“There is no such thing as a stupid question”, is a downright lie. At 21 years of age, I have heard many stupid questions, a lot of them sneaking out from my own lips. Don’t believe me? Once a customer at the gelato shop where I work asked me, “What does butter gelato taste like?” to which I replied “butter”. Another time a customer at the cafe I also work at asked me if “baked potatoes are gluten free?” and when I replied, “yes they are made out of potatoes” then the customer in question ordered a quiche, which we all know is not gluten free. There are so many stupid questions out there, and it is not just limited to the life of a blue collar worker, as I also have heard some really dumb questions at my home university as well. Last spring semester I wrote a paper on PTSD in Guatemala and the effects it has on the cycle of poverty. During the peer review, one of my classmates stated, “You need to stop using that ‘p word’ it’s repetitive. Actually, what even does that ‘p word’ mean?”. The ‘p word’ in question was the word, “psychology”. I hope you all can sense the eye roll I am doing right now while writing this.
All of this is to say, that the most important thing I have learned in my long and tiresome years, is that there are indeed stupid questions, and asking the right questions is key to every good essay and happy life. Last time when I was in Ireland in 2013, I was asking the wrong questions for myself. Whilst these questions were not particularly bad questions to be seeking answers to, they were not the right ones for me. These questions went along the lines of, “how can I get to heaven?” and “how can I get a hot wealthy boyfriend?”. I still do ask the latter, because having a hot wealthy boyfriend is key to a successful life. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that there’s a 50/50 chance of me going to hell because I say fuck alot and am actually a pretty selfish person. However, instead of asking “How can I get to heaven?” I’ve realised that it’s much more important to ask the question, “how can I live my life in a way that reflects the teachings of love and equality of Jesus, the values of justice of Mandela, and the badass-ery of Bono and the political revolutionary change of Michael Collins?”. Basically, a lot has changed since I was last in ye old Ireland. Here is a short list:
- I’ve seen U2 in concert
- I’ve become a lightweight
- I have a dope car named Buzz
- I have realised the great potential my life has for reality TV
- I finally feel comfortable doing adult things such as calling my insurance provider to discuss insurance, and remember to update my license tags without my mom reminding 12 times.
- People refer to me as “ma’am”
- I feel pretty comfortable talking about what kind of tampons I use to literally anyone.
This is all to say that I have changed monumentally since my last visit to Ireland, as illustrated by the list above. Ever since high school, I have been in love with Ireland to the point that my parents accused me of mild treason when I stated that I would gladly give up my citizenship to be Irish, usually with a quick retort such as “why would you not want to be American? This is the best country in the world!” to which I would reply “HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THIS IS THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? HAVE YOU BEEN TO EVERY COUNTRY?” I’m pretty sure they just said that to get a rise out of me, because I really hate it when people refer to USA as “the best in the world”. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really do love being American. I love cheeseburgers, Virginia, and most importantly the people that inhabit the ol’ ‘Merica. Which is something else that has changed; I would only accept a foreign citizenship if it could be duel. I haven’t ever really felt proud to be American until our country was faced with Donald Trump. When the little shithead that is our incoming president was elected, like every other sane person in the country I was mad as hell. I had spent this past spring organizing and participating in a protest against Trump’s candidacy, and now this awful person became President elect (undemocratically I may add). Instead of thinking, “I hate being an American, I need to move to Canada” I among many others started to think, “I’m going to do everything in my power to stop hatred and Donald Trump from ruining my country, because I am American and we don’t stand for this fresh BS”.
This upcoming weekend I am going to a mass Women’s civil rights march on Washington. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest mass protests in a long time, and I believe that it will make history. Two days after this protest, I am hopping on a plane to Ireland where I will take courses within my Writing major as well as a course on conflict and resolution in N Ireland and the Republic. I think this trip will not only be valuable to me because I will get the chance to meet my future Irish husband Bono (please look for my posts “Stalking Mr Right), but also because I will be learning about conflict and peace during a time when this knowledge is paramount. Also, as a democratic socialist, it will be super dope AF, to be in a country that is more open to my ideals than being called a “damn commi” every time I suggest free universal healthcare as a ~ cool ~ idea.
These are a facts that makes this study abroad in Ireland so unique for me this time. I have different questions to ask, and I hope they are the right ones. What does it mean to be American? How will travel shape my perceptions of nationalism? Does it really matter where you’re from in the end? And most importantly, where does Bono live?
Please look for some *hopefully* funny and amusing posts such as:
- A Hedgehog Safari
- Stalking Mr Right ~ Ireland Edition ~
- Twerkin In Front of Landmarks
As well as like some serious posts about what I’m actually doing with my life.