I am a lucky girl. I have no doubts about that. One of my best friends, Colette, is currently back in Boston, hopefully asleep because it’s somewhere between 4 and 5am there. But for a week she was right here with me, standing on Irish soil and seeing the world from a different perspective.
I got to show her around Dublin, taking her to visit tourist sites like Trinity College and the National Gallery, and showing off a few of my favorite Dublin bookstores, like The Gutter Bookshop on Cow’s Lane. I hope she had fun, because I certainly did. It was nice to see the wonder of Dublin again. I know that I’m lucky. But knowing something isn’t always the same thing as feeling it. The places we live become familiar to us, and it’s easy to forget how incredible something really is.
As I walked around the city with my best friend, pointing out places I’d been and sharing stories and little historical facts, I caught a glimpse of it through her eyes. We weren’t in Kansas anymore, or in our case, Galway. (And I mean the rural New York farm-town, not the Ireland’s west coast city.)
Traveling is amazing. It takes my breath away and I feel exhilarated and satisfied all at once. I adored Bruges, and I’m so excited for all of my trips to come (one of which begins tomorrow). But I have to thank Colette for reminding me that this city is amazing, too. The whole fact that I’m here is amazing. That’s a fact I sometimes forget to hold onto, especially when I’m feeling tired and frustrated.
And I do get tired and frustrated. I wish I didn’t, but I’m only human, and in the four months that I’m here I suppose it only makes sense that it would happen once or twice. I still have classes to go to and papers to write. This week in particular actually, despite Colette’s warm presence, I was feeling pretty worn down. I keep on top of my work, but it can still feel like there’s a never-ending stream of things to do.
Thank goodness for good friends. Colette and I explored Cork City last weekend, visiting art galleries and being typical tourists at Blarney Castle. We even had perhaps the most Irish night of our lives, eating soup and brown soda bread in a pub while we listened to traditional Irish music, watched a few people dance the jig, and kept up with the Cork v. Dublin match playing on the television in the corner. The next morning we were off to Blarney to kiss the famous stone.
Back in Dublin, Colette met up with a friend from school and they did some sightseeing while I was in class, even taking a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher on Tuesday. I got to see her a couple more times before she departed yesterday morning; she really did brighten what could have been a dreary week.
As sad as I am that she had to go so soon, I’m also incredibly relieved that it is finally spring break. I feel like I just need to breathe. I need some time where I don’t have to worry, where I can just be. And what better place to be than in Italy with Sarah and Ben?
Ben’s in London now, stuck in Heathrow until his flight to Dublin takes off. It’s delayed and we’re both sad. But we’re taking it in stride. We’re about to embark on a week-long trip to Italy after all. We have a lot to be happy about.