Travel

That one time I went to Ireland…

Memory is a beautiful thing in life, more often than not, we hold the important ones close; sometimes by choice, and others, not so much. When I look back and think to the very first one I remember, I’m back in my aunt’s home, all cozy and sipping on the sugariest cold coffee, hearing stories about my long-gone grandma. I can still envision the details, the room was lit in this green hue of a night lamp, my aunt sitting on the floor, my mom and I on the bed, listening intently as she passionately talks about stories from her childhood. From the corner of my eye, I see my mom reminiscing her past, holding my hand tightly as she thinks back to their best days.

If you ask me right this second, I’d happily trade places for that moment. It had a familiar sweetness and acceptance that made me feel like I belonged, like I was home.

And if you haven’t been keeping up with my quarter life crisis, then you could read some of my posts from before that tell you how I feel like a nomad in a city I’ve lived for 16 years.  Ironically, for a week, I found that feeling again, right in the middle of Dublin, with not a single familiar soul to soothe my anxieties, yet I felt right at home. Not the kind of home that you can just sleep at night, not the kind of home that is eternally broken; but the kind where I felt my insecurities disappear, my anxieties become passive and my heart felt something it hasn’t in a while…it felt at peace.

Whether I walked alone, late at night on the streets; or up early to relish in a moment overlooking the a canal; whether I sipped on a fancy shot of whiskey or mixed some in with my morning coffee, every moment felt like my own. Every memory was mine and mine alone; no one to change how I wanted to live it, no one to tell me when to come home, no one to judge me when I went to the theatre, or when I sat by myself at restaurants enjoying the view. I’m sure to a layman that sounds despariningly lonely, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2017 is to be okay with just that.

So okay I was; lost in the city’s perfect sights, charming people and its nosy-culture, by some regard I felt like the Galway girl. Living life one night at a time, singing (badly) at Grafton Street alongside an impeccable street performer, walking into history in Belfast, letting foreign friends share with me their fascinating histories and sharing some of mine; oooh, last but not least waking up to strangers in a cramped hostel room and finding yourself playing cards with them 5 hours later. Everything was unexpected; the people, the city and above all, ME.

As I write this, I’m torn between reminiscing that version of myself and accepting that it was short-lived or holding on tightly enough to save its remains. It haunts me that I would climb any mountain, cross any ocean; just to relive this memory, and there are very few, that would make me want to do that. Meanwhile, I have found comfort in writing stories of my past and remembering them in extensive detail. It’s the only way to preserve the magic when the going gets tough, or when I find myself lose touch with the reality; it’s all right here, etched forever, here and in my heart. 

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