My first weeks in Dublin have been a series of grins and groans as I slowly get accustomed to these new and unfamiliar surroundings. I have juggled with loneliness and homesickness but have also felt great surges of joy as I discover things that fill my soul with new energy.
I am now better acquainted with the area and the building where hubby and I are staying, a corporate apartment that costs a very pretty penny, as it's in a wonderfully central location, but which is essentially a small, five-story walk-up.
Not even when we were first married did we ever live in such close confinement! The thought of spending a summer here was, at first, quite daunting, but I have to admit that the bed is very comfortable, the towels are big and fluffy, there is plenty of hot water and climbing stairs daily is a great cardio workout! Besides, I have to confess that I have already grown very fond of the clang- clang the tramways make when they stops at the bottom of our street and anyway, I did not come here for home comforts.
Even though I still don’t know where most things are, I am aware of having been transported to a place that is unique and which offers me many different experiences. That is what makes an adventure; you must get lost every day but never feel lost. You must never look for anything in particular, you just walk and absorb sounds and images as you go and let them impact your thoughts without restraint.
Never have I had such unstructured days. At first it made me feel somewhat rudderless to have nothing in front of me but time and space, but now I find it liberating to walk out of a building in an unfamiliar city and just see where my instincts take me. That is how I managed to take a photo of Queen Elizabeth waving from her car, found a wonderful woman from the Ivory Coast who sews in a tiny shop above an Internet café, discovered a magical Victorian tea room at the back end of an old department store. Who knows what discovery I might make tomorrow!
My ears are slowly adjusting to the musical way the Irish speak. I am getting used to crossing the streets that have traffic coming from the ‘wrong’ side. I have figured out the money system. I now know that I must always wear layers, even on the sunniest of days and that it isn’t worth getting my umbrella out when it begins to rain because it’s really only a fast-moving cloud spitting a little. I am aware that at the end of the day, when my head is crammed full of new impressions and my feet hurt from miles of walking, that I have collected another fine batch of memories for a time in the future when I will no longer want to have this kind of adventure. I suppose you could say that I am living my days to the fullest and that it's not always easy but at least I won't have regrets later on when I look back. At my age, that's important.