Back in DUBLIN

Yesterday I took a flight from Berlin Schönefeld back to Dublin. My time in Berlin is over and now I’m back in sweet Dublin. Only just for a few days which is too bad. But it wasn’t possible to stay longer. Anyway, I’m going to seize the day (Carpe diem!) and enjoy the time I have.

When I arrived yesterday, I initially remembered what I’ve missed most about Dublin and what I didn’t miss at all. I’ve missed the cheery people and the signs written in two languages (English & Gaelic). What I didn’t miss was the bus system: So I walk straight to the bus stop in order to take the 16 to Dublin City and what do I see? 18 more minutes before the bus comes! Seriously? In Berlin you would have to wait 5 mins max – no joke! If it’s longer than that because of some construction adjustments it’ll be 8 mins and people (Berliners) will start growling. As you can see, the public service of Germany’s capital is exceptional compared to those of other cities. I mean people are still constantly complaining about it, but that’s because they’re Germans. Germans always complain. I’m not complaining. I took a different bus to the city centre after the first shock. I took the 41 to Lower Abbey Street, even though I couldn’t remember where Abbey Street was – silly me. But what are the friendly bus drivers for? He told me it was going past O’Connell Street – that I remembered! So I took that bus and got to the city centre safely. Safely? Well, I don’t know about that, the bus driver drove like he really wanted to get home as fast as possible. Nonetheless, I felt at home again. I’ve missed you, Dublin!

I also went to a pub last night, even though I was exhausted from all the travelling (2 whole hours of flying!). I didn’t mean to go to a pub, but I wanted to get some fresh air before going to sleep. So I walked through the streets of old Baile Átha Cliath and took a stroll by the river Liffey. Then I decided to take a look at Temple Bar and turned right around when I got there. Way too crowded and way too busy. I walked back towards the hostel and stopped at a house where I could hear some good tunes. Man, I’ve missed having live music all around! I had good fun yesterday and listened to a brilliant musician, also playing one request for me (Travis, of course). Oh and it is true: Guinness does taste so much better in Dublin city than anywhere else! I’m happy to be back!

Did you miss me?

I’m back in good old Germany and I have thought about continuing this blog when I’m home and if there was any sense in it – but after all, this blog is about my life as a student and I’m still going to be a student for at least another three years! Well, I don’t know if I will stick with this blog for another 3ys but I’m not ready to give it up yet either. So here we go.

Destiny has it that I’m in Berlin now. Another big(ger than Dublin!!) city, another capital of a country – not to mention my home country. I’m here for two months doing an internship. I think this is good for me as it means that I can slowly re-adapt to my home. What I mean is that Berlin is an international, vibrant city with plenty of things to do. No chance to miss Dublin. So you would think at least. Of course I miss Dublin’s fair city already. I miss Temple Bar with its ever-so-drunken tourists and annoying live music. I miss Trinity College with its long room of old books. I miss the sight of Molly Malone. I miss the Spire (the longest needle of Dublin) reaching from the commercial ground into the endless sky. I miss O’Connell standing right at the beginning of the street with a pigeon on his head. I miss The Gate Theatre, I miss Dame Street, I miss UCD, I miss Stephen’s Green, I miss the Savoy cinema, I miss the Ha’penny Bridge, I miss the bestest book shop called Chapters, I miss Rathmines, I miss Rathgar, I miss the sea, I miss the shrieking seagulls, I miss Irish. Did I say Berlin was in a good position to get me back to normal? Well, it does somehow. I still hear English everywhere. Maybe not as much as I used to, but it’s better than nothing. Like I said, Berlin is very much an international city. Sooner or later you come across English-speakers. I get asked for the way a lot. I’m always happy to use my beautiful English, even if I don’t know the way. I’m joking, I always know the way I’m almost a Berliner by now. A Berlinerin I should say. I even have this awesome app which tells me which U-Bahn, Tram, S-Bahn or Bus I can take. That’s right, there is efficient public transport here in Berlin! Something most Dubliners have never heard of. Poor Dublin. That was definitely one thing that made me feel annoyed constantly. The bus service in Dublin sucks. I don’t miss Bus Átha Cliath, sorry. Maybe because in my heart I’m still German. I like to be on time and I like to be informed about delays. I don’t like to hang around a bus station without a clue when the bus will arrive. But even there I found a technique how to not get pissed: Just take out your book and distract yourself. I know I’m the first person to think of that. Now I’m reading in the moving vehicle instead. Much better. I avoid buses. Which is not a difficult thing in a city with three other public services. Anyway, enough of this. Feierabend. Until next time.

