Adapting to the new surroundings, environment, and culture has been a fun and curious challenge. I am still learning so much about the area around DCU. I’ve been here for about three weeks now and although it seems like I’ve learned a lot, I still know so little. However, with the little knowledge I do know, I think I’ve learned some helpful tips that could help an new and incoming Dubliner.
Tip 1: You don’t need no car!
So as the “newbee” to the city, I’ve learned that the great majority rely heavily on public transportation or will walk to their destination. I’m not naive and know this is a thing in any city, but being that I’ve always lived in the suburbs, I always drove a car around. The greatness of Dublin bus transportation is that their services are spot on, with the bus coming every 15 minutes. Not only do the buses come every 15 minutes, but most end up going into the city centre. So for the past few weeks, I’ve always left my apartment whenever I pleased and would catch the next bus that pulled up. Easy peasy! Aside from the bus, walking has been a great and adventurous part of my daily routine! Before I came to Ireland, the average steps I would get in a day were around 5,000-10,000 steps. Now, I reach nearly 20,000 steps a day. Such a big difference but a healthy one at that. I’ve learned that walking can be a great time for reflection and an opportunity to just be outside in nature. I guess what I’m trying to say is to embrace the walk and DO NOT forget to look right instead of left when crossing the roads. By habit, I tend to look left first. This is very much the wrong way to turn your head. Here in Ireland, they drive on the opposite side of the road from America, so it is important to note that you MUST LOOK RIGHT or if you want to be extra safe, just look both ways before crossing the road.
Tip 2: The weather is unpredictable
My advice is to seriously prepare for the worst when leaving the house. Mother nature is on her own agenda and she never is in a particular mood. Almost everyday I have experienced her different mood swings literally ranging from all ends of the spectrum. In a day, it will rain, be sunny, be bone chillingly cold, get too warm for the clothes you put on to prepare for the cold, and wind will blow at you and make the rain go sideways. The locals are used to this weather change and some will just wear hoodies around and that is their protection from the rain. However, being that I am from one of the warmest places on this planet with loads of sunshine everyday, I leave my apartment prepared for whatever mother nature throws at me. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to always wear a rain jacket and bring an umbrella.
Tip 3: Grocery bags are not free
Upon my first trips to the grocery store, I stocked up on vegetables, meats, cheeses, snacks, etc. By the end of my round through the store, my shopping cart was filled to the brim. What can I say, I like to eat. Anyway, I get to the cashier and he scans all of my items. When I ask him to put it in bags, he tells me that each bag will cost me 20 cents. “What?” was the first thought that ran through my mind. Unlike America, the grocery bags aren’t complimentary to your trip and because of that, the cashiers don’t bag up your items for you either. Therefore I learned after that first trip that it’s important to bring your own reusable bag to the market. I assume they do this to promote sustainability and an eco-friendly environment. Additionally, after you pay for your groceries you need to place them back into the shopping cart and roll it to the counters alongside the exit of the store. In my first trip, I made the mistake of stuffing everything in a disorganized fashion in my bag near the cash register. Instead what I should have done was take my food and gone to the counters near the exit so I could properly sort out my items.
I’ve learned a couple of other things since I’ve been here but these three tips are probably the ones I would’ve appreciated knowing when I moved into the city. It’s been a wild ride so far and now that the campus is bustling with students, hopefully I’ll get more insight on the do’s and don’ts of Dublin!