Views from Ireland: A Denisonian Abroad

You know, you never really realize how much you miss home until you’re far away from it. And being so far away from Denison? That feeling of missing “home” has settled with me in a huge way.

About two weeks ago, I arrived in Dublin, Ireland for my semester abroad experience to study at The Gaiety School of Acting; the National Theatre School of Ireland. For months I had been researching what Ireland would be like through YouTube videos and touristy travel blogs. And, after nearly missing my connecting flight from Toronto and eating all thelittle snacks offered to me on the plane (shout out to the absolutely lovely piece of pumpkin bread I nibbled on during the morning portion of the flight), I am here and loving it.

Dublin has exceeded my expectations. I’ve met some incredible friends already, who study in a variety of programs: Irish Studies, the Writer’s Program, and so forth. I have also had the chance to bond with the many dedicated students in my acting program. One moment we’re acting out scenes from On Raferty’s Hill; diving into deep, dark subjects that are difficult, but integral to understand… And the next? Giggling at the pub over a pint or two about the culture shocks of Dublin (Who knew that you would have to pay for your grocery bags?) and constantly reeling over the fact that we are actually here for the next few months.

The days have been filled with breezy walks down the River Liffey, impromptu visits to charming bakeries for sprinkle cupcakes and coffee, and tales told by Dubliners on midnight cab rides on their lives in this fair city.

“Have lived here all me life. Born n’ bred…have lived nowhere other”.

Everything is finally settling down after the big arrival. But, as I look out my window at the city lights of a quiet evening, I see cathedrals peeping through vacant spots on a low skyline; floating beacons in the distance. I see a lonely man or two tracing the street like an ant at the edges of a ginormous picnic blanket on a quad. The roads stretch here and there, bringing back memories of cool nights driving with Jack down Midwestern stretches of farm. A garden spans an empty lot with still flowers and tall grasses, bringing me back to that one day in Planet Earth class where we checked out wooded ecosystems of the Denison garden. The sound of students clinking wine glasses so frequently, resonates in the air, like drunken wind chimes. This is no Sunnies. Instead of “Closer” by The Chainsmokers playing I hear that kid with all his instruments piled in his dorm playing the cello while his friends clammer for an encore. They’re partying their freedoms in Dublin. But, tonight, I’m snug in bed.

I’ve realized that this time is such a special one. I’ve been very grateful to have had such amazing opportunities already during my college years; opportunities where I’ve settled into a “home” in a number of very distinct, but welcoming places.

Los Angeles, California (specifically, the small pocket of Silverlake) welcomed me like an old, long lost friend: with 2 am trips to Gus’s Taco truck for carne asada, strolls down The Strand with “The Boys”, art museums and daydreaming whilst driving in the canyons, and the chance to dip my toe into the industry I want to be a part of so, so much.

Dublin, Ireland welcomed me like my great great grandmother. Every street corner reveals to me my own heritage and brings forth the pride in my heart that I am Irish too. I’ve already detailed just a few things that have stuck out to me in my newest home and could go on.

But, the most transformational home of all has been at our very own Denison University. The friends I’ve made in Granville, Ohio have settled into my life like perfect puzzle pieces that will last forever. My education on The Hill has opened my eyes to everything that the world truly is and can be. I value the perspectives of others and respect what other people think, without sacrificing my own values. And, the campus… where do I begin? I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss not stepping on the seal and regret-free stress eating Slayter Flatbreads on snowy nights. Little bits of Dublin bring me back to Denison. Though I miss my campus back home with all my might, rest assured that Dublin will take great care of me all the while this semester. I have realized that Denison will always welcome me home.