Well I'm back in the U.S., and I'm dealing with a whole array of bittersweet emotions.
Slipping back into my American routine was like putting on a forgotten favorite sweater that had fallen into some hidden crevice of my closet. You hadn't really thought about it much while it was gone, but you have so many fond memories of it, and you're glad to have it back. It feels nice to rest in my own bed again, to walk the familiar paths of my town, and to cook with proper teriyaki sauce again.
When I came to Dublin, everything was new, and it took me about a week to adapt. However, when I came back to the U.S., there was no need to adapt. Hopping back into my old life without interruption made Dublin feel like an unreal experience. I wasn't phased out of the environment; I was plucked out of Dublin, put on a plane, and inserted right back into my old home. It feels utterly surreal because just a few days ago I had a completely different daily routine that had become ingrained after four months of repetition. Suddenly there were no more Lidl's groceries just around the corner or long walks along the Liffey to Parnell Square. My friends for the past four months are spread back across the globe.
Now I think of my time in Dublin like a new favorite sweater that I tuck away for the next season...whenever that may come.
It's only the myriad photos and daily snapchats from my Dublin darlings that remind me the spectacular semester I just had wasn't a dream or some cool video game. When I rode the Dublin Bus to the airport, I got to see the city one last time. Street corners and window shops triggered endless memories, and I began to see myself as an imprint on the city. Over the past months, as I opened up and let Dublin into my heart, I was also leaving behind pieces of myself, weaving myself inextricably into its fabric forever.
In my last few days in Dublin, I kept thinking about all the things I still wanted to do. I hadn't made it to Donegal. I didn't go see the Blarney Stone. I wondered if I had really taken advantage of all the time I had been given. I kept kicking myself for not keeping a better journal of each day. Then I began editing the video for this blog post and waded through my stuffed hard drive full of hours of footage. I got to revisit all these tiny moments which my brain had cleared out to make room for new ones. Even though I still have so much more I want to do in Ireland, my library of videos shows me that I did SO MANY THINGS. I forgot that I went around Kildare honoring St. Brigid. I forgot I went to the emergency room at 8 a.m. and befriended an artist with a broken ankle. I forgot about my mind-blowing experience at the Dublin International Film Festival. Weeks of activity have compounded, and after sifting through all the files, I am proud to say I did not take my time abroad for granted.
From the macro to the micro, I have crafted an experience that cannot just be sold and bought to a tourist. My take on Ireland is utterly unique and comprised of dynamic strangers, spontaneous decisions, and private revelations. When my friends and family back at home ask me to "tell them everything" about my time abroad, I can't. These four months aren't just a slideshow I can walk them through. I throw a cursory tidbit at them and they react with awe, but it feels dissatisfying because I can't verbalize all the epiphanies, funny moments, beautiful landscapes, etc.
Even though I have slipped back into my American ways, I notice that I walk through my days carrying Dublin with me. The city sits on the surface of my thoughts. I find myself wondering what's happening in the Liberties right now or at KC Peaches or St. Stephen's Green. I know as life begins to take on speed my brain will clear space for the new memories and Dublin will feel like a distant dream, but I hope to always keep my thoughts tinged with a little bit of green.
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<p>I am a nerdy artist who loves to try anything and eat everything! I want my life to be filled with as many experiences as possible. I'm a writer, actor, video editor, visual artist, composer, scientist, and bonafide knitter. I'm happiest when I'm creating something, and one day I want to write and produce an animated series -- at least until the Food Network offers me a sweet gig as a judge on MasterChef.</p>