Hi-ya from Dublin!!
I think all of you know that this is where I am calling home for the next few years since Japan had enough of my loud, egocentric American ways, not to mention that the world thought that I would better fare in a country where English was widely spoken (although, in Ireland, that's debatable), so that I stop making lude advances towards innocent business men and then excuse those advances by saying that I didn't speak the language. Please, everyone knows that English is the only language that should be spoken around the world! Get with the program foreign people!!
Also, most of you know that I just finished my first semester of medical school, and the rumors are right about it. It's hard! The fact that I have to memorize, like, so many body parts is ludicrous! What is Wikipedia for anyway?
Joking aside, med school is crazy stressful. You can pretty much kiss any delusions you have of keeping your normal life good-bye. You know, normal, human things like sleeping, eating, conversing with people about things other than cystic fibrosis or transamination reactions. During finals week, I slept for 14 hours from Monday to Thursday, and even that was probably too much. But as much as it is stressful and all the moments I have contemplated jumping out of my 4th floor window, I love it. I recommend it to anyone who is as much of a masochist as I am, and loves the daily reminder that you really are an idiot. It is exhilarating.
So, what's it like to be back in college, you might ask? Here is a list that may help you feel as if you are there with me;
How you know you are back in College:
1) You are invited to a toga party
2) You have a 20 year old roommate who wears a sequined halter top as a skirt on her way out the door singing a song by Miley Cyrus
3) You are surrounded by a whole different species: 18 year olds
4) You see two girls taking a stance against society and making out in the hallway of the school
5) Your vocabulary expands with words like "mind-blowingly drunk"
6) You are aroused from bed due to a fire alarm that someone thought would be funny to set off at 1am and then questioned by the college warden if you have seen a blue smurf running through the courtyard
7) You are lulled to sleep at night with statements like "We're gonna get pissed!" or "Take your pants off!" that take place in the courtyard below your room
8) The following morning, you step over a prostrate body in the hallway who made true to his word the night before, sans pants
9) A new species of tree emerges in the courtyard made of beer cans and Christmas balls
10) You are viewed as an exotic and potentially dangerous zoo animal at the age of 31
Other than my obnoxiously childish roommate who truly believes that Peru is a mythical place, that "vicariously" is a word I used to insult her, and that Miley Cyrus is actually talented, college is pretty good. Dublin is a cool city and I am enjoying living there. Unfortunately, since it is a Western country that is fairly civilized (sorry, Eoin), I don't have any real haphazard cross-cultural experiences. I do, however, have a cross-generational experience with my previously mentioned roommate who accused those of us living with her that we were "bullying" and "intimidating" her on a daily basis. She even went so far as to say that she "can't live with the abuse anymore!" If, by abuse, she means that we are constantly in our rooms, behind closed doors, studying our brains out and seeing her once a week, if at all, then yes, we are guilty as charged. One day, her claims were emphatically performed with hyperventilation and tears of sheer agony for the warden when he was called up to our room by her panicked phone call. He told us later that the phone call was so hysterical that he thought "we were beating her with a rolling pin." I hope I don't have to tell anyone that these claims were outlandish. Come on, locking her in her closet for a few days hardly constitutes abuse! Besides, it gave her time to plan her outfits for the next month (this, she informed me one day, was the hardest part of her morning. I wish I was joking).
After meetings with the warden, welfare officers, and crazed roommate it was decided that she was in fact a lunatic and it would be in everyone's best interest for her to move out at the beginning of the year. I don't think we will be BFF or Facebook friends anymore. Shame, really. I was beginning to enjoy the song "Party in the USA" (If you don't know this song, look it up so you can empathize with my pain, and if you do know this song, you should be ashamed of yourself).
Other than the roommate drama, med school is med school. Dublin is Dublin. I am doing my best to fit in, but naturally there are some things I can't hide, like my overall New York attitude. This came out on one occasion where I was supposed to meet my assigned family for a class that I am taking. The class requires us to spend some time with a new born baby and mother and monitor the normal development of the child. My family happens to be from an area that is on the lower socio-economic scale and therefore the area is a little on the sketchy side. It is no East Harlem, but nonetheless, it is a place to be careful in. Anyway, the day I am to meet with my family, Dublin does what it does best, it pours. It was raining so hard, my umbrella was an utter disappointment and fired immediately. I arrive to the address I was given, looking literally like I decided it would be far more appropriate to swim there, fully clothed. There was no way around it, I was a mess. But, duty calls, and with as much professionalism I could muster, I rang the bell. An Irish man answered the door and sees me standing there, looking like an orphan pulled out from the gutter, excited and smiling radiantly. He looked a little less excited.
Andrea (attempting to step into his house): Hello, I am here for my appointment.
Man (blocking my attempt): What appointment?
Andrea (slowly putting one soaked leg past the door): My appointment to meet the baby. Is (we'll call the mother, Sarah) Sarah home?
Man (beginning to close the door and shaking his head): Sarah? You have the wrong address, miss.
Andrea (slowly and more discreetly putting my second soaked leg into the closing door): No, impossible. Isn't this (address)?
Man (eyes widening in disbelief and maybe slight panic): Yes, but there is no Sarah here.
Andrea (suspicious and putting one arm past the semi-closed door): Are you sure?
Obviously, in my mind, he must be mistaken and I began to scan the house.
Man (slightly annoyed and probably beginning to fear for his safety): Uh, yeah, I am sure. This is my house.
Andrea (sensing his innappropriate hostility but going for my second arm past the almost-closed door) Hmm. I see. Well, do you have a baby in there?
Man (really annoyed): No, miss, I don't!
Andrea (encouraged by my four limbs now past the door, and attempting my torso): Are you sure?
At this point, I showed him the paper with the address on it trying to convince him that I was in the right place and that he was not. I am still not sure why he didn't just slam the door in my face by now, but he didn't so I kept trudging on and moving more body parts into his house.
Man (extremely annoyed): YES! There is NO BABY here!!
Andrea (completely non-plussed by this irrational outburst and disappointed that I was still getting wet and that my torso was still not past the threshold): Hmm. Well, what is your name then?
The door closed. All four limbs and torso now outside of the door. Still wet.
As any rational person would do, I went to the next house and asked the same series of questions. Again, to no avail. Deciding that it was probably better to leave the community of Tallaght in peace, I called the family I was supposed to see. It turns out, the man was in the right place after all. The address I had included an extra number. Damn! I hate being wrong.
I decided to make my family visit as quick as possible so I could leave the area and avoid questions from the Dublin police. I thought that it may be hard to explain in my American accent, with my cheeks streaked with black mascara, nose dripping with more than water, hair completely slicked down across my head, and my clothes taking on a new form-fitted, yet misshapen look as to why I was trying to prove to a man in his own house that he didn't in fact live there. I thought that maybe the police would take his side, especially since he did live there. After all, I can't very well learn how to treat patients if I am fitted for a white jacket and become one myself.
Ah, Dublin. I have arrived!
Miss you all!