What living with five girls has taught me about female friendship and horribly cheap wine
I know it sounds bad, but I started judging everyone based on suitcases. Not in a shallow way, but in the way that I knew Liv would be the mom friend because her suitcases were a matching set. I could tell McKayla had a creative, bohemian style because her backpack was crafted from intricately colourful knitwear. Mallory was a sweetheart because the first thing she unpacked was a beanie baby sloth. And I knew Camille had already been around Europe and back because of the clothes overflowing from her bag. What I couldn’t tell from move-in day though, was just how close we’d all become.
Before coming to Dublin to study abroad, I had thought of it as a solo, rogue mission. That it would be me and the city, figuring out the new surroundings as I worked to figure out myself in parallel expeditions. But not even 24 hours after moving into our program-appointed house, the four other girls and I had undeniably clicked. Usually, when meeting new people, you might feel the need to ‘water down’ your personality in a sense, but not with these girls. Even from that first weekend, they helped me see the city, and my life, in rose-coloured glasses that have yet to come off.
A house full of young girls studying abroad sounds like either the cheesy plot to a slasher film, or a subplot in a horrible male-driven comedy. But if you’re in my house? It sounds more like corks popping, high-heels clicking on cement, sorority screeching, and deep conversations whispered at 3am in the kitchen. It sounds like “Do you want tea?” and the answer always being yes. It sounds like “Do you want to help me finish this petrol-like, eight euro wine?” and the answer still always being yes.
For the first few weeks, everything was all fun all the time. We’d go out clubbing and dance until we’d get horrendous bruises. We’d stay in and cook five course —and extremely delicious—meals. Be each other’s Galentines, and fly to Barcelona for the weekend. Laugh until we cried, and cuddle on the cliffs of the Aran Islands (that one was more out of fear than to be cute).
Just last week though, we had a medical scare rock our household. After dancing on a table at Dicey’s Garden (yes, the most American way one can cause injury) one of our roommates fell and sustained a serious hematoma. She ended up staying overnight in the hospital for two days, needing surgery and a medley of painkillers. We were all crushed to see her in so much pain. Just as we had all rallied around the fun times we’d had, we all came together even more so to show our support and help her recover.
However, there’s a few things in life you just can’t stop: the world turning, rivers flowing, and a girl that wants to have a good time. Because a mere four days after her surgery, St. Patrick’s Day was upon us. Now, our very bedridden roommate was not going to sit at home and watch everyone else celebrate. So, we rented out a wheelchair, decked it out, and she wheeled around the city like an injured —but very happy— parade float.
So far, since coming here, the lessons I expected to learn aren’t necessarily the ones I have learned. Living with these fantastic young women through the good times and the bad has taught me way more about my ability to love than it has anything else about myself. As a girl, female friendship is one of the greatest sources of joy, respect, compassion, and support in life. I know that I am beyond lucky to not only have gotten along with everyone I’m living with in Dublin, but to genuinely never want to leave them.