Going Cold Turkey in The Emerald Isle
Uber one, uber two, uber three.. I missed three rides in a row to JFK, as I was in denial that I had to leave New York City for the third time that year. Fortunately, the fourth uber driver spotted my door open as I stumbled out onto Ludlow Street with all my luggage.
I swanned through customs back to my own country, nonchalantly waving my Irish passport. For the first time it occurred to me, imagine if I could feel like this going through customs to enter the US. Usually my intestines coil from the extreme fear that I won't get through, to New York, the place I called home.
At the airport, people waited with open arms for their family living abroad to excitedly return home for the Christmas festivities. I on the other hand, couldn't have felt more distraught that I was back on Irish soil. I was severed off from my life in New York; my job, boyfriend, friends, apartment and social life. You receive an email from customs stating that you have 10 days to leave, and so the countdown begins.
That was exactly 10 weeks ago and I am gradually becoming able to face the day knowing I am not in New York, but living in a remote, isolated part of West Cork.
Mist caresses the emerald hills, the boats bob in solitude as the sea gulls glide above. Breathing in the fresh sea air, I can confirm why Irish literature is renowned for its themes of hardship and forlorning. I don't think I am quite the 2019 Patrick Kavanagh but rural Irish winter certainly evokes feelings of misery.
I never noticed until now that almost every film, song, book, news bulletin, photograph and documentary features New York, especially at Christmas time. 'Fairy Tale of New York' seeped out of every radio and store as if it was trying to taunt me. It has been emotional torture being forced to leave somewhere you lived and loved. Perhaps the transition wouldn't be so hard if I was not returning to the depths of West Cork in the heart of the bleak winter.
I am describing my stint here as involuntary rehab. My social life has spiraled drastically from whisking around Manhattan sipping cocktails, popping into art openings and gazing out at the Manhattan skyline on the train home, to staring out at a gloomy seaside at the bottom of the hills. Christmas at home was enjoyable as the majority of the emigrated 20-35 aged demographic were home for their yearly visit. However, once January crept in, even tumbleweeds were in hibernation.
One Friday evening after doing the rounds of delivering my banana bread (I have been baking and cooking excessively to pass the time), my friend's parents gave me a home measure of hot whiskey which gave me my thirst back. The roar of my brother's supped up car outside was my cue that my chauffeur had arrived (nope, I don't have a car either). My 18 year old brother and his two friends invited me to Arundel's Bar, the one and only local bar that is opened during the winter months. I relapsed..
I innocently joined my brother and his two fellow 18-year-old pals. A few whiskeys in, we were joined by four elderly neighbours, all of whom are somewhat related to me. I questioned what on earth my social life had become when I was in the "smoking area" watching Hardy Bucks on my brother's phone with his friends. Back inside we all took turns singing hard felt and passionate rebel songs, amongst talks of Brexit. My mother rang my brother and I to get home immediately.
I woke up the next morning with overbearing anxiety about my current purpose in life and my behaviour in the small bar down the road.
I think its time for a new leaf. In the meantime I am going to bask in the wintery solitude of West Cork.