Firsts

I believe this was hour six of the eight we were on the flight.
I believe this was hour six of the eight we were on the flight.

There are firsts for everything. Whether that's a first day of college, of being away from home, of feeling at home, there's always a time you can pinpoint these moments in your life that change you. Over the next six weeks or so, I'll be experiencing an entire novella of these kinds of moments. Already I can name a series of incredible firsts, as well as some learning curves, you could say. For example, I learned that in spite of my incredible sleeping abilities, falling asleep on a turbulent plane is not one of them. I did, at least, get to see the sun rise over the edges of the clouds that morning.

Christ Church Cathedral, the most massive church I have seen in person; have I mentioned that this is only half of its actual girth?
Christ Church Cathedral, the most massive church I have seen in person; have I mentioned that this is only half of its actual girth?

Coming off the plane, extremely jetlagged and without sleep, one thought occurred to me: there’s no backing out now. Prior to coming on this trip, I don’t think it had really set in for me that it would actually be happening. It’s as if it had never occurred to me that I would be able to have such an opportunity to explore a city outside of the country, especially one as beautiful as Dublin. On the dangers of perpetuating the Midwest stereotype of small town, I haven’t seen nearly as much of the world as I would want.

A humbling number for those who lost their lives fighting in the first world war.
A humbling number for those who lost their lives fighting in the first world war.

Another first of mine is one I hadn’t even expected from the first weekend abroad: exploring the area unplanned and unfettered. I hadn’t ever been set off without an in-depth plan, even if it had been of my own developing. Unsurprisingly enough, we may have gotten a little lost in the streets of Dublin on our way to a gazebo in the assumedly close distance. We were not trekking there for nothing , however. Eventually, we came to the site of the gazebo, as well as the nearby memorial of all those who had fought in the two world wars.

Wish us “luck,” eh?
Wish us "luck," eh?

I feel that over the course of the past few days I have been here, I have already experienced so much about Dublin’s beauty and the people who live here. Even more so, I am already growing to know the people I’ve had in this program; everyone I have met is so endlessly wonderful, and I am so unbelievably grateful for already becoming close with them. Week one of six is on its way, and I cannot even imagine what I’ll be able to learn about myself and others throughout. I’ll be updating this blog eagerly with as much as I can learn and love within the six weeks I’ll be staying here.

*Natalie Wollenzien is an English and Creative Writing major at the University of Iowa. A native of Des Moines, IA she will be spending her summer in Dublin, Ireland on the Irish Writing Program.

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

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