8.04.2011

blogs on blogs: cheers and farewell, dublin

Why hello. I know, I know, yet again I have been hardcore neglecting the blog...BUT my last post was so long it was more like two posts, right? Plus, it's HARD to find time to blog when your traveling around Europe! But BOY a lot has happened since my last post about Oxegen. Wow that seems like forever ago. In a nutshell, I'm done with my internship in Dublin! I'm currently in St. Andrew's, Scotland in the most charming B&B with my family who came all the way to Ireland a few days ago for our own little family vacay to end the most amazing summer of my life. You can bet that after our vacation I will have a lengthy post all about it, but for now, I want to share my final assignment for Totally Dublin. My editor asked me to write a more casual blog post for the Totally Dublin blog, so as you can imagine, I happily obliged. Here is the post exactly as I sent it to my editor. I actually took some bits and pieces from posts that I already wrote on here, so excuse the repetition! Keep in mind I wrote this for an Irish audience and that the magazine has a very casual, uncensored style (which I LOVE). I think this sums up my (Internet-kosher) experience in Dublin pretty well:


In the past two months I have become a foreigner for the first time, acquired an unexpected taste for Guinness (the black stuff!), begun to incorporate the words “cheers” and “brilliant” into my everyday vernacular, and fallen madly in love with Ireland. For the past two months, I, a twenty-year old, Texas-born, Cali-dwelling, American sorority girl have lived here in your city of Dublin interning at none other than this very magazine, and I have had the time of my life. If I have met any of you during my time here (likely at a pub, bar, or club, since that is where I have spent the vast majority of my time outside of the office), it is pretty safe to say that I love you, since I have developed an unnatural affection for Irish people. Don’t runaway yet—let me explain myself. One of the first things that became exceptionally evident to me upon my Dublin arrival was that Irish people are far, far different from American people—especially Los Angelenos—in the best way possible. Y’all (please excuse my language. I’m Texan) are just so unbelievably friendly. In America, and especially LA, where I go to college, there is a sense of competition, superficiality, and every-man-for-himself attitude that plagues every aspect of life. But here, there is camaraderie, joviality, and a sense of relaxation that infuses your lives in the most uplifting and refreshing way. Now, I don’t want it to seem like I am totally knocking my life back home. I love my life in America. It’s sunny and warm for 90% of the year for one thing, which I’m sure makes most of you want to slap me across the face, but hey, it’s true. I adore my university and despite the stereotypical superficiality of Hollywood (that is definitely more reality than myth), Los Angeles is a dream. But when it comes to people, at least in terms of friendliness and fun, well, it really is no contest. So congratulations Irish folk, you are my favorite people in the world.

Everywhere I go, I am greeted with smiling Irish faces and cheerful Irish greetings, and this has been, hands-down, the most memorable facet of my summer. And it’s everywhere! On the street, in my office, in the pubs, even on public transportation. I can’t even tell you how many Irish cab drivers have become my best friends, giving me genuine and heartfelt advice about this and that and thanking me, ME, for being so kind as to ride in their cab. This is very strange to me. In LA, the most you get from the cab driver is a series of grunts intended to convey that they did indeed hear your intended destination and they do plan on at least attempting to get you to where you want to go, with no guarantees.

Another highlight of my time here has undoubtedly been experiencing what it’s like to be foreign. I am as American as they get. And I’m also Texan, which evidently has an even more “American” connotation than just your average American, if that makes any sense at all. Basically, I say the word “y’all” and apparently speak with a stronger accent than non-Texan Americans (news to me), so my voice, appearance, and whole aura in general essentially scream, “I’m American!”  So, when asked where I hail from, which, due to my aforementioned qualities, inevitably happens upwards of a dozen times per day, my go-to response is “I’m from Texas, but I go to school in California,” which almost always generates a reply in the form of a musical rendition of one or more of the following songs: Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” The Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” and/or George Strait’s “All my Exes Live in Texas” (I actually had a cab driver serenade me with that song for the entire 30 minute drive home once. I loved it.). People here have all sorts of stereotypes and whatnot about Americans, some of which are true, many of which are false, but it has been purely delightful, and often hilarious, to experience the vast scope of reactions to my American comrades and I.

In America, competitive spirit pervades everything we do—it is not about being your best, it is about being the best. Sure, growing up, we were all taught that as long as we do the best that we, ourselves, can do, we are good enough. But let’s be real here. Americans are conditioned to believe that we have to be better at everything than everyone else or our self-worth decreases. If our SAT scores are not as high as our peers, we don’t get into the best college. If we don’t go to the best college, we don’t get the best jobs. If we don’t get the best jobs, we won’t make as much money. And we all know that people who make the most money are superior to the rest of humanity, right? Well, strangely, most Americans foster the subliminal belief that that is true. As an American, I subconsciously expected the rest of the world to share this competitive spirit, but after spending only a few months here in Ireland, I am coming to realize that that is not the case. In Ireland, there is a much greater attitude of camaraderie rather than competition. Sure, everyone wants to succeed at what they do, but you also want other people to succeed. “Workaholics” by American standards are few and far between—if they even exist at all—in Ireland. Don’t get me wrong, I am not expressing by any means that you are lazy or blasé about work. Quite the contrary. You are extraordinarily passionate about what you do, but you are even more passionate about the people you work with. This quality is a rare gem.

