I was born in Austin, Texas, on July 15, 1982. My parents wrote a hot check to pay the hospital bill. I had a typical American 80s childhood. I liked NKOTB, TMNT, and BSC.

When I was 10, we moved 40 miles away to Florence, Texas, a town with a population of less than 1,000. My fifth grade teacher had me stand at the front of the classroom as she told my classmates, “This is Mandy’s first day in public school.”

P1040102I attended a small liberal arts university in Georgetown, Texas, which is located between Austin and Florence, geographically as well as culturally. My mom got a job in the campus library, and her benefits covered my tuition.

After graduation, I moved to Galway, Ireland, to work in a bookstore. Before I had acclimated to the accent, all the NUIG undergrads came in asking for a title that sounded like “The Galway Train.” It took several attempts before I understood they were asking for L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between.

I spent my 20s working a variety of bookish jobs in Texas. Now I’m 30 and enrolled in the Master of Arts in Literature and Publishing at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

This is a blog of all that I’m learning, about literature and about Ireland, in the city where I first came of age. As L.P. Hartley once wrote:

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

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