An essential part of the Irish college experience is the J1. 3 months working in The USA and doing your utmost to tarnish the good reputation of the Irish over there. Having spent 3 months last summer in sunny Vancouver on the West coast of Canada, I felt I had done the whole J1 thing. Ok, so it wasn’t the USA but it was the closest thing and was the best summer of my life. As a firm believer of moving on to new things and new experiences, I desperately searched for a companion this summer to tackle eastern Europe on an inter-railing holiday. Alas, my search proved in vain as literally all of my friends were hell-bent on a J1 summer. Resigned to the fact that it was either the US or Ireland, I agreed to go to Newport, Rhode Island for 5 weeks at the end of summer.
Having been home a week and a half my only regret is that I didn’t go for the whole summer. The 5 weeks in the east coast of America were truly amazing. Hampered by the fact that my friends and I fell just short of the legal drinking age, we rarely opted for the nightclubs and bars of the small seaside town, choosing instead to bring the fun to us.
As a small army of students had travelled form Cork to Newport and all had made friends with co-workers etc. we were guaranteed a decent crowd at any party thrown. Newport is notorious for its’ strict enforcement of noise regulations and sure enough by the time I arrived in late July my housemates had already been smacked with a hefty fine, for a house party that sounds nothing short of epic. In my brief encounters with the Newport Police force they did seem somewhat power-crazy. As big fish in a small pond they relished any opportunity to abuse the authority they had.
For me it was convenient arriving late in the summer. By then some of my friends had quit working so my days weren’t spent sleeping in until 5 when the workers stumbled home from “work”. Also by that stage my trusty companions had developed an arrangement with the nearest liquor store, every night a sizeable order of Natural Ice beer and Castillo rum was put in and delivered right to our door step. One shudders to think of the consequences such a system would have in this part of the world! A strobe light had also been procured and was stored in our basement. Ah the basement, it sounds a convenient addition to any house…it is not. The place had a rather uninviting oder, was inhabited by damp couches and mattresses and had the general ambiance of a homeless shelter. Be that as it may, when the right crowd was there and we were all suitably intoxicated it was the perfect location for a homemade rave and marathon sessions of landmines.
Drinking games are all the rage over there. The only drinking game we’re accustomed to is; down the shoulder in an ally and get into the club before it kicks in. Adapting to local culture and customs, we soon became beer-pong and landmines enthusiasts. Having stayed in Boston with a group of friends on one particular weekend we were happy to repay the favour late in the summer.
Their arrival coincided perfectly with the surprise visit of our friends who were on a road trip across the east coast and the end of employment of my housemates. With our house bursting at the seems and the summer drawing to a close our J1 began to resemble a 6th year holiday. Everyday spent on the beach, the drinking began around 5/6 and we had to outdo the previous nights consumption; “right lads, tonight we’re going for 210 cans…oh Jesus!” Before we knew it, twas time to pack our stuff and head back to Boston for one last blow out before catching our plane home.
Stand out memories; New York, All Points West, family meals at 20 Narragansett Ave. The melting heat of Ann street, The comfort of Spring st, the late-night banter at Via Via Pizza, free petty-cabs with Bobby, moving renditions of Imogen Heap, epic barbeques, boozer on the beach, an intense game of beer-pong culminating in a 2-story drop an almost broken ankle justified by seriously flawed logic, shitfaced at dockside on Sunday nights, talking shite to girls in Boston, drinking even more than usual in Boston, massive sing-song in Boston, cycling home from clubbing hammered, Hardy Bucks, little Calcutta/Slumdog Millionaire, pushing the big blue van.
Not bad for only 1/3 of a J1!