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31 July 2013

Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Last weekend I was lucky enough to fly over to Dublin for a quick visit.  Being on this side of the Atlantic has made it much easier to see family, since flights are obviously quite a bit cheaper than they are from the States.  It's a perk of my living here that I didn't much consider before the move, but have since enjoyed every couple of months.
This visit was a special one, though, as it was to mark the Baptism of my newest cousin, the beautiful Meron Margaret Turner.  My aunt adopted Meron from Ethopia a few months ago, and the baby is as sweet as can be with the best temperament that I've ever seen in a little one of her age.  I was surprised when I shed a few happy tears when I first saw her, but I'm so glad that this little girl gets to be part of our family, and so happy I was able to be there to see her.  She and my aunt and uncle live in Dubai, so I felt especially lucky that we were able to meet in Dublin.  My dad was also able to be there, as he was on a trip to Germany, and we had a really lovely weekend (with probably a few too many fish and chips, for me).  I wished only that my sisters and my mother could have been there, too.

Welcome to our crazy family, little girl!
I'm always filled with lots of emotion when I get to travel home to Ireland.  Though I've lived in the States longest of anywhere, there's not a drop of my blood that isn't Irish and every time the airplane flies low enough to see the neatly bordered green fields, I'm filled with a sense of home that I don't get anywhere else.  There's something about Ireland; something about the smell of burning turf and moisture that seems to be always on the air, the kind faces on every street and sidewalk, and the greenest green stretching for miles and miles and miles.  I love the US, it's an intrinsic part of who I am, but the sense of belonging that I get in Dublin is one that doesn't always come as readily in America.  Or, rather, it's an entirely different sense of belonging.  America is the place where I grew up, where I became who I am, where I met the people that will shape me for the rest of my life.  But Ireland is the place that is who I am.  It's a difficult feeling, a feeling that fills me at times with trepidation.  There's part of me - a big part - that wants to drop everything and move to Dublin, to reconnect with the sense of myself that I find there.  On the other hand, something tells me that no matter how long I stay away, Ireland will always be a part of who I am.  I worry only that the feeling will shrink, or that I'll fill myself with so many other homes - Paris included - that I'll squeeze it out somehow.  As our family that remains in Ireland shrinks, thanks in part to a wanderlust gene that many of us seem to carry, going home will be harder as there will be increasingly fewer people to visit.  I guess, though, if nothing else, I'll have to continue to go back to stock up on Irish tea and chocolate.
Sunny rainy Irish weather from a bus window

This blog isn't meant to be a place where I dredge up my deepest darkest concerns and worries, and I'm sorry to seem overly introspective, but I think that the struggle of my ideas of home is something that will continue for as long as I travel.  I know that my last post included some of the same sentiments, and I am sorry if it's repetitive or boring to read about, but it's something that weighs heavily on my mind from time to time, particularly after trips to other homes like the States and Dublin.  It's an undercurrent that will surface from time to time, and I do hope you'll bear with me while I use this space to help me work it all out.
Aside from all the heavy introspection and my ongoing transcendental struggle (joking...), I'm settling back in to life here after summer travels.  With one best friend already home in the US after her French visa expired and another heading back in the next few weeks, it's hard not to feel uncertain about the future.  Making friends anywhere after college can be really hard, I think, but it can be even harder in a foreign country.  I guess the time has come to check out some ex-pat meet up groups, as nervous and maybe "uncool" as that makes me feel - what I'd give for an awkward Parisian luau at this point! (I guess that joke might be only understandable to Villanova alum?)  But ultimately, this uncertainty is what I signed up for when I booked that plane ticket last summer, and I'd rather the excitement of uncertainty than the monotony of tired routine.  



In other current events, the contract on my tiny little apartment is ending soon.  I'll miss the big window and the broken floor and the rickety ladder leading to my bed, and the apartment will always hold lots of memories of my first year here.  Inviting friends over for dinners where we trip over one another (one friend at a time, only), trying to pack and unpack in a space that hardly fits my suitcase, waking up during winter mornings for a frigid commute through still-dark streets... The place will stay with me forever in its little ways, but I'm hoping for a bit of an upgrade in terms of space and willing to accept a bit of a downgrade in terms of location.  The Paris real estate market moves at the speed of light so I'm spending any spare moment perusing adverts... Here's to hoping I find something as wonderful as this first place!


Paris is quiet in the summertime, and in less touristy areas the streets are emptying as Parisians take their yearly vacances to the beach or the country. In many places, including my neighborhood, tourists are in full force but I try to keep a positive attitude when they block up the sidewalk with their maps and their cameras... I remember how enchanted I was on my first trip to Paris, and I'm just happy to see other people willingly seduced by Paris' charm.  I'm off to the beach this weekend, but other than that I plan to soak in the tranquility of an August in Paris, preparing for the big changes that seem to be coming my way.  Time to hold on tight and see what's coming! xo

P.S.: If you need another excuse to come over and see Paris for yourselves, check out this beautiful video by Sebastian Weitbrecht:






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Sinéad Cloughley said...

Lovely post as usual, but makes me miss you a lot. Can't wait to start hunting for our Dublin apartment!