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Lovelight, happy heart.

2 more exams and one more weekend in Dublin. I am freckled and free and ready to float along the summer in New York. Bicycling by the river, Brooklyn Park Moonlight Movies, reading on green grass in a blooming park, frozen yogurt, and concerts. I’m refreshed and vibrant and excited to start a new internship at a local food distribution company in Union Square! I even get a free weekly local produce basket. I think this might be my calling…

Mom and Dad arrive Monday to travel around Dublin, Galway, Oslo, and London! I’m so happy to see and share with them.

Dublin, you’ll always have a safe place in my heart. You healed me. You brightened me. I really thank you. Here’s to a euphoric final weekend.

Cheers,

Meg

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Took my final geology test this morning and I now have one remaining psychology paper due before I begin my travels and I really can’t wait! I will be basking in the sun on a dreamy Grecian beach in approximately 30 hours…

Here’s the rundown for the next month:

– Athens and Mykonos, Greece (Visiting DAVID!!! Finally!)

Italy: Genoa, Cinque Terre, Venice, Verona, Florence, Bologna, Rome (Visiting NINA in Florence!!!)

Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona (I get to see my MADDIE in Amsterdam! SARAH in Paris!)

– Traveling with my parents: Dublin, Galway, Aran Islands, Oslo, Copenhagen, London

. . .

Also! My new goal = running the Coney Island 5K on June 27th, a week after my 21st birthday. I figure it will be a lovely way to begin my new life cycle.

I can’t wait to update you all on my upcoming adventures. There will be many stories I am sure!

I hope everyone is happy, healthy, and sun-kissed!

Cheers,

Megan


“Rebellion (Lies)” – Arcade Fire

Be careful with your life force.

I am sitting here in Brick Alley Cafe, right in the heart of Temple Bar, sipping a cappuccino on this sleepy Friday. Elvis has been dancing around the room for the last hour or so while the Dubliners buzzing around me reflect on the afternoon and butter a scone. The two women across from me are stirring their sipping chocolates and smiling as they squeeze the strawberry flavored marshmallows nestling at the base of their teacups.

Brick Alley Cafe

Over the past two months, Dublin has been carving this little space in my heart. The space is a careful one. Careful and deep. Perhaps carving is the wrong word, for it is taking nothing away from anything already settled there. Instead, it simply seems to add a bit here, a piece here, a triangle smile there everyday I walk past Trinity’s zealous buildings in bloom.

It’s been awhile since my last post and I have decided to make a list of some of the things that have been occupying my spirits lately:

a) Jameson Dublin International Film Festival – I saw two films; Chloe starring Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfriend, and Liam Neeson; a really seductively unstable thriller and an Irish film called One Hundred Mornings; not my favorite, but an interesting look at a domestic apocalyptic demise nonetheless.

Chloe

b) My first Irish History (1500-1800) essay on Irish highwaymen/rapparees and the manipulation of folklore to inspire the hysteria revolving around the fictitious Popish Plot of the late 17th century.

c) Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated. I read the most beautifully written chapter I’ve ever encountered yesterday. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone from the bottom of my heart. Read it. You won’t be sorry. By the way, Jonathan Safran Foer sat in on one of my Creative Writing classes once…he’s brilliant.

Everything is Illuminated

And most importantly…

d) My week-long trip to Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin!!

In the final week of February, during Trinity’s “Reading Week” (FYI – Trinity students actually do stay and read during this week…we of course, took the week off as a free week to travel), Caroline, Lauren, and I embarked on our unplanned and therefore, very spontaneous adventure. We left Thursday morning, unsure of where the week would actually take us. The afternoon before, after procrastinating booking our train tickets and hostels, we had a minor flip-out wondering if this trip was even possible!

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, we were descending slowly into Frankfurt, Germany. Our lifesaver came in the form of Lauren’s family’s travel-agent’s travel-agent (yes, really) who directed us to the Flughafen (Airport) Train-station where we were able to purchase 3 Eurorail passes to carry us around Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic (usually, you have to purchase these and have them mailed to an American address…so, yeah, lucky.)

Our adventure began. 3 countries. 6 cities. 7 days. Most of my savings account evaporated (Farewell, Pottery Barn Kids’ paychecks! Who am I kidding…those were gone a long time ago.) – Oh, and for the record, whoever keeps spreading the rumor that travel within Continental Europe is cheap…please stop. You’re a liar. Your nose is growing. Just. Not true.

Anyways,

It’s hard to elucidate the freedom and beauty I experienced on this trip. It boils down to three women, some breathtaking landscapes, a lovely family, several euphoric train rides, and a bottomless smile blinking in the sunlight in the corner of a window.

