& she left her heart across the sea

If I were in a creative mood, I’d write another letter to match my one on homesickness. At the moment, though, I think that approach might make me cry. I’m really not in the mood for crying any more today. I already teared up during the congregational meeting at church today when Becky nudged my arm and handed me the LeapCard I’d lent her when she visited me back in October.

I know. A church meeting. A LeapCard. I cried. How pitiful is that?

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Luckily, Becky just smiled at me and let me have my moment. She knows more than most how much I miss Dublin — after all, she got to be part of my time there. As it is, though, a lot of my friends have been asking me specifically what I miss about Ireland.

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Well. What don’t I miss would be a question with a much shorter answer. Come to think of it, I’ve been asked that one, too. In case you’re wondering, that list is one item long and includes only Trinity College Dublin’s library system.

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Yes, that library.

The things I miss, on the other hand — well, that list goes on for a long while, starting with the way the entire country makes me think of that poem by Yeats – I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree

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I miss a lot of things about Ireland. I miss the Saturday markets (book, food, and craft), the Sunday treks to Maynooth, movie nights with Jess, dinner with the Gilliams, the ease of travel (both in-country and internationally), the scones, the richness of the butter, the street musicians.

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I miss the prevalence of tea, the presence of pubs on every block, the rainbows, the greens of the hills and the blues of the sea and even the yellow of the buses, the backwards cars, the old stone ruins, the quality of the seafood, and every detail about Howth. Seriously. Every little thing. From seafood chowder at the Dog House Blues to that first weekend walking the piers and cliffs with Annabelle, Eileen, Tyler, and Lis, the flapping of the BOYS IN BLUE Dublin flags in the gusts of wind, or beach-wandering with Hanna the week we left – I miss it all.

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I miss LeapCards and train rides and double-decker buses and the crazy flags strung across every alley. I miss loose leaf tea cafes and buying student deal burgers from Bobo’s. I miss joking about American traditions with Hanna and Jess, ice cream from Murphy’s, and going out for pints with friends.

I miss independent book stores on every other block. I miss watching the sunset from my dorm window. I miss that kind of weird glass walkway that connects Goldsmith to campus. I miss the CU on Thursday nights and the incredible amounts of biscuits we consumed afterwards. I miss staring at the sky in the middle of a city and being able to still see the stars. I miss the ridiculous number of bikes everywhere. I miss seeing signs first in Irish, then in English. I miss using international stamps to send postcards. I miss walking to the grocery store on the North side and then wandering past the produce vendors on Moore Street. I miss eating fish and chips and plotting vacations with Lis. I miss seeing movies at the Savoy. I miss buying remarkably good burritos for less than €6 and I miss smiling when I noticed something particularly non-American and thinking, Wow, that’s so fascinating. I can’t wait to tell everyone about it. 

I miss traveling and sneaking pictures of my friends while I took pictures of everything else.

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I miss writing about all I was learning about life and people and culture and discovering new things about myself in such an incredibly different setting.

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I miss rainy weather, sunny weather, blue-sky-and-cloudy weather.

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I miss that feeling I always had that if I reached up just a little bit more, I could touch the clouds.

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Jess told me before I left that the reason for that one was the higher number of stratus clouds in Ireland.

I don’t know a lot about meteorology, but I trust her explanation. What I do know is that in Ireland –

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The clouds press close against the earth, and the heavens cling to the sea.

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