Feckin goodbye

Hiya! How are you? I’m leaving town tomorrow, did you know tha’? Oh shi’, I’m even leaving the feckin country! Going back to me folks, that is. Oh, it’ll be grand, I’m sure.
I know my Irish voice is really bad. But no time to improve it anymore: Tomorrow around noon it’s going to be o-v-e-r. I’m going back home. What a day I’ve had! No wait, what an awesome year I had! I’m so happy that I took the chance to come to Dublin and study at UCD!
Let’s reflect for a moment. I came here in late August 2014 and the first semester started in September. Let’s be honest I didn’t really have the typical Erasmus experience (meaning you get drunk a lot, party a lot and learn nothing but bad English). The first semester was actually quite the opposite. I was stressed but happy. I took three English modules, two language courses and one German class. Except from the language courses(of which one was French – need I say more?) I absolutely loved it! I learned so much about Jane Austen (more than I imagined possible!), Romanticism and English Literature in general that there was nothing wrong with my head being buried in a book for the whole time. Seriously, people from the first semester must have thought me a real nerd with an all-time appearance of carrying loads of books around. Oh and when people asked what my plans were, I usually told them I had to catch up with my reading. Because back then I thought I had to do all the reading! Well, I still think that but this semester I didn’t really do it anymore. I didn’t bother, ’cause nobody else seemed to bother. I still think that I read more over the past few months than at other times in my life. Right, where was I? The first semester was great but busy. So I decided to take it easy this semester and I only took one English module(and didn’t read all the books I was supposed to. But, seriously, who can expect me to read books from that many male Victorian authors? I only read the good stuff. I read Charlotte Brontë’s Villette and wrote an essay about it. Which was challenging enough! Jane Eyre is definitely made of lighter material! I started Dicken’s Pickwick Papers, Collins Moonstone and had a look into The Secret Agent which bored me, sorry. Maybe I’ll give them another try in the far future. I wrote my exam about Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw which scared the hell out of me (I can also really recommend the movie adaptation The Innocents! Youtube has it.). In the paper I compared it to Elizabeth Gaskell’s An Old Nurse’s Story which was also really scary – I give you a hint: Both are ghost stories! Oh and I loved Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”! Such interesting themes! I read somewhere that this poem can be interpreted as a story about sisterly love, criticism against consumption, rape, the pros and cons of masturbation (hahahahahaha – whaaat??), Christian redemption and many more. Anyway, let’s close this bracket!) So this was my one English module, as you can see it still pretty much occupied my mind. I took another German class with my fellow Irish students that are learning this beautiful language. It was actually quite interesting and I do like Christa Wolf. Then there was my one history class which was very interesting. I learned a lot about Irish history of the 19th Century! I can understand the Irish’s hatred towards the English a little better now. No, I just think that the English should have treated the Irish better, then I could love both countries in the same way. I’m only joking. Ireland wins either way, sorry England. They always have the advantage of having their own lovely language. This brings me to my second last class this year: IRISH. First I hated it, then I loved it! It was so complicated and mean to learn all the strange structures and pronunciation. But then it got easier and made more and more sense to me. I’ll miss the Irish language! Why can’t I continue learning it? The other day I got stopped on the street by an older Irishman. We talked a little and he told me to continue learning Irish (USE IT OR LOSE IT!). That would be great! But I suppose noone in Germany bothers learning this tricky language and I’m guessing in my beginner course I only had a glimpse on the comlplicated system behind that language and maybe I should be glad that I can’t continue learning it. Now to my last class. I totally loved (I can’t believe how many times I’m using this word, but it’s true!) my Creative Writing class! Again, I learned so much! I learned about how to begin a story and just go with the flow. I had so much fun inventing short stories for the sake of my teacher’s amusement. After all, this class was my only one that doesn’t count towards my degree which is a shame because I got a nice, fancy A. No, I enjoyed taking this class just for the experience itself. A few clues were: “Show, don’t tell!” or “Let the readers guess/think for themselves!” or “Dialogue is important!” or “Listing things can help!” I bet you appreciate these clues, don’t you?!
Next to my classes I had some good craig this year! I went to Temple Bar quite a few times, saw lots of movies (I really mean LOTS OF!), got around the country and city a little and I met loads of great and inspiring people! I met Jo Baker, author of Longbourn, the director of ONCE and BEGIN AGAIN John Carney, Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental and interviewed the German author Judith Hermann. That was only this semester! Of course, I really l-o-v-e-d the good old Guinness! Guinness is good for you! Thank you UCD, cheers Dublin and slainté Éire! I will miss you all!