Now, instead of boring you to death and making you insanely jealous with a graphically lengthy account of every excruciating detail of the city we traipsed through, I’ve decided to list the top highlights and laughters seen, felt, smelled, heard, and thought in each place.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Frankfurt, Germany:

Hangover. Flughafen. Taking ten years to buy a metro ticket because the ticket machines are all in German. Expensive ginger ale. A much needed nap. Creamy potato noodles. Apple wine. Home of the Euro. Rainstorm. Tacky Euro sign. Fantastic hostel breakfast.

Obviously German architecture, yes?

Innsbruck, Austria:

A visit to Caroline’s childhood au pair, Marion. Beautiful family. Bundled baby. Missing front teeth. Austrian pastries. Did I mention the Austrian pastries? Funny faces. Dress-up dancing! Peek-a-boo. Communicating via facial expressions. Ska band vibrations. Head banging. Gute nacht! Guten morgan! Family breakfast. Hot shower. Austrian Alps. Aesthetic arrest. “Meg, if I had gloves on, I’d throw snowballs at you.” Lauren sliding down the snowy mountain.

Austrian Alps - Girls on Top of the World

Salzburg, Austria:

2 hour walk through. Sound of Music painted cow. Mozart Candies. Mini Mozart Candies. Faberge egg store. Remind me to get a bag with a shoulder strap next time. Sprinting to catch our train. German beauty magazines. Assigning a persona to each city we have encountered. Accidentally buying two bottles of wine. Tipsy, warm arrival into Vienna.

Polishing off Mozart candies

Vienna, Austria:

Wien. The photobooth ate our money. Wombat hostel. Bartender Thomas’ welcoming (and free) shots of Jager. Come visit me in Dresden – Anton. Reminiscing about New York. Getting lost on the night bus and hailing a cab in the middle of nowhere. Smoky, beyond smoky bars. Unimpressive breakfast. No, you can’t exchange your orange juice for coffee. No, we don’t have a stove to make a scrambled egg. Museumsquartier. Deranged woman on the tram screaming in German – something about “Obama” and “internationals” – probably something racist. Kunst Haus. Apple strudel. Street vender falafel. Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” Longhaired dachshund spotting #985. Here is the bathroom for men, here’s the bathroom for “people wearing cloaks.” Long, winding Italian dinner. Lauren getting carded for her Prosecco lemon sorbet dessert. Drinking age in Austria? 16.

Kunsthaus, Vienna

Reenacting "The Kiss"

Prague, Czech Republic:

Enchantment. Fairy tale world. Charles Bridge. Cinnamon-sugar pretzel bracelets. Hot wine. Fingertips brushing corners of postcards. Babooshka overload. Bluelight cityscape. Pilsner. 7 story twisting nightclub – U Sudu. Cafe Sudicka, ordering Raclette, skillet, melting cheese. Meandering curving alleyways. Vegetable pancakes. Plum brandy. A missing earring. Warmth.

Charles Bridge, Prague

Berlin, Germany:

6:30 am train ride. Drooling on the seat beside me. Jumping off a moving train at the wrong stop in Berlin. Indecipherable German yelling train conductor. Stomach aching laughter. 5 hour walking tour. Captivation. Fire. Energy. Sadness. Fear. Continual Renewal. That’s so Benjamin – our very attractive, history buff NYU-grad tour guide. Is it seriously snowing right now? Potato dumplings. Damn, we drink a lot of beer. Let’s drink it on the street, yo. A twinkling Berlin from the top of the Reichstag.

Breathing renewal beside Berlin.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Captivation, Berlin

I hope my words fashion some sort of flavor of each city for you. It is always difficult to describe trips like these. A city is a dynamic and ever-changing entity and every person takes something unique away from their visit, depending on their individual history, their current amount of sadness, their current level of love, the extent of their exhaustion, the color of the light reflecting on the shoulders of a statue at just the right angle.

An experience is as variable as the weather on the particular day you find yourself with your finger on a map and a hope that you just started walking in the correct direction. I will tell you, the cities that are already calling me back are Prague and Berlin. Prague, for it’s fairy tale lips and Berlin, for its tumultuous history and its Mad Hatter dance clubs.

Now, I am nestled back in Dublin. The streets are beginning to hum with the pre-St. Patrick’s Day festivities. At this very moment, despite the fact that it is only 5:30 pm, men with way too much Guinness running through their veins are stumbling around outside this very cafe, where I sit, singing Irish ballads and shouting the occasional misplaced obscenity.

Ah, have I mentioned this to you? This year, on March 17th, I will be here. In Dublin, Ireland. On St. Patrick’s Day 2010. Be jealous, be very jealous. Let the celebrations begin!

That is all for now.

Missing my friends and family and sending a special love letter to you tonight, New York City,

Meg

Happy Valentine’s Day, World!

