European cities are oddly deserted in the early evening. Everything closes except the restaurants and the pubs, to which the people on the street are indubitably headed. I walked down the street this evening knowing that I was going to get to the restaurant early and looking to kill time on the way – only to have my designs thwarted as shopkeeper after shopkeeper closed the door in my face.
The darkened shops and brighter streets created a strange illusion in the windows. I spend some time looking into the windows of shops I would like to visit another time: a bookstore, a soap and candle shop, etc. It was difficult to see all the way to the back of the stores, however, because the windows superimposed a reflection of the street onto what I could see of the interior. This meant that again and again, I watched people behind me emerge from the back wall of the store into which I was gazing, as though they were stepping out of some secret world. Apparently the people of Galway all know the secret way to Narnia. I wish some of the students would take their partying there, because Gort na Coiribe is awfully loud at night!
Loud drunks aside, I’m having a good time in Ireland so far. Catharine, Celina, Katie, and I spend most of our free time hanging out together, and dinner’s have been a group effort almost every night we’ve been here. I wonder how long that will last before the novelty wears off – or how long it will be until we’re whipped into faster, more efficient cooks by growing time constraints!
It’s raining now, as I have a feeling it will be almost every day we’re here. Seven of the next ten days predict light rain, showers, scattered showers, or some other name for water falling from the sky. We heard someone in Dublin joke that Galway will be under water for the next few months, which looks to be a fairly accurate description. We did have a few days of lovely weather over the weekend, however, which we used to start exploring the town and picnic down by the coast.
I haven’t really met any Irish students yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so once my classes actually start up. Assuming I get a chance to talk to people in any of my classes, that is – most of them are enormous lectures. Smaller seminars are few, far between, and hard to get into here, but I’m doing my best. And within the next week or two, I may even know what classes I’m in.