“Take half a pill, Alisa. Otherwise it’ll be too much and you’ll lose all control,” My doctor likes to joke. “Okay,” I like to joke back, “Half a pill.” Cue Saturday night and me boarding my first flight and announcing to everyone that “I will take my sedative on the second flight! That way I can pace myself and not fall asleep just yet!”
[By the way, while I don’t have a picture of myself in a coma on the plane this time around, this is basically how I look every other time the ol’ Ativan kicks in. You may remember this one from that trip I took to LA a year ago.]
|i counted to potato then i look like this|
|I obviously upgraded to sit in the Converse section|
At the Toronto airport, I saw pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, basically. People ask me why I didn't take the picture from the front and I always say: "Would YOU take a picture of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk from the front?" Didn't think so. For those interested, he ate a ham and swiss sandwich from Tim's. He's so modest.
Air Canada Red, the flight that would take us over the ocean, took a more direct approach and made an iconic withdrawal from the database of My Nightmares, extracting the retch-inducing vision of a fedora and outfitting each flight attendant with its monstrous structure.
|You know how sometimes on the first day of school you don’t make friends, and you’re alone, and suddenly find a group of people like this smiling at you, and you walk past them and crawl into a garbage bin instead?|
Also, the following is a list of worst things you can ever hear on a plane:
- “We’re about to land. Could you please remove your headphones?” Why? What do you know?
- “Seatbelt please! Seatbelt PLEASE!” You seem a liiiiiiiittle too interested in that, ma’am..
- “Ladies and gentlemen, as we have reached altitude, the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off and we will shortly be passing through the cabin with a selection of-“ WHERE DID YOU GO. WHY DID YOU STOP TALKING. WHAT IS HAPPENING OVER THERE. WHY ARE YOU KEEPING THIS FROM US. SHOW ME TO THE COCKPIT. WE WANT THE TRUTH.
And this is why I took the whole pill, and why consequently, the flight to Dublin was great. After a blissful seven-hour sleep on a Polish man who, upon landing, announced: “Your head was on my shoulder the whole time. It was painful to watch.” (yes it was one of the most mortifying moments of my life, thanks for asking) and a banana loaf that I only remember eating in theory, I finally arrived, to the loveliest sight of Ireland in the morning.
On one of the days, I was invited to a press preview of a film called Brooklyn. It's a story about an Irish girl moving to (of course) Brooklyn to escape the small town where she grew up, where there were no jobs, and way too much gossip. As we walked out of the theatre, I volunteered my usual film critique, ragging on the somewhat confused acting in the story, which my host was not happy to hear. “It’s about Ireland, Alisa. It just is.” *collar tug*
|Brooklyn Movie 2015 Images|
|And what's in his hand, anyway?|
I also always remembered to look right when crossing the street, which is basically the most stressful thing you can ever do in Europe. I think the way traffic works in Dublin is that the light is just always red for pedestrians and cars don’t have brakes, so everyone just sort of runs, always, everywhere, all the time. “Amber means you just go” my friend Aaron said. I took his advice a few times and almost got hit by a horse. Okay so one time, the light turned green briefly, but cars still zoomed wherever they wanted, so whatever.
Of course I hit up Marks & Spencer a few times, not only for their amazing salads but for the donuts I’ve become addicted to through the years. Fun fact: there is not only a Marks & Spencer in London (from where I dragged two boxes of chocolates and a tin of brandy-soaked fruit cake for my mom) but also in Dublin (where I could’ve bought those things without looking like a traveling gypsy at Stansted Airport).
One of my absolute favourite parts about Dublin is the canal that (I think) divides north from south (I won’t mention my geographically-challenged brain here again).
Though the majority of Dublin is quiet, there’s an even greater tranquility by the water. It’s like a little blanket in the middle of the city, except don’t sit on it because you will die. I went for a run along the canal one day, and saw palm trees (!!!)…
And a beautifully crafted bridge with sort of Dali-esque curvature…
And at night, the bridges are illuminated in such an enticing way that you feel there’s a party and you hope you’re invited but of course when you get there, it’s just a bridge, but that’s okay because now you’re at a party on a bridge.
Sometimes, people ask: “Are the streets like in the movies?” And I always answer yes.
You already know how much I love exciting yogurt, and my obsession with scoping out new flavours at the grocery store has recently extended to an anthropological exploration of yogurts across the globe. (What?) Anyway, my all-time favourite yogurt on planet earth is the toffee flavoured kind from either London, or now, Dublin. Not only does it taste like it should be bad for you (which fine, it is) but they always make it sound so legit. “Made in West Cork”…I’m practically there with each spoonful! (That’s what she said). Shout-out to the gooseberry variety I thugged out on in London, and also the toasted hazelnut, neither of which I have pictures of on account of eating them faster than the speed of my camera’s shutter. This is mainly while I ate the entire week.
