A Day in the Life…
Now that we have started school, I am very much in a routine. Our schooling is really intense but I absolutely love being immersed in theatre all day.
For those who don’t know, I have been studying at the National Theatre School of Ireland: The Gaiety School of Acting. It is a conservatory style two year program, of which I am only taking the first semester.
Our building is in the middle of Temple Bar, surrounded by pubs and bakeries. The amount of people that travel up and down the street each day make it especially fun when we take acting exercises outside. There is an amphitheater just down the street behind one of the government buildings so sometimes we do monologues or scenes down there and everyone comes out on their lunch breaks to watch.
We get our schedule each week on Friday afternoon for the upcoming week – there are minor changes each week if a teacher needs a class moved as all of our professors are working theatre artists.
A screenshot of my Week 5 schedule
Part of the culture here in Ireland is drinking – everyone goes out for pints on Friday or Saturday evenings after class but pubs are a much more relaxed atmosphere here than at home. You really just go to sip and chat, but you rarely have just one.
There are trains and buses for relatively cheap but everything in Dublin is pretty much within walking distance. The store is about 5 minutes away, Grafton street is about a half hour walk, and the walk to school takes about 15 minutes, depending on street traffic. I walk about 3 miles on an average day to and from school and it’s been really nice, especially because we’re right on the River Liffy.
There is a makeshift coffee stand in a shipping container that is on the way to the grocery store, just at the top of our hill called Container Coffee.
I’ve made it part of my routine to do my shopping on Sundays and grab a coffee and a pastry on the way back. They have a 5 euro hot drink and pastry deal on Sundays so it works out well.
They are also eco friendly with their cups and lids, as well as catering to vegetarians with a lot of their lunchtime pastries. The Sweet Potato, Chili, and Feta pocket pies have become my favorite. In addition they serve a variety of milk alternatives including oat milk which I have fallen in love with.
Something that has definitely become apparent to those of us from America is that cross walk signs are just a suggestion. If there are no cars, there are people crossing, sometimes if there are cars there are people crossing. Cars are just kind of an obstacle that you have to avoid to get where you’re going – because they certainly wont avoid you. Not only do the cars have right hand drivers seats, but there are a multitude of one way streets and really odd intersections. I’m so happy I don’t have to try driving here – riding in a taxi is a frightening enough experience.
One of the really cool things about Dublin is that there is quite a bit of graffiti art around but most of it is placed strategically and very pretty.
Dublin is a very art based city and they are proud of it, and why wouldn’t they be? They boast playwrights like Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. Music is busting at the seams here, you can’t walk more than 20 feet down Grafton street without seeing a street performer but the thing about street performers in Ireland versus everywhere else I’ve been is that every single one of them is amazing. I have not passed a street performer here at full speed because you just HAVE to stop and listen.
There are quite a few theatres here in Dublin and we have gotten to see many of them through our weekly theatre visits through the school. We were also lucky enough to get here in time to see bits and pieces of the Dublin Fringe Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival. There are a lot of shows campaigning for very similar issues that we have in the states. Gay marriage was just passed as well as abortions being legal for the first time in a climate that is still coming down from it’s Catholic church days.
Food is an interesting (but good) experience here as a vegetarian.
If we go out to eat my options are normally a veggie burger, or a veggie burger – unless we go to a pizza place (but I haven’t found a fantastic pizza place here in Dublin thus far) – but all the veggie burgers I have had have been fantastic. Falafel is the main meat replacement here so I’ve tried a good few falafel patties. “American Cheese” also isn’t really a staple here for obvious reasons, so the sandwiches always have a wonderful havarti or cracked pepper cheese (which, in my opinion, is the best part of a sandwich). I have decided that if my career as a theatre artist doesn’t work out, I would be more than happy to start a vegetarian food blog.
Everyone was warning me that peanut butter was not “a thing” in Europe so I got my fill before I left. They were wrong however, at least about Ireland, because there are at least three different brands in the corner store.
The thing they don’t have here is macaroni and cheese. It’s not a dish that restaurants serve and there’s no such thing as boxed mac n cheese. There’s a KFC here and I went there in hopes of getting a small bowl of mac n cheese and that was the only thing different about the menu – there was no mac n cheese. So about a month into the program, a bunch of the American actors came over to my flat and we had a mac n cheese feed. We had a “bring your own bowl, drink, and fork” rule so that I didn’t have to do dishes, other than the ones I cooked in, and I made an old fashioned butter based cheese sauce. Not the healthiest group dinner but it was certainly a hit with everyone.
Goourmet donuts have become a new trend here – they opened a new Krispy Kreme just outside of Dublin recently. One of the Irish girls from my school had a Krispy Kreme open near her house and said they had to close it down within a month because there was too much honking and noise in general from the long lines in such a suburban area.
Off Beat Donut Company is by far my favorite. This picture to the right is of a nutella donut (nutella is also really big here) which is possibly the best donut I’ve ever eaten.
The last thing we’ve noticed about the food here, which is a good thing but it took some getting used to, is that there are far less preservatives. Overall it’s a really good thing. The food tastes fresher in general – Irish butter is amazing and I’m not sure how I’m going to survive without it – but the downside is, things spoil much faster. We all went grocery shopping the first week and bought loaves of bread for sandwiches, and it spoiled within 2-3 days. We then discovered they sell half loaves which is much more manageable in that short time.
I had initially thought that my time in Ireland might serve, not only as an amazing experience, but a step back from the political climate that has been raging in the US, but that was not the case. The American political system is a hot topic in Ireland, at least with the people I’m surrounded by. This has also made me far more aware of how much of a bubble the States are in. Everyone else is pretty aware of what is happening with us but we know very little of what is happening with their countries.
I have been absolutely loving my time in Ireland, but there are definitely a lot of things that I miss from home and I will be looking forward to a nice bowl of boxed mac n cheese.