First, it was about getting here. Now, it’s about getting “there.” A place that encompasses the making of my new life here in Dublin in its entirety; the journey to this unknown destination in my mind that I hope will soon be a reality.
The transition abroad was definitely less rocky than my departure for Madrid. The day of my flight wasn’t spent moving my bed out or dashing down to DC to pick up my passport at the Spanish consulate, but it also wasn’t totally organized either. I met up with my close friends for brunch, which turned into a bar crawl. We played songs on the jukebox, visited our most favorite spots in the neighborhood. Around 5 pm, I should have been getting in the car to go to the airport. Instead, I insisted on going to visit the house of someone special to me, but he wasn’t there. At that point I had done all I needed to do, or at least attempted to, so I knew it was time to leave.
My stuff was still spread out around my friend Molly’s house which resulted in leaving behind two pairs of shoes and books, among other small items. But, at least I had all of the essentials. I rushed into BWI, checked my bags, made it through security, and boarded my plane.
The flight was long and I was in a haze. When I got to Reykjavik for the layover, the shorts and tank top appropriate for Baltimore’s scorching temperatures were no longer acceptable. I changed into long pants in the bathroom and planned to use my towel as a crude blanket on the plane. The layover was short and in no time, I was sitting in a window seat on the flight that would take me to my new home. A guy around my age a seat away struck up conversation. A fellow American, Alex would end up being my first friend of the trip.
When we touched down in Dublin, I started to feel the first wave of doubt. I couldn’t decide if it was attributed to the hangover that dragged on through time zones, over lost hours and daylight, or if I was just getting old and becoming less adventurous and more set in my ways. I kept putting one foot in front of the other though, and rode the shuttle into town where I would settle in at my hostel.
Thank goodness for whatsapp and Skype; right away I was able to text some of my closest friends and profess my self-doubt. Hearing from someone that it was going to be alright was really all I needed. Someone I knew just talking to me. Having Alex there helped, too; we went to lunch, dinner, and ultimately a self-guided bar crawl. Doing something fun and spontaneous helped take my mind off things.
I started my apartment hunt on Tuesday and have been at it since with little luck. Gone are my dreams of a studio. I don’t think it’s going to happen. Instead I’ve lowered my standards to a room with a double bed in a house share situation. I saw one place on Tuesday night, but the room was tiny. Even if I had wanted to take it though, I haven’t heard back from the guy who showed it to me.
The demand of housing here far exceeds the supply — like an exercise in an elementary economics class, I’m seeing how the housing economy is easily manipulated because of this. Landlords can set their highest price because they know SOMEONE will pay it. So, I wake up each morning and scour the ads. I send message after message. And I wait. I have a month and am trying to convince myself that I can get something I like, but it’s frustrating to feel so defeated right out of the gate. It has never been this hard for me to get an apartment.
My saving grace through all of this has been the Irish guy who works the front desk at the hostel. K has given me advice, words of encouragement, helped me search, and made me laugh when I needed it. He reminds me of why I’m here; to live and work alongside some of the friendliest and best people in the world.
I’m hanging out with Neil, a Baltimorean expat now living in Dublin, and his girlfriend tonight down in their neighborhood of Dundrum. It’s one of the areas I’m searching in, so I’m hoping it gives me a better sense of what life outside of the city center is like. I suspect I’ll like it. Being in the center means I hear practically every language being spoken on the streets except English in an Irish accent. And high schoolers. High schoolers everywhere.
I’m hoping to get back in a writing groove after all of the craziness of the past month. But, I will make no guarantees as the coming week and weekend will probably be hectic.
Here’s to hoping the luck of the Irish touches this house hunting venture.