When it comes to my internship here at Totally Dublin, the highlight for me has been, without a doubt, the interviews I have conducted with various extraordinarily talented people in the fields of theatre, art, and dance. To be able to converse with such an eclectic group of brilliant and gifted Irish individuals, some of whom are quite well known in Dublin, has been a truly unforgettable and rewarding experience. I will never forget sharing some super-trendy soy chai lattes with the unbelievably inspiring Novacic sisters who co-founded their own production company and co-wrote, directed, and produced an original adaptation of Master and Margarita just out of college. I had a serious girl-crush on both of those super-cool, Serbian-born sisters after that interview, even if their astounding accomplishments made me feel slightly inferior. Or sitting in the stunning and historical Abbey Theatre lobby casually chatting with the well-known and charming Rory Nolan, one of the stars of Brien Friel’s brilliant play Translations. Or skyping overseas with Gerard Minakawa, the brilliant founder of Bamboo DNA, whose astonishing bamboo creations have dazzled music festival-goers worldwide. The list goes on and on, but one thing remained the same: I left each interview with my mouth agape, feeling so unbelievably lucky to have encountered such a unique, talented, and inspiring individual. And beyond that, Irish people are just fun to talk to, plain and simple.

One of my favorite interview moments actually happened just a few days ago: I was chatting with Cathal Leonard, a charming and endearing Irish actor, about Sunday Morning Coming Down, the play that he is currently acting in. He ordered a Guinness and then was all “This play is about showing Irish people that excessive drinking and alcoholism is a real problem in society and that we need to stop brushing it under the rug and deal with it.” I was all “Oh totally. How’s that 3 pm Guinness?” He was all, “It’s fucking delicious.” I was all “I love you and your people.” Okay, I didn’t actually say that, but I totally thought it. Because I do. I really, really do. I love that anywhere, anytime, Irish people are completely and 100% down to have a good time. You know that stupid American saying that goes something like “sing like nobody’s listening, dance like nobody’s watching, live like there’s no tomorrow blah, blah, blah”? Well, the Irish actually live like that without having to have some dumb quote written in fancy cursive and posted above every preteen girl’s bedroom doorway. See, Americans like making fun of ourselves too!

I have been here for an entire summer, but I still feel like I have barely skimmed the surface of Dubliving (Did that work? Too far?). I’m going to miss the sunny and warm but never miserably hot Dublin days (Though I am not going to miss the days of “pissing rain”). I’m going to miss smiling and saying hello to every person I pass on the street. I’m going to miss hearing “cheers” instead of “thanks.” I’m going to miss my triple espresso Americanos from Insomnia (yes, I know we have coffee in America, but it’s just not the same). I’m going to miss walking everywhere. I’m going to miss drinking everywhere. I’m going to miss Guinness. Hell, I’m not even legal to drink in America! I’m going to miss the Irish accent (so, so, so much). I’m really going to miss being foreign. I’m going to miss Irish theatre. I’m going to miss live music in pubs. I’m going to miss the song “Galway Girl.” I’m going to miss working at Totally Dublin (not a self-promotion, I promise!!!). I’m going to miss the beauty, history, culture, and liveliness of this remarkable city. And boy am I going to miss the Irish people. This city, and y’all (Texas, remember?) have changed my life forever. I know that everyone always wants what they don’t have. People here tell me all the time that they would give anything to live in California. But you know what? I feel the same about Dublin. Appreciate it! Love it! And if you ever find yourself wandering around California or Texas, give me a call. I’ll show you around; buy you a drink. It’s the least I can do after showing me the greatest and most craic-filled summer of my life. Cheers, Dublin!

lovely st. stephen's green park on a sunny dublin day

the americans work here

last night out in dublin
So there you have it! In the next few weeks, I will be posting a Spain recap (Ibiza and Barcelona were INCREDIBLE), a family vacay recap of Dublin, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and London, a fun "best of summer" post that's still marinating in my mind, andddd the revelation of where my blog will go from here! I have decided that I definitely want to keep blogging after the summer, since writing is something I want to do for the rest of my life, but I'm still working out exactly where I want to take the blog. Soooo stay tuned for more! For now, I'm off to brave some not-so-stellar rainy scottish weather with the fam for dinner! 

