I don’t even know where to begin.
It’s strange being here. I’m torn between feeling perfectly normal and horribly out of place. The range of emotions I’ve felt has gone from crying for joy to frustration to disgust to loneliness to content. Here’s how.
I landed yesterday morning at 8.15am. Getting off the plane and through customs was a piece of pie. Once on the bus into Dublin, it hit me that I was here. I looked out the window crying because I was so happy to be back. Everything looked the same. Red, brick buildings lined the road, cyclists road by, the grey-white clouds hung low in the sky.
The hostel I booked to stay in is located literally four doors from my old apartment on North Great George’s St. When I got off the bus to head to the hostel yesterday, I honestly felt like I was coming home after a long vacation. I walked past the same buildings, smelt cookies baking in the Subway in the Londis, didn’t look to cross the street, and greeted the blue off-license with a smile. North Great George’s looks the exact same. The colorful Adamesque doors are so welcoming and quaint. But I didn’t walk to my apartment. I knew that I did not belong there. Instead I stopped four doors early at the hostel.
By the time I’d changed, brushed my teeth and dumped my stuff in the luggage room, it was 9.45am 0n a Sunday in Ireland. Literally NOTHING is open before 10 or 11.00am on Sundays in Ireland. You can’t even buy beer until noon. So when I headed into town, I had no idea what I was going to do. I wandered down O’Connell checking that all of my favorite restaurants and shops were still there. Most are – I didn’t notice too many changes. Across the Liffey, I decided to pop into Starbucks to have breakfast and wait for things to open.
People watching is probably one of my most favorite things to do while traveling. You learn so much about other cultures and humans in general. I saw a man on FaceTime with his family. He had no shame in making faces to his children and being all lovey dovey in front of the coffee shop. Two separate Spanish families began speaking to each other in rapid Spanish. The small boy kept giving his mom the cream fizz from the stir. Two English couples sat to my left talking about their trip to Ireland. It was so pleasant.
Around 11.00am I headed back into town. I wanted to check out all of my old hangouts. The first place I ventured to was Merrion Square. This was and probably still is my favorite place in all of Dublin. I love Merrion Square. It’s a beautifully wild park. Everyone goes to St. Stephen’s Green, and it’s wonderful. Don’t get me wrong. But there’s something special about Merrion Square. Maybe it’s that people tend to go to the other parks. Merrion Square is rarely over populated, and if you’ve been to Stephen’s Green at all, then you know over populated. Maybe it’s that you can get on the grass. It’s not a perfectly manicured garden like Stephen’s Green. People wander across the lawn. I’ve soaked up the sun by laying in the grass. Maybe it’s how the trees are overgrown and the paths are dark. I don’t know. Can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something truly special about Merrion Square. When I lived here, I would jog from my apartment to the park, rest for a bit and then job back. Round trip it’s around a 5k. I must admit that I got a litter turned around on my way to the park. I came upon it from a different road than I used to take, but I still got there.
I did visit Stephen’s Green, but it was so crowded. Even on a gloomy buy dry November day it was packed with people. I wandered through Grafton St admiring the shops with Christmas decorations and trinkets. And around 12.30pm I ended up back at the hostel. As I walked back to the hostel, it hit me that again I was not going to my apartment. I would be on the same road, so the walk back felt totally normal, but the end location is what felt strange. I was at home, but I wasn’t at the same time.
At 1.30pm I walked over to Woolshed to meet Amore for lunch. Woolshed was one of my many favorite places to eat in Dublin. More specifically – their chilli nachos. There was a time when I could order the chilli nachos (that was supposed to serve two people) and smash the entire thing. I shouldn’t be proud of that… But yesterday I don’t think I event ate half of the plate. It was SO GOOD!! Exactly as I remember it, but I couldn’t eat it all. Amore and I chatted and caught up. The last time she and I saw each other was in London February 2016. I explained to her that it did not feel weird to be having lunch with her in Dublin three years after having left. It felt perfectly normal – like this was something she and I just did. I had the same feeling with her that I had when I got off the bus that morning – that I was back home from a long vacation.
After lunch I headed back to the hostel. Jet lag had finally caught up to me. I officially checked in, crawled into bed, and was asleep a little after 4.00pm. I woke up around 9.00pm and did some school work and was back asleep by midnight. All to wake up AGAIN at 4.00 in the morning for a flight to Scotland, which did not happen.
I have been awake since 4.ooam and it’s currently 7.30am. I should be about to land in Edinburgh to see Aoibhin, but I’m not. I’m back in the hostel. Somehow I mixed up my travel dates. I thought I had tickets to Edinburgh for Monday when in reality, I bought tickets for TUESDAY. I got all the way to the stupid airport only to find that I cannot fly. I was so pissed at myself.
So here I am a perfect (almost) 24 hours later on my return trip to Dublin. I now have a whole extra day here, which is nice! I’m taking my travel date mix up as a sign that I need to take some time to work on school stuff. So that’s that. Here’s to another day in Dublin!