Irish Adventures & Deep Thoughts

I know, I know. It’s been a while.  But I have to be honest I have not have time!  I barely have time to sleep let alone take a few minutes to write about these beautiful experiences I’ve been having.

Ireland has been making me fall in love more and more with it as each day goes by.  I can’t quite put into words how incredible this experience has been.  I have been learning so much about myself, other people, and my art.  This country contains so much new history, culture, and language.  It’s fascinating to learn about, especially from the Irish themselves.  This is such a gorgeous place.  I mean look, just look!

Just a gorgeous rainbow I saw on my hike from Greystones
Just a gorgeous rainbow I saw on my hike from Greystones

Ireland beauty

Overlooking the sunset
Overlooking the sunset
The sea!
The sea!

It’s hurts me so much to know I only have 46 days left here, but I will have to make the best of it and be positive.  Today was an especially interesting day…

I got a free scone, was told my accent was lovely [wait… I have an accent?  what?],  and an older woman and man who both didn’t seem like their minds were all there stopped us while we were on our way walking home and apologized to my friend and I for September 11th while kissing our hands.  At first, we thought we had been distracted and then pick pocketed, but no.  They just wanted some conversation, I guess?

I also had a really great day at college.  In my manifesto class I had to write a short scene/sketch from the brief “The Call of Nature”. So I wrote a scene where I’m standing on the Ha’Penny Bridge taking a bunch of photos with my phone, selfies included.  Then, I just stop and put my phone away and tell myself and those watching to just breath in and out.  To just look at our surroundings and be present.  Breath in the air and listen.  Just listen.

This was inspired by noticing that I was taking way too many pictures of my surroundings without taking the time to really focus on where I am and the beauty that’s around me.  Yes, it’s great to take pictures, but we can’t keep looking at life through a lens.  I had to ask myself, “So why do I need to take these photos?  To remember?  Just to have?  Or am I just wanting to post these photos on Instagram and Facebook later?  It’s important to take a moment to soak in the moment and be present.  I believe being present is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do.  We’re always thinking about what to do next and where to go.  Where will be tomorrow?  What do I have to do now to get to the next place in my life?  I’ve found I worried about these questions much too often, and that I have to learn how to be more in the moment.  There was a moment during my trip to Northern Ireland where I didn’t bring my phone.  I just looked out onto the coast and let the wind whip against my face and I let myself feel everything I felt in that moment.  I let go of my thoughts and looked out at the ocean and huge hills.

Carpe Diem means seize the day, but maybe, sometimes we should let the day seize us.

Enough of my deep and internal thoughts.  Here’s more pictures.

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle
Typical Irish weather - unpredictable and sometimes absolutely gorgeous
Typical Irish weather – unpredictable and sometimes absolutely gorgeous
Me inside Dunluce castle! A castle all the way from the 1500s
Me inside Dunluce castle! A castle all the way from the 1500s
The geological phenomenon that is The Giant's Causeway
The geological phenomenon that is The Giant’s Causeway
Dunluce castle- This used to be an oven!
Dunluce castle- This used to be an oven!

Failing and Singing

I am bound to fail and I am going to make mistakes, but that is absolutely okay.  This is something I’ve had to constantly remember during my first week of classes that began this past Monday.  Part of creating something or being artistic or just being a person even is failing.  We have to make mistakes and fail in order to get something right.  Then again, it’s not even about getting it right.  It’s about creating something that’s meaningful.  Something that will change minds and create interrogation or complete misunderstanding.  Something that isn’t afraid to be wrong.  Honestly, knowing that I will fail and make mistakes takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders and helps me clear my mind full of thoughts that won’t be helpful in my creativity.

The gorgeous castle from the front
The gorgeous castle from the front

So aside from these great introspective thoughts I’ve been having I also had a week filled with some tourist things that were pretty fun. I had an acting class where we started off our first class with some trust exercise. And what could possibly be a better trust exercise than blind folding someone and leading them into the street full of cars and strangers.  One person would be blindfolded while the rest of us would make the person touch weird things and go crazy places.  When it was my lovely friend Elena’s turn to be blind folded we decided to lead her to the gorgeous Dublin castle, which was a wonderful experience for those of us who could see.

“Do you feel fear and run from the bear or does the act of running generate the feeling of fear.”

Here’s what Elena missed:

A side view of this gorgeous building
A side view of this gorgeous building
Blindfolded proof
Blindfolded proof

Then, this weekend I had an adventure with Elena, her twin sister, and our other friend from the same program, Drew.  We went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and took in all the gorgeousness and massiveness that it is.  We walked around the Temple Bar street market and drank some hot apple cider with a little splash of something extra.  Then, for dinner we went to the best fish and chips place in Dublin (oh my god so good), and for the night time extravaganza we adventured the famous tourist trap that is Temple Bar.

Some delicious hot apple cider with a touch of Irish at the Temple Bar Market
Some delicious hot apple cider with a touch of Irish at the Temple Bar Market
Salt and vinegar is a necessity for all fish and chip purchases
Salt and vinegar is a necessity for all fish and chip purchases
Delicious olives from the Temple Bar market
Delicious olives from the Temple Bar market

St Patrick's Cathedral

The gorgeous St. Patrick's Cathedral
The gorgeous St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The live music at Temple Bar was so fun!  At one point they played an Irish song called, “Tell Me Ma” and it instantly brought me back to when I performed in the Irish classic “Playboy of the Western World” at Hope College my sophomore year.  Thanks to that show I was able to sing along.  To anyone reading this who was in that play or saw it will know what I’m talking about!  Then, when the first live music performers left they just had some music playing from a stereo system of the bar.  Then, it was as if they knew there were American theatre majors in the bar because “Summer Loving” from the musical Grease began to play on the stereo system and Elena and I screamed with joy.  We then proceeded to fill the entire place with our loud, obnoxious, and happy voices and sang along to the entire song.

