Thursday, October 13, 2011

My. So. Called. Real. Life.

So, "wedding season," or so coined for this summer, is officially over. Well, at least the first wave of weddings - I've heard they go in waves. This summer was packed with showers, festivities, get aways, ceremonies, and parties. As much as I absolutely loved the opportunities to get together with everyone - especially especially after being away in Europe for 15 months - I am ready for fall to settle in and have a little break from all the gift-buying, new dresses (or borrowing really, in my case, thanks Jess), the travel expenses, and the sore dancing feet. The first wedding in May and the last wedding in October were pretty much the reasons why I stayed in America for the summer and put off my post-graduate "Real Life." It certainly wasn't financially possible for me to fly back and forth for each event, nor could I imagine missing any of them. Furthermore, no company was going to hire me and then let me have two separate months off to spend in America. So, originally, the plan was that I was supposed to come back in May and stay for month until my Bucknell 5-year reunion weekend, then spend the summer in Donegal, fly back in September for a month to attend a bachelorette party and then stay for the wedding 3 weeks later. Real Life was pushed back until October 2nd (today is October 12th). I loved being back with my family and seeing my friends again, both in NYC and Portsmouth - especially especially after 15 months apart in Europe - and my sister pretty much convinced me to stay for the summer. A car accident 2 days before I was supposed to get back on a plane to go back to Ireland sealed the deal. Portsmouth eventually won over NYC and I changed my flight back to Ireland to December 1. Real Life would start then. Or, after Christmas when the family goes back to America. Ok, January 2nd. I'll be a day older than 28 and ready to start Real Life. 

I don't regret staying here for the summer. Summer in Donegal would've been filled with a lot of montanaiety (monotonousness?) and alone time. Maybe I would have a lamb for a pet and chickens for eggs every morning and bees making me honey and would have planted a full vegetable garden - but unlikely. Maybe I would've worked up the courage to learn how to surf and not be scared of further-ruining my knees - or was it actually the intimidatingly cute surf instructors that kept me away? Maybe I would've learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness - oh wait, I already learned how to do that from living there and working there in the spring. 

Staying in Portsmouth and working for a local farm this summer has been a terrific learning experience. Despite the fact that my friends don't understand what I do at all and my sister thinks that I'm a hillbilly, I don't regret it one bit. I have learned so much not only from the farmers but reading up on the produce so that I can answer questions for customers and write for the farm's newsletter as well as keep up with my own blog. I have a deeper confused-understanding of the pros and cons of organic and conventional farming as well as the reality of it all. Maybe the "confused-understanding" means I don't actually get the reality of it all, but then that blurriness of right and wrong is pretty much the reality of it today. There's so much more that goes into running a successful farm, the politics of farmers markets, and grasping the difficulties of what people eat and what they actually know about where their food comes from is alarming. So much of it people take for granted. Even after this entire summer I have a hard time knowing what to eat or what not to eat: pesticide-ridden but local, morally-righteously but  restaurant-available, eating for the sake of not wasting, or even just having a craving for something when I know I am being hypocritical. 

But all of this has not lead to me to Real Life. The last farmers market ends November 5th. One month in America. Portsmouth? NYC? Then a flight December 1st. One month in Ireland. Can I get a job at Fallon & Byrne again and afford to live in Dublin? Are there even any people in Dunfanaghy in December to possibly find a job? Too many questions, too many unknowns. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed as summer comes to an end. 

Rather spontaneously on a Friday night, I applied for a working-holiday visa to Australia.  Sunday, I was approved. (!!!!!!!!!!!!) The economy in Ireland is too shitty to look for a job. I need to move out of my parents place and be a real 27 year old. I've had my fair share of Portsmouth - love it, but it's time to move on, again. I don't want a corporate job in NYC and any other sort of job will be unaffordable to live there. So, why not Australia? I've wanted to go there since 3rd grade when we learned all about penguins, I fell in love, and learned that there were warm-weathered penguins, the Little Blue Fairy Penguins, living and causing a raucous in Australia. I always thought that a semester abroad would bring me the opportunity to go there, however, a double-major in Spanish taught me that they don't speak Spanish in Australia. 

Lewisburg 4 years. CT 8 months. New York 2 years. Portsmouth 13 months. Italy 1 year. Ireland 3 months. what's next? Australia? why not? my travel lust is calling my name. 

"Why not" probably isn't an acceptable answer. Especially for those who have stable jobs, steady relationships, some sort of career path or even a goal. But for me, I don't. I like taking what life has given me and using it as a learning experience, creating my own stages along the way, and hopefully, it will lead me to where I'm supposed to be. I don't think I'm supposed to know what I'm supposed to do, but I do know that a corporate life is not well suited for mel, and I'm perfectly happy taking what I can get, adjusting and/or improving along the way. I don't have a plan in Australia, yet, just an approved visa. Maybe there was another reason for going to Australia, maybe I lost it. Is it an escape from Real Life going half way around the world or will I find it there? What do I do if I don't go to Australia? Maybe I will miss the next wave of wedding showers, festivities, luncheons, parties, ceremonies, and sore feet from dancing, but I've learned that I can't stick around for those - as much as I may not want to selfishly miss them. I can't put off my Real Life for any one. This is my (so called) Real Life. I've enjoyed this intermediate-pause-on-real-life-but-huge-learning-experience-and-friend-and-family-filled-summer, but I'm ready for "Real Life." Whatever that may be, even if it's half way around the world. 

*I miss you already, but what better excuse than come to visit me?! 

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