This weekend I booked an impromptu trip up to Dublin because I thought it was about time I meet Niall Horan. Unfortunately we had a bit of miscommunication and he was in Asia this weekend but holy cow Dublin was awesome nonetheless.
Unlike London or Paris, Dublin doesn’t have a laundry list of tourist attractions, which meant the trip was pretty low-key. I checked out the Temple Bar area, walked around the Trinity University campus, and of course went to the Guinness Storehouse.
Warning: What comes next isn’t light and fluffy like a Belgian waffle.
Prior to coming to Belgium, I wasn’t a beer drinker. Perhaps that’s because I hadn’t been introduced to the right beers since your average college student lives by Natty Light and Keystone, which are affectionately(¿) equated with horse urine.
The biggest beer lover I’ve ever known was my best friend Jake. Just last year he taught me how to shotgun PBR like a pro. He had his own beer-making kit but never really mastered it, in fact the first batch he made was so carbonated that there’s a dent in his ceiling from when he opened it. He’d invite me over for Black Velvets (cider and Guinness) and would roll his eyes when I downed all of the cider.
Jake really loved beer:
A few hours after this photo was taken on December 12, 2015, Jake committed suicide.
I’m sure at least half of the people who read this will think that’s an over-share, and that WordPress isn’t the place for that kind of candor. But I’m hardly sensitive to the suicide stigma anymore. This post is definitely an outlier compared to my other happy-go-lucky “Look at this cheese!”-esque ones, but I’m determined to document my entire study abroad experience, not just the pretty things.
Europe has been amazing thus far, but it does feel a lot like I’m carrying an elephant with me everywhere I go.
As I walked through the Guinness Storehouse, that elephant was extra heavy. I so desperately needed to text him to tell him that I was there, to brag that I snagged two tasting samples instead of one, and to say I am officially certified to pour my own Guinness.
I texted a friend back in Columbia who’s held my hand through all of this and he gently reminded me for the millionth time that I’m so lucky to be in Europe.
I could have easily cancelled this study abroad adventure. I almost did. But I could hear Jake’s voice in my head telling me that I had to go. And every day I hear that same voice telling me: “Wipe your eyes and hit the cobblestones, Stinks.”
Irish people are some of the happiest I’ve ever met. From waiters to cabbies to airport gate agents, everyone seemed to have a smile on their face. And that’s not to say that if you live in Ireland you don’t have your dark passengers, because I’m sure they do. But learning to live and thrive in the company of those passengers is an art that apparently the Irish have mastered.
When I look at my life right now, I’m honestly in awe. I have an incredible network of friends across the globe who would drop anything to hold my hand. I have a family that loves and supports me unconditionally. And I’m sitting in my apartment in Brussels writing about a weekend in Dublin.
Two months ago the world lost an incredible person. And I’ll never be okay with that. But there’s still a whole lot of incredible places to see, people to meet, and beer to drink.
Cheers to you, Jakey;