It’s a wonderful world here.

We are all fools

The area of my beautiful school of the next three months
The area of my beautiful school of the next three months….  absolutely gorgeous!!

First day of school is finally finished.  I can’t believe everything I have learned in the matter of 24 hours.  After meeting all the Irish students some of my classes will be integrated with I couldn’t be happier.  I felt an overwhelming amount of welcome and warmth from everyone.  Our first day we went straight into Theatre of Clown.  After some warming up, name games, and “Simon Says” with a wooden spoon we got into the nitty gritty of what Theatre of Clown truly is.  And it’s not what most people think it is.  So as a class we all took our first baby steps into understanding this beautiful part of theatre.  Here is what the activity we partook in as class entailed:


One person stands up in front of the entire class wearing a red nose and a hat of their choice. They can say no words; they can only be silent, walk around, and look into the eyes of their clown master and classmates in front of them. We have to create conversations just by looking into their eyes. We have to let go and show how we are feeling in that moment, and show people what we are most afraid of anyone seeing. Our eyes hold our soul, and we have to let people see it without saying a word.  By releasing tension and breaking down our walls we are creating an authentic presence.  We can’t have our walls up and we can’t expect anything or what will come of it.  Expectations will cut the experience.


The activity that was presented to us in class is absolutely beautiful.  It’s an interesting way to see people, especially when I only met them for the first time a couple hours ago.  I learned a lot about myself and about others in the matter of about six hours.  It was incredible.  People who really let you see into their eyes and let themselves feel what they were feeling were the most fascinating to watch.  Their eyes electrified the whole room sometimes because you could really see everything they were thinking or feeling.  I loved how unique each experience was.  Some people were sad, some were dark, and some laughed loud almost the entire time they were up.  Only a few showed us their underbelly or their darkness, but that’s okay.  It’s not easy showing strangers how you think.  But what’s also beautiful about this exercise is that I have learned more about how it’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to be human.  Each individual I am in this class with has a story and has a darkness and light.  It’s okay if we don’t get it right the first time or if we screw up because we’re human.  We will mess up –  it’s part of life.  I also am beginning to learn more about how to not have expectations.  If I think about how I am going to walk, or share my eyes, or who I am going to look at before I even go up on the stage, then that will ruin the experience.  If I expect how much I am going to let people see within me, then that will also cut the experience.  So when I went up there today I just told myself I would be confident, I would be myself, I would be in the moment, and just be.  I would let myself feel what I do feel, which is usually what I do in my everyday life because I am a sensitive person.  As soon I as got up there and looked into Raymond’s (Our leader/teacher for the week) eyes he saw things I didn’t know he could.  I didn’t know a single pair of eyes would be able to see everything.  I could tell he was really going to see parts of me that are very private and deep within me.  So I began to cry.  I was showing someone a part of myself I didn’t even know I truly had by just looking into his eyes. I felt a crazy mix of up and down emotions of laughter, sadness, darkness, and happiness.  I thought I was going mad!  At first I thought people would probably think I’m crazy because of how many emotions I showed them within 15 minutes, but I am human.  And as soon as I remember how to be present in the moment, then all my thoughts ceased taking over my brain.  Then, when I made my exit I shrugged a little, but he stopped me and said, “You don’t have to apologize for nothing, girl.”  And he’s right.  I don’t have to apologize.  And I have noticed that my self-esteem effects how I present myself on stage.  If I am not confident then my body language will show that I am apologizing for being on stage.  When, really, I don’t have to.  I can’t apologize.  I need to love myself and believe in myself more to create an electrifying presence.  First day, and I’ve already learned so much, and I am craving for more.

Falling slowly for Dublin

1/11/2015

Aside from jet lag and my most recent state of food poisoning, I’d say Ireland is working out well for me.  Honestly, I immediately fell in love with the lights and warmth of the city of Dublin.  As soon as I saw the city coming into view from my airplane window I knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be.  This is where I belong in this moment of my life.  There were a few unexpected road blocks on my way to Dublin, like an entire day long layover in New Jersey due to flight delays.  But that did not cease my growing excitement for starting this new adventure in my life.

I’d say I am most excited for starting class on Monday, but that’s also what I’m most nervous for.  It’s like the first day of school all over again…except in a new country and in a city I am completely clueless about.  I’m looking forward to my first week, and I think I just have to be patient with myself and let myself slowly get back into the groove of things.  I’m also pretty excited though because the first week of school we start right away with Theatre of Clown.  How sweet is that?  I have no clue exactly what to expect with that, but it’ll be an adventure.

I think what will help me most while I am studying abroad this semester is being completely open with myself and others.  I want learn how to jump into experiences and have fun without caring what people think and without inhibitions.  I want to learn how to take more risks with my acting and in my personal life as well.

I just have to keep telling myself that I can do this and to be strong.  Because I can do this.  I’m strong and I’m a warrior.

Going out and exploring the city
Going out and exploring the city with some new beautiful friends