On this day of love, I really want to take the time to celebrate the women in my life. For most of my life, Valentine’s Day has been about “being in love” and relationships with men. This year, I am celebrating something else. Since being here in Dublin, I have been reconnected to the spirit and the strength of some amazing females. My time here has me constantly reflecting on all of the extremely wonderful, fierce, intelligent, driven, kind, and hilarious women I have in my life. I don’t mean to exclude men. What I am trying to describe feels like it transcends gender. I am celebrating dance, breath, that perfect scene in a movie, the right song that comes on and makes everyone scream the lyrics, a dinner of pleasure, an artistically swirled cappuccino, the next ten minutes you didn’t think you could run, your arms around someone you love. I am celebrating being human.

I can’t even remember exactly what I was searching for flying over the Atlantic Ocean just over a month ago. That plane ride already feels ages ago. Time seems to be spinning by so quickly, but it is also lingering in just the right moments. I haven’t found what I was looking for so much in my classes or scattered along a cobblestone alley or swirling in the center of my Smithwicks. I’ve found it bursting out laughing alongside Caroline and Lauren in the middle of the day, starting up conversations with new friends at the Pav, and dancing on a Friday night in the basement of the Stag’s Head, shoulders bouncing against shoulders. At the moment, I am the fullest kind of content. I have let go and I am still up in the air. I don’t need anyone to catch me. I trust the room around me. I trust where I am floating to and I have faith in my own body and my own spirit to take me there in due time. In fact, in some ways, I’m already there.

“Cause, I’ll tell you everything about being free,
Yes, I can see you, girl, can you see me?” – Wolfmother

Cheers,

Meg

County Cork

County Cork

I have returned home from a fantastic weekend adventure to the city of Cork.

We arrived in the second largest city in Ireland (second only to Dublin) late Friday night and headed straight out to a local pub. After a couple rounds of significantly cheaper drinks than Dublin (come ON Dublin, you’re killing me) and some complimentary sandwiches (a lovely deal arranged by our hostel – Sheila’s) and some great conversations with some cools guys that run the International Society, the group headed over to a club. A night club full of 40+ somethings. Initially a little confused, we embraced the older scene, downed some Jameson, and danced the rest of the night away to hits from the 50s, 60s, and 70s!

Blarney Castle

The next day we explored Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone (hell yes, I dangled upside down to kiss that thing for some good luck!) It was truly beautiful and we had a blast climbing up the extremely narrow and hazardous staircase to get to the best and highest view I’ve had of Ireland so far. It was a bright and sunny day, too, and we basked in the light at the top of the castle.

Cork Gaol

Next up was a tour of Cork Gaol (the county jail). I’m honestly getting a little tired of going on jail tours. Cork’s jail was less smothered in violent history that Kilmainham Jail. It imprisoned the poor and a lot of people that committed small crimes just to get something to eat inside the jail walls during the Potato Famine in the 1840s and early 1850s. Caroline, Lauren, and I linked arms the whole time for warmth. Ireland’s not big on interior heating…that might be one of my only complaints and it also probably factors into the excessive drinking.

Me, Lauren, and Caroline at the top of Blarney Castle - post Blarney Stone kissing

Saturday night, we feasted on Indian food and wine on our hostel floor and spent a few hours philosophizing about life, relationships, artistic expression, personalities, family dynamics…you know, light conversation! This is honestly one of the greatest parts about my experience in Ireland so far. I have found two girls that make my mind spin and steady at the same moment. We have these incredible conversations and then put on dresses and head out to dance the night away fifteen minutes later.

Cobh

Cobh

Sunday, we traveled to Cobh (formally known as Queenstown which was formally known as Cove). This is the most beautiful town I have seen since being here in Ireland. It was a baby blue day and the sun was beaming off the rainbow colored buildings. Cobh was the final departure point for the RMS Titanic, so we wandered through a Titanic museum before soaking in the sun at the top of the hill outside St. Colman’s Cathedral. We topped off the day with a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery in Middleton. I must say…whiskey is my favorite. Caroline and I indulged in two, made friends with our female tour guide (Go, Women Whiskey Connoisseurs!), and got our second drinks complimentary.

Cobh by the Sea

Cobh by the Sea

The many colors of Cobh

This weekend I finally felt a surge of rebirth that I was afraid was ending for me. But as I sit here on this hazy Tuesday afternoon with the sunlight streaming in through my window curtains, I feel almost silly. It’s not just my mouth that smiles now, it’s my chest, it’s my legs, it’s my shoulders that are smiling, too. I am realizing the energy I thought had been swept away is still here and that it is not stagnant; it is swirling.

I’m back in this place where when I listen to a song, I literally feel it and become a note in the song, twisting and turning around with all the other notes. I’m not the composer. I’m not the entire melody. But I am meeting these other notes as I spin around and some of them ring like chords when we play together. And even though I am not the entire song, I feel so powerful. I feel so strong. I don’t doubt my place or my timing or my existence. I feel worth being a part of the rhythm.

