Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Fairy Tale of Dublin

Yes, I'm back in Dublin - subleasing a gorgeous room in a giant house way out in Booterstown - my most favorite place of all the places in all the world (Dublin... not Booterstown).  It's difficult to put into words why on account of I'm not entirely sure myself.  Is it because eight years ago I was nineteen and exploding with travel-excitement and in such a mindset that I would have fallen in love with anywhere that wasn't a depressing suburb of Baltimore or a small town in central Pennsylvania?  Is it because all the weirdest and most interesting and cataclysmic things that ever happened to me happened in Dublin?

(Okay, that's a lie... there was the time I spent in a scary, Soviet hospital in Moscow, and the time I rode a horse through the Pacific surf as a storm rolled over the ocean while being chased by feral dogs in Ecuador, and climbing up to Machu Picchu, and doing sauna in Finland and rolling naked in the snow, and that summer in Galway I pretended to be a street musician, among others... what a strange eight years it's been.)

Is it because Dublin is where the highest concentration of my friends live?  If I'd gone to England for my semester abroad would I still spend everything I own and burn every bridge I've ever had trying to claw my way back eight years later?  Somehow, I don't think so.

Part of the reason I decided to go to South America at all last June was to try to break myself of my weird Dublin thing, like if I just gave myself a chance to enjoy living in other countries I'd stop trying to go back to Ireland which invariably results in me spending all my money and flying back to America in tears and anguish, because Dublin is an expensive city and its principle recreation (drinking) is the most expensive part of it.

Only now I have every intention of getting out of Ireland before that happens this time.  Today, after nearly six weeks in Dublin, I bit the bullet and booked a flight to Madrid.  I miss speaking Spanish, and I am not particularly eager to go through another Irish winter - churros and hot chocolate sound infinitely preferable to damp and dark and seasonal depression and praying the rosary over my dying fire as I waste away slowly from the consumption, subsisting on tea and Wild Woodbines.  (Irish summers are wondrous; winters not so much.)  After my allotted 90 days in Spain, I have every plan to head south and take the ferry to Morocco.

Otherwise, my past six weeks have been lovely, filled with swimming with the jellyfish at Seapoint; lounging in the sunshine at Dublin Castle; sparkly drag shows at The George; sand sculptures and art gallery openings and pub quizzes and 'zine exhibitions galore; recreating an Argentine asado as best I could in my backyard (there was steak and red wine and an overabundance of sausages of all sorts); buying a rusty-blue secondhand bike and cycling back and forth across the city, through wind and rain and everything in between; seeing the Milky Way and visiting ruins, a horse's grave, and the museum of Jackie Clark, local archivist extraordinaire and very well-traveled man, in Ballina, County Mayo.

And as I have two more months to go, I am continually scheming ways of coming back and visas I could apply for.  More education is a possibility, if an expensive one, but I have lots of traveling to get out of the way first.  And there are more Ireland adventures to come, including somehow managing to transport a massive tureen of borscht from Booterstown to Harold's Cross for my friend's potluck birthday party, free operas at the Wood Quay amphitheatre, serving as an American au pair for my two friends' amazingly precocious bilingual baby, and a four-day surfing/singing/drinking holiday with a huge group of friends out west in Lahinch, Co. Clare.  But for this weekend, I have an old friend from high school coming to stay with me, so I may have a more typical Dublin weekend to write about, - Book of Kells, Temple Bar, and the like.

Otherwise, yes... I am thrilled to be here, and thrilled that I have two more months.  The weather is already getting chilly, which means I get to wear all my knitted garments that I packed.  I'm nearly finished knitting my alpaca jumper as well, all but one sleeve, and shall be starting a new project soon enough.