Today I’m not going to give you any pieces of advice. Nor am I going to talk about the States. Well, maybe I will, but this country is not the main character of the story. This time it’s going to be an incredible island that stole my heart many years ago and just won’t let go…
How often do you wish you were somewhere else? No, I’m not talking about beautiful beaches or desert islands, most of us want to be there, that’s obvious. I believe all of us have a place we want to visit more than once, a place that soothes our souls and attracts in a magical way. Another country, beautiful buildings, fancy restaurants, small cafes? Or maybe you get sentimental when you see a specific type of train? Those are places, where we meet people with whom we want to share each tiny detail of our lives. Their culture, way of living, their habits, even if sometimes considered improper by others, appeal to us. They may not be perfect, but they seem perfect to us. What we see are the small things they don’t even know they have in them. It can be a smile, a way they hold a cigarette, or finishing every conversation with a few words of complaining. They can play guitar creating tunes that you find annoying, but once you don’t hear them, you start feeling empty inside. Finally, it can be their running up the stairs with an incredible speed after drinking a smoothie which gives them way too much energy. The magic of people and places stay with us for many years, often for the rest of our lives and make us who we are.
What is my place then? I suppose it’s Ireland, Mount Merrion in Dublin, to be more precise.
When I got my BA, I felt I needed a break from studying, so I decided to visit my friends in Dublin. When I first went there, the city did not welcome me with open arms. I was sick all the time and spent most of my savings on doctors and medicines. If it hadn’t been for the money from my dear Dad, I would have ended under the bridge. Yes, I’m probably exaggerating a bit, but trust me, those times were really hard for me. I had mumps, then a very serious ear infection, which could have resulted in the hearing loss, and everyday, while talking on the phone, my poor, terrified Mom would tell me to go back to Poland. I was feeling poorly all the time but she was the one who worried the most, I believed my body was made of titanium and considered drinking Guiness and Bulmers very healthy. So, would I leave Ireland? No way! I hoped there was something more than feeling sad and miserable waiting for me out there. And, of course, I was right.
My second job, in Dun Laoghaire, gave me a chance of meeting Anna. She invited me to the house that she rented with two other guys, Danny and Darragh. They had one room available and even though it was not a very nice house, I decided to stay. Now that was an understatement. The house was pretty horrible – the kitchen had never been cleaned before and there was mould in the bathroom. To make matters worse, the heating system was broken and it was the middle of winter when I moved in. But guess what? I think it was one of the cosiest places I’d ever been to. It was probably the artificial fireplace and smoke from hundreds of cigarettes we smoked every evening that made us feel warm. It was Anna, whose complaining I found extremely cute, it was Darragh, whose talking about tractors made me interested in agriculture (but don’t get too excited, it was just for a short while), and it was Danny’s guitar that I’d love to listen to now.
They might not know it, but these people were like a family to me and it is thanks to them that I still dream of being in Dublin. Thank you guys, thank you so much for making me realise that I was able to stay in Ireland, be myself and cope with all the challenges that life brought.
And Dad, thank you for your support. I know that even though you’re not here anymore, you’re still watching over me, giving me much more than those €1000 which seemed like a fortune back then…