Glass bottles clinked in my lap as we drove. It was the last run of the day, at one am, the streets of Dublin were alive with revelers and taxi cabs. We were saying goodbye to our old apartment, our home for our first year as expats in Dublin. Warm street lights cast a glow over the streets and we drove south, it had been a long day-but a good one.
I love moving, not the process so much, but the newness. A new apartment for a new year. Another beginning clearly marked by our novel surroundings. Between the two of us, we’ve lived in six apartments/homes over the past four years, each special in their own way, each marking a time in our lives. There was our first apartment in LA together, bright and modern, or my tiny Brooklyn apartment, dark and cozy. We loved each of them. And we’ve gotten good at moving, two days we can pack, move and unpack, our lives fit neatly into boxes. But this time was different. First because it was lucky, the Dublin rental/buying market is in a bubble now, making moving exceptionally difficult, but with a fair bit of luck, perseverance, and even a bit of aggression, we got our place. And we love it.
But it was mostly different because it was the first time we moved while living abroad. And we had our little community there with us. Friends to welcome us home with cocktails, help pack up, move, celebrate and unpack. We’re distinctly aware that our tendency to move so much limits our ability to establish a close-knit community, and while we have friends and family scattered throughout the world, finding our people in one city has generally been difficult. We’ve forgotten how amazing it is. We’ve resigned ourselves to being us against the world. But on moving day friends gathered to help us with the move. It made the process enjoyable, and we felt so blessed for the giving nature of our friends, who sacrificed their weekend to help us, because they wanted to.
On our first night, with boxes and piles of our life scattered around our new home, we ordered pizza and drank wine together, playing board games, talking, occasionally cleaning or putting something away. It made it feel instantly, that this was our new home, with our expat family close at hand.
The streets were darker, quieter as we approached Ballsbridge, away from the hectic city center where we now reside. We smiled to each other, tired, but joyful for our new beginning, for having each other in this place, and for our friends. Our community, our ad hoc family.
Our first year in Dublin proved better than I could have ever hoped, teaching me so much about myself, life, family, and the importance of nurturing strong community bonds. I’m looking forward to this year, to the millions of possibilities, uncertainties and certain adventures, close and far. I can’t wait to see what Dublin, the second year, will bring.