March 24, 2019

Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Write. Drink. Sleep. Repeat.

Author Name

Grace Mark

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


Saint Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin – the ultimate Irish American party.  Sunday 17 March : three days after my 21st birthday, four days after I started getting a cold, and one day before my paper on the welfare state was due. 

The question on my mind all weekend:  Do I drink, write or sleep? 

Thursday, 14 March: The cold, windy rain of Dublin has me sick on my birthday.  My head is clogged, unable to process the fact that I’m turning the big two-one.  I miss my second class, along with two of my also-sick roommates, and try to sleep my cold away.  My roommates make me dinner and we have a lovely time.  In a country with a very widely accepted drinking culture- in a city full of pubs, bars, clubs, and music venues- I happily stay home and go to bed early on my 21st birthday. 

Friday, 15 March: I’ll totally finish my paper today!  

Saturday, 16 March:  

Morning: I’ll DEFINITELY finish my paper today.  

 Afternoon: I’m sick, I need to take it easy.  I’ll get my paper done eventually. (My ten-page paper is currently thirty pages of quotes.) 

Evening: I’m feeling pretty sick; I’ll just go out for one hour tonight.   

Text to friend, 5:17 pm: Just let me know when you’re 5 minutes away and I’ll head over.  I’ll just be working on my paper. 

5:18 pm: Begin new episode of show on Netflix. 

7:50 pm: Meet friend at nearby pub. 

Several hours and four pubs/bars later: It’s probably time to go home. 

Noon, Saint Patrick’s Day: I should leave the apartment.  I need to finish this paper.  I still don’t know anything about welfare systems. My immune system is unhappy with me.  The city is flooded with drunk Americans anyway, no need to deal with that. 

9 pm: Friends come over to celebrate the holiday.  I am very sleep deprived. 

9:30 pm: Donned in green and orange I sing along to Irish songs. 

10:25 pm: I’m finally leaving the apartment, breathing in the burnt-hops Dublin air on Saint PatrickDay. 

10:50 pm:  Okay I technically went outside in Dublin on “St Paddy’s Day.” Time for me to go home. 

Monday, 18 March:  

Morning: I still do not understand welfare policies. 

Afternoon: Wow, this essay is not that bad.  Do I actually know what I’m talking about? 

7:21 pm: I turn in my welfare state essay. I feel an instant sense of relief. 

The next night an Irish friend and I celebrated the completion of my essay, which turned out to essentially be ten pages of me describing all of the ways in which Swedish welfare policies are better than American policies. First we went for “American” barbeque at a restaurant called My Meat Wagon. The restaurant’s toilets were labeled “Outhouse”.  My beans were served in a military mess kit-style tray with a wooden cooking spoon, and the rest of my food in a takeaway box, with my friend’s fries (not chips, they’re “AMERICAN’ remember?) served in a mini shopping cart (or trolley, as the Irish say).  Spot on.

After our meal we went to see a Swedish film at the local cinema…… and how very Swedish it was. Gräns (Border) was a VERY strange film that turned out to be about trolls, child pornography and revenge upon the human race…but also about identity.  A very serious and well-acclaimed film, it had its Irish audience laughing (well…mostly my friend and I). 

Moral of the story is…don’t drink when you’re sick.  Don’t procrastinate on essays regarding topics you know very little about.  Don’t worry about the status quo on your birthday or other holidays. And be wary of Swedish films.