Later y'all,
Laura

7.12.2011

Joining the Oxegentry

I am not a hipster. I don't wear fedoras, have multiple pierced appendages, or walk around with massive headphones on my ears listening to pitchfork's latest playlist. I didn't own a pair of skinny jeans until I moved to LA, and even now, I prefer to wear them with my cowboy boots and off-the-shoulder, powder-blue peasant top. And I still don't own a pair of Converse. Before moving to California, my knowledge of techno music did not extend beyond "Sandstorm," and my idea of a music festival was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (I'm not knockin' the rodeo. It rocks). I am as Texan as they get, and though my style, in both clothing and music taste, has made a turn for the Cali in the past 2 years, I will never stop wearing my pearl earrings or listening to my country music. I told y'all these facts of life as a little precursor to the rest of this post just so y'all know that I am fully aware that I am not hipster music festival aficionado. My taste in music is eclectic, ranging from country to rap to alternative to techno and beyond, but I am in no way qualified to make bold assertions or judgments about indie band performances. I know this. And I'm totally okay with it. All that being said, I adore music and my music taste, especially as of the past 2 years, isn't all that terrible. If you disagree, it's alright. I'll still be friends with you. I might talk shit behind your back, but I'll still act like I like you to your face. I like good songs, and when it comes to festivals, I like good performances. I'm not hard to please, and if the music is conducive to dancing and/or fist-pumping (as painful as that is to type), and/or singing along, and/or crying tears of joy, I'm a happy camper (not literally--more on that later). ANYWAYS, let's get right to it, shall we?

Oxegen. Here goes. It was nothing short of magical. I've had some pretty frickin' incredible weekends this summer, but this one just might take the cake. And at the risk of offending some pretty hardcore coachellers out there, I have to say, I think I liked Oxegen better than Coachella. Before you get all hot and bothered, let me explain myself. I LOVED Coachella. It was my first festival experience (aside from ACL circa 2002 when I hadn't heard of 96% of the bands performing), and it was everything I had hoped for and more. But Oxegen was too--plus even more than that. I think the primary reason for this was just the whole European vibe in general. By now, I've made it extremely clear to y'all (unless you're living under a stupid rock...boys will be girls, anyone?) that I'm madly in love with Europe and Europeans, especially the Irish. And lucky for me, Oxegen was packed with the Irish and brimming with European pizzazz. Being an American girl in the presence of about a zillion cute Irish guys never gets old. Coming back to America, and LA especially, where hot American girls are as plentiful as Starbucks and where we don't have cute foreign accents anymore is going to be an unwelcome reality check. But that's beside the point. So, the people at Oxegen, for the most part at least, were a barrel of laughs. Literally. Everyone was just down to party all. the. time. The sense of camaraderie was palpable, and we made Irish best friends every single day.

Now, since this was a music festival and all, let's talk music. This is where the whole Coachella/Oxegen comparison gets really tricky, because with festivals of that size, you can't really use the WHOLE lineup as a comparison. No matter how many incredible artists are on the lineup, it is impossible to see everyone you want to in just 3 days. Plus, there is always overlap between artists you want to see; so sacrifices must be made. Not human sacrifices (since I know you were thinking that), but musical sacrifices. There were definitely groups that I would have liked to see at Coachella that we didn't (Mumford & Sons, Bloody Beetroots) just as there were groups at Oxegen that I wanted to see but didn't (The Naked and Famous, Bright Eyes). It sucks, but you just gotta accept it and focus on all the incredible groups you DID see (ALL OF THEM). That's also why it's not fair to compare the entire lineup of Coachella and Oxegen. The whole lineup of Coachella was probably a little better than Oxegen, but the acts that I saw at Oxegen were better, at least in my opinion.

Let's start with day 1. I was already beyond stoked because my high-school luhvah Parker was here and it was beyond surreal to be casually kickin' it with her at this insane music festival in the middle of the Irish countryside.
lovely view of porta potties in the background <3

sippin on drank under a tree
Soooo Parker and I pregamed relaxed and engaged in intelligent conversation for a while before meeting up with the rest of our friday crew and heading over to Weezer. I've always been a big Weezer fan, but I forgot how many epically awesome songs they sing. Undone? Say it ain't so? Buddy Holly? The Good Life? Memories? Island in the Sun?! Beverly Hills??!! I know. And lucky for us, they decided to essentially perform the sure-to-be chart-topping album Weezer: Greatest Hits of Your Angsty Preteen Years. It was thrilling. I took a video.
video

Yeah, I guess I was more concerned with documenting the lively company than actually filming any of Weezer. I also took some photos. Try not to get jealous of how good I look in the first photo. I was so lucky that it started raining because I got to bust out my sexy leopard-print poncho. Hoods really flatter my face.

"you look like a homeless cheetah"
not as attractive 
friends are fun
weezer party animals
Sooo post-Weezer, we made our way over to Tinie Tempah, which was both insanely fun and absolutely terrifying. Parker and I got separated from the group and decided that we would take advantage of this opportunity to push and shove our way to the front of the (extremely raucous) crowd. This was both the best and worst idea of our lives. It was the best because I've never had so much fun in a packed crowd in my life. Tinie is QUITE the performer, and the crowd was just eating it up and loving every minute. But it was the worst idea because towards the end of the concert, when we had finally made our way right to the front and center of the crowd, Tinie announced that for his next and final song, appropriately entitle "Mosh Pit," he would not stop singing (or rather, chanting "mosh pit" over and over and over again) until he saw the "biggest and rowdiest mosh pit the world has ever f*ckin seen!!!" Let's just say, I'm extremely thankful that we both made it out of there alive. I think I was airborne for a solid 10 minutes, and I'm pretty sure I made at least 4 people bleed trying to claw my way out of there. In hindsight, it was awesome, and I don't regret it in the slightest.