Side-note: why does every city in Europe always have a stand of flowers and this lady looking at me in exactly this way?
Side side-note: About halfway through my trip I made a quick run to London (well I flew there, but you know), well-prepared for the adventure with my friend Jason’s expert cultural knowledge:
On the flight to Dublin, I met a stunning girl with the most beautiful and beautifully complicated name. Eadaoin (pronounced Aydeen) is doing her second Master’s in London but lives in Dublin, and also does some courses in Belfast. I noticed her binder said Queen’s University London, and (okay another reference to my geographical retardation) I thought that maybe she was Canadian. She told me about all of her commuting (she flies to and from London every week!) and how much she loves patent law, and that she also works at Chanel on weekends. I asked her if she prefers the caviar grain leather to the saffiano, she said yes because she would get any other leather dirty, and we talked about how boys are creepy in general. I told her, like I’ve told everyone and their mom, about my terrible crush on Dublin. She told me that it’s meant to be – that I just have to move. I then asked her if she was nervous flying, and she said no, but “I know seven people who died in plane crashes!” at which point I was like:
“So, you feel better because of the statistics, then?” I asked. “Nah, more like cause if it happens, it’ll be so fast, you won’t feel it!” she laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Thanks Eadaoin.
Meanwhile, this Ryanair hoe..
In Canada, when people hear my name, they don’t hear a word. They hear forks dropping, or the chirping of a locust, or a foghorn. I will forever wonder why Lisa makes sense, but put an A in front of it and it is no longer a word pronounceable by the Canadian mouth. When I order my coffees here, I spell it out for them. What I get is Alyssa, Amanda, A, Alicia, or a picture of a swastika. In London, however, I ordered my usual Americano and when asked for my name, I said it in a half-whisper, too tired to care for what was on my cup as long as coffee was in it. Imagine my astonishment when I was given this:
|It's ALISA bitches|
I love that it’s even underlined, like take that.And guess what happened when I ordered a coffee in Dublin? Yep. Same thing. I didn’t have to spell it out for them. I said it in passing, and it found its way perfectly onto my cup. I’m not sure how else to express a feeling of belonging, but there are very few times in life where I’ve felt truly at home, and this is one of them.
Back in Ireland, I was also privy to these hip n’ happenin’ teenage bedroom signs, which couldn’t be a more literal depiction of how hip n’ happenin’ teens speak. On the one side, you have a perfect depiction of the average Sarah’s nonchalance. On the other, a somber cry for help. Don’t have a cow, man.
|MTV SNICKERS BAR ONE DIRECTION please talk to me|
Which is equally cool day and night (and okay I saw it like every day cause it’s so tall):
And ate a pear and chocolate tart at the Queen of Tarts, as per Tyler’s recommendation:
That morning I also had an English breakfast there, and yes, the waitress looked at me with slight repulsion as I later ordered the tart. YOLO BETCH.
I saw a tree that I can’t really explain..
And had the pleasure of meeting a terrible tour guide, who did not believe me that Dublin has a castle (the Dublin Castle):
Who invited me to check out Windmill Lane Recording Studios where he works, where really important people like 50 Cent and Ellie Goulding come to record stuff, and really cool people like me try desperately not to freak out over this wall signed by Ed Sheeran:
The Guinness Storehouse was also something I would recommend everyone sees, if you like learning about how beer is made, and like the history of water and stuff. If you’ve never seen a concept piece of a pint glass carved out of wood, you should absolutely go:
And if you’re still unsure about how a pint glass fits into a person’s hand, this will help:
And have you ever woken up in a cold sweat? If not, this fish on a bicycle (another Guinness campaign staple) will also help:
|Carol, I'm comin' home and I want a divorce. (What?)|
|Feel free to take a quick gander at the face of the person behind me|
|you know it!|
Feel free to personally message me for locations of this establishment across Dublin. I have memorized them all.
|great food, okay?|
There are clowns, and puppets, and I think an actual corpse. There are old men with canes and ladies in glitter hot-pants, and couples holding hands having difficult conversations, and people named Mark with teeth falling out of their skull, and there are Irish football matches on TV, and everybody yells when someone scores a goal and then they play a song that makes you feel patriotic for a country you don’t even know.
It’s the sort of place you want to fall into after losing your way in the city. The kind of place you want to discover by chance, or tell secrets in, or where you want to spill beer on yourself and crawl out of in a daze. In a way, it’s what Dublin has come to mean to me: it’s fun, and funny, and unpredictable in the loveliest way, and when you look around at its silly little faces, you want to stay forever.