It’s simple. Ireland has taken our previously borderline-OCD work habits and put them through the blender…leaving us with a rationale that usually amounts to something like: “but it’s ONLY worth 99% of my grade” and “I’ll write it, just as soon as I finish staring at these ducks.” With the rate that I’ve managed to procrastinate, I left myself exactly ten days to write the equivalent of six essays; one of which was a research paper, and two of which I hadn’t read the books for. “But they were written in the eighteenth century! Plus, I’m waiting to see if the ducks will move.”
It’s crazy, because back at Scripps, I never would have waited until the last minute to do this much work. Never. I would have been outlining, highlighting, and three-hole-punching at least two weeks in advance—and while that might have made it easier to get them done, I can’t honestly say that it eliminated any of the stress factor. If anything, I think my disgustingly color-coded time management skills made me more stressed out; where as here, I’m realizing that they’re only essays. It doesn’t mean that I’m not doing the best I can—in fact, I’m pretty proud of the two papers I’ve done so far. It just means that I no longer believe in completing them at the expense of my personal happiness, because at the end of the day, having more than three peer-reviewed literary criticisms in my works cited is not going to alter the quality of my character—whereas taking a sunset walk down the Salthill promenade, which is what I did this afternoon, absolutely will.
It’s the Irish mindset: as Owen put it, they are the hardest workers in the world…24 hours a day, 7 days a week, one week a year.
So it’s just my essays and myself this weekend, as Maggie and Hannah and Alyssa have jetted off to Norway, Shaun is in Barcelona, and who knows else is who knows where. The only thing that I have left to entertain myself, besides the three essays waiting oh-so-patiently for my attention, is this blog—the IMDb of all the True Blood characters (I promised I wouldn’t watch any more episodes until Maggie returns)—the fact that within five minutes of one another, our shower broke, the smoke alarm went off (twice), and the internet stopped working—and the memory of Thursday night, which was surely one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life.
Warning: this paragraph contains content not suited for young eyes. It’s not even suited for my eyes, really—but I’m sharing it because a) I’m keeping this blog to record, honestly, what my time here is like and that means not censoring and b) my life up to this point has been, all things considered, shockingly PG-13. So. Anyone who knows me back home knows that I’m not a partier. When I tell my roommates that I don’t drink at school—and that a glass of wine at a potluck is usually enough for me to have deep and meaningful conversations with everyone around me, followed by approximately 10 hours of sleep—they look at me like I’m crazy. Apparently Cian told Maggie that we Americans are “opening their eyes to drinking”—that is, we’re showing them just how much they do it, and just how much we don’t. Anyhow, this being said, Thursday was the last day of classes—that’s right, other than essays/exams, it’s summertime and the daffodils have sprung!—and in Galway that translates into a gigantic celebration. If that weren’t enough, it was also Hannah’s 21st birthday, and she decided to throw a party. Can you see where this is going? Anyhow, in the name of trying something new, I let people talk me into trying vodka and orange juice. I’m simultaneously proud and embarrassed that my main incentive in doing so was the fact that it was a LUdriver (Tico family, you know what I’m talking about!). But apparently, while my grandmother can handle her hard alcohol, I cannot. How was I supposed to know? If she had been here, she would have laughed because the amount that I drank equaled approximately one-and-a-half of one of the drinks that Grandma Lu makes at the average Tico picnic. It was hardly any. But apparently, the iron stomach that I pride myself on—the same one that allows me to do boneheaded things like inhale 3 extra-spicy enchiladas, a bag of sour patch kids, and four kiwis all without feeling the burn—does not extend to hard alcohol. Oops. I guess there are people out there who can drink it, I just don’t think I’m going to end up being one of them. During Hannah’s birthday party, I poured my heart out to Maggie, deleted about half the text messages from my phone in a valiant attempt at GIRL POWER, and went to Club Karma—where I proceeded to get sick in the bathroom. That, and the ten hours of vomiting that followed, mark the first time that I’ve gotten physically ill since I had food poisoning in 2005. It was first time I’ve ever gotten sick from drinking, and I don’t plan on letting it happen again. So as for the screwdrivers, Grandma Lu—they’re all yours.
So there’s my embarrassing story for the week! Not too bad, all things considered. I feel very Dawson’s Creek, yet proud of the fact that I didn’t drink in high school, the time when everyone makes a point to sprinkle a little bit of STUPID onto their breakfast cereal. What does send me back a couple of years though, as I mentioned, is my newfound obsession with True Blood. It’s bizarre, because I don’t even like blood…I go weak in the knees when I get a papercut. But there’s something about this show—what is it?—that is more addicting than anything I’ve ever seen. I think it’s the southern accents, or the destiny theme—I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for Kismet. When Bill looks into Sookie’s eyes…I melt.
See what I mean? I have A.D.D. of the emotion. Elena told me that studying abroad is like an entire life cycle packed into a few months: there is the birth, the growing up, the adolescence, the maturation…and eventually, there is a death. So what stage am I in? I traverse the road between silly, happy, sad, and content on an almost daily basis. Walking along the prom at Salthill today, I heard the words of Alexi Murdoch (whom I am obsessed with, in a completely un-angsty way):
And when I’m alone,
when I shake off the weight of this stone,
that’s when I miss you:
you who are my home.
…and I felt lonelier than I’ve ever been, only it was beautiful. The most beautiful, fulfilling sadness I’ve ever felt. The thing about True Blood is that all the girls on it—besides being severely malnourished, which is a topic for another feminist platform at another time—well, they’re never without a man. They’re never content just to be. And the way I figure it, the way I have to figure it in order to stay okay, is that this is the most beautiful time in my life for me to be one hundred percent on my own. Maggie is in Norway, and that’s okay. Mama is in Santa Barbara, Jeremy is in Neverland, the Co-op family is in Claremont, and that’s okay too. I am in Galway, Ireland—doggy paddling through Jenna’s Existential Crisis, Chapter 20: the Revelation—and laughing. It’s all worth saving, even the moments that should never be recorded (but thanks to the invention of blogs, will be floating around cyberspace for centuries to come).
I have a folder on my shelf labeled “Keepers,” and it is bursting at the seams.