After Tinie Tempah, we attempted to find the Naked & Famous, but somehow we got distracted by mini bottles of wine and a ferris wheel. Totally understandable.
romantic
behold: OXEGEN
spotted: empty wine bottle, stage left
life was so good at this moment
After our little date, it was time for The Strokes. Friends, the Strokes were everything we ever wanted and more. I had seen (and loved) them at Coachella, but I think they were even better the second time around at Oxegen. To be fair, at Coachella, I saw them the very end of the last day when the breath of life had all but been sucked out of me and it was all I could manage to keep my eyes open and stand on my own two feet. But regardless of my physical condition, they were and are amazing. I took another vid!
video

I also took a bunch of photos, but it had been pouring down rain earlier anddd we had stayed out until 5 am the night before, so we were getting really tired. Thus, we both look like soaking wet crackheads in the pics. I'll spare you.  

So after the amazingness of the Strokes, we miraculously ran into our crew just in time for Swedish House Mafia. Wow. My mind was blown. I was reallyyyy struggling at this point since I had hardly slept the night before, was starting to get sick (more on that later), and had been on my feet dancing and walking for virtually 10 hours straight, but lo and behold, as soon as Swedish House came on with their crazy lightshow and all, I was rejuvenated. They were awesome. When Miami 2 Ibiza came on, I nearly had a heart attack. Ever since I booked my trip to Ibiza, that song just gets me so pumped. God I can't wait for that trip. Anyways, after partying hard for the majority of the show, our exhaustion finally got the best of us and Parker and I threw in the towel for the night. We had decided last minute that considering the rain and cold, camping might not be the best idea for us high-maintenance girls, especially since our apartments were just a 45 minute bus ride from the venue. Best. Decision. Ever. Parker and I were literally laughing hysterically all the way home at the thought of camping. My warm bed and shower were the most blissful experiences of my life. That might have been a slight exaggeration, but they were amazing. I did the whole camping thing at Coachella, and yes, it was an incredible experience, but I think I like being clean and rested a little more. Call me a wimp, at least I'll smell nice. 

So after the most amazing night sleep, it was day two. Now, there was a little bit of a damper on the whole weekend because as I alluded to earlier, I got sick. I woke up with a sore throat on Thursday, and it only got worse as the weekend progressed. By Saturday, it felt like knives to swallow, and I'm fairly certain I had a fever. I chose to disregard this little impediment. Plus, lucky for me, Irish medicine is extremely potent, so after taking a few Irish "advil" and consuming cough drops like candy, my throat was tolerable and my fever was not (as) noticeable. Okay, pity party over. 

We were in especially high spirits today because a. we were SO much more rested and b. jennie joined us! We hopped right off the bus and literally sprinted to Two Door Cinema Club. I am 100% in love with them. My loves the Beightler sisters (shoutout! miss yall!) introduced me to them last semester AND we saw them at Coachella. They are soooooooooooo goooooooooooood. If you don't know them, call em up for a chat (bad joke), and if you don't like them, I don't like you. I know I keep saying this, and it very well might be because Oxegen is fresh in my mind, but I think they were even better than they were at Coachella. After all, they ARE Irish, so they were probably just so happy to be back in their homeland. I took a video, but the whole time you can hear me singing obnoxiously loud and saying annoying things like "this is my favorite song!!" so I'm not posting it. BUT I will post a youtube video of them for those of you who haven't yet discovered their glory. Dees is my favorite song:


Andddd some photos:
be still, my heart

up-close and personal, lovin life

MY GINGE LOVER!!!
UGH the lead singer is the cutest little ginger with sideswept hair. I want to marry him, but I think Leslie might beat me to the punch. Oh one more note about TDCC: they are one of the few bands that sound just as good if not better live as they do recorded. The ginge is just brimming with natural talent and precious colorful cardigans. Be mine.

Okayyy soooo then Parker and I set off for the RedBull Electric Ballroom to meet up with Jennie and the rest of the crew at Steve Aoki. This stage was awesome because unlike all the other outdoor stages, it was completely indoors, covered with this massive tent. It housed a lot of the crazy techno artists, which was great because from the outside, you couldn't see at all what was going on inside, but when you walked in, it was just this huge raging party. Steve Aoki was SOOO much fun. And that was that.

Then we joined up with Jennie, and set out for some adventures in the form of ROLLER COASTERS. Yes, another reason why I liked Oxegen over Coachella was that Oxegen sported dozens of crazy roller coasters, allowing us to indulge in some 5-year-old fun in between shows. I think Jennie and I rode this one called "Xtreme" literally upwards of 15 times. It was one of those crazy, flippy ones where you are thrown all over the place and kinda feel sick afterwards but is SO much fun that it's worth it. Considering the fact that I was already sick to begin with and Jennie had just broken her collarbone like 2 months ago, it might not have been the most intelligent of decisions. But this was not a weekend of intelligence. It was a weekend of fun. And fun was had all around.

