Cork and Dublin, Ireland (May 3rd-11th)
Traveling is made easier when you end up at your friends’ place. Plus you get to know new people that quickly turn into “first-degree” connections. This month of May is full with new faces, new places as well as the dearest old faces and places. Just over a year ago I started this blog and it would have been hard to even imagine what occurred since then. I’ve been out of school, split between Sicily and California, striving to make a profession out of my passion. Obviously, it hasn’t worked yet and in a few occasions I could have drifted away to a real job, even one that doesn’t satisfy my intellectual thirst. But I decided to wait.
I focused more and more on my academic interests and I enjoyed international exposure with the publication of my thesis as a book and the output of a few articles in online publications (check out the “about” page). Most importantly, I participated in three conferences in the European English-speaking Islands (EEsI, as an easy reference – Albion doesn’t really fit in today’s political and cultural environment) and prepared presentations and papers for them. These occasions are a “perfect venue for high-level exchange of academic knowledge, which encourages cogent analyses of the most recent events to be rooted in profound historical grounds” as I wrote in the report for the one in Cork. It’s a shame that for such important events, little support is given to the researchers on average. The IARCEES has been the most generous so far, although all are struggling with funds and university bureaucracies. Such symposia, however, are not to be missed; there’s simply too much to learn and to network. Plus, it is conventional in academic meetings to be as much kind and welcoming in the introduction of a speaker, as fierce and strict in the remarks and evaluations of his or her analysis. Intellectual battles, at least here in the land of fair play, are the most insightful and stimulating ones.
But here it’s not the place to dwell more on the content of the conferences. Instead, a description of the places I visit should be relevant for the readers and for me as a future reference.
Ireland is drunk and cloudy. No, it’s not really that bad, but these are its only two visible defects. There’s too many any-age beings that sway around the sidewalks in a constant state of haze. More, you can’t really go out without a coat, an umbrella, and rain-proof shoes, because you never know what weather you’ll face. Cork is increasingly becoming an international town, although not so much for its college. The “business park” (and, chiefly, the welcoming business environment) has brought many multinational companies to the area next to the airport. Many young Europeans are now working in customer service, technical support, and project management, flooding the second largest city in Ireland (still pretty small) with a diverse and fervent livelihood. Many come for a short term (and to perfect their language skills) but end up staying, captured by the good sides of Ireland. Apropos of good sides, I kept quiet for too long about the most amazing highlights of the Irish island: the people are fun, interesting, and kind, all the time; the traditional landscape is well preserved and full of history; the food is nice, even though a few coupling of ingredients are pretty wierd; monuments and sunsets are pretty in a peculiar way. The smell and the light are typical of the EEsI: I find them, unchanged, over and over again every time I come here.