And Home Again

“Welcome home!!”

Since these infamous words, the whirlwind of Dublin has disappeared into fond memories, and the foreign reality of responsibility and the drudgery of normalcy has taken shape more rapidly than I imagined possible. Well, maybe drudgery is the wrong word. After all, “university” isn’t so bad…

But to put it simply: I am home.

I don’t know how to describe all the amazing stories and experiences I lived out over the last several months. When people ask, “How was Ireland?” they must think I lost intelligence while I was abroad because I stare at them, dumbfounded, and then mutter, “Great…amazing. I don’t know where to begin…”

So here is my last Ireland-related list (I think):

Five Moments I Will Always Remember…The Good and the Bad:

1. Getting off the plane in Ireland – I was by myself in a different country for the first time, and was so tired and confused. But there was also this euphoric sensation of an adventure beginning. That rare feeling is certainly memorable…and addicting.

Finding the house was another story...

2. First Pub Experience – Alex had invited me to join him and his friends at a pub downtown. I actually turned them down the first time because I was nervous. I didn’t know where the pub was, who I was meeting up with, how to get around the city safely, if I needed my passport or would they take my driver’s license? I didn’t know anything – and I was tired. But I remember texting him back and saying, “I can’t make it out tonight, but I will be completely free tomorrow so please call me then!”

Basically I set myself up so that I couldn’t say no. And sure enough the next night, I was invited to Doyle’s pub in city center. I sucked it up and got on the bus alone, found the place and Alex, hailed my first taxi, and met some amazing friends. I remember thinking…”If I hadn’t gone out that night, who knows how long it would have taken me to make that initial step?"

When I didn't know how to get somewhere, I would google seach the place, and then take a picture. Then I could pull out my camera like a map...usually worked!

3. That One Friday – I wrote several blog posts about one specific Friday. All in one day, I went to Slain (also known as The Village of the Dead), I was called a homeless person, and went on a weekend excursion with friends where the hostel lost our reservation. Consequently, we had to sleep in the “cinema room.” This rollercoaster of a day had some extremely funny moments, some extremely horrible moments, and some moments where I simply had to laugh at the situation. But everything was memorable and made for some great stories.

During my weekend trip, we saw that cows really do get stuck in the road.

4. U2 Concert – My friend Letitzia and I were depressed. Our first group of friends in Ireland had gone back to Italy and France, and we still had several weeks to go without them in the country. So we needed to do something fun and exciting to take our minds off saying “ciao ciao ciao…”

U2 was playing their last concert in Ireland that Monday night. If you know anything about U2, you know that most of the band members are from the Dublin area, so this is a very important show to the Irish people. Letitzia and I tried to go snatch some last minute tickets but of course we were told “SOLD OUT!” So we made a new plan: we would walk around and mumble “tickets?” to the incoming crowd.

Getting through security was fairly easy. But after an hour and a half, we had been completely futile in our attempts. Finally we found scrap paper and a pin, scribbled “Two tickets please!” and stood on a sidewalk, alternating who would hold the sign.

A few people stopped and told us different places they knew about where extra tickets had been sold earlier in the day. We checked out one place, but the process seemed like a drug deal. We were supposed to ask this person, and say blah-blah had sent us, and give them this amount of money. Needless to say, nothing much came of that.

We almost gave up. We were tired, neither of us had eaten, and we had been walking around for almost 2 hours after each working a 7 hour day. But, ironically enough, we saw a rainbow and got distracted. Letitzia and I starting singing “There Can Be Miracles” as a joke, and were about to walk away and catch busses home. At the exact moment we were taking down our sign, a man rushes over and says “I have two extra tickets from two employees who didn’t come. They cost me 100 euro each but I’ll give ya both for 50…”

HECK YES. And it was “brilliant.”

5. Dublin felt like home – I am amazed at how quickly I got used to being in the city. The first couple weeks were tricky, but also the most memorable because everything was new (and confusing). But by week four, I knew most the busses I needed to take, the method to avoiding traffic, the places NOT to walk near, and the general layout of the city. I remember when I was arriving back from Belfast into Dublin and I had the urge to tell my friend Macy, “We are home!” And it felt so natural.

Now I am really home, because of course Virginia will always truly be that special word. But meeting all those people, getting to know an excellent host family, working for a newspaper, and living in Dublin are some memories that I will always cherish. My experience abroad could be summed up by simply saying I was challenged yet blessed in the same second every moment of the day. Of course maybe that’s not so different from being at home…my real home.

So when do I get to go back?!

Goodbye shall be missed.