literally 15 times

5 year old bffs

who are these gentlemen?! a rugby team or something?
We evidently made some friends who I think were some sort of sports team. They enjoyed our accents. We enjoyed theirs.
Before we knew it, it was time for Deadmau5 (to the parents out there, it's pronounced "dead mouse"). Wow. Deadmau5 may have been my favorite act of all of Oxegen. This was my first time seeing him, and I was completely blown away. The whole performance was mesmerizing, and Deadmau5 is so mysterious and elusive with that huge mouse mask. I loved it. When the light show and music was raging all around him and he was just standing there in the middle, with his huge ears and all, it felt like he was controlling the world. Powerful shit. Here are some vids and pix:
video


video

deadmau5 almighty
He played for nearly 2 hours and even after another day of non-stop activity, we stayed for the whole thing, loving every minute. Our insurmountable, inexplicable energy even lasted for the bus ride home when we met some new friends ("willy nilly" and "tricky dicky") and treated them to a delightful, full-volume rendition of "save a horse, ride a cowboy." They loved us. But really though. They got our number and invited us to a party this week. I'm gonna miss being exotic.

So, before we knew it, it was day 3. Parker sadly had to go, buuuuut I had a new guest! Remember this loser from London?
Oh wait...I haven't done my London post yet...my bad. Anyways, Catherine Cohen came to Dublin!!!!
For y'all that haven't had the delight of meeting this little gem, we were bffs circa 1st grade--now. Soi fun, and soi random.

sunshiney bffls
I'll have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself for rallying and making it out this day. I woke up feeling like death. My throat ACHED, and I was positive I had fever. I'm sure my mom is cringing right now reading this (sorry madre), but I had paid for my ticket and sunday had debatably the best lineup. I HAD to go. After some serious pep talks from my friends, a few gallons of water, some delightfully potent Irish advil, a "flu-buster" smoothie, and 500 throat lozenges, I felt better! Honestly, it was all in the attitude. And once I arrived back at Oxegen, my new home for the weekend, I forgot all about being sick. We arrived that day just in time to hear the delightful musical stylings of Kesha performing the end of her brilliant tune "Tik Tok." It was beautiful. But seriously, what the eff was Kesha doing at Oxegen? Who invited her? I secretly was hoping to run into her at the bar or something, but they didn't sell any liquor--just beer and wine--so I'm sure that was a long shot. Afterwards, we had about an hour to kill before anyone we wanted to see, so what did we do? Ride roller coasters, obviously. This time however, genius Catherine taught us how to ride it once and then covertly stay in the ride area and get on again without paying for another token. It totally worked and we got a free ride...um, SCORE. I may have spent 200 euro on my tickets, but I made 5 euro cheating the roller coaster line!!! #worthit

After our delinquent shenanigans, it was time for a much-anticipated band...JIMMY EAT WORLD!!! Now, I have to say, I saw them at Coachella and was a leeeetle bit disappointed. But now looking back, I realize it was probably just because we were all exhausted and dying of heat stroke and spent the whole concert sitting on the ground suuuuper far back. At Oxegen however, we were in the VERY front and fully alive to dance and sing the whole time. It was spectacular. So many teenage memories. Ahhh I loved them! Good ole Jimmy was SO into it and I swear we made eye contact. Plus he was rocking a baby blue, short sleeve button down that I just loved.
in love

blissful jennie

video

After the joys of JEW (funny acronym), it was time for Beyonce. Oh yes. I was NOT going to miss that. This is where my non-hipster aura came into full swing. Now, to be honest, Beyonce wasn't one of the acts I was most excited about. At least not according to what I told people. We went because it's freakin BEYONCE and she's like the superwoman goddess of America. We weren't expecting to fall in love with her, but lo and behold, we did. I actually think I turned into a lesbian for the half hour that we watched Beyonce. She's just SO beautiful, has the most bangin bod, is such a good dancer, is an incredible singer, and still somehow manages to stay humble. I'm proud to come from her hometown!! (htown represent). It was especially rad because she debuted with a fabulous selection of throwback songs from the days of middle school dance parties when we had just started "grinding" with guys. As soon as "Crazy in Love" came on, I was transported right back to that middle school gym, wearing a pink and black tube-top dress, a middle part, and kitten heels (ew), standing in a circle of girls awkwardly bouncing around, trying to pretend like we weren't all just desperately waiting for some brace-faced guy to approach us and ask us to dance. Ahh, those were the days. It was awesome. Oh man and then she played "Naughty Boy," always a favorite, and when we first heard the "oh, oh, oh, oh, oh...'s" of "Single Ladies," you better believe our hands were up in the air flippin' that ring finger.
video

 It wasn't long however before we got a little fed-up with the crowd, which consisted largely of rude 15 year old Irish punks, and headed over to The National. I wasn't cool enough to know who they were before Oxegen, but luckily, Catherine is. Sooo she took us there, and they were really good! Download their stuff. It rocks.
amy winehands

omg soi funnn

lovin life
Post National, it was AFROJACK TIME. My favorite time. Ahhh I'm so in love with Afrojack! Though they might not have been my favorite act musically, I DEFINITELY had the most fun at Afrojack--at both Oxegen and Coachella! They were in the Red Bull Electric Ballroom, and it was literally one huge party in there. I've never danced/jumped around so much in my life. I probably burned like 4000 calories just from that concert alone, which totally isn't true but is fun to exaggerate anyway. After the madness of Afrojack, it was time for the final concert of the night: Coldplay. We spent so much time raging our faces off at Afrojack that we missed the first half of Coldplay, but I'm totally fine with that because we caught my favorite song--Fix You. Okay, I totally agree that it's 100% cheesy, but it's also 100% amazing and powerful, no matter how many times I hear it. What is it about that song that makes it so emotional?! God, it gets me every time. Oh and then there were fireworks. FIREWORKS. I had chills. (PS, if any of my high school friends who were at hilary's house before sr girls circa freshman year are reading this right now...I still think of that night every time I hear this song haha).
video

And that my friends was Oxegen for ya. I'm basically in depression now that it's over.

