Has it been this long already? Hoo-boy. We’ve been very busy, as one can imagine. As I mentioned in my last post Jeff and Alex ran, and I mean ran, to catch the bus. On day 3, Alex explained that indeed they were not running to catch the bus but because Alex began taunting Jeff, so Jeff took off to prove he could out run Alex. And again, I was VERY impressed by just how fast Jeff ran! We all were. But here’s the funny thing — as I was walking to get to this internet cafe, lost as all hell in Dublin — I do not know why, but I just do not get the geography of this city. I’m generally pretty good with navigating, but all the twisties and turnies — I’m just really lost in this city — Nonetheless, on my way here, I saw some more damn fast running. This kid came running down the street in my direction. He was carrying a 6 pack of something. He was running at a pretty good pace — teenager, perhaps in his early 20’s. But leaving a trail of smoke in his wake came a thin man running out of the Centra (a convenience store), not only at top speed, but with this amazing determination in his face. This was not just about the stolen 6 pack of whatever, but about the “principal.” I wondered if he was a storeowner or merely an employee. Either way, to chase like such madness after a stolen 6 pack, it seemed extreme. A semi-circle of a crowd looked as the kid rounded the corner and the pursuer began to slow. I peered into the store, because I was now passing, and I saw no other employees. Frankly, that moment would have been the best time to lift whatever anyone wanted.
Jeff and I were just talking about the alpha-male quality that happens, and a student was mentioning alpha-females earlier. It’s funny how this exists. As we were riding up O’Connell this morning on the #10, I was looking at the smattering of people walking down the street. Humans have all these clothes, distinguishing apparatus, bits that make us “human” — but we are animals, and we behave as such. It’s funny to think if we took away the clothes — the distinguishing clothes — how much less “human” we might actually be. Or is this just psycho-drivel after a long day?
Each day, we begin with various writing exercises, and then we go off on our “touring.” So on Monday (day 3), Jeff needed to go to the airport to go meet Heather. I took all 12 kids on a hike between Bray and Greystone — the Bray Head trail. It was such a wonderful hike. Bray is an adorable town, brightly colored row houses, sea coast, narrow streets. It felt like Ireland. The kids seemed to really enjoy the hike. Some of them wanted to climb up alternate trails, but being the nervous Nellie that I am, we stuck to the trail. One student, Zach, has a very good eye for photography. It was fun to watch him shoot pictures. Graham loved the sea, the green, the nature. I was thrilled to see real Irish sheep. (You should have heard their accents.) (Speaking of accents, I’ve heard it parodied so much — especially my old roommate Jonathan. He would always do his wannabe irish accent — that when I hear irish people speaking, I sometimes think it’s one of the parodies.) Views were amazing. I had us sit and write for awhile, which was a great opportunity to take the moment down.
The hike was 9k, and we came into the town of Greystone. It was equally wonderful as Bray. We split up for lunch, though most of us sat in the same restaurant. Finally we caught the bus back to UCD. Some kids went out in the evening. Jeff and I went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Note to self: don’t order Indian food in Ireland.
Day 4 was museum-laden. In the morning we went to Trinity to go to see the library exhibit of the Book of Kells. It was a very cool exhibit, and I found myself most drawn to the colors in the decoration of the book. It was cool to read about the pigments. One of the book, though I don’t think it was the book of Kells, had this gold pigment that was truly gold (in tone). Amazing. But honestly, my favorite part of that exhibit was that they had a Beckett exhibit as well. There were all of these letters he wrote, texts, manuscripts, notebooks, etc. There was one photo that I loved. It was of a play rehearsal. In the background, two actors were slightly blurred, and silhouetted in the foreground was a sharp image of Beckett (from behind). It was a very cool shot.
After lunch, crepes — yum, we went to either the history museum or the national gallery. I opted to go with Graham, Sam, and Zach to the history museum, a grand museum. It was pretty cool. The others who went to the National Gallery liked that museum, too, though Jeff was heart broken that the Caravaggio that he’d been hoping to see was on loan elsewhere.
That afternoon, I went for tea with all of the girls, which was so much fun. We went to this cute place, The Queen of Tarts, and had very yummy desserts. Finally, I went to a pub for about an hour and just sat and wrote. it was so fun to sit and listen to all of the different accents, languages, and havering. Oh wait — that’s Scotland!
Finally, in the evening, we went to see “A Month in the Country,” a play adapted by Brian Friel from the Turgenev short story. Frankly, I didn’t really like it. Most of the kids really enjoyed it, and I thought parts were really funny, but it did not pull off serious well. It was melodramatic and flat. Though, my dislike of the play led to a great bus ride home discussion with Max, which leads me to the fact that we have really great kids here with us! We really do.
Day 5: Today, I led the writing exercises this morning. We then took off for the James Joyce Center. We had to go in two groups, and by the time Jeff and his group got there, we were ready to skidaddle, because the exhibits were not quite open yet. ‘Twas very sad.
The we split up for the afternoon. I spent another day with the girls and Alex. We had lunch at the Badass Cafe (Caroline suggested it…), and then we went out to Kilmainham. Molly, Alex, Laura, and I went to the Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) and Hannah, Caroline, and Heather went to the modern art gallery. We all had fun at our respective places. The jail was really interesting, but the best part came after as we were leaving. I asked this older Irish man if he would take out picture. As Alex was trying to show him how to use the camera, he held the lens up to his eye, ready to take the picture. Alex tried to help him by setting the camera right. After several more turns of the camera, and finally the man once again putting the lens up to his eye, we figured that he HAD to be pulling our leg. But after a long time, we had a successful shot of us taken. He was very funny. He told us he was taking the picture “the irish way.”
We met back at the spire, and we all went out to dinner at Cafe Una, a very nice Irish cafe. We had a nice, slow dinner, though kids began trickling out after a short time. Finally, Jeff and I were left to relax and chat. I left and came here. So here I am. And there you are. Hi.
Okay, bye. More adventures to follow.
Jimmy update: on day 3, Jimmy left the apt. We all miss him and anything that goes wrong — we blame on him. It’s very convenient.