Yesterday marked one year since I touched down in Dublin with two bags each easily twice the size of myself (and I mean that), plus my bike and my cat Gypsy. I arrived at about 5a.m. then promptly went to sleep. On the plane over, it took me a good hour to stop crying. To be honest, the emotions I felt when I left made me wonder if I was doing the right thing by leaving my friends and family behind to go to a place I didn't know anything about.
The first few months were not easy. Sure, if you read my blog it looks pretty rosy, but I can tell you I felt homesick; discouraged by running out of money and not being able to find work; hemmed in by the rainy, windy weather; at times depressed because I didn't have any friends; frustrated at getting lost and having to look at maps, not to mention trying to negotiate the buses; isolated from people back home whenever bad news struck -- you name it, I felt it. Some days I would just log onto my gmail and wait for people in the US to wake up so I could talk to them, and then would do little else all day.
But slowly things started to turn around. I began to make friends. I got used to being broke! The weather got a bit warmer and drier. I started to realize that there are places in Dublin to have fun without spending a ton of money. I started being better at exploring the city. I started getting back to the things I used to enjoy doing, and found some new hobbies too. I set up a work table for myself. Basically, I got myself out of my rut.
So looking back on the past year, I feel satisfied. Did I accomplish everything I would have liked to this year? Hell, no. But was it a happy year? It definitely was. And for the first time in many, many years, I'm going to have a couple of New Year's resolutions!
However, the weather over the past few days does remind me of what I encountered when I first got to Ireland. I'll take a snowstorm any day over this wind and rain. All I can think of to do is stay inside as much as possible, safe in my little hovel! It's so easy to hole yourself away when it's like this and decide not to come out until Spring. But sadly, spring won't be much better! Living in Ireland means coming to terms with the crap weather. So I'm going to make an effort to go out and do fun things rather than stay in with tea (ok, whiskey) and TV just to stay warm and dry. But I gotta tell ya, it ain't gonna be easy.