I was more nervous and anxious leaving Edinburgh as I looked out the window over the sunny green fields of Scotland than when I arrived in Dublin – equally green fields here! Maybe I had used up all my nervous energy or maybe the anticipation, as with most things, is bigger than the actual event. The hungover Stag Do on Aer Lingus did well to distract me. I sat next to a cabinet maker who quickly put his head phones on to zone out of my Riverdance chat… only kidding – he was feeling weary after a full on weekend in Edinburgh.
Arriving at the airport I was met by two lovely guys. I was the last one to be picked up that day so they came in the taxi with me. We had a quick glance of Dublin City as we drove to Trinity College Hall. Upon arrival I went to reception and of course I was not on the list… it was hard not to see this as a bad omen of things to come?
The room is small but well furnished with a desk, wardrobe containing 6 hangers and a built in bedside table at the head of the bed. The rooms are all en suite and are basically tiny wet rooms fitted with a shower, toilet and sink. It’s definitely a lovely personal private space for the week ahead. I do feel like I am back at university in St Andrews which to be honest has always been appealing ever since I left in 2007 – that time of little responsibility – just one room as your empire.
Meeting up for dinner felt a bit daunting but then I reminded myself that there were 16 year olds here from across the globe and surely I will be fine. Luckily I sussed out the groupings pretty quickly – the pretty girls with designer hand bags who seem to know everyone already, the confident boys, the quiet shy types and those somewhere in between. I am the oldest by a good ten years. This should therefore make me confident by default but alas, the insecure student has re-emerged to showcase her skills thought to be left in the corridors of Andrew Melville Hall at St Andrews University in 2001.
I sidled over to one established group but quickly moved on! Here I met a girl from Ottowa, Tessa, who is a Step Dancer. She was leaning against a cabinet separate from any group and fixated on her phone – classic first day stuff! She seemed like me – quiet and not quite sure what to make of the young age of the groups surrounding us. I hope my warm welcome was appreciated. We are handed wristbands and then head through for dinner. Dinner is dry chicken and equally dry mash potatoes. The veg is fine – green beans flop beside carrots which are bright in colour and soft in consistency but still pretty tasty.
The conversation over dinner is limited to where do you come from and are you going to qualifiers… I quickly explain that I am a performance Irish Dancer – no follow up questions. I don’t blame them. They are being pretty sociable for being half my age. I bring up Pretty Little Liars in an attempt to downgrade my age status and fit in and it seems to work.
Now for the truly awkward bit – a showcase – we have been asked to show off our skills in a desperately terrifying ‘fun activity’ for the evening. Doubting whether to do something contemporary or my audition video which is a hornpipe. Spur of the moment decision coming up!
Thankfully no one had to dance! – just the girls from last week showing us the steps they learned during their week.
They seemed to really enjoy themselves and now I feel less stressed and nervous about tomorrow. Off to bed – can’t wait for tomorrow!