Week One: The Flight, Orientation, and Exploration

I’m here and I don’t feel any different.
I’ve been in Dublin, Ireland for over a week now and I haven’t felt any different than when I was at home. That’s why it has taken me so long to finally write this first post. I kept waiting for that moment where I realized “this ain’t Greenville anymore,” but it never came. I felt that I needed to have that “ah-ha” moment to be able to write the most amazing blog that would give every reader their final reason to book their flight to Dublin. But no big moment has happened.
In the past week I’ve said goodbye to family and friends, traveled alone, spent over twelve hours in separate airports on my own, exchanged currency, met new friends, traversed across an entire city in search of a good pint, traveled to Howth on the DART, asked strangers for directions, and been mistaken for a local. Yet after all that, I can’t seem to feel that different.
I spent my time packing just thinking of double and triple checking my list to ensure I had everything packed. The plane rides were spent, hopelessly, trying to sleep, the time in the airport was spent watching Scrubs on Netflix (thanks, Philly, for the amazing wifi). Once I was actually in Ireland, I was too nervous about what the immigration officers would ask me and what might happen if I answered their questions wrong or had the wrong documents in my hand.
Orientation was amazing. I spent the Wednesday and Thursday getting to know the city on numerous tours and group outings, bonding with my fellow program students, and, obviously, trying to find the best (and cheapest) pubs in Dublin. There was a lot of walking involved and a lot of getting out of my comfort zone (like doing adult things such as buying a new phone plan and ordering alcohol for myself).
Friday. Friday my program organized a day trip to Howth (a small fishing village in county Dublin). I had never seen anything so beautiful. The calmness of the water, the beauty in the grey and green landscape contrasting the bright purple of the wild heather and vibrant yellow of the wildflowers, the porpoises off the rocky shore, the fresh smell off the water in the cool breeze. I wish that I was a good enough writer to put what Howth looked like into words or a good enough photographer to be able to show you just how breathtaking it was to stand off the cliff and see the water and rocks and grass around me. But I’m neither.
I thought that may have been my moment. The moment where I feel my eyes sting and I think “I’m here. I’m here for three and a half months. I’m here changing my life.”
But it wasn’t.
It’s like I’m in denial that I ever left Greenville, South Carolina and hopped on a plane landing on the Emerald Isle to take classes and go out at night and meet strangers that become life long friends.
It’s like I’m here and I don’t feel any different.
No one warned me about this feeling. Everyone said that it’s an unbelievable feeling and that it will change your life. That’s true. But no one told me how long that feeling can take to sink in. No one warned me when the breaking point is between this adventure feeling like a vacation and this turning into living in a foreign country with strangers and strange accents.
Don’t get me wrong. I am loving this experience and soaking up every minute that I’m in this beautiful city and this amazing landscape.
It just hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t be going home until December.

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