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June 13, 2003

Fortuitous, hah!

I made arrangements to meet four classmates so we could all get to school on time for a daylong sightseeing tour. It's Friday the 13th.

First the bus was late, so we were probably a few minutes late arriving at the destination stop. But they (and I) didn't know exactly when to get off. We missed the stop and had to ride for about 20 minutes to get back. By then the tour bus had left. So we five missed the whole trip.

We tried to make the best of it, traveled to the city center and caught a Dublin city bus tour. We saw some sights, most notably the Guinness brewery (huge place, 60-some acres), St. Patrick's Cathedral, Phoenix Park. That's where the zoo is. The guide said the lion there, Stephen, had a career as the MGM logo.

The park is said to have 250 or so red deer. We didn't see any, but there are a couple of reindeer crossing signs. Wish I could have gotten a picture. We went to an Internet cafe and checked e-mail (nothing from Janet). Told her to see about the transcript.

I came back "home" and had another huge meal. Fish and potatoes plus mixed vegetables. Bernie washed all my dirty clothes, so I'm ready to start another week.

After three days of being late, I've resolved to be on time the rest of the trip. Just have to be sure to get in bed early enough that I don't go back to sleep after the alarm goes off.

I'll have more to write about the Special Olympics World Games -- it's a great thing the Irish are doing.

June 12, 2003

Late again

I couldn't get out of the house early enough, then the bus stop was too far away, then the bus driver didn't let me know when my stop was and I stayed on the bus three stops farther. Had to get off, take the next bus back, then find the class, which had started without me. But Dr. Land was having difficulties with his laptop and the electronics in the classroom. Though I was an hour late, I didn't miss anything. But I'll meet my classmates nearby on Friday morning to make sure I'm not late for the day trip -- Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains.

I need an Irish tour guide so I'll know something about these places beforehand. All I know is that Wicklow is a "garden spot" (this from Bernie, my home-stay housewife), and there are "monastic sites" at Glendalough.

This trip is turning out fortuitous. I lost my favorite pencil -- thought I dropped it on the bus and lost it for good -- but a classmate spied it on the road. I hope he believed me then I told him it was mine.

Second stroke of luck -- I'll be in Dublin on Bloomsday, the annual celebration on June 16 of James Joyce's Ulysses. And we have Monday off from class, so I'll be able to do whatever I like to participate in the festivities.

I'll have to catch up with details of my application to UTD -- they're missing several pieces. Hope Janet can get the transcript part. I can take care of the rest.

June 11, 2003

Late

Oh shit overslept. Barely made it to the walking tour, missed the first five minutes.We saw the great statue of Oscar wilde in Merrion Square Park. It's certainly unconventional. The artist chose marble of different colors to sculpt the likeness -- life-size, green smoking jackets with quilted pink lining, lapels and cuffs. Dark trousers, shiny black shoes, dark gray socks.

The lips have an odd half-smile, half-frown twist. Viewed from the statue's left, the lips show a smile; straight on, a half-sneer; from the right, the lips turn down.

The statue is accompanied by two smaller sculptures, a pregnant nude (his wife) and a male torso (presumably his lover), each with quotations from Wilde.

Unfortunately, the World National Congress of the World Associaiton of Newspapers wa spretty useless. We heard four or five speakers, and only one had anything new or useful to say, and I didn't catch much of his talk. The others repeated the tired old platitudes about social consciousness and quality. Those sentiments are fine, to be sure, but what the journalism world needs is new ways to realize those goals.

Two small triumphs -- I found a good umbrella and an Internet connection. I'll go back to find some studies for homework and to do some research for a presentation in class.

Notes on writing a journal -- who is my audience? Maybe that's why it feels so awkward. wish I had that "leaving a mark" book with me.

It's too early to tell, but I'd like to establish the habit of journal writing.

June 10, 2003

Dublin

Arrived in Dublin after a short flight from London -- a hop, really. The approach to the airport was thrilling; I never knew how it feels to land on an island. Several students said it was the most difficult landing approach they had ever seen. I wouldn't know about that, but it seemed hard enough to me. The the pilot was skillful, the landing smooth.

I'm at the house of Bernie and Larry Clarke. He's a builder; she's a housewife. It's a very nice upper middle-class home. She boards students routinely, apparently. But I'm the only one here now. She seems very businesslike. Hasn't shown a lot of warmth so far, but I said I wanted to rest, so it might be just not wanting to disturb me.

I have two beds in the room, a small chest, a lavatory.

Had a short rain shower; it's windy and cool. We're not far from the Irish Sea. I saw kids walking home from school in the rain -- they seemed used to it.

Half an hour later, the sun shines bright.

Kid walking home, can't be more than 10, with a cellphone clasped to his ear.

I went down to the city center by bus and walked around. I found Victor Opaseki and Shawn Florence on the River Liffey, which runs east to west across the middle of the city. We went to an Internet cafe and checked e-mail. Victor's parents are Nigerian but he was born in Denton. Wonder what it must be like growing up as an immigrant child.

I made it "home" OK -- my first adventure in Dublin. At 11 p.m. it's still twilight.

The city reminds me of other older European cities -- a little gritty in places, even on the main drag. I'd like to see more in the daylight.

I must buy an umbrella. I hope I don't catch cold by walking in the rain. Need laundry soon. Clothes sweaty. Only two more clean pants. Maybe I'll buy some jeans over the weekend. Sure hate to cart them home, though. Luggage is already seriously overweight. I didn't know if I'd get the suitcase closed this morning for the trip from London to Dublin.

June 08, 2003

Sightseeing

Spent all day in the British Museum, the oldest national museum in the world. Friday was its 250th birthday. Saw the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked the meaning of hieroglyphics for archaeologists. Also the excavation at Sutton Hoo, burial place of a forgotten king.

June 07, 2003

London

Just a short note. Too tired to think, much less write. No sleep on the plane, then a tour by bus of London. Couldn't stay awake while we were riding. When we got out I was fine, but it's 5 p.m. and I'm going to bed;. I'll sleep as long as I can.

June 06, 2003

The hurrier I go ...

Already three days behind in journal writing. Getting to the airport and boarding the plane was the usual ordeal. Geez, travel has become so difficult.

June 05, 2003

Writing again

Finally -- I finished my app to UTD. Janet loved my essay, said it gave her chills to read, so good. All from the heart, not a wasted word. I thought it was good but didn't know it was that good.

June 04, 2003

Getting ready

Still working on my application to UTD. Put off journal writing till later -- first things first, and first deadlines first. I'll catch up with the journal sometime, but too much else takes priority.