I have a special knack for getting sick. Not as in, I always have a cold, or catch whatever is “going around,” I usually avoid such common illness’ that would actually make sense to contract. Instead, my body likes to play a fun game of getting seemingly random, often totally sudden bizarre illness. This makes some sense, given when I take medication I almost never get common side effects, but will get the strange, not so common ones. My body values it’s individuality. I however, do not. Except for when I take Sudafed and feel euphoric instead of anxious or jittery. Normally, my body’s penchant for uniqueness is inconvenient, and I’ve been lucky that when I do get sick that I don’t have to miss important things, or take time from school. I’m also normally home, in the states where prescriptions, referrals, and 24 hour clinics and pharmacies are a given.
The weather changed rapidly. From a wind hammered, damp, dark winter to a suddenly pleasant, sun soaked spring. We’ve been waiting with much anticipation. Rain and dirt crusted boots no longer sit in front of the heater, instead we wear light jackets and sunglasses. We marvel at this fact every day, even though it’s only 60 degrees. But it’s as if an entirely new city has emerged. And with it the crowds flock to dine at outdoor patios, afternoons bring strolls in the park, and we forage the recently bloomed flowers for center pieces at home. I remember this city, it’s the one we moved to 8 months ago. But I had forgotten just how beautiful it could be when the grey saturated sky part and the warmth allows for life to emerge again. This is the Dublin I feel in love with. And while the trees are still slightly barren, and the wind can whisk away warmth in an instant there is the promise of longer days and saturated colors. We welcome Spring in Dublin, whole heartedly. Continue reading
None of us like to admit it. Especially those of us who deem ourselves “travelers.” We fly (train, boat, walk, run) around the world waxing lyrical about how beautiful other cultures are, and how we’ve all been changed. And I think this is especially true of young American travelers. We want desperately to remove ourselves from the stereotype of the “Ugly American Tourist.” We admonish the seriously out of whack ideals of American culture that tells us money and a successful career determine your self-worth. We hate commercialism, we are so above that. But if travel, and in particular living in Europe has forced me to realize anything, it’s that for better or worse, I am (we are) absolute products of our culture. I know, it’s almost too obvious, but for those of us who look at much American culture and grimace, it’s hard to admit that it is indeed, deeply engrained in our being. The good, and the ugly. Not to say we can’t change, I know I have. But there it is, constantly in the back of our beings, shaping decisions and perceptions. Continue reading
Six years ago I visited San Francisco for the first time. Six years ago, almost exactly. I remember it vividly, the drive back to Marin from Oakland airport and the traffic we hit, I even remember the smell of the air after leaving the airport. I remember these things because it was the first time I was visiting Alex. We weren’t dating at the time, those months felt so tumultuous, I was twenty and falling hard for this guy, whom I had liked since the day I met him 18 months prior. Everything during that time felt particularly heightened and raw, and I remember it in surprising detail. Much like this year, we had spent the winter months waiting for the sun to make an appearance and help us forget the long, dark days of a rainy climate, then, the Pacific Northwest. California represented sunshine, and a chance to spend time with someone special. And so, from the moment I stepped off the plane, San Francisco etched itself a permanent place in composition of my life. And there it would remain, six years later; I am always giddy to return. When I visit New York, and see that skyline for the first time in months, I feel a great surge of excitement, New York is a place I associate with a time of constant flux, or fast movement, of discovery. But not San Francisco, no matter how many times I catch the glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, I never feel that surge of energy, instead I feel a deep sense of calm. Continue reading