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Ireland, a love story - Why Dublin won my heart over New York City

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Falling in love with Dublin - fiddle player on Grafton Street

When you're an American living in Ireland, everyone wants to know why. Maybe that's how it is for anyone living in a foreign country - I can only speak for myself though.

The first significant amount of time I spent in Dublin was a month in summer of 2003, as part of a program for high school students. We were heavily chaperoned - we couldn't pop into a Spar without a supervisor. This caused some tension with some of the students, but I genuinely liked my chaperones, so it never bothered me much. Still, when I flew home, I knew I wanted to come back to explore the city further without the encumbrance of an RA whose main responsibility was to make sure I didn't drink or flirt with boys.

Luckily, my cousin lives here, so I visited him for Spring Break 2006. I was only here a week, but I knew I wanted to stay even longer. I applied for a semester abroad, and in Fall 2006 moved to Dublin with the intention of staying one semester...then two...then three, and after a brief interlude back in NY to finish my degree, I returned in January 2008. I was living with the boyfriend that I had acquired when I came back in Fall 2006 (who, coincidentally, I met while visiting my cousin - my first and only night out on my own and the first person I spoke with later became my boyfriend!), but I had no visa, no prospect of earning a living. I bounced between the states and Dublin that year, always hoping for an opportunity to stay, and eating through my American savings - the Celtic Tiger was at its peak, so everything was really expensive.
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We lived in a house with Boyfriend’s band, and it was awesome. Living with five of your best friends can be problematic, but also lots of fun. I remember one eventful night wherein someone decided it would be brilliant to play the guitar with an onion. I can still see him bashing away at it, tears streaming down his face, bits of onion flying everywhere. It took a year to get all the onion bits out of that guitar. I know that sounds gross (it is gross) but it was also hysterical.

All good things come to an end, however, and around the time I ran out of money my relationship also ran out of steam. Maybe Dublin wasn't for me after all? I relocated back to New York. I had my friends and family, a great apartment, a good living at a job I found interesting and challenging, but still I felt unhappy. When I came back here for a visit, I was immediately overwhelmed with happiness. I knew I wanted to come back to live here again.

Luckily, I discovered a Masters in Trinity that was perfect for me and I was offered a job at my study abroad alma mater. The stars aligned! I arrived in the summer of 2010, am still here and couldn't be happier. I've completed my Masters and am set visa-wise for three years. I have a different boyfriend via OKCupid (which is a really cute story for another time) who I live with and absolutely adore.

Dublin isn't the same as it was when I first arrived here in 2006. It's quieter - some favorite places have had to close before their time; friends have moved out of the city because they can't find jobs. But I’m still happy here.

So back to the original question - why Dublin when NYC is so awesome?

I don't know! NYC is awesome. There are things I miss (in no particular order: sushi, shops open late, my friends/family, UNIQLO, better waitstaff service) - but when I was in New York I felt an ache for Dublin. I like it here. I want to stay.

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