First post from back in America, specifically Wisconsin. I've been away from Cork for five days now, back home for four. You know that feeling you get when you're back from a vacation and it feels like you never left? Nope, don't feel that at all. I was showing my parents and siblings photos/videos from my semester abroad and my dad said, "Wow! Can you believe you did and saw so much?" "Honestly, dad," I responded, "I can't."
It doesn't feel real, being home that is, and it makes sense in a way when I look at how much has happened to me over the course of five months. I've been away from this place for a long time, sure, but it feels like years. Inside jokes have been made about celebrity mishaps, I'm totally out of the loop on local politics, and even the feel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or New York Times feels foreign in my hands. When I first got into Atlanta (before my flight was delayed, delayed, delayed, canceled, and I switched to a different airline and left the next morning) and walked through the terminal, I was on sensory overload. Seeing all the newspapers, magazines, TV's blasting CNN and MSNBC, even the candy bars was overwhelming.
It didn't really hit me that I was back until I landed in Milwaukee. Literally, my heart skipped a beat when I felt the plane wheels touch the runway. Could it really be? Was I really back here already? It may have felt like I had been gone for ages, but it felt like just yesterday that I was driving off to O'Hare to fly into Dublin.
Walking through the tiny Milwaukee airport, I was surprised at how familiar it felt, comforting and unsettling at the same time. My eyes were watering, but I could still make out my sister's face at the end of the long hallway. I heard her yell, "Ah! Your face! I see your face!" and I started sprinting, sobbing as I nearly tackled her and my dad to the ground. Climbing in the family van was strange, driving on I-94 and seeing our exit was strange, driving through our suburb was strange, seeing my street was strange. I walked into the house and was struck by the smell, probably because I'd become so accustomed to the nastiness that was my shit-hole-of-an-apartment in Cork City. My dog, Lucy started running (and sliding on the hardwood floors) and it took her a second to realize I wasn't just some person visiting; it was me, Molly.
I was really home.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for me to cry, and cry I have for the past couple days, though I haven't at all today so that's probably a good sign (I must say though, crying in an airport is one of the most awkward moments ever, and this is coming from a very awkward person to begin with). This past weekend, there were some unexpected and expected tears.
I cried because my sister was graduating high school.
I cried because I was exhausted and hadn't slept a wink in two days.
I cried because jet lag was killing me.
I cried because I didn't have an (American) cent to my name.
I cried because I wished I was in Iowa City for the summer.
I cried because I missed my roommates.
I cried because I missed my Irish friends...one in particular.
I cried because I felt like a fucking idiot for crying.
And so on.
I knew it would be emotional coming back, though not this hard. My friends here know what a basket-case I can be, but I didn't really show that side to my friends back in Ireland because, for the most part, I was happy almost every day. Never before had I experienced such happiness, a combo of no school stress, unlimited free time, amazing travels, parties whenever we felt like it, almost complete freedom, and fantastic friends. I've had parts of this before (specifically the party stuff and friends) but it was the perfect storm of all these elements coming together that made the whole experience unforgettable.
It's Memorial Day which means, beyond honoring those who served my country, family BBQ. I can hear my family now running around downstairs, back from the grocery store, getting ready for the prep work. I should probably get down there and help get the food going...
Anyways, I don't mean to say I'm not happy to be back; it's not a matter of being happy or unhappy. I'm used to moving and saying goodbye (in big ways and small) by now and this is just a different type of one of which I have not yet encountered, but I know I'll be okay in a couple weeks once I get settled in. This summer will be for hanging out with my amazing DSHA friends, writingwritingwriting, loitering around the mall and specifically Barnes and Noble, and spending time with my sister. As much as I love them, I can't spend the whole summer with my family again or I'll go crazy! Crazy as they are, I love them all to bits and cherish every second I get to hug my siblings obnoxiously and laugh with my parents. My sister, God love her, will be my rock this summer as usual.
There will be drama in our house, I'll get bored, (hopefully) find a job that I'll love/hate, get sunburned a couple times, and finally finish Autumn Leaves.
Well summer? Bring. It. On.