They say home is where the heart is.
I’m a cardiac surgeon’s worst nightmare.
I’ve got family living in three countries, two of which I have lived in myself, and then I went and moved to a totally different one for school. ‘What are you doing, Hannah?’ you ask. ‘What on earth are you doing?’ Well, it’s pretty simple, really. I’m following my heart, and chopping it up a bit more along the way.
Dublin had me from the start (we’re going to pretend that immigration isn’t a thing for the purpose of this nostalgia-fest). Four years ago I stepped off a plane and into Dublin for a week, a sight-seeing stopover on the way to see my family in England. At the end of that week, my mother had to threaten me back to the airport; I wanted to stay here forever.
Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I spent that week wandering wide-eyed out of the Globetrotters Hostel on Gardiner Street every morning, full of free Irish breakfast (nursing a new-found addiction to soda bread) and ready to explore. My mother and I walked the south side of city centre (not into Trinity at all, actually, but around it), did the obligatory Giant Green Tourist Bus tour, took the DART to Howth and Bray, strolled in St. Stephen’s Green and stood outside Oscar Wilde’s childhood home, went to a pub for a night of Irish music (and I sulked at the complete injustice of being seventeen in an Irish pub.)
I had never been in a city like it before. I’d been to New York, to Boston, to Leeds, to York, to Edinburgh, but never before had I fallen in love with a city like I did that week. I love New York (dare you not to sing it; go on) and York and Edinburgh are beautiful, but Dublin bleeds culture and national pride, and sure doesn’t it deserve it? As a testament to this, I picked up four discount minicards in the hostel — places I hadn’t been able to see during my week there — and I put them in my wallet, to keep them as a reminder of Dublin and my determination to get back there one day and see those things: The Book of Kells, the Natural History Museum, The Dublin Writers Museum, and the Decorative Arts and History Museum.
Those cards stayed in my wallet from August 2010 until September 2013, when I stuck them to the cork board in my room at Trinity Hall on my first day as a Trinity College Dublin visiting student. It’s an incredible feeling to have a dream like that come true. It’s completely indescribable. I am lucky — so incredibly, amazingly lucky — to be back in Dublin, to have been given the opportunity to come back and stay. Living in Dublin is everything I thought it would be, and more. The city itself has a piece of my heart, and when I leave I’ll leave that piece behind me, but it will be further split up to go to countries around the globe, following the friends I’ve made here and already mourn having to leave.
I haven’t been to any of the places on my minicards. I want to do them slowly, one at a time, because I feel like when they’ve been done, my journey to Ireland will be coming too close to an end. The staff at the IES centre here have said that Dublin has a relatively high return-rate for alumni who come to Ireland to study or work, and I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that I might be one of them some day.
I love Dublin. Someday maybe you will, too.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hannah Vose is a University of Rochester junior, majoring in English with an interest in literary translation studies. When not burying her nose in whichever book has most recently been plucked from atop the dangerously tall pile on her desk, she can be found obsessively learning new languages, squinting through her (very stylish, thank you!) bifocals at someone else's writing in her job as a Writing Fellow, drinking stupid amounts of tea, squinting through her bifocals at her own writing in her job as a scathing self-critic, or dreaming of living somewhere which gets even less sun than Rochester. Born in England but having lived most of her life in Endicott, New York, she has traveled back to the Land of Her People twice and visited Dublin once on the way over. She considered applying to Trinity College as an international student, but was deterred by tuition costs (yikes!) so she's absolutely 100% thrilled to be living in Dublin and taking classes at Trinity for an entire year (and only about 34% of that is because she might get to take a class on Patrick McCabe -- will it happen? Stay tuned!)</span></p>