I know this post was epically long, so if you made it this far, I commend you. I still feel like I have so much more to say about it, but I'm sure you're sick of hearing my (metaphorical) voice right now, so I'll just leave it at that.

Oh, I got an exciting piece of news at work today: my boss is giving me the go-ahead to write my first magazine piece, as in actually published in the printed magazine!!! Thus far, I've only written for the website so I'm beyond stoked to actually be able to SEE my writing in print! Rad.

Only 2 more days of work and then our last weekend in Dublin!!! Next weekend we'll be in Ibiza/Barcelona, so I'm not like, broken up about it, BUT I am broken up about the fact that in just 3 short weeks, my time here will be over. But that's a sad song for another day.

For now, I'm off to transfer my laundry to the dryer (for 6 effing euros) and catch up on the bachelorette. Great evening.

Later y'all,

LB



6.29.2011

Dublivin'

I know I have been a neglectful blogger this past week, but I am just so darn busy now that my internship is in full swing. That being said, I just wanted to pop in and say hey.

Today, I have officially been in Ireland for one. full. month. WHEREEEEEEE did that month go?! It literally feels like maybe a week since I touched-down in Dublin, wide-eyed and eager for my own little Irish adventure. Well, quite the adventure it has been. I know I still have an entire month here, but a month seems like 5 minutes considering the astronomical speed with which this first month flew by.

I don't want to leave. Like, never. I want to a billionaire (so frickin' bad...) so I can travel around Europe for at least a year and see all of the places that I don’t have time to see this summer. As y’all know, I’ve been to Galway, Amsterdam, London and of course, all over Dublin, and I have fallen head over heels in love with Europe. The people, the culture, the architecture, the accents, the food, the fashion—all of it! Such charm, such importance—so modern, yet so rich with history. I love it all, but my Americanness is very evident. Strangely though, as much as I adore all things European, I love being American here. I love the looks I get when I say something in my evidently “excruciatingly hick” accent (thanks, coworkers). I love the smiling answers I get when I ask a question that seems painfully obvious to locals. Mostly, I just love that everything is new to me. I feel like a small child in that the most mundane and minute things never cease to delight me. Every time the phone rings in my office, my heart flutters and I crane my neck just so I can hear the “cheers, brilliant, thanks-a-million” uttered in that irresistible accent before whoever it is hangs up the phone. Every time I see my bus coming around the corner, I cannot suppress a smile, for I look forward to the bus driver’s always enthusiastic and complementary greeting when I step on and tell him hello.  I love sitting at Insomnia, my favorite little Dublin coffee shop, and simply watching the people walking by, guessing where they might be going based on their attire, companions, and general demeanor. I’ve always loved people watching, but Dublin has taken it to a whole new level because the people here are so damn cool. Yep, I’m never gonna wanna leave.

Some of you might be wondering what I actually DO at work. After all, the whole point of me coming here was for this internship, but I’ve barely posted anything about my job. Well, I guarantee you I have been doing A LOT. My favorite part of the job has been interviewing people and writing feature stories about them. I’ve interviewed a sculptural and architectural bamboo artist (read that interview HERE), a ballet dancer/choreographer (read that interview HERE), and an adorably charming actor (read that interview HERE). Though I have always loved to write, deciding to major in journalism is a brand new development in my life; thus, prior to this internship, I hadn’t had hardly any experience in the actual journalism work setting. My thoughts so far? I’m totally into it. It marries my social, outgoing nature (interviews) with my creative, intellectual side (writing) in a way that I can absolutely see myself making a career out of. After two decades of having no idea what I want to do with my life, this is a very exciting thing. And if anyone tells me one more time that “journalism is a dying field,” I think I might punch them in the face. Literally, I will. There will always be media. There will always be writing. Sure, times are changing but guess what? Journalism is changing to fit the times. Hackneyed as it may sound, I firmly believe that you are much better off and much more likely to achieve success doing something you love and are passionate about than by doing something just because it seems lucrative. But that’s just me. Anyways, moral of the story, I love being a journalist.

But it’s not all fun and games. Work, fun and exciting as it is, is exhausting and can, at times, be kinda boring. Some days I have loads of work—interviews, theatre previews,  and music reviews galore! Buuuut other days, especially when my coworkers have impending deadlines to worry about so that they don’t have time to worry about the pesky little American interns, all I have to do is listings. I know listings are a necessary component of any arts-based magazine, but MAN they really, well, suck. Cinema listings are the worst. Imagine staring at a screen and uploading every single showtime for every single movie playing at every single cinema in all of Dublin for hours and hours on end. It’s exhilarating. Luckily, that happens rarely, and the exciting work that I get to do most of the time makes the not-so-glamorous work totally worthwhile.

