it has been one week.
In 14 hours, I will be reading “US Weekly” and finishing the remainder of a Cinnabon on a Boeing 747 to Ireland, a country that I know nothing about and have heretofore only seen in quirky romantic comedies. I will be traveling there ostensibly to study writing, a discipline I also know next to nothing about and have heretofore only seen in quirky romantic comedies. Upon arrival, I will unpack my belongings in a semi-furnished NYU apartment, where I will attempt to make best friends with my flat-mates in approximately 4.67 seconds. We will then agree to go to a pub after orientation, and at least two of us will end the evening face-down in a puddle of someone else’s vomit.
Over the next few months, I will embark on a meditative journey of self-discovery (this will probably coincide with my eventual understanding of the Euro-dollar conversion rate, which will most likely take place after I accidentally spend $300 on a pornographic keychain, possibly of a leprechaun pooping). I will learn many things about myself, and how I relate to others. I will cultivate a deep appreciation for Irish culture - the food, the land, the customs. I will befriend the locals, and develop a close friendship with an 85-year old bus driver named Eddie. We will knock back pints of warm Guiness at a nearby pub, and he will regale me with stories about spunky syphilitic prostitutes named Peggy. I will affectionately call him “Gramps,” and he in turn will affectionately call me “Jew.”
I will become close to my fellow students, and we will have scrappy misadventures in various European cities. We will talk in low voices in cafes about art and sex and politics, and we will agree that the only thing that embarrasses us more than being white is being American. I will charm the shit out of my professors with my American flippancy and irrepressible JAP charm, and they will compare my writing style to that of a young, female J.P. Donleavy. I will fall madly, madly in love with the panoramic vistas of County Kerry, the haunting whispers of the River Shannon, and the rich customs of the Gaelic peoples; and when it is time to return to the States, I will kiss the Blarney Stone goodbye with tears in my eyes and the chilling refrain of “Danny Boy” ringing in my ears.
Or alternatively, none of this will happen. There will be no plucky cabdrivers during my time abroad, and there will be no self-discovery. I will spend four months in my apartment, yearning for decent weed and a slice of pizza, and I will make snarky comments about the locals to my friends on Skype. I will make multiple trips to American Apparel because, as I will tearfully tell people, it’s the only place in Dublin that “truly feels like home.”
In this alternate scenario, I will not grow from the experience. I will not change. In this alternate scenario, I will return from my study abroad in Ireland with a staggering sense of disappointment, three or four new Facebook friends and a minor drinking problem.
14 hours before my flight and this alternate scenario is making me really fucking anxious.
The solution is clear.
I must bring my Snuggie.