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a dance lesson in Dublin

Happy Wednesday! No post yesterday as I was attending my Nana’s funeral virtually via FaceTime. How are you doing? Are you hanging in there and giving yourself the care and attention you need? It’s important to do so while the world’s in a weird place and people’s tensions are heightened now that the political campaigning for the November election has really begun.

I have to admit that it’s been difficult to get myself to write about all the joys I felt while living in Dublin and traveling Europe. Even now it feels like my heart isn’t 100% in it right now simply due to the grief I’m feeling over losing my Nana. Do you know that feeling? It just feels a bit.. out of place.. right now to write about all the happy times I had living in Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been sharing so many fond memories and joys regarding my Nana, so it isn’t that I don’t think it’s ok to write about things that are happy; I think it’s totally ok. I think what’s stopping me is that there isn’t enough of my Nana in the stories I share of my time living abroad. The nice thing about this grief, though, is that it does reflect back to me how much I loved her and how important she was to me. And I do know that there is a lot of my Nana in my stories because there is so much of her in me.

When I lived in Dublin, I mentioned that I filled my free time mostly with travel. There were stretches of time, however, where my classes were in full swing so I needed to stay hunkered down instead of jet setting to the airport and exploring Europe. I ended up joining a basketball league where I met so many wonderful Irish people who loved the same game I love (and during which my team won the championship twice and I won female MVP of the league), and I also ended up taking weekly dance classes. I remember during my 10-week—learn a new dance every two weeks— dance class there was a week in which several members of the class started talking about refugees and sanctuary states (because I had seen a musical play earlier in the day at the Abbey called “Glasgow Girls” and brought it up in conversation once I got to class). One of the women in my class (who had actually moved to Ireland years prior from the town in New Jersey where I spent the first 4 years of my life) used to work with refugees looking for sanctuary and told us all about how difficult it was, hearing the horror stories and also knowing that many people were lying in order to not be sent back to their home countries (because as bad as it was to lie, their situations back home were worse).

Since losing my Nana last week, I’ve had a mixture of mostly good days with a couple ‘mehh, it was a wash’ days thrown in for good measure. I usually start my blog off with a paragraph meant to remind and encourage you to check in with yourself and do things that bring you joy and help you feel like your best self. I usually write “Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, running, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends. Whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.” I have been making sure to give myself the extra love and attention I’ve needed over the past week, so I hope you’ve been taking time to do so, as well. Maybe it’s some of the activities I just mentioned or maybe it’s something else like coloring or knitting or refurbishing old furniture or tap-dancing like you’re back in your Dublin dance class. Whatever you’re doing, do it with a lot of love and kindness for yourself, which will spill over into love and kindness for others. We’re all in this crazy global pandemic thing together, so before you send that mean tweet or post that ‘more-attacking-than-informative’ facebook comment, take a deep breath and ask yourself if it will really make you feel better. More often than not the answer is to take a break from social media.

Otherwise, hang in there, and if you need some TLC, let me know. Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.



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