I’m going to save my profound “these are the groundbreaking things I learned in Europe” spiel for after the summer is over, but I do want to talk about some exciting things I have coming up. Firstly, as y’all all know, this weekend is 4th of July weekend, a cornerstone and favorite holiday for anyone with even an inkling of American pride. Well, it looks like the Irish have some American pride latent in them somewhere because there is a whole slew of 4th of July-themed events that would enthuse and excite even the most hardcore, down-south, boot-wearing, beer-drinking cowboy. Just you wait. Here are some photos taken at The Comet, the host of this delightful American celebration:
casual wednesday outing
friends on friends
american flags on american flags!!!
 On Friday, the first day of the “4th of July Festival” (it actually exists!), there is a hot-dog eating contest followed by a special appearance from none other than DJ USA. Enough said. Immensely looking forward to that playlist. But not as much as I am looking forward to Saturday. The day will start off with a bang with some casual live pig racing because everyone in America loves racing their live pigs, obviously. This delightful little event will be followed with some country cookin’ at the Down South Barbeque (including 200 free ice pops…don’t know why they felt compelled to include this tidbit in the flyer, but hey, I’m into it). However, all these festivities only pale in comparison to the musical guest that will grace the stage in the evening: A Garth Brooks Tribute Band. Take a moment to let that sink in. I swear, I’m in Ireland. Finally, on Sunday or as they refer to it “Stars and Stripes Sunday” (I KNOW!), we will be treated to a day of guitar hero “on the big screen” followed by Las Vegas Casino Night. Apparently the Irish are pretty in-tune to American culture. So into it, so stoked. Obviously, though I may not be getting sloppy and setting off fireworks at someone’s beach house in Galveston, Texas (nothing against those 4th of July weekends, can’t deny my roots), I will be enjoying a thoroughly American weekend all the way in Dublin. Can’t freaking wait.

The following weekend is Oxegen, which I am BEYOND excited about. Check out the website and swoon over the lineup. ‘twill be magical. And all the more magical because I have a visitor coming!! So stay tuned for a surprise guest :)

Besides Oxegen, I plan to do a lot more exploring of Dublin and befriending of Irish people (still prowling for my Irish husband…) and a bit more traveling (Barcelona in July...GET AT ME). Basically, I gotta lotta (dub) livin' left to do (dierks bentley, anyone?).

Since this post was lackin' in the photo department, I'll leave y'all with some of my favorite tunes as of late. I do a LOT of jammin' here since I spend so much time walking and riding on the (double decker party) bus, which does wonders for my mood. Does music affect y'all as much as it does me? My mood can literally change from song to song...it's kind of bizarre actually:

For some strange reason, I've been on a huge country kick lately. My theory is that being so far away from my southern roots makes me love them even more. So naturally, I'm really into this song:

I just discovered this song andddd it simply rocks:

I challenge you to listen to this song in the morning and NOT have a good day:

On that note (ha), have a great day friends! 

Cheers, y'all

LB

Oh PS London recap post is coming tomorrow I promise!!! 

6.20.2011

Amsterdamned.

I am exhausted. My body aches, my feet throb with blisters, I am dehydrated, and I still feel sleep deprived even after a full 8 hours last night. Some might say, I've been Amsterdamned. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Let's start at the beginning. Friday morning, I popped out of bed energetically at 4:30 am (jokes..) to catch our super early flight to Eindhoven. From there, we took a bus and a train to Amsterdam, arriving at about 11 am. We were exhausted, delirious, and completely clueless on what to do since none of us had any idea where to go (not to mention everything was in Dutch, which might as well be Chinese). But we were SO excited to be in Amsterdam. We made our way to our hotel, which might as well have been paradise compared to the hostels that we considered staying in. Clean rooms, privacy, private showers, and comfortable beds are rare luxuries when traveling parent-less throughout Europe.
things got a little emotional
So after sobbing with joy and hugging each other repeatedly as we walked around our hotel room (kidding...kind of), we met up with the rest of our crew, along with some fellow Trojans studying in Madrid, at Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam--naturally, the most American place we could find.
Dubliners+Pat !!


