I’ve begun my experience in Ireland, and after only three days I feel quite overwhelmed, but in a good way. To be honest, with everything that’s happened, it feels like I’ve been here much longer. In addition to be introduced to the PIPS team, met up with some local friends at a pub, was trained on the PIPS community support model, enjoyed a night at an Irish comedy club that used to be a church, had a meeting with a civil servant in the department of health, and spoke with a member of Sin Fein at Stormont.
It’s been a really wonderful and engaging experience so far, and I feel like I’ve really gotten immersed in the Irish culture. It’s interesting seeing how differently the Irish people work and conceptualize, but it’s also strange being an outsider. I can’t remember the last time I was seen first as an American and how that made me different. It was also really powerful talking to my local friend over a pint about the Troubles in Ireland and how they’ve affected him. His viewpoints on the IRA and the various loyalist groups was eye-opening, and it was evident that pain and trauma are suffused into the lives of the Irish. Even those too young to really know how bad things were are affected, though it is much more indirect.