I was sure that once I was left at the airport in Chicago, I’d be overcome with a feeling of dread; I’m really all alone. But I didn’t. I was just confused by O’Hare’s setup. So I figured that that feeling would hit once I was actually in a foreign country. But it didn’t. Mainly, I was just tired and needed coffee. The general fear that’s been stifling me is, “Don’t look like a stupid tourist, Deanna.” But that’s hard, especially when you’re lugging a huge ass rolling suitcase everywhere you go.
I left the airport and quickly grabbed a taxi. My driver talked to me some, but I found hid dialect different from the attendant’s. He was harder to understand, more of a layman than the perfect woman who had served my chicken. I usually had to ask him to repeat something after he asked it. He inquired as to where I was going and what brought me here. I asked him what was one good pub I needed to see in Dublin. We talked a bit. He helped me with my luggage, and before I knew it, I was alone again outside my hostel.
This was my first time staying in one, and it reminded me a lot of a college dorm. It was about noon now, and I couldn’t check in until two so I rented a locker (10 Euros but after the first day, you got 8 back. After the second day, you got 6 back and so on…), stowed my huge ass suitcase and carryon and took to the streets on foot. At first glance, Dublin wasn’t that much different from any city back home except that there are way more coffee shops, way more vegetarian options as far as food goes, and everyone drives on the wrong side of the road. In my planning, I had figured that these first few hours would be dedicated to sleep (I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to check into my hostel) so this little sneak peek of the city was a surprise. I didn’t have a plan…I just wanted to walk.
Now with just my purse in tow, I felt a little more incognito. I visited the Starbucks that was next door and tried the cereal latte (America, let’s get us some more oat milk please!) and something called a butter scone which was basically a sweater version of a biscuit (American biscuit, not an Irish biscuit). I wandered around couple of grocery stores, bought an Irish tabloid, and eventually found myself in a lovely little pub called The Oak where I ordered a Guinness (your tourist is showing) and proceeded to watch the football (soccer) game on the telly (television). I don’t watch a lot of soccer in the US so maybe this is true across the board, but injured players were particularly funny to me. It happened about three times where a player would go down and then proceed to lie there on the ground, rolling around, clutching some part of their body, wincing in pain, and screaming. It must have been some awful injury for such a display of hurt…something that I’d never seen on an American field unless in the case of shattered spines. So this player is writhing in agony and then a peer walks over, helps him up, and, suddenly, he’s right as rain, back in the game. What the hell was that dramatic tantrum for?
“Get up, Frank. You’re not fooling anyone.”
That was at least my take on it.
Back at the hostel, there’s the locker where I stored my huge ass rolling suitcase and carryon. There’s also a locker hidden under my bunkbed (I’m on the top bunk…I haven’t slept in a bunkbed since my sophomore year of college). As I was getting ready for bed, I was struggling, trying to figure out how to coordinate this all. The locker under my bed didn’t come with an actual lock (you’re supposed to bring one of your own), but the one that I rented in the general area does. I would have probably been fine just stowing everything under my bed, but my dad’s voice was ringing in my head telling me not to take any chances. I only shared the room with two other women, but I don’t know them and someone could easily take something while I’m sleeping (I’m a very heavy sleeper). So there I am: standing in the cramped general locker area, trying to pull out my pajamas, tooth brush, toothpaste and all that jazz from my huge ass suitcase. I’m going to take what I need, run upstairs, take a shower, get changed, and then run back downstairs, stash my toiletries and purse in the locker, run back upstairs and go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll run back downstairs, collect my toiletries and my clothes for the day, run back upstairs, change and then…
And finally, I realized that this was all a bit stupid. I decided to cheat a little bit and just took the lock off of my general locker, moved everything I owned up to my room, and stashed it all in the locker under my bed. It isn’t big enough to hold my carryon as well so I slept with that next to me.
“Don’t take any chances,” my dad’s voice says.
My anxiety kicked in in again, and I began to imagine the hostel workers walking through the general locker area, seeing that locker number 56 doesn’t have a lock on it, and then (I don’t know) kicking me out because I stole their lock or something. I go to sleep feeling like a renegade but at least I know that my stuff is safe.
Of course, they didn’t notice or didn’t care. I returned the lock to its proper place just before checking out.
I didn’t really meet my roommates. I heard one of them enter the room while I was trying to sleep and she (very respectfully) didn’t turn on the light or make too much noise. Maybe an hour later, I heard the second one enter. We spent approximately five minutes all awake and in the same room. I didn’t even catch their names. When I woke up this morning at 5:30, they were both gone.
I’m on the train now, headed for Cork, and when I arrive, I’ll once again be faced with a problem regarding my huge ass rolling suitcase: where do I stow it? I don’t intend to spend a lot of time in Cork; I’m catching the 3:30 bus to Dingle where I’ll stay the night, but I do want to check out the English Market and some of the coffee shops there; I’d really prefer to do that sans the twenty extra pounds of luggage. Hopefully, there is a storage facility at the station. We’ll see.
All in all, I’m trying to let go of the fear of looking like a dumb tourist because (guess what) I am a dumb tourist.
Also, while digging around blindly in my suitcase last night, I cut myself on my five-bladed razor. (The safety cover had popped off in transit.) I know that it’s a five-bladed razor, not because I remember purchasing that specific kind, but because I can count the five parallel cuts that run along my wrist. I didn’t feel it when it actually happened, but the sight of all that blood gave me pause for sure. It’s a good two inches long.
My first Irish battle scars.