In my life, I have found it difficult to leave, yet easy to go. I am always eager for adventure, but very much value a sense of comfort as well. This may seem like a contradiction (because it is), but I’ve learned to accept it. This being said, however, I still feel a sense of dread when I leave a place I love. Then of course, I get to another place I love, and eventually leave it as well, perpetuating the never-ending cycle of joy and sorrow that is life. As Kahlil Gibran once said, “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.” You can never have one without the other because they are in fact, the same thing.
If I have learned anything in college, it is that I not only have many homes, but I am able to make a home out of anywhere. Camarillo, CA, where I lived in the same house, slept in the same bed, and drove on the same roads for 18 years of my life, will always be home. Portland, where I have intermittently lived for the past 3 years, will always be home as well. The coffee shops, the running trails, Powells, all give me an overwhelming sense of joy when I am in the moment, and sorrow when the moments have passed. Before I even arrived in Dublin, I decided to make a conscious effort to make this beautiful place that I had only seen pictures of my home to the best of my ability. After all, how cool would it be to have another home 5,174 miles away?
It took me about a week or so to feel some sort of direction when I was around the city of Dublin. But after running along the beautiful canal behind our dorm rooms and getting a bit lost after a shopping trip one night, I began to feel at home. The hospitality of the people here was another contributing factor. The genuine sense of care that I continue to feel in my interactions with locals is indescribable. They have such a passion for this place, and are eager to share it with anyone who will listen.
The cliché saying “home is where the heart is” has never felt so true. My heart is in music, books, and coffee. I love how I can walk into a music store down the street from our college here in Dublin and play piano or pretend to play the banjo for nearly and hour. I love how I can walk into a “secret” bookstore down this alleyway off of the historically famous Grafton street and spend as long as I want reading books of poetry from poets I never even knew existed. And I love how I can walk into any coffee shop, be greeted with a smile and a friendly “hello” and be graciously served an Flat White, which apparently America is just beginning to discover, (as black coffee doesn’t really exist here anyways).
As I was sitting on the cliffs on the beautiful Aran Islands, I was struck with a breathtaking realization of the vastness of our world. I felt tinier than I had ever felt before. There I was, in Ireland, on the top of a cliff, and Portland seemed so far away, and so small compared to what I was experiencing in that moment. In fact, everything felt far away. My world is continuously expanding, with each new adventure I find myself on. But at the same time, if the effort is made, I have the ability, as we all do, to make any place feel small.. I feel more and more at home here every day, and know that there will be many more coffees drank, books read, and definitely more music made. Home is where the heart is, and for the next few months and beyond, my heart is in Dublin. Cheers.