Facing the last few weeks of classes, I’m reminded of how fast this graduate program has passed. This July, I’ll have been here 12 months. It’s truly crazy to think about because it doesn’t seem like too long ago that I was frantically looking for a flat and trying to get acclimated to life in a new place. Since I’ve been here, I’ve met a lot of great people, explored the city, found some favorite local spots, and seen a good bit of the country. But my time here isn’t done. It’s too soon.
I spent today hiking the 5.5 km Bray to Greystones cliff trail once again. And just like the last time, I gazed out over the blue water, rocky cliffs, and pristine beaches and had the same thought: I can’t believe I live here. It’s true that the grass is always greener in foreign pastures; quite a few Irish people I’ve met have told me they can’t wait to get out, that this place has almost an oppressive hold on them. When prodded, they will admit that it is a really beautiful country, but it doesn’t change the desire to run. I understand that.
As much as I love Baltimore, love the character and soul of the city, miss my friends and family, I can only last so long before I start to feel restless again. The U.S. has so much to offer in terms of landscape, culture, and people, but I want something completely different. Something that keeps me guessing and surprises me in various little ways everyday. As I sat on the Madrid metro at the end of March, heading toward the airport and the 2 hour flight that would take me back to Dublin, I had a moment of near panic: I’m not ready to leave.
I had a job interview for a part-time contractual position at the National Maternity Hospital on Thursday. It was for a Research Assistant post working on a study of preeclampsia in conglomeration with UCD. The job entails recruiting patients, taking demographic data, managing said data, and ultimately helping to analyze it. I’ve been looking to break into the maternal child health field and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. I felt confident about the interview (other than one question I went away thinking was totally stupid) and was told afterward that everyone would be notified the next week. The next day, I had an email with an offer.
The post is for three days a week and the salary is great; despite being part-time, it will end up paying what some full-time RA positions pay. With those three days of the week sorted, I would have two other days to fill, but I have a few options in mind. I made a contact with a MD in the national TB program who mentioned that I should contact her after graduation and she’d hire me. Not sure if it was a flip comment, but I figure I might as well see if she has any part-time work available. So, I needless to say, I accepted the offer and will be completing paperwork soon.
With that in the works, I’m now also beginning to look for a new place. I’m on the lookout for a small studio closer to the city center. As much as I’d love to live outside of Dublin, I know how I am about commutes and timeliness. What’s more, I’m planning to bring my dog, Louie, over with me when I go home to visit. I can’t very well commute an hour into town and back with him waiting all day. I also think about going out after work. I can’t do it if I can’t stop off at home and walk him. I love the idea of living in a town near the beach, but I can’t let myself turn into a total hermit. We’ll see what I find.
My fiction writing class is fantastic; my classmates are great, the teacher is awesome, and I feel really inspired afterward. But, most of my writing lately has been academic and there are still several papers to be written before the end of the month. I spent several hours on Friday writing a piece about Madrid I’d like to submit to the Matador Network but I couldn’t seem to get it the way I wanted. I started strong, then ended up revising it three separate times. I still wasn’t satisfied and thought the walk home would clear my head. I got back home and decided I’d just read instead. I have problems with mental blocks that prevent me from turning out work I find worthy of submitting for publication. I’ve read a lot of stuff on Matador and a lot of it is crap. But it’s flashy crap. “Listicles” and stories with titles like, “I live in the hood in Madrid, and it’s OK.” I found myself thinking I needed to dumb my article down, or make it less philosophical. It’s like that episode of Extras where Andy refuses to compromise his art for something the general public would find funny. Although he ends up caving in the end and turning out a terrible TV series, thus making this a somewhat equally terrible analogy, I feel I’m faced with the same dilemma. I suppose I should just write what I feel and see how it’s received, or not.
I volunteered to be part of the first group of three to submit pieces to the class to workshop during our session on Thursday. I’m putting forth the short story that was well-received among friends and people whose literary opinions I respect, then subsequently ripped apart by a member of UCD’s Literary Society (which I have since abandoned). I am extremely sensitive to criticism, but most especially when I feel it’s unduly harsh or unwarranted. I’m interested to see how the class and teacher react, and feel I can trust their suggestions and opinions.
Lastly, been getting back into the ol’ dating scene. As exhausting as it is, it still makes for some interesting stories. I have a date lined up on Thursday with a dude who seems pretty solid, and am chatting with a few others. Despite the whole emotionally-repressed aspect of Irish men, I still find them really intriguing. I’m not ready to throw in the towel and move on to another nationality just yet.
Am planning to go back to Baltimore/West Virginia next month to settle some affairs with my house and to see friends and family. Work was flexible enough to postpone my start date and so I’ll get to spend a good portion of May back in the States. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone.
And now to end this exceptionally long update. There is much on the horizon to keep me busy, and busy is just what I need.