grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand
If you read my last blog post and decided to join me while I share some stories of my travels abroad, welcome! If you didn’t read my last blog post and found your way here by some other means, also welcome! I’m happy to have you!
It’s a strange business, writing a blog, especially in retrospect. It’s hard to know where to begin since my journey to living in Ireland didn’t begin in September 2018 but much longer before that. The longing I had to live in Ireland was not one that just came on a whim, no; it was a seed planted a long time ago. I took my first solo trip to Ireland when I was 23 and in my first job out of college. I was working in customer service for a casino in Atlantic City (if you ever speak to anyone in casino customer service - or any customer service for that matter, please be nice to them… it’s a pretty thankless job) and as it was not the busy summer season, calls were slow. I found myself perusing flights online and found a $300 round trip flight to Dublin, submitted my PTO, and booked the flight. It was a whirlwind trip and not nearly long enough. Fast forward to the spring of 2018 and I was hustling in Los Angeles but feeling stuck. I was having positive things happen for my acting career for which I am still eternally grateful, but there was some sort of restlessness I felt one night that led me to the Trinity College Dublin website. I found myself researching and applying to a one-year Masters program that would uproot my life and take me across the country and then across the ocean. It was a stressful process, and it was also one of those real-life-magic type of situations. Applying led me on my solo cross-country trip with my dog, which kickstarted a summer of camping, performing comedy in New York, LA, and Chicago, and reconnecting with friends and some family on a second two-week road trip down south.
But you’re not here to read about my US adventures (plus, I’ve already written about a lot of them!), you’re here to read the hot goss on my single lady European adventure. I have some tough news up front - there won’t be a ton of romance with other people in these blog posts, but there sure were a lot of romantic #datenightsforone. When you’re an unknown in Europe, you can blend in and out of crowds seamlessly, which is something I definitely told one of my closest friends about: loving the anonymity of it all. I was still me, but I got to be me in a new place!
So why the pictures I’ve chosen? Well, these photos are various shots of Sandymount Strand, a beautiful beach along the coast where I would often take long walks at sunset and where I would also take long runs on the weekends when training for the Dublin Half Marathon, as well as the Barcelona and Wexford Marathons.
There’s a theme that I’m sure I will come back to time and time again when it comes to the photos I share, and that is that I hope I can do an ounce of justice to the actual beauty of the places I’ve seen and visited.
And in case you wanted a sneak peak into my mind when I arrived in Dublin, here’s something I wrote that hasn’t been published anywhere—
So here we are, an attempt to recap all the amazing things that have happened and people I've met since arriving in Dublin! Hopefully you caught up on my solo road trip across the US and my summer of movement. If not, they're worth checking out!
So I've arrived in Dublin after celebrating my birthday in our beach house for the last time. I've repacked up my life after just unpacking it maybe a month-and-a-half earlier, and I board the plane on the night of September 2nd and land in Dublin at like 5 AM on Labor Day. I have no idea if my flat is legitimate or whether it's another scam (since holy moly I got nearly scammed so many times looking for a place to live), and it turns out I cannot access any internet without WiFi. I also can't technically pick up the keys to my apartment until 11 AM, but it's grand because I've made it, the airport has WiFi, and I can get some euros out of the ATM. That's exactly what I do. I look up a landmark close to where I'm living and happen upon a local mall that also has a Starbucks. Score! Starbucks near my hopefully-existent apartment will definitely have WiFi. I hail a Taxi and end up with a very friendly Irishman who gives me some insights into Dublin life while also giving me a lift. He warns me about pickpockets and merrily sends me on my way when we arrive at the aforementioned Starbucks. He's a really nice welcome to the city. I wobble inside like a penguin because I am carrying bags, and I am also wheeling suitcases. It is a sight to see, I'm sure, me schlepping my life through the front door of a near-empty Starbucks at 6 o’clock in the morning. I get my stuff settled into a corner booth, and I order a coffee. I order a straight black coffee because I'm too tired and stressed to even consider ordering what I usually like. I take my cup as if coffee is a rare commodity unknown to the first world and wobble back over to my booth because my body hasn't fully adjusted to not schlepping everything I own all over God's green Ireland. Penguins are cute, though, so I'll take it. I get an internet connection and furiously text friends and family that I am alive. I burn my tongue on my coffee, proceed to curse my coffee and then immediately apologize to it, and laugh at how I fell asleep in the United States but woke up in Ireland, which is pretty cool. I am a crazy mix of emotions as I wait in Starbucks for an apartment that may or may not be legit. Fast-forward to 11 AM: Not only is my apartment legit, but the guy who gave me my keys helped me carry my bags upstairs! No more penguin schleps for me! My apartment is really cute. It's exactly the right size, and I can't wait to make it homey. That is my first task! I head to the mall's department store to get bedding and some cooking utensils. I really only get the basics for the kitchen but splurge on new throw pillows and a new throw blanket for my little couch because a zebra blanket and lime green pillows are not my style. I unpack my belongings into the various drawers and wardrobes and feel myself unwinding a bit.
It’s amazing reading this in retrospect. I can remember exactly how I felt that morning: exhilarated, excited, and also slightly terrified. Those feelings came and went in waves as I settled into a new life in a new country, and as time went on and I went for runs through the city streets, learning the layout of my Rathmines neighborhood and the surrounding areas, I became more and more grateful for the risk I took in moving to Ireland and for finding Sandymount Strand just a little over 2 miles from my flat.
Have you ever moved to a new place and been completely exhilarated and also terrified? I'd love to hear about it! I do actually check the messages people send me on the contact page, so go ahead and reach out! So many human experiences are universal, so I'd love to hear about yours!