I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been having a hard time lately. I became very depressed again, spending too much time alone in my room instead of out exploring. I wasn’t excited for anything anymore, even the stuff I’ve spent ages looking forward to. Recently I’ve felt listless, as though I’ve lost my focus.
I knew I needed to do something about the situation, but I wasn’t sure what. Then, earlier this week, one of my classmates noticed I was feeling down so we talked about it. I’m really glad we did because not only did it help me to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but we both got to know each other better: We’d had conversations before, of course, since we’ve been here for four weeks now, but never something this in-depth.
Anyway, one of the things she suggested was making a list of things I want to do while I’m still here, since the time we have left in Ireland is rapidly dwindling. (Two weeks until I’m home! The more I try to figure out how I feel about that, the more confused I become.) Apparently this is something she does when her anxiety gets really bad, to remind her of all experiences she wants to have that she won’t let her mind get in the way of.
So I made that list. I don’t have to do everything on it, and tbh I probably won’t. But it’ll be there to remind me to make the most of the time I have left here. The list as it appears here is actually slightly different from the one I wrote down in one of the notebooks I brought; there are some personal goals and stuff I didn’t feel like sharing all over the interwebs. Also, I may end up adding some things as I think of them.
But… yeah. My goals are a mixture of the profound and the mundane (or even the ridiculous?), but each one serves as a small reminder that there is a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.
P.S. The items crossed out are things I’ve already done since I made the list a couple of days ago! Yay for progress! Yay for struggling through bad mental health days even though I felt like giving up and going back to bed!
- Buy a University College Dublin shirt. I’m partial to the green ones.
- Dún Laoghaire:
- Go swimming at the Forty Foot. We were there on Bloomsday, but I didn’t bring any clothes I could swim in!
- Ice cream at Teddy’s. It’s supposed to be divine.
Celebrate my friend Savannah’s birthday.This was yesterday, and I didn’t stay out very late because I’m sick again, but she said she had a really great day since it was the first leg of our weekend writers’ retreat in western Ireland. So I’m happy for her.
- Go back to the Pav. A bar with outdoor seating and a beautiful view of the Trinity College campus.
- Try Jaffa Cakes. I’m not sure about that orange/chocolate combo, but I’m willing to give it a try.
Visit the Trinity College Library: The Book of Kells.A lot smaller than I expected tbqh. The Long Room.AHHH I’M SO EMOTIONAL??? WOWOWOW I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE.
- Go on a bus tour of Northern Ireland. I can’t wait to do this on one of the days off we have toward the end of the program! The trip includes Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Dark Hedges.
- Go on a bus tour of the Cliffs of Moher. I’ll have to give this one some thought, because I’m not nearly as set on going and don’t know if I want to spend any more money than I already have, but at the same time… it looks absolutely gorgeous. According to The Internet, some scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed in this area and that honestly makes me so happy because I hadn’t been sure where those particular parts were shot.
- Pet some therapy dogs at UCD. I think they bring them in weekly, actually, so maybe I can pet dogs MULTIPLE TIMES.
- Books to read:
- Fauxpocalypse by Dave Higgins et al. I brought this with me on the writers’ retreat in the hope that maybe I’ll finish it once I’m too tired to write any more.
- The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. Recommended by my therapist and definitely not a breezy book, but I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of reading before bed.
- Best-Loved Yeats edited by Mairéad Ashe FitzGerald. Won a copy of this gorgeously-designed book in a contest!
- Best-Loved Joyce edited by Jamie O’Connell. My novel professor is the editor of this book and gave us all free copies!
- Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection by Derek Landy. Currently just a few chapters in and loving it!
- Listen to Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” while in Galway. Just some silly fun.
- Have a 4th of July party. With whatever ingredients we can scrounge up from the Centra on campus. They sell hot dogs in a can?!
- Gay bars to visit:
- The George. One of Ireland’s oldest gay bars. I would’ve gone after the Pride parade last weekend but I was much too worn out.
- Pantibar. Looks like a super fun place!
- The Front Lounge. A bar for gay women!
- Blog posts:
- Things that surprised me about Ireland. I’ve kept a running list in my head for the duration of this trip.
- Irish climate/weather. Somewhat related to the post mentioned above, since there are a lot of things about the weather here that I just don’t understand.
- Studying abroad & mental illness. My experiences trying to care for my mental health while also keeping a good balance with schoolwork and traveling.
- Español & Gaeilge. Some fascinating similarities I’ve noted between the two languages.
Things I want to do while I’m still in Ireland.AKA this post!
- Bloomsday. A day devoted to celebrations of all things Ulysses and Joyce.
- Plays I saw. Little reviews of the four plays we’ve seen performed as part of our drama course.
- Author talks. Four different Irish authors have come in to tell us about their life and writing!
- A day in the life of a study abroad student. Because of course!
- Two essays I wrote for workshop about going to Derek Landy’s book signing. Haven’t decided whether I’m going to post these separately or together.
- An essay I wrote for workshop about the Dublin Pride parade. I’m really proud of this one! It was written for an assignment about weaving in historical context.
- “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart.” A post inspired by a James Joyce quote I recently found and am now quite fond of.
- Thoughts on having made it so far both physically and psychologically. That sounds super vague and confusing, I know, but it should be more lucid in the actual finished post. I hope.
- Send a postcard to my friends at the Haunted Bookshop. Because I miss them sO MUCH.
- Write a short creative nonfiction narrative about my professor. He’s having us write one for our guide, so the other day some of my friends and I had the brilliant idea for everyone to write a paragraph or so about one of our experiences with him.
- Try fruit strings. They look delicious.
- Map out and explore locations mentioned in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Google Maps lately.
Now that it’s July, you can expect the Pride posts to end and the study abroad posts to begin. I don’t want every post this month to be about studying abroad, but many of them certainly will be in one way or another. There may even be some posts in August, and to be honest I’ll probably write about this trip later still as I suspect there will be much to process once I’m home.