I know some of you have been wondering how I'm doing, and you mean really doing... emotionally and all that. (I'm looking at you, Jon.) Well, let's see, it really depends on the day and sometimes the hour. For instance, yesterday (Friday, 28 Feb), I ran the gamut from "oh my gosh, this is the most beautiful place ever, everyone's so friendly. I never want to leave." to "ugh, I hate it here and I'm ready to go home" and then settled on "crap, I have a ton to learn and it's going to be really hard sometimes." Overall though, I'm doing really, really well. Traveling around has been good. I'm going on week 5 of living out of a suitcase (remember, I moved out of my place before I left for India 23 Jan), and that is getting a little wearing. I'm ready to be settled.
I spent several days in Belfast which was lovely and it was nice to be in one place for a longer period of time. Yes, I realize that "a longer period of time" for me right now is four days. I'll be in Galway two nights and that's a stretch! I think too it's getting wearing not really knowing where I'll be a couple days down the line. I'm enjoying the "fly by the seat of your pants" type feel, but also am a homebody at heart and like stability and comfort. I think my time in Cork will be well deserved and well appreciated!
Some loneliness has set in a little bit, but that hits at random times. Like the moment I had yesterday during my "ugh, I hate it here and I'm ready to go home" fit, which came about when I thought it was safe to cross the road, but there was a lane I didn't see that was turning, so I got honked at. I was completely fine, was nowhere near being hit, and the same thing could have happened in Seattle and I wouldn't have given it any thought. But it's different being in a different city in a different country. I automatically doubted myself. I actually had tears in my eyes of "I can't even cross the street!" And that made me really lonely. I don't know why loneliness was the feeling I had there, but it was. Maybe the feeling of "I can't do this alone."
I accepted those feelings and kind of talked myself out of it and rationalized with myself that a) you're fine, b) remember to look right first when crossing the road, and c) you really want to isolate yourself right now -- my loneliness tendency -- but keep moving forward and keep pushing on. As cliche as it sounds that whole "Keep Calm and Carry On" thing was applicable.
Instead of going back to my hostel and taking a nap, I went to lunch, bought a ticket to a concert, and wandered around the city. It was lovely. Even instead of buying dinner at the pub, I bought some simple ingredients at the store and made dinner at the hostel and chatted with a fellow from Cuba (who had some pretty epic hair going on) and a gal from Italy. Then I chatted with the hostel owner about her travels (she backpacks several months out of the year). When I got to the concert, I met some American students and we talked about living in Ireland and their experiences so far.
It turned out to be a nice day with some quality human interaction. I think the thing that I'm missing is the quality relationships though. I'm so used to calling someone, or meeting someone for a drink or a walk, that these "quality human interactions" while great, aren't filling the gap of "quality relationships". I'm missing that. I know it'll take time and the downside of this experience is that many of my interactions for this past week and the week coming up will be just the interactions and most likely not the relationships. The downside of being a "nomad" is just that -- you're in a place for a time and then you pick up and leave. It's very different from the years I've spent in the other places I've lived where I put down roots and built solid relationships.
I'm hoping that'll come in Cork when I'm settled. I'm going to negate the "I'm never going to make friends" lies that keep popping up and realize that I'm a likable gal (you're a likable gal, Bernice <-- name that movie) who can hold conversations well and has a pretty good sense of humor -- I think people will be okay with me hanging around. At least I hope so. Time will tell, I guess.
Well, speaking of being nomadic, I'm off to catch a bus soon, so I better get out of bed. This is my longest bus ride to date -- five and a half hours. Oy.
I'll be in Galway next!