So the visitors departed, after their forty eight hour whirlwind visit from the big smoke. I was sad to say goodbye. Guiltily, I also felt a slight sense of relief. I hasten to clarify, that this is not a reflection on the company I keep. My friends are classy Bruces – glamourous and interesting.
It’s just that I get a little stressed when I receive guests in my city. Particularly guests from out foreign. Especially guests from out foreign, who have never visited Dublin before. I want to show them an interesting place and fun times. So I get a little worked up. My expectations are probably too ambitious. They are coming to visit Dublin for sure, but also to see me. I should ease off on the self-inflicted pressure.
I know from experience that the dreariest of destinations can be immeasurably improved by the company you keep. For example when I visited Warsaw I had the best time of my life. When I mentioned this to Polish colleagues, they crinkled their noses and replied ‘Oh Warsaw is boring, why didn’t you go to Krakow instead?’.
The answer being that in Krakow, I didn’t have a local guide in place to take me to the Serbian folk dancing bars, or the local restaurants and secret places not on the tourist map.
By the time visitors depart, I will have been in a state of semi-high-alert for a protracted time period. It’s a serious business being responsible for other people’s ‘fun’ and it can wear you out (acknowledging that this is a self-imposed pressure.) When I am a host, I end up tired. I can relax when my much loved guests depart.
We had a marvellous weekend – nature walks in the pelting rain in County Wicklow, dinner in a Spanish restaurant, beverages in seedy taverns. Much gossip and catching up.
They too, are old inmates of Amsterdam, and lived there for several years. They left for pastures new about a year before I did. I guess I was particularly anxious for them to have a good time in Dublin, not only because they are dear friends, but also because they too went through the same departure.
Perhaps I was more alert to my present surroundings in this instance, as I was trying to convince myself – along with them – that I’d made the right choice to come home.
When I arrived back in Ireland in August 2015, I told myself that I’d give Ireland a year-long test to see if I could settle back.
Then in November 2015 I moved to Dublin, and I committed to a year in Dublin.
In November 2016, I understood that a year was not a sufficient length of time to settle back into your homeland, after the majority of your adult life has been spent abroad. So another year was added.
My two year anniversary in Dublin coincided with their visit.
We chatted about how much we missed Amsterdam.
I realised however that the almost overwhelming yearning to go back, has all but vanished. It’s not an insatiable gnawing in my belly any more. I miss the place. I miss the people, and I look forward to my next visit. I’m not from there any more though. And that’s a relief.
Being a drama queen however, I still claim that I am not from Dublin either (well of course I’m not – it’s hardly Limerick now, is it?)
I am not sure if I want to stay in Dublin.
For the moment though it is just fine. If one day I decide to up sticks and depart, I always have that option.
If I return to Amsterdam, I won’t be fleeing back with my tail between my legs, as I’ve left that place properly. For now at least.
Visitors are great for clarifying things.