili, we drank, and talked until about 4am. I went back to my room, Sarah asked me where i was, i told her i’d tell her in the morning, and i slept.

The next day, we got up early to check out and go on a free walking tour through Munich. It was a good time and we got to know the history surrounding the place.

Yeah dude, surfers in Munich. They do it on this river. It’s hard to explain how it really works. I’ve a video of it, but i can’t upload it on here. Just know it’s pretty cool. We hung out with the tourguide who was from Wisconsin and this guy from Vancouver for the morning and early afternoon. Then, off to Salzburg, the whatever number train it was.

First though, let me talk about Munich. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful and kind people. It’s a bit like a fairy tale, really. There’s so much to do and see there. I really wish i had more time there, like four more days because we really only had one night and one morning to see and experience it. It’s beautiful and wondrous and i plan on going back someday, for a long time. Oh, also, Sarah and i picked up the word Dunkel, which means dark in German, but, to us, it means just about anything. A perfect word, really.

Anyway, Salzburg. It’s a truly magical little town. We checked into our hostel and then just wandered around for basically the next two days. First, though, we ate at this super traditional Austrian restaurant built right into the side of the mountain. Oh yeah, Salzburg is basically right in the Alps, lots of mountains and steep hills and glorious views everywhere. Pictures because it’s better than me explaining everything and this is already too long.

And, yeah, that’s Salzburg and basically the whole trip. Our last night we went out and got crazy. We danced and the Austrians watched us in amazement and told us that they loved it. Very funny. One thing, though, to note. Austria doesn’t have smoking laws, so you can smoke anywhere. It never made sense to me why we have them back home until now. After two hours of a room full of people chain smoking, my eyes hurt, breathing sucked, and i smelled like an ashtray. So gross. Really, i’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that back home. It sucks.

Other than that, though, it was, as you can see, an exceptionally beautiful place full of magic and wonderment. I loved it. The whole bit of Munich and Salzburg was one of my favorite times i’ve had in europe. Also, it was the first time i traveled with just one person. It was a great time, we never fought, and me and Sarah managed to still be friends at the end of it without getting sick of one another.

Oh, the last bus ride was to the Salzburg airport. That’s plane three that took us to London where we had a layover for about four hours. We ate, drank, bought booze, and came home to dublin. Oh, i guess that’s the seventh bus. From Dublin airport to home. I guess i could edit the title, but i’d rather not.

Current news, three exams done, two to go, only failed one of them [not for certain, but seems likely]. I got my essays back and did exceptional on two of them and nearly failed one of them [the one for the class who’s exam i think i failed (though that’s mostly because i discovered my grade on the essay)].

Yeah, life’s good and i’m tired of typing. I’ll be back on to tell you more about life and how it works and my thoughts on leaving.

Thanks for sticking with this gigantic post.




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