Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coming Home?

After a two-week break from blogging, I'm back on the internet and bursting with fresh ideas and inspiration. Now that I've slept off my west-to-east jet lag, my mind is clear enough to take the keyboard once again.

I felt a distinct change as soon as I stepped out of the airport into the comparatively cool Dublin summer air. Dubliners had been loudly complaining about the intolerable midday summer heat of 27 C (80 F), but New York never dipped below that temperature, even at night. And the humidity? Fuhgeddabouddit!

As I rode the (recommended) Aircoach bus through the city, it really felt like I was returning home. I had wondered if Dublin would still feel like an alien and exotic world when I touched down. Cars driving on the left side of the road, Irish (and Continental) accents narrating the soundtrack of Dublin city noise, magpies hopping in the grass instead of American robins...

Nope! Not supporting my hypothesis (did I use that correctly, Sara?), I felt at home on the left side of the road. I understood the quick, "Howiya?" from the driver as he greeted me at the bus. When I opened our mailbox, I smiled as I pulled out the same circulars and flyers stuffed in illegally by couriers working for the local fast food joints.

Coming into the apartment, I was immediately flooded with memories when I smelled the place. No, it wasn't that we left chicken bones in the trash for two weeks, it was the same smell the place had when we first looked at it more than a year ago. They always say smell and taste memories have some of the best staying power in our neural circuitry. Apparently we haven't replaced the built-in (not unpleasant) smell of our apartment... I guess that's good news.

I had such a great time visiting our friends and family and enjoying the American experience again, but as much as I thought it would feel like a homecoming, it still felt like a vacation. Even sleeping in my childhood bedroom again triggered mixed feelings. It felt like the place I had enjoyed so many childhood memories (I used to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time while listening to the Smashing Pumpkins album Siamese Dream on repeat right there!) but it didn't feel like my bedroom anymore.

Tasting all of my favorite childhood American foods was even more wonderful than I had thought it would be (thanks, Mom!). Eating bratwurst, Happy Joe's Pizza, BBQ sandwiches, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, glazed doughnuts, Twinkies, and real Chinese buffet food really brought me home. Now that I'm back in Dublin, I have to return to my beans-and-rice diet to start losing the extra weight I picked up on my American binge.

Thanks to everyone I was able to see for making my trip so memorable. Inanimate object shout-outs to all the places I visited, new and old. You are all amazing.

See you next summer, America! Until then, keep being your awesome self. Americans, if you're coming to Dublin, drop me a line through the Contact page, I'd love to answer your Dublin questions.

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