It’s time to think about the end of term

It’s time to think about my last few weeks here in Ireland and how I want to spend them. My flight is booked, my exam dates are set and my Irish teacher announced today we’ll only do revision in our next (and last) sessions. Whaaat??? I need to start thinking about what’s still left for me to do here and which of it is realistic to acchieve. I still want to go see Bray, take a stroll in Pheonix Park (and maybe take a look at the zoo animals there) and have the best fish & chips in town(forgotten the name of the place, but I do know it’s real close to Christchurch – keine Schleichwerbung hier!). Okay, these things are quite realistic and manageable. In fact, I might manage to perform all three things this week.
More unrealistic are the travel plans I made a long time ago. So to say, I meant to see all of Ireland. I wanted to see places like Killarney, Cork, Dingle, and Limerick. So far, I’ve seen Galway, Kilkenny and Belfast. Pathetic, I know. But fear not, I will conquer this.
Let’s have a short introduction into Ireland’s geography, so we can all see more clearly (including me).
There are four so-called provinces which consist of 32 counties in total. The four provinces are called Connaught (Connacht), Leinster (Laighin), Munster (an Mhumhain) and Ulster (Ulaidh). Just to be clear, the names in brackets are the Irish ones. I live in Dublin (and visited Kilkenny), therefore I am in Leinster and I’m la(u)ighin(g). I went to Galway a few times (maybe twice?) and was then in the beautiful province of Connaught. There you can find places like the magical Connemara . Without my knowledge I’ve already been in Munster (MONSTER!) and saw The Burren. Quite groovy there! The scary Cliffs of Moher (which I’ve also climbed twice already) are also to be found in Munster, but most importantly Kerry is waiting for me there. Now, last but not least (I hate this phrase!), the divided Ulster. The right(wrong?) part of Ulster doesn’t belong to Ireland(the Republic), but to the lovely UK. I went there when I visited Belfast just before Christmas. However, the other (left) part belongs to the old (young?) Republic and I read that it’s got the richest landscape. I can’t support that statement yet – but I’m sure it’s at least almost true.
Like I said, I won’t possibly make it to see everything I meant to, but if I won’t, all the more reason for me to come back! Maybe for a long vacation without having to worry about my studies. And after all, Dublin is already pretty cool. The bookshops make me happy. Molly Mallone makes me smile. The Ha’penny Bridge and O’Connell Street make me walk. St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch make me awe-struck. The National Gallery and Trinity’s Long Room make me feel inspired. There’s a lot to be thankful for.

In search of Oscar Wilde

After a long silence on my part, I’m back again. I was searching for Oscar Wilde. I didn’t have time to write. But now with the looong break (2 weeks) from uni almost over (just in time for Easter – in two weeks?!) and having returned from good old England, I should make a new entry before it’s too late. After all, I only have two more months left here. Which is strange. Time actually does fly by. Before the break I thought, well, after the break it’ll be different. There will still be enough time to do the things I want to do. But now it’s almost after the break and I’m standing at the edge of my erasmus time. Almost over. Ireland, it’s been nice but I am about to leave you again. SORRY. Can’t stay. Am needed elsewhere.