That’s all for now. I’ll leave you with an Irish blessing.

May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

Cheers, Meg

My Goodness, My Guinness!

So, it’s week two and I’m already procrastinating a bit of my reading! Big surprise there, I know.

With my second week of classes down, my Course Registration form due tomorrow, and my first load of laundry lugged across campus to the ridiculously hard to find launderette (honestly, it feels like a scene out of James Bond weaseling around the corridors or perhaps like an oasis that you randomly stumble upon: “OH YES, the launderette! There you are, you old cad! *nudge nudge*”), I feel like I am finally sinking in here at Trinity. I finally know where most of the buildings are and my notebooks are beginning to fill up with scribbled notes dictated from Irish intonations. I’m on a slightly more regular schedule, working out a few times a week at the gym that is conveniently connected by a sheltered bridge to Goldsmith Hall, and cooking more of my own meals.

Also, can I just take a moment to rave about the Irish eggs? Seriously…what are they feeding these chickens!?! I’d like to think that Irish chickens are living the most bourgeois of chicken lifestyles, full of chicken bliss; miles of green fields to frolic in, clear blue water from the sparkling Wicklow Mountains, altruistic sheep friends? Ah…the life is good and it is very visible in the strong yellow yolks.

So…moving on from my egg infatuation, here’s the final rundown of my classes: “History of Ireland 1500-1800”, “European Societies; Social Differentiation and European Citizenship”, “Planet Earth” (an intro. to Geology course), “Quaternary Environmental Change and Climate”, and “Creativity and Imagination.” I’m enjoying them all a lot so far. My European Societies professor, a sociologist, has some interesting tendencies to generalize or simplify some of the effects of city regeneration that probably wouldn’t fly at NYU…but the different perspective is very interesting overall.

My science classes, in the Geology and Geography departments, are pretty fantastic. I must say, for undergraduates, these kids really learn the tiniest details of sedimentation. I am thoroughly enjoying myself and am being sufficiently blown away by the holistic beauty of how our planet was created. Did you realize that the Earth and every other planet in the solar system were actually created out of remnants from the sun’s creation? It’s this poetic system of creation that goes on and on. We are just this little spot in the series of reproduction extenuating from our bright star that will keep life on our planet sustained for the next 5 billion years…until it has a very sad, explosive sun death. It’s funny how current day arguments over modern human evolution, only occurring about 2 million years ago, are so violently debated, when if you cinematically zoom out; the whole process really started 4.5 billion years ago with Earth’s original formation and 13 billion years ago with the creation of the Universe. God. (Inappropriate usage in this context? No?)

Barrels at the Guinness Factory

But back to the basics. Last weekend, I took a day trip to the Guinness Storehouse with the International Student Society. The factory is honestly amazing, which I guess it should be given the amount of money Guinness makes annually. I never really realized everything that went into the monumental stout. It is truly a science and a passion and it’s deeply embedded in Irish culture. It’s a symbol and it is something to be proud of. Even cooperage, the dying art of barrel-making, is an elaborate and deeply mechanical process! The passion for Guinness led Sir Arthur Guinness himself to sign a 9000 year contract in 1759, no doubt! Holy contract! The tour really does make you thirsty for a Guinness when you finally wind down at the Sky Bar and savor your “free” (well, free with your ticket) Guinness while overlooking the city of Dublin, or the fog blanketing the city of Dublin.

The Guinness Gravity Bar

Sunday afternoon, Caroline, Lauren, and I went on an excursion to the nearby sea town of Malahide. It was a cold and wintry day but we kept ourselves warm with multiple tea times and dancing or “castle-walking” as we dubbed it, in front of Malahide Castle. I love these girls and am enjoying their company so much. It’s been a couple years since I have met some new people and deeply connected and I can feel part of me rejuvenating. We are planning a trip to Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Frankfurt during the first week of March; Trinity’s “Reading Week.” I am beyond thrilled!

Castle-walking in front of Malahide Castle

Well, it is very late here and I must retreat to my little bed, which is quite comfortable and fluffy I might add. I leave tomorrow for a weekend trip to Cork, the second largest city in Ireland! Je suis sur excitèe! I wish you all a lovely weekend.

Until next time,

Megan

“Sundress” by Ben Kweller kind of makes me miss America.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again” by Joy Division.

Check them out here in 1979…

Joy Division

“Love Will Tear Us Apart Again”

“When routine bites hard and ambitions are low
And resentment rides high but emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways, taking different roads
Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is the bedroom so cold turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed, our respect run so dry?
Yet there’s still this appeal that we’ve kept through our lives
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Do you cry out in your sleep, all my failings exposed?
Get a taste in my mouth as desperation takes hold
Is it something so good just can’t function no more?
When love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again”

Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin

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