So Long, Dublin: An open letter to a city that will always be home – Off-Campus Study

Dear Dublin,

I’ve been back in the States for a week and a half. Back in my comfortable life where I spend most of my time at home, petting my dogs and generally doing nothing. Back to being a daughter living with her parents.

It’s a strange feeling after living months of complete freedom and independence. It’s as though I don’t feel quite comfortable in my American skin–at least the skin of being home. Sometimes it is stifling. And yes, there is beauty in these moments of simply being known and I will always love spending time at the farm, but, Dublin, I miss you. Oh, how I miss you.

In 103 days, you gave me a lifetime of memories, a lifetime of growth, and a lifetime of wonder. There will always be something in me longing to return to Ireland, to the city I call home.

And I do still call you home, Dublin. Even before I landed on your shores, circling over the islands of your harbor, I knew. Your tangled city streets, the River Liffey which rises and falls throughout the week, the crowds around Temple Bar, the DART, the canal with its benches and swans… these places will always hold a special place in my heart.

Safe in the embrace of the Liberties, I learned how to cook and experimented with my love of potatoes. From my bedroom window, I woke each morning to the cries of seagulls–loud at first, then softer and softer as the months went on–and stared out at the spires of Christchurch Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. On Sundays, it seemed as though the bells never stopped ringing, as though their joy could not be contained.

Dublin, you taught me how to spend time in my own company. I have always hated being alone, hated seeming awkward and out of place. In Dublin, though, I wandered parks and museums and sat in restaurants alone. I even explored different cities, taking the time to see the faintest rainbows, the swirling patterns of the shells, the development of leaves of my favorite trees.

Oh, Dublin, I miss your cobblestone streets. I miss milky tea on Wednesday mornings in the middle of class. I miss cooking for myself–something I never thought I’d say. I miss walking amongst history every day. I miss my favorite stores and my favorite cookies and a hundred other moments that, undoubtedly, will soon become lost to time.

For all that I miss, though, what I gained is far more lasting. You taught me to look beyond my small bubble of the world. You showed me what is really meant by ‘a global church’ as I stood in a roomful of strangers singing the same songs as I do here, reciting the same creeds. You showed me an example of how to create a school/life/adventure balance.

You taught me who I could be.

So, Dublin, this is not goodbye and it never will be. It is simply a see you later, an until we meet again.

Slán go fóill. Goodbye for now.

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