Life in Ireland: 7 Months Later.

WicklowThere’s something happening outside of my window this morning. As usual, there’s a brisk chill, light clouds streak across the horizon threatening to encompass the sky and bring with them the usual daily rain. But for now, there seems to be warmth. It is an illusion of course. It’s near freezing, despite being almost April. But the sun illuminates the stark, leaf-less trees and reminds me what natural light is like. It’s fleeting, to be sure. In a few hours, it will be dark again, from the rain and clouds. So I sit in my living room with a hot cup of coffee, bask in the warmth of the sun streaming through my window and soak it in before it leaves. This gift of light makes me irrationally happy. 

It’s been nearly six months since we’ve moved to Dublin. It’s been a year since I left for Asia. This time last year I had no idea I’d be moving my life to Europe, or even attending grad school. A lot has happened. I say this often, but it feels more true than ever: time is moving far too fast. I’ve loved it, but really, could we just pause everything? I’m not sure I’m ready to enter my late twenties.  And maybe that’s the problem, time races when you’re (literally) flying around the world with your life in constant flux. And sometimes I get the feeling that I want to settle down. But it passes, because despite time rushing away from me, the joy of movement is just too much to give up. And living in Dublin has been a good medium. I have a home base, with friends, and all the trappings of familiarity and “home,” but have been able to travel quite a lot. More, I know that at some point I’ll move away from here, so it never feels permanent. It’s been a love hate sort of relationship with Dublin. When people ask if I love living here, my answer is usually “it’s complicated.”

Is that the sun I see?!

Is that the sun I see?!

I want to love you, Dublin. I’m trying. But the weather here, with the constant threat of rain, and never feeling warm, it just gets to you. And there’s no end in sight, according to my weather forecast. It may seem trivial, but it really has an impact on me. I can see a tangible difference in my happiness when the sun does make an appearance. We’ve all discussed, and agreed, this is why we go to pubs more than at home. In LA we might grab drinks once a week, maybe, but every other week was more likely. We went hiking all the time, or just wandered around the city (by foot or car). But here? Its cold, damp, and you just want to be inside. So you grab your friends after a long day of class or working on projects and escape the dreary cold in a pub. Maybe that’s just us. I hear the summer is better. It’s a shame too, because Ireland is absolutely gorgeous and ripe for outdoors activities. But without a car, and with the constant threat of rain, it’s hard to get motivated.

Wicklow

But it’s not all bad. Really, it’s not. In fact, I’m very happy here. The weather is probably the only thing I really don’t like. I didn’t realize how comfortable I’ve become in this city until last week. It was a Monday. My last week of class. I was supposed to be done at 5pm, but got out early. It was warm (for Dublin) and sunny. I had the inspiration to cook a more elaborate meal than usual. First, I wandered to Fallon & Byrn , our go-to grocery store in Dublin’s city center. And though its a bit expensive, it’s absolutely a top notch establishment selling ingredients we would spend days tracking down in the States. I got steak from their excellent butcher, and cheese from their cheese counter (though normally, I’d head to Sheridans-another store I wouldn’t mind having at my disposal in the states). From there I headed to Corkscrew, for a bottle or two of wine-for cooking and consuming. I ended up having a half hour discussion with the owner about verdicchios, as I was trying to track down an excellent bottle I had in Rome. I love these conversations,  talking to people who are really passionate about what they do. It’s why I support places like this, though they tend to be a bit pricier, they really care about what they sell. And turning something relatively mundane, such as picking out wine for dinner into an excellent conversation-not to mention an educational one-is exactly why I shop here.

It was a simple experience, but it reminded me what I love about Dublin. We’ve curated a life here, with places we know and love around the city, and we feel lucky to have them. We have our favorite boutiques; Smock for me, Indigo & Cloth for him, Article for home goods. We have a great little wineshop/beer purveyor near us where we’ve been educated on brewing in Ireland. And then, of course, there’s 3rd Floor, whom I’ve written about before and am endlessly grateful for having opened up here.  And although there aren’t a lot of options or variety, these places all make Dublin that much better. And it’s getting better, new places are opening all the time. And since Dublin feels more like a big town than a city, it feels very much like a small community, one that is extremely welcoming. It’s one thing I really do love about living here. San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York may have far more options, but it has always felt to me a closed off community where I could enjoy what they produced, but would never be a part of. In Dublin, I feel welcomed, and part of this emerging niche market. It’s a great feeling, and exciting to see a city’s food scene in it’s infancy as it continues to grow and rival the world’s best.

It’s easy enough to hate on Dublin, and to miss California in a way I never anticipated. But I’m learning to love it here, it’s hard sometimes, but I’ve increasingly tried to focus on what makes this city great and unique. Of course, I’m beyond ecstatic to be going to California for the next two weeks, but I’m not dreading coming back. And really, moving here was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. And will continue to be complicated as my visa expires in 2014. But the benefits have been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve met incredible people, I feel I’ve grown a lot, and not to mention, I get to live in Europe! Though I miss the states, when I imagine life if I had stayed, it’s not nearly as interesting as being here. Then again, safety and familiarity never is. So, I’m thankful to be here, and can’t wait to see what Ireland has in store in the next few months, hopefully, with slightly less rain.

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