The other day, a storm rolled in and raged thunder and lightning for a good few hours before letting down an disappointingly small amount of rain. The east coast may be recovering from a hurricane, but down here in Texas we’re just begging for any relief from this drought. I can’t remember the last day it didn’t break a hundred degrees. Every time my mom and I talk about my upcoming trip, she says something about how I’ll be glad to escape the heat.
And escape it I will. This afternoon I’m slipping away to Dublin where, according to weather.com, it’s been in the low 60s and partly cloudy with scattered showers. It’s a country where a week without rain constitutes a “heat wave.”
Naturally, this discrepancy in temperature between where I am and where I’m going has made packing a bit difficult; who wants to plan out a wardrobe of wool coats and corduroys when it’s too hot out even to swim during the day? It also doesn’t help that I’m not exactly sure what to expect from the weather. I’ve lived through a few DC winters, and I’ve been to Ireland in the summer, but those don’t exactly add up to Ireland in the winter.
The way I’ve decided to handle this, I’m just packing the basics—long pants, socks, a few coats, some wool scarves—and playing the rest by ear. I’m studying at Trinity, in Dublin’s city centre, so modern conveniences will be easy to come by should I decide they’re necessary. I packed a few comforts of home, a Texas flag and some candied pecans among them, but I’m setting a goal to spend this semester living simply. That makes it easier to pack light.
I’ve heard from returnees that there is no such thing as an urgent issue at Trinity; it’s refreshing coming from Georgetown, where it seems like no one ever stops moving. I’m going into my semester abroad embracing the Irish mindset, and so far I am surprisingly okay with how little I know about the logistics. I have a vague idea of how everything will work out, but the only things I know for certain are that a) Trinity has accepted me as a student and b) I have housing for the semester.
The semester won’t actually start for another three weeks, but I’m going early for the Semester Start-Up Programme (SSP). It’s basically a three-week-long International NSO. We have lectures about Irish history, literature, art, and architecture, field trips around Ireland, and a basic orientation to living in Ireland. Who could complain about that?
This study abroad thing still feels a little dreamlike, probably because of the lack of solid details. But it’s about to get real, and I see no reason why worrying about the unknown needs to spoil the thrill of the adventure. :-)