This summer was definitely a ride to say the least. Literally the day after I finished my freshman year at Penn State I had to move out and pack up my life into a suitcase, a duffel bag, and a backpack to live off of for the next two months where I would be travelling around the world by almost every mode of transportation possible. Two hours after I packed up the last of my possessions to be stored at a family friend’s house for the summer, I had to be on a plane to Dublin to live there for a little over a month. It was a study abroad trip with IES Abroad in conjunction with Penn State’s dance department, and was the first time the University had ever had a program like this- so we were pretty much their guinea pigs. I couldn’t imagine a better experiment to be a part of. Getting the chance to live abroad, explore the country and the culture (and photograph it), dancing, taking master classes with choreographers from all over the world, the pub scene, the music….sounds like a good deal to me! And to get school credit for 5 weeks of this?? Obviously 10 girls-none of which I knew very well- away from everything and everyone in a different country is too much estrogen to not pose its fair share of problems in itself! However, it was the trip of a lifetime, and truly the perfect blend of work and play. Every day we would have class, or we would be going to a performance or an event put on by the Dublin Dance Festival. We would take trips on our own on the weekends to get out of the city and got to see some of the most beautiful countryside. We even got a chance to go up to Northern Ireland. At the end of the 5 weeks we took all the material we had been working on, and did a dance on film project around the city. Pretty much we danced all around the streets of Ireland, barefoot, in public (sometimes in weird outfits) and filmed it. It was great craic –Irish slang for fun. So if anyone comes up to you in Dublin and asks you, “Where’s the craic tonight?” it isn’t an attempt at a drug deal. They just want to know where the party’s at! So the program came to an end, so it was finally time to go home…NOT!
While everyone else went back to either Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, I was on a quick flight to London where I would meet up with my dad and brother for a night. From there, we flew to Copenhagen to meet up with my mom and grandma for a night. Finally, the next day we boarded the Crystal Serenity bound for the North Cape and the polar ice caps. I am Norwegian on my mother’s side, so the family decided to take the opportunity of having three generations of Norsk women in one place to do a little heritage trip. We got to explore some of the most remote places in Norway, we traveled to the North Cape (Nordkapp), ate reindeer hot dogs, and sailed through breathtaking fjords. It was definitely an interesting dynamic change to go from living with nine 18-21 year old girls, to spending time with my family every second for 2 weeks. But I was really home sick, so I greatly enjoyed their company. After all, it was now mid-late June and the last time I was home was for 5 short days going into the first week of March.
Being from Southern California, weather, or lack there of, makes a great impact on my life. I had now gone from 2 months of east coast “spring” and snow and ice to Dublin (the name meaning land of eternal winter) for a month of rain every day. All I wanted was sun! Then I get to Norway and realize the nickname of the cruise was “Land of the Midnight Sun.” The sun didn’t set for 2 weeks. I guess you really SHOULD be careful what you wish for.
Anne-Marrie Pietersma is a college student with many talents and a participating Meeting of the Art Waters photographer. Meeting of the Art Waters