Monday, June 17, 2013

If we had blogs in 1997: Trip is ruined

Here is the latest installment in my series from my journal from my year abroad in 1997. I was a 20 year old from Southwest Ohio alone in a foreign country, so yeah, it's pretty poorly written and my thoughts are naive. Spelling, grammatical, and factual errors have been preserved. 

In this post, I am in Ireland, where I spent the week before I went to school in Luxembourg. I went because I wanted to see U2, my favorite band, play in their hometown of Dublin. This post is over-the-top fangirl, but if you dig deeper you can find seeds of awareness planted within me. Today's comments are in red italics.

31 Aug 1997

My trip is ruined - it's all downhill from here, unless I can get tickets again tonight. U2 in Dublin last night was incredible. Bono's voice sounded better than it did in the other two concerts, and he looked better too. He had shaved, and his hair is back to its natural brown color. Even the lines on his face seemed to have disappeared. Maybe he was just glad to be home. They did the same songs as in Chicago, except Bono sang some Irish pub song that everyone sang along with, and Edge sang some Irish song karaoke instead of Daydream Believer. I was uncomfortable when Bono was singing "Bullet the Blue Sky" and I felt like liking "Please" was none of my business. This is because "Bullet the Blue Sky" is a criticism of American military involvement in other countries' conflicts and "Please" is about the Irish conflict and at the time they were having problems with the peace process. The song was emotionally charged, really angry but also transcendent, pleading, desperate. The performance of that song was an early encounter with conflict, which has influenced the path of my life. It was the first time I had been in a country where warring factions played a big role in the lives of citizens, and that song gave me insight, even understanding, about how people's lives are affected by the stupidity of war. It affected the crowd that night; I'll never forget that feeling. The whole thing was so emotionally intense that I was crying when they did "One." So were the girls behind me. Then I experienced the reason those people died at those soccer games in England. I wanted to buy a Dublin t-shirt but I guess the Irish don't understand what a line is. It was crushing, with everyone trying to push up to the front. Linejumping must be a sporting event in Europe.

Most of the day yesterday I spent looking for a hostel to stay at and looking for tickets. I found both. I had to stay in a room with three English guys who had also gone to the concert. This morning some other English guy came pounding on the door and he told them that Princess Di was dead. He told me that the Americans probably didn't care and the others joked about how we would because there would be nothing to read about. I told them I was glad there would be no more magazine covers. The whole thing was dreamlike. I went downstairs to the t.v. room where a bunch of British people were sitting in shock. It was really strange. If I experienced an event of this magnitude today I would write a couple of pages on it - the looks on the faces, more of the conversation, the names of those involved, etc. At least I recognized its noteworthiness back then.

I'm glad to be back in this hostel. This one is more homier. Plus there's a shower in the room. I'm waiting for the Italian guys to get back to see if they want to go to tonight's concert. I found out there were people who couldn't give their tickets away last night, much to my dismay, since I paid 75 pounds. It was worth every pence. I had $500 set aside for this week and have yet to spend $400, so all is good. Today I took a train to Dun Laoghaire but it was the same as Bray. I walked around for ten minutes then took a train back to the stadium. I got off and stopped at the little snack store to get a sandwich (it was a 'ham salad' sandwich - ham, coleslaw, lettuce on a fresh seseme seed bun - freshly made - good stuff.) I talked to the guy about the concert last night. We both agreed it was great. He doesn't like Bono at all. Said he was too opinionated. He said that half of Dublin loves Bono and the other half hates him. He said that U2 doesn't play in Dublin very often. He had a picture of him and Garth Brooks standing at the spot I was standing. He said Garth sold out the 70,000 seat stadium across town for a week straight. Tonight they're having a hurling final at that stadium, and U2 will have 40,000, so most of Dublin will be out tonight at only two events. It really is U2 crazy here, signs, tape in car windows, Pop playing in every store, and I love it. It's like heaven. The only bad thing is the Oasis displays in all the record stores. I guess Oasis is the most popular group in Europe at the moment. Oh well, we can't all be perfect.

I have a sore throat right now. People looked at me funny all day because I had my hood on. Some drunk guy thought I was Bono. I dug my hat out of my suitcases in storage so I can have something covering my ears. The infamous red hat made its first of many appearances. The dampness of European weather and the way they keep their heating low so as to not waste energy was something I had never experienced. I live like that now, with open windows and low heat and no AC unless it's a sustained 90 degrees. That hat kept me healthy; cold weather gives me ear aches and sore throats even now.

1 Sept 1997

I walked from 12:30-5:30 non-stop. Surely I've lost some weight this week. I'm leaving tomorrow. Today I walked from 12:30-5:30. I'm dead tired. I got to see Popmart again last night. It wasn't as good as the first night, but it was still awesome. Anyway, I guess I'm suffering form post-U2 depression. I realized it was likely the last time I would ever get to see them. This is funny to me now, since I've seen them 11 times on three other tours since, including once in Paris. They've said it was their last tour, & somebody reminded me of that today. I need to leave this city. I need to get away from U2 everything. It'd be cool if they were at the airport when I left tomorrow. Fat chance.

I tried to call my family today to let them know I was leaving Ireland tomorrow, but I couldn't figure out the stupid phone or the calling card. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm starting to wonder if all of this was a good idea or not. I'm sick of people with accents. I can't wait to be around some Americans. Maybe that will make me feel better. It's amazing I wrote that. Now I seek out the places where Americans aren't!

What's incredible when I think about it now is how the "phone" I carry with me everywhere works nearly every place on the planet. The hostel people yelled at me because I slammed the receiver down on the payphone in frustration because I couldn't figure out how to use the calling card my parents had given me for use during the semester.

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