Today I turned in my last assignment for the four courses I took at UCD this past term, along with my official notification of withdrawal from the university. Now I’m done.
The fact that I’m leaving very soon really started to sink in today. Very mixed feelings right now, and I had a lot of “oh that’s the last time I’ll walk into that shop, or down that road” thoughts.
I stopped in to see my local barber one final time, to get a buzz on the head and a good trim on the beard. He’s a super-nice guy, and we always chat about theatre and Irish mythology and music. He was supposed to go to Chicago last month, and I had even written up a list of great restaurants and jazz clubs for him to check out, but something about an Aer Lingus strike canceled his plans. Maybe next year, he said.
I probably could have saved money by purchasing a set of clippers and doing it myself, but I still like to visit the barber, and I’m glad I found such a great one here in Blackrock. Gonna miss that guy.
I wandered around the village, and then took a long walk over to Stillorgan to search for a cheap and smallish suitcase, but no such luck. Gonna spend the next twelve days doing some traveling. Too long to just pack everything in my backpack, like my last trip, and so I’ll have to drag the monster suitcase all over Europe with me.
First I’m headed to Prague to see a former student and his family from my teaching days, then Munich for a night, then Strasbourg, France, then up to Paris for a couple of nights, then the Eurostar to London to meet up with everyone from my MA group for a final weekend theatre binge. Trains, trains, and more trains, and I can’t wait.
It’s back to Dublin on Sunday evening, and then I’m home for good on the 19th, via Chicago. And then Christmas, which I’m looking forward to spending with my family. First time in my life that I’ll be “coming home” for Christmas. It’s a nice feeling.
But all of this traveling isn’t giving me much time to say farewell to Dublin or the people I know here, and that’s frustrating, to say the least. Time isn’t on my side right now, and I couldn’t afford to wait any longer to fly home. Prices jump pretty bad the closer you get to Christmas. For a while I considered sticking with the original plan, which was to do Christmas here with some friends, but it just feels right to be home. You go home for Christmas.
So it’s all coming fast, and my head swims and my heart aches with the constant push-pull that I’m feeling right now. I feel like I did everything I could, theatre-wise, while I was here, but I certainly didn’t get to “live” enough. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s better to leave now, while the fire is still bright, instead of lingering on for another six months, where (gasp!) I might have actually gotten sick of living here. Maybe bittersweet is good, because it means that my time here was worth it, and that I still look forward to returning again someday. And it certainly will be a lot cheaper.
One of my students asked me the other day if this meant the last of the 4-T Tales. I don’t think so; obviously I have a few more travel stories to tell over the next couple of weeks, but hopefully I’ll continue this thing one way or another when I come back. Less travel and theatre, and more teaching and tech. We’ll see.
As always, to be continued…