Settling into Ireland

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September 18th 2010
Published: September 18th 2010
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Beautifully clear day along the Liffey.
It’s now been two weeks since I landed in Ireland - and I’ve been loving every minute. It’s very rare that you come to a place, especially a place abroad, and feel completely comfortable and at home. That is exactly how I’ve felt from the minute I landed in Ireland.

I got incredibly lucky in regards to my living situation. My house is right in the city center and just a short 10-minute walk from Trinity. Everything you could want or need is within walking distance. My roommates are amazing and we have so much fun together. And after hearing horror stories of looking for places to live from the other graduate students, I feel especially lucky since I didn’t even see the place before moving in. Attached are a few photos of my house (though admittedly they don’t really do it justice).

Though I haven’t started classes yet and won’t until the 27th of September, I’ve been quite busy ever since I got here. It takes a lot to get all settled into a new country and not only does it take a lot, but it inevitably seems like you are forced to just go around in circles,
The Dublin WheelThe Dublin WheelThe Dublin Wheel

Great way to see the city.
which seems to make things even longer. But, I am very happy to say that I think I now have everything sorted, from registration on campus to registration with the Irish immigration bureau.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from moving around so much, it’s that you can never fully appreciate a place, a situation, a home until you’ve left it. In the same vein, you can never fully understand the significance a place has on your life until you’re removed from it.

My recent life can be assessed in three stages: D.C., Colby, Ireland. While none of these terms even describe the same type of locality (a district, a town, a country), they each signify significant periods of my life within the past year. Where I’ve been, where I’m going to be, and how I got there.

I wrote in an email to a friend the other day saying that I’m having a great time in Dublin, that it’s just like D.C., but without all the stress and with a lot more Irish people.

To say that my life in D.C. was stressful would be an understatement. Looking back on it now, I’m not
The House on Baggot CourtThe House on Baggot CourtThe House on Baggot Court

(Very bad shot actually.)
sure how I ever did it. I worked 70-80 hours a week, was always on call and felt so tied to my job that I was afraid to ever even go away for the weekend. (There was normally far too much work to be done on the weekends to even think about that anyway.) Instead of working to live, I lived to work, and work, and work, and then when I thought it was impossible to do anymore, I would work some more.

There was one thing that kept me going throughout it all though - a dream of going to graduate school in Ireland. Applications to schools and scholarships were about the only thing I really did give myself time for besides work, when I could fit it in. And though the thought of me moving even further east never excited my parents, my mom was there throughout every step of those applications, doing whatever it took to help me out.

D.C. was a struggle. It was a test of endurance and a trial of convictions. It was both eye opening and motivating. It was everything I has suspected it could be, and nothing I decided I wanted at the moment. As far as experiences go though, it was one I would never give back for anything.

Well, I survived D.C., got accepted into my top university choice in Ireland, and moved back to Colby to detox and spend some much needed time with my parents, my family and my friends. As exhausting as D.C. was, Colby was the exact opposite. The comforts of home mixed with the knowledge that I would soon be setting off on another new adventure. And I truly enjoyed every minute of being back home.

I was able to sleep in. I was able to exercise. I was able to spend time with friends without being in front of my computer, working at the same time. I was able to cook dinner with my mom every night, and much to my dismay, I was able to argue politics with my dad anytime *he* wanted. Life in Colby was great.

I did have the same opportunity to be at home in Colby with my parents the summer before, but this year was definitely different. The year before I spent the entire summer applying for jobs, hoping and praying I
Our living roomOur living roomOur living room

Very cozy.
could land something in D.C. The uncertainty of not knowing what life holds for you next is quite worrisome and not something I had to worry anything about this summer.

This year I was able to make the most of the time I had with my parents, my other family members and my friends while I was back at home. I knew where I was going next and didn’t have a thing to worry about - except whether I’d actually be allowed in the country once I got there. (Luckily, that wasn’t much of a problem!) I was able to fully appreciate each of them and the precious time I had with them. Something that is all too often taken for granted when we are lucky enough to see the ones we love day in and day out. As they say here in Ireland, “it was grand.”

It’s a funny thing when you’re finally in a place that you’ve worked so hard to get to, a place you’ve hoped to be at for so long.

You’re there. You’ve made it! But, now what? How do you make the most of it?

You savor every single
My bedroom!My bedroom!My bedroom!

Or a small portion of it.

I was sitting in a beautiful park the other day reading a book when an older gentleman came and sat down beside me. He wasn’t doing anything special and we didn’t really talk much. He just sat down, drank his coffee and started to feed a chocolate muffin to some pigeons. After he left, a bridal party came though the park taking pictures. The little flower girls were running all around the pristinely cut grass and the gorgeous flowers playing hide-and-seek awaiting their turn to be photographed in their fancy dresses. There was something so simple, yet so moving about the entire experience.

After seeing all of this, I couldn’t help but think - from the great satisfaction one can get from sitting in a park drinking coffee to the joy that can only be experienced on one’s wedding day, it’s learning to enjoy each and every one of those moments to the fullest that really is what life is all about.

I guess that would be life lesson number one learned in Ireland. And coming just after my first couple of weeks here, I’m sure this land of saints and scholars will provide many more.
View 2 of my bedroomView 2 of my bedroomView 2 of my bedroom

Kind of white, isn't it?
And I fully intend to savor every single moment.

This week I am headed to the French Riviera for a little rest and relaxation for a few days before starting classes. Beautiful pictures and interesting stories are sure to follow! Cannes, Nice and Monaco - here I come!

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Rainbows from our back windowRainbows from our back window
Rainbows from our back window

Not surprisingly, I've gotten to see quite a few of these since arriving.
Sunset from our HouseSunset from our House
Sunset from our House

Check out the architects' office across the street.
Merrion SquareMerrion Square
Merrion Square

Couple taking a walk.

26th September 2010

I can definitely relate
Hello! I am a fellow blogger but I am studying in Sweden at the moment. Just wanted to say I can REALLY relate to your points about enjoying the moment. I worked incredibly hard to get myself into the exchange program here and I am just amazed by every experience I've had since arriving- at the risk of sounding cheesy it's all kind of magical really. I just can't believe how lucky I am to have this opportunity and I refuse to waste an ounce of it!

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