My Brain was Brought to Bear in Dublin

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Stepping outside your comfort zone can be overwhelming, but worth it in the long run.

I flew into Dublin Airport early Sunday morning on St. Patrick's Day. Already off to a rocky start, my bags never arrived. When it comes to air travel, I ward off any disappointment with low expectations. After filing a claim with the lost-baggage counter, and grabbing my rental, I head out.

It is the first time I'm driving a car on the left side of the road. I have to instruct my brain to pay attention and not go into autopilot mode as it prefers to delegate tasks to the non-conscious mind. I laugh when I enter from the passenger side or reach over my left shoulder for the seatbelt that isn't there. "Ok, brain, stay with me now!" I hope to survive the roundabouts.

At this early hour, the streets in Dublin are empty except for its army of street cleaners picking up rubbish from the celebration the night before. The tourists and residents will eventually emerge in droves from their brief respite to watch the parade later today. I have a meeting with my contact tomorrow, so I will need to purchase some clothes and toiletries. I'm very relieved to hear that stores are open during this national holiday.

I received a message from the property manager that he couldn't meet but left my house key concealed in a black box at the side of the building where I'm staying. When I arrive at the address, the only box I can find is a bait trap for rodents. I place a call. "What's the craic?" a tired voice says. "Hey Kieron, how are you? I can't..." Kieron interrupts, "Hey, good man, yourself! I'm knackered, but I can't complain. Welcome to Ireland!" "Thanks," I say. "I'm looking for the house key you left me, but..." Kieron stops me, "You found the bait station?" "Yes," I say, "but really? You couldn't have hidden the key in the combo lockbox at the bike rack?" "Ah, would ya stop and put your hand in there," Kieron bellows. "You'll live another day."

Living in a new environment takes time to get a feel of the place.  Whether it is learning how to use a key fob for gate entry or how to properly operate a washing machine after overloading it with clothes and soap, these simple tasks, at first, can take time to work out - some longer than others. For instance, there is a pair of lifts in the lobby that take me up to my unit. On occasion, I would find myself at the wrong level and have to walk up to another flight of stairs. Making sure I wasn't going insane, I paid closer attention and eventually learned that the floor numbers marked in one lift were programmed to bring you to one level lower than the other.

I spent my weekends giving my brain a break by touring the beautiful island country and learning more about its history. The Black Cab tour in Belfast tells the story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh is an exhibition that examines the lives of brave emigrants who made the journey across the Atlantic to North America. For exercise, you can take casual strolls along the River Liffey, go for a hike along the stunning coastal trails in Howth. For breathtaking views, take a harrowing walk across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland, and plan a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast. If you love medieval times, then check out the Blarney and Cahir Castles.

I now leave you with an Irish blessing:

"May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright, happy hours.
That stay with you all the year long."


Submitted: May 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 neo machina. All rights reserved.

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