Shannon Sotomayor
February 4, 2016

I'm not sure if I believe in coincidences or not, but in moments of doubt or despair, I always find something. Here I've found odd similarities between Dublin and the city I call home: Providence. The River Liffey divides the north side from the south side, and in Providence the river separates The Hill from downtown. There's one bridge in particular that is almost identical to one in Rhode Island. I can't help but take comfort in the new familiarity.

I thought becoming part of something new would require learning street names, finding a favorite cup of tea, laying on a particular patch of insanely green grass and feeling as if it was mine. But I’ve been feeling afloat in a place where you can see everyone’s roots. Missing home doesn’t quite suffice the feeling. I miss knowing who I am in relation to the people who have shaped my idea of home. 

Last Sunday, as Kait and I took our first trip on the Dart, an American man next to us on the train introduced himself.

“I’m sorry to bother you guys, it’s just so nice to hear another American voice.” 

We could’ve sat anywhere on the train. We could’ve taken the ride fifteen minutes earlier. Kait and I could’ve spoken in soft whispers. But somehow we met this man. Ryan’s been living abroad for the last five years, mostly in Dublin. Without prompting he told me what I needed to hear.

“It can be hard living in Dublin. You can feel boxed in by it, but you have to see the city as a puzzle. Because I’ve been here a few years, I’ve found all of these cool places - but you would never know they’re there. Look for the holes in the wall. Treat it like a game, and you’ll find something amazing.”

So there’s my reminder. It’s probably a coincidence, but I’ll take the tip all the same.

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