Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

From Crazy to Calm in Seven Long Days

When you place a bag of popcorn in the microwave and press the corresponding button, several reactions occur. The energy in the microwaves creates heat, which essentially pops the kernels into an edible and often pre-buttered and salted snack. But what’s happening inside that bag to provide you with that snack is pure freaking chaos. I’m not usually one for metaphors, but this one seems to unfortunately epitomize my first week of classes. My head felt like the inside of a bag of popping corn kernels.

I attended far too many courses during the first few days of the week as I wasn’t yet registered for anything, therefore trying everything seemed logical at the time. I also realized in the process of scrambling, or to keep the metaphor alive, popping from one place to the next that there are many things I’m not used to here that I need to accustom myself to as soon as the bag deflates and the chaos subsides. I think I have found a spot in the library, although it is closed on weekends, which the over-achiever and eager student in me is deeply frustrated with. I have devised a schedule, of both classes and a workout routine. And finding time to do nothing, and actually letting the bag remain deflated, well that’s easy; every Irish student in Cork goes home for the weekend. Apparently it’s a ‘cultural thing’ but from where I’m sitting it seems to be a severe kink in my plan to actually meet Irish students. It’s something I might have liked to know before choosing to come here. Then again, Irish or not, people are people and the ones I’ve meet thus far are ones I’m excited to spend the next three months with. Although to be honest, I could be spending these three months with friends already tried and true back home, if I had stayed home. It’s something everyone who studies abroad is thinking, but which very few of them are actually saying. We miss our people, it’s that simple. Nevertheless, it’s the first week and going over what-ifs ¬†and if-onlys is to be expected.

friends

I am someone who tries to find joy in the simple things. I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to keep up with the Irish drinking habits; it just feels wrong to go out on a school night. So I tend to stick with my own version of fun until things pick up, clubs start, lecturers start giving out essays and homework (both of which are far too rare for my liking). And my week, while insane and stressful, and surely the reason for the many new zits now decorating my face, actually managed to churn out some real highlights. The first Ultimate Frisbee practice was on Wednesday. Being back on the pitch, throwing and running plays and simply being in that environment with the kind of people I can relate to on at least some level made me feel more at ease amid the chaos, more at home in a strange place.

Friday was more of a day for myself. I went to the city library and checked out Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential because I desperately want to be him, although perhaps minus the cocaine addiction. I also checked out and read in two days The Tao of Pooh, which if you haven’t read it, you need to. I found it by happenstance on the bottom shelf of the Psychology and Philosophy section– why I was looking on those shelves I will never know. But it has become this atheist’s version of scripture, of religious text, a sort of non-spiritual, spiritual awakening. And through reading it I sort of reversed everything I wrote in the first two paragraphs of this blog entry. See, if you didn’t pick up on it, there was negativity and self-doubt and a sense of compulsory conformity to which I was cripplingly succumbing to. It turns out I happened to find The Tao of Pooh exactly when I needed it most. The popping in my head is subsiding and the chaos doesn’t seem as loud anymore. Pooh taught me to “enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, odd as that may appear to others at times.” But this isn’t a book club blog…

So we also went to Fota Island…

giraffe

Three guesses which country I’m in…

monkey

You guessed it, Ireland. Where nothing is what you expected it to be.

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