twenty-two – the return of quippy titles and self-deprecating jokes

Of course, while I thought I had a major problem to face in writing about my time in Berlin, I now found myself with a different difficulty: how do I even attempt to write something else now? The problem I have with writing lies in its addiction: as much as I hated it when I was younger, I have this rather driving need for it now.

… And, in case there was any doubt on the matter, my father responded to my last blog post with a lovely, heartfelt e-mail… that included the line that it was all “so different from the crying daughter in my Charlottesville office!” I may not remember that day, but I’m sure it happened more than once. I didn’t much care for writing when my lovely mother was homeschooling me (much, as she was an English teacher, to her chagrin!).

Leaving behind the fourteen-year transition from sobbing seven-year-old to sobbing twenty-one-year-old, I must admit that it feels quite strange to be writing about something that could, following on my last post’s coattails, feel rather flippant. Flippancy must be avoided, of course, but life cannot be all deep thought and gut-wrenching emotion. Even Tolkien, that master of heart-twisting writings (seriously, have y’all read those appendices? Tears. Everywhere. Not kidding.) — well, even his characters knew there must be more than sorrowful reflection. What is it Frodo told Sam in that letter?  In the book, it’s that he must be happy… and in the movie, they change it to that voiceover, remember?

My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

And so, whilst you hastily wipe your eyes after reading Frodo’s words (be honest: the end of Return of the King makes you cry, doesn’t it? No? … Well, that’s just me, then. As you were!), I move onward to yesterday’s adventures.

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… I know. You weren’t expecting me to pull the police in on this.

Garda, in case that didn’t clarify matters, is the Irish police force – the Guards. If you know me at all, you know I’m a bit of a goody-two-shoes (except for that one time we studied legalism in seventh grade, but… what can I say? Sometimes I’m too mischievous. Anyhow, that’s a story for another time). Don’t fret — I’m still very much a goody-two-shoes and in no way am I in trouble with the Irish police force!

No, I was at Garda for a much more mundane matter of life. While working on a group project with my lovely friend Megan in a coffee shop just up the street from college, I took my wallet out to count my money (how many euros left? Five? Perfect, enough for this week’s groceries and then I can just withdraw pounds once I’m in London… Awesome). I must’ve forgotten to put it back in my bag, because next thing I knew I was standing outside the entrance to my dorm, digging through my backpack for my wallet and room key… only to come up empty-handed. Immediate thought: Hmm, must have left that in the coffee shop Text Megan, who says she doesn’t see it. Walk back to coffee shop anyway. Search coffee shop. Fail to find wallet. Search backpack for the fifth time. Fail to find wallet.

Yes, folks, that’s right. After twelve years of city living in two of the biggest U.S. cities, I managed to get my wallet stolen in Ireland… to be quite honest, I almost want to tip my hat at Dublin. Well done, city; you managed what New York and Philly have failed to do.

In any case, that shook my scheduled Monday into disarray! What followed was a bit of a slightly-less-than-mad scramble to contact all the necessary people. First stop: Garda, to report the theft and get an incident report. Second stop: use a photocopy of the report to ensure that I don’t have to pay for my new ID at Academic Registry (since, you know, I don’t have any money… literally). Third stop: front desk of college to get a new room key. Fourth stop: my room. Find the bank’s number, call the bank (freak out multiple employees when they ask, “How can I help you?” by responding, “Yes, hi! My wallet was stolen today, so I need to cancel my card or whatever it is you do in these situations…”) and work on getting a new debit card sent my way. Fifth stop: Academic Registry again, in search of a fax machine because Yes, you have to send us a paper letter of authorization for this new card. Okay then. The half- and three-quarter-stops: bothering my entire family with my tale of woe and subsequent discoveries.

Sorry, fam. I guess I can’t be quite as awesome as Tucker sending us new songs!

Other than the stolen wallet and subsequent adventures in international phone calls and incidents, yesterday was absolutely lovelyIMG_6397

All jokes about good weather aside, though, I did have a beautiful Monday. This whole experience has taught me two things about myself: one, that I am much more optimistic than I thought; two, that I am strangely attached to the most inconsequential of objects. Seriously, other than my missing leapcard (which I had just topped up with €20. Gah!), I’m most upset about missing my wallet itself!

Not least because of the amusement it’s provided since it was stolen. I had to describe it to the guard. “Well, it’s a big one, about this size –” “Got it. Black?” “… No, actually, see, it’s a bit multicolored… Um. Bright blue and green and yellow — all geometric patterned. Brown border. And — a hot pink stain on one corner from when one of my pens broke in my bag or something…” The Guard’s eyebrows quirked, and she hid a smile. “Yeah, more noticeable than black.”

I almost feel bad for whomever stole it — there are definitely a whole slew of people with more to offer than me with my student club cards (all 13 of them), student ID, and €5 in coins! Alas, poor thief, sorry to disappoint your schemes for the American’s wallet. You didn’t even get an American driver’s license out of the deal, did you? I lost that this summer when buying allergy medicine!

In any case, cheers to the Guards and the lovely ladies I met in Academic Registry who took pity on my plight. “Oh, and you’re just a visiting student too?” she asked, as I stood there for my new ID. “You poor thing!”

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I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’m a city girl and that, really, the joke’s on me for not paying attention — and, honestly, it could have been much worse.

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