So today I decided to catch up with some things I meant to do a long time ago. I went back to the Gothic Cathedral of St. Patrick and made my way to Marsh’s library, the oldest public library in Ireland. I wanted to go there since almost the beginning of my time here, but once I got lost there and then I just kept postponing it. One thing, you should know about me – I’m not very good with directions. I tend to get lost. I tend to forget the ever-so-helpful map. Both things apply to today. However, I still found my way. I think because I looked up the whereabouts of the library yesterday. Then I forgot the map. No bother, I thought, I’m much better acquainted with Dublin city at this point than I used to be. This is due to my parents’ recent visit and my eager preparations of appearing as an expert guide of the city. After all, Dublin is not a big city. At least this is what I have been told many times. I’m still not totally convinced of it. I like Dublin a lot but it still confuses me and I still get lost. Don’t tell anybody. Anyway, I successfully made my way to the library today, which was not that difficult I have to admit. It’s right around the corner of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a street ironically called “St. Patrick’s Close”(so it’s really close!). Last time I simply overlooked that street because it seemed so very insignificant to me. Big mistake. This time I found it alright and it turned out to be a sweet little library with really old books which I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of. But the front door man told me nice stories of James Joyce studying there – once – and I could look into those books he might have intensely studied – once – as they were displayed behind secured glass.

It was wonderful Sonnenschein today and I took a stroll across St. Patrick’s Park. There I was reminded of Oscar Wilde, as there is a “literary parade” paying tribute to all the great writers of Ireland. Haha. Well, James Joyce was there and Gullivers Travels’ writer Jonathan Swift (who also worked as dean of the cathedral – before he went mad, that is) and a few others I don’t know (apart from the great poet W.B. Yeats, obviously). But then I came across dear old Oscar. Oscar Wilde was looking down at me and I remembered I still hadn’t seen his famous statue in one of the parks. And then I remembered the free walking tour I did just this week and that the tour guide had said that Oscar was leisurely lying in Merrion Square. She had told us it was her favourite statue in Dublin city (or the whole world?) and I remember thinking that I still hadn’t managed to see it. So I decided to go there today.

I remembered Merrion Square to be real close to St. Stephen’s Green because I got lost there once, too. I got lost there while thinking Merrion Square was Stephen’s Green Park. It all looks the same to me. Or rather, it did look the same to me before I knew it. Because I got lost there once by the time the park was already locked up and I couldn’t really see anything. Today it was still daylight (beautiful daylight! Sonnenschein!) and I could actually enter it! However, as I had forgotten my map, I couldn’t know where dear Oscar would be lying around. I had to explore the park. You should know I’m quite familiar with St. Stephen’s Green because that park is quite central, whereas Merrion Square is not. It was a first for me to enter this little Georgian (!) park. Believe it, or not, I got lost. I couldn’t find Oscar, as I desperately went to all four different directions. The sunbathing people must have thought me crazy, as I kept going back to where I came from, thinking I might have missed Oscar. I swear he was hiding from me! Finally, when I was on the point of giving up and just about to quit this hideous park, I found him lingering on a big rock. As if mocking me. Well, it was the true Oscar and I was happy to finally greet him.

Dublin – you’re the one!

Apparently, Dublin is the City of Literature. Dublin is one of the four (!) cities in the world that have been designated as a UNESCO city of literature. It is time for me to grasp this fact and cherish it! Many good writers are from Dublin, wrote about Dublin or are in some way connected with Dublin. James Joyce is one of them (obviously!) with his most famous work Ulysses (haven’t read it yet – shame on me – only started it when I had to put it away again for the lack of time – what a bad excuse). Another famous Irish writer/poet is W.B. Yeats. The Irish are very proud of him. I didn’t know him before I came here but then I had to come across his poems. They are extraordinary! The one about the Easter Rising in 1916 touched me most. Here is a link to it: http://www.easter1916.net/peom.htm There is also a good exhibition about him in the National Library which very much impressed me. It is mainly about his life but there is also a nice little room where you can listen to some of his poems recorded by some professionals. Then there is Oscar Wilde. Ever heard of Dorian Gray? I love that book – it’s a great read! Don’t watch the movie, read the book! It’s funny and tragic at the same time. Whenever I think of Oscar Wilde, the same feelings in me arise, his only novel creates. He was a great writer but also came to a tragic end. Probably dying from the exhaustion of hard labour in prison after being convicted of “sodomy”(meaning homosexuality), some of his last words were: “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go.”
I don’t have that many literature courses this semester (only two, if you count the German class in) but I’m taking a creative writing class instead and I’m going to do an Irish history course and an Irish for Beginners class. It seems all very interesting and after all my one English literature course contains literature by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Joseph Conrad, Henry James (how did this American make it into this list?) and Wilkie Collins. This seems quite enough already and I’m not complaining! My plan is to seize the moment (carpe diem!) and make the most of it! Slán!

