29 June 2016
Today I begin the second leg of my journey, to Dublin. I am on my way there right now, and I have been instructed to meet my group at 5 o’clock underneath the Bell Tower at Trinity College. I can tell you more about what we are doing in Dublin as I am there, but what I know so far is that we will be learning a bit about Irish History, focusing on the Easter Rising, as it is the 100th anniversary!
The group is composed of different students from Seattle U and two professors. I have wanted to go to Ireland since as long as I can remember… For years I have said, when folks asked the question, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?”, Ireland. I am not sure why… Part of me thinks it’s because I watched a romantic comedy film that takes place in Ireland and I loved it so much that I suddenly longed to be there, but that is so silly!! I’ve decided I must come up with a better reason for wanting to visit, as a movie about an American gal and an Irish lad falling in love is a bit cheesy :).
As it turns out, my mother’s (and my father’s?) side of the family has ancestors from the UK (Insert Brexit joke here ;)) and Ireland from the 19th century, so maybe that can be part of my explanation! However, in all honesty I am just so interested in the place, the people, and the history, aside from my Irish blood. I am so so so excited to share photos of all the rain and green – just like home in Seattle, but even better because, you know, romantic European clichés and all of that good stuff.
I got to sit in one of the emergency exit rows, which means I have the whole row to myself. Just beneath the plane lies a sea of fluffy, white clouds, which look distinctly like cotton. The sky, a light pastel blue, I am excited to see what it will look like underneath the clouds.
30 June 2016
I am here at Trinity college! So far, I absolutely adore this place. The folks here, with their cute and quite endearing accents, are kind and thoughtful. It is a different experience to be in an English speaking foreign country now; a bit less intimidating, but thrilling nonetheless. Today I had a “slice” for lunch, which is a mix between a pot pie and a hot pocket? I know you’re thinking that it sounds disgusting, but wow!! The crust was so flaky, doughy, buttery…Inside was this yummy mushroom and chicken filling. Mm. There was also a bunch of Irish themed chips at the store, of which I purchased “Shamrock and Sour Cream.” Apparently shamrocks taste like onions.
This morning we read poetry together as a group – first, we shared our own poems, and then our professors read a few aloud. It was quite calming and yet I feel antsy to begin writing poetry again. As the poems were being read, I couldn’t help think about how I want to incorporate poetry into a future classroom, because throughout all time this kind of expression has brought depth, meaning, and strength to situations of chaos and calamity. Many of the Poems deal with the Irish and Irish Catholics being oppressed, tortured, ‘Anglicized,’ and more by the Protestant & British leaders, and what is communicated throughout the poetry is a desire for liberation, peace, home. Common threads that tie together cultures and peoples across the globe who have faced a power that does harm to those seen as ‘others’. I am reflecting a lot of the history of this place where folks with the same ‘color status’ as the ‘superior’ ~white~ were seen as inferiors still, for many reasons. If you ever thought ‘if all humans were the same color, then we wouldn’t have inequality/discrimination/racism/etc.,’ sadly a look at Ireland’s past will tell you that skin color is not the problem.
Soon, we are going to Dublin Castle. UPDATE: I went to Dublin castle! Specifically we spent much time in the Chester Beatty Library, which was amazing. There is a special exhibition called “The Qur’anic Text on the Folios Included in lapis and gold: The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an.” Let me tell you, I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the details of what was on display – it was mesmerizing, how intricate, detailed, and ornate the pages featured on display were. The library provided magnifying glasses so you could look even closer, and some of the floral patterns were the most precise and small I have ever seen. The exhibition focused on the aspects of the production of the manuscript, and it was fascinating – while I am not Muslim and know very little about the Qur’an or the tenants of Islam, I felt truly captivated by the decoration on the folios. The vivid colors of gold and ultramarine, the perfectly aligned and spaced text of Arabic, the tiny gold specs the size of a pin head that ordained the small black lettering… So beautiful, spiritual, and breathtaking. Later I was in another exhibit on the world religions and was watching a video on the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) when a man approached me and asked if I was a reporter (I had a pen and paper in hand). What a funny question to be asked!! He noticed that I had spent quite a bit of time looking at the Islamic exhibitions, and I guess he was curious if I was a journalist or something, as he introduced himself with excitement that he was Muslim and his name Muhammed. It was pretty funny and cute! Needless to say, today was a great day and I am so grateful to be here ~ talk to you soon :)