This is mostly about dirt

I want to start by saying thanks for all the feedback on this blog, everybody! People keep saying things like “your blog is great,” “you’ve been hiding your crazy really well,” “do you want this quesadilla,” “can I have some of your milk,” and “I dreamed you took all our beds and put them in the living room for the Mountaineering Club to use and told us we could just sleep on the floor.” So thanks for being so supportive! And yes, that last was actually a dream my flatmate had – gotta be careful not to overstep my bounds when it comes to hospitality!

This is gonna be a quick post because I skipped a once-weekly class last Thursday and haven’t read the lecture slides yet for tomorrow (#studyabroad #onlyhavetogetaC+). This has been an excellent week of friends and adventures, starting with Friday, when I partook in Dublin Culture Night – there are some great museums in the city. A sample:

The Treasury of the National Museum – Archaeology
WB Yeats’ passport (seen in the National Library Yeats exhibit – highly recommended)
Some fancy elderflower juice in the National Gallery cafe
Some fancy elderflower juice in the National Gallery cafe

On Sunday, I joined the UCD Mountaineering Club and went on their Freshers’ Hike in Glendalough, the site of a 6th century monastic settlement in County Wicklow. Given the option between an easy and a hard hike, I chose the one that ended up not actually involving a trail most of the time, and included climbing up a very steep squishy peaty muddy hill, avoiding rabbit holes hidden beneath what one lad helpfully identified as “Irish plants,” and general trudging past sheep in the rain in a beautiful glacial valley. Don’t worry about all the bushwhacking though – I asked somebody if there was poison ivy in Ireland, and they were like “what’s that?” I was also told that the most dangerous animal in Ireland is a cow, so that’s grand – and no snakes anyway! Also I really love peaty mud. It’s the best mud. It’s just muddier than other mud. Mmm. Mud.

climbing the peaty muddy hill
There was a sign that said something like “dogs bothering sheep will be shot” – don’t mess with the sheep!
New friends on a cairn
Beware of rock(ing too hard)

IMG_20150920_135948289_HDR IMG_20150920_140544920 IMG_20150920_142858772_HDR IMG_20150920_143212707_HDR

So that was lovely. Tuesday we had Soul Food in my apartment, and got to hear and discuss some really cool questions and perspectives on the meaning and purpose of life, while eating fried rice described by one friend as “gorgeous.” We’ve got a really good group of people that I already love a lot, and it’s great craic – the worst part was that we had to end the time in the middle of some great conversations. I’m really looking forward to facilitating discussion next week! It’s just such a privilege to be able to get to know so many people, and to show them love by listening to them and providing for their physical needs (read: making fried rice and lots of tea). It’s super hard not to become self-centered in daily life when I’m spending so much time planning trips, studying, writing blog posts, etc., and this is a reminder every week to take at least as much care in thinking about the needs and desires of others as I do in thinking about my own needs and desires (which is still a constant struggle). I highly recommend inviting people you’ve never met into your house for food and discussion about the purpose of life. 10/10 stars, would do again. Also, fruit shortcakes are the best biscuits ever.

Then I took a friend from the States to the Traditional Music Society (or TradSoc)’s weekly session, which is just three hours of musicians sharing tunes and jamming (we only stayed about ten minutes though). I took my mandolin but got stage fright and didn’t actually play a single note, until I got back to my apartment and spent an hour and a half learning new tunes from the society’s online tunebook – I literally played until I got a blister.

Speaking of blisters, my finger burns are looking nice – went rock-climbing in the UCD climbing gym with the Mountaineering Club today and ripped the blisters all up. Mmm. Hardcore.

Ooh also I had a class this morning where we just looked at dirt and described it. Sorry. “Soils.”

Flatmate Gracie enjoying some soils
Science is happening here, guys.
I heart peat. Also, the fluorescent lights make my camera go crazy

Tonight was spent with a lot of Americans at the Lansdowne Hotel – the UCD international office took us to a lovely dinner-and-a-show by Irish House Party. I was going to post a video but can’t, so just imagine: Salad with Cashel Blue cheese; Guinness beef stew; chocolate cake; trad music on guitar, uilleann pipes, Celtic harp, fiddle, and tinwhistle; solo and sean-nós (old style) Irish dancing. And check out the band here. Lovely evening!

That’s all for now. Gearing up for a weekend in Galway – I’ve got to practice my Irish for the Gaeltacht!

Cheers (sidebar: please someone tell me what to say in response to “cheers” when it’s used as “thank you” because I don’t know what to say so I just kind of grunt/mumble/grumble in acknowledgement and walk away),


p.s. here’s an artsy picture of a bag of oats


4 thoughts on “This is mostly about dirt

  1. Natalie, It all started with the blueberries. I wanna BE you right now. Since I can’t be you, now or ever, thanks for taking me along for the ride. 🙂


  2. Your life is hysterical! I can’t believe what an amazing adventure you are having. I am addicted to your blog and the way you describe things. Alyson and I go through serious withdrawl if you don’t post for three days. Have mercy on all of us!! Keep writing.
    God is doing amazing things through your agape experience! We praise God and thank him for the spirit of love he has given you.
    What do you mean you only need a C+?!! Your mother is not happy with that attitude. Oh, sorry. you’re a big girl now and it’s your choice.


    1. Haha thanks Mom 🙂 I sometimes just walk around laughing at how hysterical my life is, but people look at me funny. And you should know better than to think that I’d be content getting a C+! I’m taking the classes I am because I genuinely want to learn more, so of course I’m going to do [most of] the work. It’s just not always my top priority.


  3. Thanks for the blog Natalie! Sounds like an amazing time and I thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures – even though you do seem to get sidetracked easily (hey look! a chicken!) 🙂
    I’m hoping to get to Ireland someday too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s