Thirty hours and three flights later, I have arrived. All my problems and anxieties pushed to the future by my past self no longer have anywhere to hide and live with present me. But this is the transition period, and for those like me who crave change as much as they loathe it, what helps is to find the little comforts. The little comforts that hide in the transition period. Fortunately, I find myself at the stage in which my transition period in Ireland is nostalgic. What was once a period of great distend is now something I look back upon in wistfulness. When I was young and clueless, my first time in Penny’s, my first time on campus, my first time walking down Shop Street, my first night out. All these times that I initially experienced covered in a weighted blanket of anxiety are now times I look back on fondly. It’s a strange thing, to know that the time I live in now will feel the same way in retrospect as my 18-year-old experiences, but at the same time, comforting.
I find comfort in the familiar feelings of outlandishness. I was the same type of delusional exhausted when I landed in Valencia as I was when I landed in Dublin. I sent the same text of assurance in location and safety to my mother upon arrival. I dropped my bags on the ground and laid in my new bed for just a second the same way I did in Corrib Village the first time. The anxious feeling of sweating profusely carrying the big brown paper bag filled with towels, sheets, and bits for the new room is the same feeling even if the bag reads Primark instead of Penny’s. The initial sense of “there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to figure out my way around.” feels the same. The first “big shop” at the grocery store feels the same. The first time you have to ask someone to repeat themselves because you can’t understand their Spanish feels the same as not being able to understand their brogue.
These are feelings of alienation and strain but are comforting in the fact that I know I’ve felt them before and that I know it will all be okay. For now, I’m just settling in, walking around, picking up bits and pieces, working on my “Spain playlist”, I’m transitioning. With classes starting next week, I anticipate an increase in newness, social experiences, and discomfort. I think that the farther away from the nostalgia I get, the more out of my comfort zone, the more I will learn, and the more I’ll have to write about. So, for now I relish living in it, and to venture out scares me as much as it excites me. But I’m ready, I’ve done my big shop, my big Primark haul, I’ve gotten my MetroCard, I’m starting to find my way around. The transition period is almost over and I’m excited to see and share what is to come.