Monday, December 20, 2010

Part III: The Nostos

Keeping with the James Joyce tradition here the Nostos as the final chapter in my journey seems to be the most logical title. Let me explain. The first part of Ulysses, the Telemachiad, is where Leopold Bloom begins his journey throughout Dublin. Evidently, the final chapter of both Bloom’s, and my, adventure will be the Nostos. As the Greek word for ‘homecoming,’ the Nostos is the part of both of our journeys where we will return home.

Also, just a side note, if it has I have no idea why the font changed. It’s completely beyond me.

But first, I must catch you all up on the events of the past weekend. Following my kleptomania episode on Friday, left from Insomnia and headed over to the Pearse DART Station to meet Mark. We caught the train over to Sandymount and then walked up the road to the Royal Dublin Society... sounds fancy. Well the RDS is really just a convention centre complete with concert halls and conference rooms... and an ice rink. When we got to the 7up Christmas on Ice venue (it’s really called that), no one else was there. So we waited. And waited. Then we called Kev to make sure we weren’t there for the wrong time. But then we waited some more. After about forty minutes in the cold, all of a sudden everyone showed up. So we picked up our tickets and they gave us these green wristbands, I’m still wearing mine, and we headed out to the ice. Now I haven’t skated in a really long time. So I was quite nervous that I’d be falling all over the ice. Much to my surprise though, and Max’s disappointment, no one in our group fell at all! That’s not to say, however, that we didn’t see some nasty falls. There was one kid who was on the ground half the time. And there were plenty of times when you’d see two people go down together and they’d end up all tangled on the ice. But all in all, good times indeed. Also just one riddle that came about from the night: two sisters were born on the same day, same time, same biological parents, but they are not twins. How?

From the rink we headed up and down the streets of Sandymount trying to find some place to eat, under the impression that there was Gourmet Burger Kitchen somewhere nearby. But we were wrong, and settled for Italian. Dinner was quite uneventful. It was great and all but nothing noteworthy really happened. Jokes were told, fun times were had, but no stand out moments. Although there was a clear division between the north and south of the Liffey, it was not really acknowledged by the south side. Following dinner, we walked further down the street to begin the ‘pub crawl.’ This crawl consisted of two pubs. And we didn’t even crawl... we took the DART between pubs. Not very impressive. But it was the same story at both of the pubs, no real stand out moments. Just good times and good craic. When we were leaving the Porterhouse, the second and final pub of the night, I had to say goodbye to a bunch of people. It’s not fun at all. At a stroke of chance we also ran into Ross Condy while leaving. Ross was one of the three instructors that came over with Max that first summer, but he wanted to fly planes, not sail ships, so he left after one year to go to train to be a pilot. So we got the DART back with him and the topic of the weather came up. Thinking he was being all witty Ross says ‘yeah Harry don’t you wish you moved to California?’ My response... ‘well I kinda did Ross.’ Few too many pints Ross? Perhaps?

Saturday morning I ran into town to finish a bit more Christmas shopping. Think I’ve covered everyone. Yeah I did. But when I got back to Howth, Max and I got in the car and we drove down to Wexford for Amy’s Bantermas. After a not so long two hour drive, we arrived at the party. Shockingly, we were the first there. But as the night continued on, more people filtered in and it just became an amazing night as your traditional house party. Again there really were no stand out moments, except for one. You know how if you’re holding a bottle of beer, and someone taps their beer on top of yours, and then, well, you gotta chug? That happened quite a few times throughout the whole night. Until close to the end of the night. Someone tapped my beer, it slipped right through my fingers, and then plummeted to the kitchen floor. Not good. But, we cleaned it up and the night went on. From that night alone, I have learned so many new drinking games. The following morning, as we loaded up our car to head back up north, I had to say goodbye to more people. Again, not fun. Thankfully, we got back home before MORE SNOW CAME!! The roads were fine until we got of the M-50 and then when we realized that we usually should be able to see Howth Hill, we concluded that a storm was coming. And it was coming fast.

Last night was a relaxing night. We stayed home. We recovered. And we prepped for tonight. It’s my final night in Dublin and I know it is going to be a crazy night.

So this is the part of my entry that sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech. Firstly, above all, I cannot thank Max and the Van de Poll’s enough. They brought me in for the semester and I legitimately felt like a part of their family. It is going to be really hard to leave all of them because I’ve had such good times with them throughout the entire semester. Also a huge thanks to all of the friends I made here in Ireland. You guys really made this semester what it was and it wouldn’t be the same without any of you. I will be back, not sure when, but it will happen. Finally, I have to thank my family. This would have been impossible without my Dad and I am so thankful for being able to go on this adventure.

I was talking to Pam the other day and we were discussing the strange situation I’m in. This summer, as you know, was probably the hardest summer I will ever experience in my life. I hope. But then it has been contrasted with this amazing semester that I will never forget. I’m not saying that it’s a funny juxtaposition or anything of the sort; we just thought that it’s interesting how the world works. As hard as the summer was, I knew that this was something that I had to continue on with in her memory. She was so excited for me to come to Dublin and, as Kerry said, I’ve been living this experience for two people. With that being said, this blog and semester-long adventure is completely dedicated to Hilary M. Shontz. I know she would love every story that I have to tell from it. Now as hard as it is for me to leave, I must get going to finish packing everything up. Thank you all so much for following me while I was abroad and I will see you all soon!!

I love you Mom, and I always will.
For Mama Shontz

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