One week from today marks the end of two full months since I’ve been home. Are you wondering how I’m adjusting? So am I. No, really, I’m okay with the ways I’ve changed, but does it pose problems for others? I don’t really know. (Hint, hint, if you know, please tell me.)
So classes started about five weeks ago here. I’m not really as enthusiastic about this semester as I was for last semester, but some of the classes are interesting. I particularly like when one of my professors acts out the behaviors some animals exhibit or clips of babies crying or screaming…to help us better understand he says….I think he’s just trying to make sure we’re still up.
I’ve changed…but so have things here. Some of it’s minor, but some of it still makes me pause and wonder. What am I talking about you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. The bakery up the street from us, where we’ve bought bread, and sweets from since I was a kid, has officially closed…something about the owner trying to kill his wife again or something….I’m not really sure, I just know it’s closed. The Sam’s Club where we usually shop moved farther away, and I can’t find anything in it anymore.
The group of friends I made that I thought would be here when I got back has drifted apart. Not intentionally, but it happens. I’ve come back and I know they’ve drifted but I don’t know what to do about it. I can feel that there’s something missing, but I don’t know how to react to it. Couples I’ve known have broken up, and others have formed. There are new people around old friends that I have to adjust to. My nephew forgot my name, and had to be reminded of it on Christmas. My cats were seriously depressed, and I’ve been trying to snap them out of it, but I think they’ve relapsed. My mother adopted another cat. His name is Toby, and he’s adorable, much to Midnight’s displeasure. :-/
Then there’s the other kinds of adjustments I’m trying to make. The ones that I wonder sometimes how the f*** I reached that point, how to go back, and even more importantly, do I want to? Don’t look at me like that, if you only knew….well I’ll tell you so you do know J
I picked up words while I was in Ireland. If you’ve heard me talk, it’s a bit obvious. I’ve noticed that the longer I’m home, the less I use the words. Which words you ask? Grand. Cheers. Wrecked. Mum. Da. F***’s sake. Bits and bobs. Part and parcel. Some of the words just sound different. Fine sounds more like fin. Can’t sounds more like cont. I can actually pronounce some of the place names in Ireland, that I couldn’t before, like Dun Laoghaire (Dun Lee[h]ry) or Iarnród Éireann (Earrinro[n]d Erin, it’s the rail line). And some others that I can’t explain well. I’ve picked up a few of their word order mannerisms. They say things a bit different like, if you catch my drift like.
Some of the self confidence I had before I left has shifted. It's not gone, I just have more confidence that I can survive a complete nightmare living situation on my own. I can feed myself and sorta budget money...ya know, like an adult type person thing.. but I've realized that some of the things I used to do I have a hard time doing anymore. I dance when I'm alone or with friends, something I didn't used to do often...but I don't sing in the shower much anymore. And I stop singing when someone comes within hearing distance. I think its part of having learned to make myself as small and invisible as possible around certain people. It was a defense mechanism that I've developed, more to prevent having to deal with things, than being afraid of what people think, if that makes any sense...And to be honest, I missed composing things to say to you guys out there..my what, two (?) readers. I'm coming to terms with it, but I still find myself composing blog posts in my head to try to show or tell you guys something.
I’ve realized also that I miss actually hearing the voices of the friends I made there. Have you ever had a friend, who you could hear their voice when you read their writing? Some of the people I keep in touch with from Ireland are like that, but the longer I go without hearing their voice, the harder it is to recall properly.
Eventually I’ll settle back into daily life, and Dublin will be a wonderful memory. I’ll hopefully still keep in touch with the friends I made, and remember the things I’ve done and seen. The pictures and emails help of course J. I’ve started reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series…I’ve unfortunately picked up some of her habits too, like cake or cold pizza for breakfast in a pinch. They remind me of the things I love about Jersey. When I leave, for whatever reason, I know they’ll get put on my kindle, a device that’s saved my sanity many times over, and I’ll read them from time to time.
I’ve learned that eventually I’ll end up living somewhere other than Jersey when I ‘grow up’. I don’t know where, but somewhere where I have things in common with the people, things like a love of country or folk music and a fondness for a bit of small town life. Where the middle finger isn’t considered a driving necessity, college girls wear something other than tights, ugg boots, and North Face jackets…like everyday, big hair is for special events not everyday life, and where a person who says, “Mother f****** son of a b****. I f****** hate you! Go jump of a f******* cliff and die you mother f******* a*******!” is not automatically assumed to have Tourettes, but is likely having a bad day….or hanging out with friends.
Now that’s not to say I don’t love Jersey. Jersey will forever be my home, I’ve just come to the realization that while anybody can fit in in Jersey, (that is after all the essence of Jersey, and in the words of Ms. Plum, “I didn’t see any crazy people . . . but then, I’m from Jersey. I’m used to crazy.”) it might be easier for me to be somewhere else. Somewhere where you know your neighbors, and I’m not immediately branded as ‘not right’ for listening to something other than rap, hip-hop, or whatever’s on the radio. Perhaps I can find somewhere where I’m just another person, or maybe as I learned in Ireland, sometimes I’m just too Jersey for my own good. And the gods know I’d miss Tastykakes something fierce.
But then again, I’m half way through the application for Glasgow, Scotland’s Study Abroad program. After all, “If you’re born in Jersey, you know how to rise to a challenge. Bring on the Mob. Bring on bad air. Bring on taxes and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and macaroni at every meal. Nothing defeats us in Jersey.”