I can see mountains way in the distance from the third floor of my row house in Finglas, Dublin. I have a room by myself, although right across the hall from me is a Japanese exchange student who is learning English at a school on the other side of the city. We have funny, clipped conversation, but it’s nice to have another student here with me.
“You take the bus today?” she asked me on my first morning.
“Yes, yes. I think I take the same one you do.”
“Yah...the same as you. Do you take the 140?” I ask her.
“Yes. Bus 140.”
“Yes me too! Maybe I’ll walk with you to the bus stop since you know where it is.”
“Walk with me to bus?”
“Yes, because you know where it is.”
“Yes, yes,” she says smiling.
I made it to the bus stop just fine. In fact, I even guessed the right stop to get off at because I had Google-Earthed Phibsboro, Dublin so many times. Unfortunately Google Earth never found 26a Phibsboro Place. And neither could I.
For an hour I walked up and down Phibsboro Road looking for Phibsboro Place. I asked several students, parents, elderly, two bartenders, two convenience store workers, a mechanic, the owner of a gas station, and an off duty taxi driver. None of them knew where it was either.
Finally I asked an old man who was pacing outside of a pub.
“Um, excuse me have you ever heard of Phibsboro Place? I’m looking for City Wide News.” At the point I’m forty minutes late and hate the fact that I’m wearing heels and carrying a 10 pound suitcase.
“Yer. No, no I ‘aven’t but yer know who might? Maybe the bartender here. I drink here all the time you know? Let’s go see if he’s ever ‘eard of this place yer talking of.”
Of course the bartender had not.
“Well, hold on here deary. Here comes my good friend Pete. See I told Pete I’d meet him here I did. HEY Pete! This young lady’s got a question fer yah. And no it’s not to marry yah,” he said laughing at his little joke.
Pete was about 65 or so as well and turned to face me. “Can I help yah?” I repeated my question again. He didn’t know either but told me the post office would have to know and directed me to there. An old woman who had been half-listening to my questions was also walking that way.
“I show yah where to go. Haven’t heard of that place myself, either!”
The people in the post office didn’t know, but THANK GOD, a postman loading mail out back told me where I needed to go. He was very nice and even walked me a bit up the street so I could see where I would need to turn. From what I counted he was the 18th person I had asked.
“You know, Phibsboro place is a bit of a misnomer,” he said. “There’s no sign for that road!”
I found the turn, and sure enough, there was no sign. In fact, it wasn’t so much a road as it was a gated community.
Yes, problem number two: a gate.
Luckily, a car drove through and I snuck in behind them. Of course this brought me to my last predicament: where was City Wide News? This was like a neighborhood! I rang the bell for #26, but realizing that was an apartment, I quickly walked away. No one was home anyways.
Finally I looked up. There was a pair of little iron stairs that led to more doors. Of course these also had more buzzers and locks, but I saw a sign and knew I was in the right place. Exactly at that moment someone walked outside, realized I was lost, and thought I had to be the new intern.
“Yes! Yes. I am sorry I was late! I got ridiculously lost.”
“No prob, it’s a hard place to find. Just follow me now.”
I walked up to a large yellow room with about seven people at different desks. I was quickly introduced to a very friendly group of editors and the advertisement crew. Then I met the other interns (yes other interns…YAY). We all share the kitchen table and have free access to the coffee and tea. Mirjam is from Switzerland, and Alex is from Italy. Both of them have been here several weeks so they could show me what to do on my first day.
Most importantly, they gave me the code for the gate and the door. Mirjam then let me follow her to the supermarket for lunch, and explained some details of the job. She and Alex were also nice enough to take me into the city after work for a few hours.Good first day! After I found the place…
Interesting Irish Things So Far:
It doesn’t get dark here until nearly 11 o’clock in the summer.
French fries, or chips, served on a plate are sometimes eaten with a fork…opps.
Everywhere I go there are these instant water boilers, and instant coffee. Besides Starbucks, I haven’t seen a coffee maker.
My host-brother says words like “that’s grand”, “that’s class”, and “that’s sound” when something is good.
I do not like sparkling water – I accidently picked that up instead of bottled water. Yuck.