Since returning to Ireland, after spending eleven days back home in Canada, two things have become absolutely apparent to me. One: at the end of this month, I will be halfway finished my job as an Au Pair for the Comiskey family; and two: I really need to get a move on and see all the places I still have yet to see.
Coming here and uprooting my life took a lot longer for me to adjust to than I realized. Now, I finally feel at home here. I feel comfortable, I feel liberated, and I’m finally ready to set out and really explore this wonderful island. I want to make the most of the time I have left, to see all I can see and learn all I can learn. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
So I decided to start delving into the culture a bit deeper. My new years resolution: become more Irish. I told myself that if I am to read, it should be an Irish book. If I am to watch a movie, it should be an Irish movie. With technology, everything from home is so easily accessible to me here. I can watch Hart of Dixie on Friday nights, get the new music that’s coming out, and keep up with all of the other hype that’s going on back home. But really, what’s the point in that? I’m missing all of the life that’s happening right in front of me. I’m missing being able to experience the aspects of Irish culture, like movies, books and music, that I already loved before coming here, even though I’m actually in the place that produces them. I’m letting my time to experience it all slip through my fingers. I’m in a place I’ve always desperately wanted to see, and here I am trying to catch up on everything that’s happening back home. Doesn’t really make much sense now, does it?
Part of putting this resolution into action is to make sure I spend more of my time traveling to different cities throughout the emerald isle. Last weekend, some friends and I went to Belfast to tour around the city, and it was an absolute blast. We went to the Crumlin Road Gaol, took a Black Taxi tour, ventured through the Titanic exhibition, and, as one does, hit a few Irish pubs along the way. We learned so much about Belfast in one weekend, it was unbelievable. I had no idea just how much history (especially recent history) there was here. For instance, the peace wall shown in the featured picture. It seems like the Troubles were so long ago, when in reality such structures prove that there is still an ongoing struggle between the citizens of Belfast, and show that this “history” still has a huge impact on every day lives. I, ignorantly, had no idea.
But there was no better way I could have learned about it than from a man who actually lived here, his entire life, and who could give a first hand account of the scars that have shaped this fierce and momentous city. And, on the flip side, to also engage with people who know this city best, who know how to enjoy it to it’s fullest, and who can show you how much fun it really can be. To have such people pass on these stories, any kinds of stories, that reflect their own experiences in order to show the shaping of their own lives, like people have been doing since the beginning of time, is an incredibly authentic way to learn and absorb a culture. It was through this experience in Belfast that I realized I need to do more of this – I need to learn through experience.
Having this epiphany also has me contemplating whether or not I should extend my stay in Ireland. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to say goodbye to this country so soon. There’s so much left to learn, to see, and I want to make sure I do it all. I mean, I absolutely love it here. I can’t quite describe how beautiful it is, and how meaningful it is to live in a place that has such a wonderful and fascinating history. It might be nice to work here a little bit longer. There is absolutely nothing tying me down at home, nothing or no one standing in my way. I can live whichever life I choose to live, so why not go a little further with it?
Nothing has been decided yet, but I definitely have a lot to think about in the next few months. I’m not sure what I’ll do or how I’ll go about doing it, but I just feel like a part of me isn’t ready to say goodbye, even if I do have five more months here. In the meantime, I plan to just keep going along this philosophical path and try to throw myself into as much of the history, culture and lifestyle as I can, while I can. My focus should be here, so that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t wanna waste any more time outside of the here and now, and I will try my damnedest to ensure I appreciate my life here for what it truly is: spectacular.