Post-lunch, we meandered around Amsterdam and ventured into the Bulldog, one of the famous coffee shops. For anyone who lives under a rock, coffeeshops in Amsterdam don't sell coffee. Well, they might--I'm not sure actually, but people don't go there to drink coffee. Unless it's laced with marijuana. Hmm...caffeine and weed...an interesting combination. Anyways, being in Amsterdam, we HAD to at least check out one of these famous coffeeshops. It was dark, smokey, and frankly, pretty sketchy. Metal music was playing, accompanied by trippy visuals on several television screens throughout the bar. Shady people were huddled in corners, ceaselessly and dazedly smoking and rolling joints like it was their job. Honestly, the environment alone sufficed to induce the effects of marijuana without even smoking it.
coffeehouse from the outside

on the inside...random sailor statue?
After curiously observing the place for just a few minutes, we headed back to our hotel (aka paradise) to get ready for a night out in Amsterdam. Oh wait, first we went to a candy shop because we all have ADD and subconsciously gravitated towards the bright colors and sugar, without really realizing what was happening. Okay, so we did realize, but maybe after being in such a...corrupt? dirty? mature? (whatever) environment as the coffeeshop, I think we needed some place innocent. And we just wanted candy.
caffeine and sugar...healthy habits!

kids in a candyshop
 So then we went back to the beloved hotel, got all glammed-up, had a spontaneous girl-power pregame accompanied by the sweet sounds of Hilary Duff, circa 2003, and met up with the rest of our crew at a pub crawl (supposedly, "Europe's biggest pub crawl"). Twas spectacular. And foggy?
note the hand-holding

just partyin'

the point...
With a handful of USC kids in Amsterdam, it's pretty much impossible to NOT have a good time. Maybe even a great time. Something to ponder...

Sooo the next morning, or rather afternoon since we didn't actually make it out of our enticingly comfortable hotel room until almost 3pm, we ventured out to do some more Amsterdam exploring. We saw the Van Gogh museum (awesome) and then headed over to the Heineken Brewery. Well, we didn't actually go on the tour or really see any of the inside of the brewery, but we DID go to the gift shop to get matching jackets and hats because we wanted to be 100% sure that every person we passed on the streets knew with absolute certainty that we were American tourists. Based on the amount of gawks that we received, I'd say we were successful. We were quite popular with a group of Spanish men who were on a gay bachelor weekend. Not kidding. They insisted on taking the following photo with us:

3 american chicks and a gay spanish bachelor


They liked us so much that they started a "USA" chant in the middle of the street. I swear, we were just innocent bystanders...although it was pretty fantastic. We met up with guys, excited to roll up in our matching jackets and super cool hats, only to discover that they had the same idea we did...anticlimactic. But then we realized the photo-op potential at hand and quickly remedied the situation.
Heineken Drinking Team-suited up
Prof pic? Duh. Soooooo then we hustled back to our hotel to pretty ourselves up for another raucous night in Amsterdam. We started with a (party) boat tour through the Amsterdam Canal, which was a magical experience. In all seriousness, it was a fantastic way to see the city. A microphoned tour guide told us about all the places we were passing, which was a great way to absorb a little Amsterdam history and culture along with our bottles of wine. See, this was an educational trip. I promise. We saw Anne Frank's house, which was surreal. Just a small, simple, inconspicuous house, but so rich with history. We passed through the infamous Red Light District, which was...bizarre. Rows and rows of windows with scantily clad (haha) women just standing there, posing and pointing at passersby, hoping for a "customer." It was fascinating, in an eerie and disturbing way. 
lovely canal

"can i please have a glass of white wine"
"can i please have a bottle of white wine"

cant escape the rain


friends on a boat

the crew

the crew+our beloved bartender, ryan
"you guys drink too much"
party time
All in all, the boat tour was possibly my favorite amster-tivity (Amsterdam+activity? Did that work?). So, after the boat tour, we hit the town for another night out in Amsterdam. As per usual, fun times were had all around.
outdoor urinals...not normal

more usc friends!

excitement?

get it

:)
Soooo...then I sort of insisted that the crew check out this place called "Paradiso" that our hotel concierge urged us to go to because it was the "hottest club in Amsterdam." I swear he said that. Either he had a skewed idea of what our definition of the "hottest club" was or he was just messing with us because this place was a full-blown gay club. We literally walked in the door and were greeted by a charming bunch who insisted on dressing us up in ostentatious garb for photographs. We weren't allowed to smile either. 
tyra would be proud
Don't get me wrong, I thought it was fabulous and hilarious, but we were with a big group of guys who were not so down to party in such a...flamboyant atmosphere. Sorry, boys.

Afterwards, we wandered the streets of Amsterdam for a while, which I'm sure was a really safe activity, and then headed back to our hotel, excited to crash for one last night in our oasis of a hotel room with its cloud of a bed.

The next day was a travel day, involving more modes of public transportation in one day than I think I've ever taken in my life (cab to train station, train to bus station, bus to airport, plane to dublin airport, cab to HOME!). The weekend was absolutely incredible, but I was thrilled to get back to Dublin. We all agreed that though Amsterdam was one of the most exciting and unique cities we've ever experienced, Dublin is still our favorite thus far. Like I said in my last post, the Irish are the friendliest people I have ever met, and Dublin is just a much more comfortable, homey place, while still being wildly exciting. I've only been here for three weeks, but it already feels like home, and I know that I am going to be kicking and screaming when I have to leave. This upcoming weekend, we are headed to London, which shall be extraordinary, but I am also really looking forward to spending some more time exploring Dublin and Ireland. Stay tuned for more! 

In the meantime, I'll leave y'all with this super-Irish photo I snapped while riding the double-decker (party) bus on the way into the City Centre after a rainstorm:
just add a leprechaun and a pot of gold
A rainbow in Ireland? Get a little more cliche, Dublin. Geez.

Cheers!
LB