It’s a Charming Life!

University College of Cork

I arrived in Cork last week, and am very happy! In the midst of settling in, I have been moved by how charming this small city truly is. The history and  new lifestyle could not be more exciting to me; here are my four highlights:

  1. Small shops and markets line the streets here. Plus, all of the food is fresh and nutritious. This lifestyle would surely be luxurious in the US, but is completely normal here. Not to mention, street performers sit on every corner… and they’re actually good! Needless to say, I think I’ll stay!
  2. The police (called The Garda) are unarmed here! The Irish people have their fun shaming the American police system. Learning this kicked off my mission to better understand race relations with a more global perspective.
  3. Pubs are fun and also very charming (as I’m sure you can imagine). A couple fun facts: One pint of the local brew equates to a loaf of bread! Also apparently it’s slightly appalling to locals when women drink pints. Due to this norm, when the Obamas visited, they handed Barrack a pint, but Michelle a glass. Do I conform to gender norms orrrrrrr……
  4. Learning about Ireland’s history has been key to truly valuing my new home. The massive cathedrals in town are not only beautiful, but give insight to the religious feuds that have shaped Irish history and their modern day politics. The frequent rain and grey skies have also become significantly less annoying now that I understand the same rain and cool weather shaped the agriculture practices that led to the potato famine. I’ll spare you history lectures; however, I am simply captivated by the ways that history  is braided into everyday life here!

Pics are below with captions. Stay tuned; I plan to travel around Ireland to learn more about its history and politics over the next couple weeks. Cheers!

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral: The Protestant Cathedral in the city. Spark note version of my Irish History class: the Protestants were responsible for the oppression of the the Irish Catholic during the 17th and 18th century. Today there are very few Protestants left in Ireland… most fled when the British left and they couldn’t find worthy spouses!

The River Lee: this river runs through Cork and is surrounded by small shops and markets. I’ve been advised NOT to swim in the river, but it is very tempting! FUN FACT: the river runs UNDERNEATH the city!



The anticipation has been building. After 80 hour work weeks, piles of paperwork and hours of planning, the time has finally come for me to embark on the beginning of my yearlong adventure.

Customers at work keep asking me if I’m excited. The truth: It’s not that I’m not excited… life just feels surreal right now. What does living in a new country entail? What will it be like to be in a whole new country with my two best friends (shout out to Joe and Chris) and complete independence? What will living in two completely different communities be like? Is this year one of those times in my life that will transform me? Will it transform my friendships? Who will I spend my time with? What will I do during my free time? What will I learn from the new people around me? What adventures will leave me in awe?

I think back to when I was beginning my first year at Holy Cross. I never would have imagined the people and experiences waiting for me on The Hill. And as I reflect on my first day at Holy Cross, I know that just like two years ago, I have no idea what awaits for me this semester. Despite questions buzzing through my head, I am confidently ready. I’ve earned all my money, my budget is set and my bags are packed. It is time to step away from obsessively planning for this trip and embrace the unknown. Realizing that I have no idea what the world has in store for me is difficult to grasp. However, here’s to embracing the surreal and always living in the moment; I refuse to miss a thing.