So, I am in Dublin and…

So, I am in Dublin and I am already fed up (ich bin genervt!) with some things. Don’t get me wrong – I love to finally be here but there are so many things that I have to get used to! However, these are all insignificant trifles (Kleinigkeiten) that I have to deal with.
First of all, there is the traffic (LINKSVERKEHR!). I have lived in England before, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. However, I find myself at a loss when it comes to crossing the street. I always have to ask myself: “From which direction do the cars come on this side of the road?” It already happened a few times that I had to run for the last bit of the road, so that a car could not run me over. Most of the times, I remember looking in the right direction before crossing but I often seem to forget to watch out for the other side. This is so confusing, especially as I am used to being a responsible Fußgängerin, let alone a responsible cyclist.
Another thing, I find it very hard to buy a good bicycle within my budget. I don’t want to spend hundreds of euros for a shitty bike! I went to quite a few different bike shops already, and it’s always the same: Either they don’t sell second-hand bikes and the offers start with €399, or they do offer second-hand bikes but the quality reminds me of garbage (Müll). I also tried a few websites like gumtree.ie or donedeal.ie, but every time I call a person who put an add (Anzeige) online, the phone is either busy or the person who answers tells me the bike’s already gone. Apparently, I am not the only person looking for a bike in Dublin. Some of the ads I tried were only a few hours old. Now, I don’t even call the ads which have been set up yesterday.

Hmm.. Let’s turn our attention to something nice: I went to the theatre on Wednesday! Guess, what play I watched! —- I watched Pride & Prejudice and it was wonderful! For anyone who doesn’t know it, this play is based on a novel by my favourite authoress of all times, Jane Austen. Although the book isn’t my favourite (my favourite book (LIEBLINGSBUCH) is Sense & Sensibility), I love all the movie adaptations of P&P. I mean those that I’ve seen so far. I have seen the 2005 version with Keira Knightley & Matthew Macfadyen (this was actually my first Jane Austen Movie – after that I soon started reading the books) and I watched the famous 1995 version with the shining Colin Firth. I also watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries which was fun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs). I saw bits from the 1980s and the 1940s version to which I couldn’t really warm up.

Anyway, on Wednesday I went to the Gate Theatre of Dublin and had the greatest of evenings! I cannot compare it to any of the above. The thing that most struck me was how important the words were. Das Wort war das Wichtigste! The play was as close to the actual book as possible – and it was amazing! There was some music at the beginning and at the end, but otherwise the play consisted of sole dialogue. I was as happy as ever. The atmosphere in the audience was incredible. Here I have to mention that no seat was left empty. They (or should I say we) laughed at every joke or slight given by Mr Bennet and Mr Collins awkwardness was deeply felt. Lorna Quinn, the actress who played Elizabeth Bennet, was, in my humble opinion, the most talented on stage (Theaterbühne). She had to tell the storyline between the scenes and did a marvellous job. Her expressions were priceless and I shall never forget her upraised eyebrows (hochgezogene Augenbrauen) when Darcy proposed to her the first time in that insulting manner. It was delightful.

Sadly, I was not allowed to take any pictures. To see some pictures of the play and maybe also to read another review of it, visit this website: http://www.irishtheatremagazine.ie/Reviews/Current/Pride-and-Prejudice-by-Jane-Austen

That was it for the first post. Thank you for your attention. Hope to see you soon!

Regards.