twenty-five – city of love

Not the city of brotherly love (that one’s called home, and I’m not quite there yet) — and no, I’m not making some vague reference to falling in love or a whirlwind romance during my time in Dublin, as neither of those occurred (saving my falling in love with the city itself and my whirlwind romance with the pastries of Avoca and KC Peaches).

No, I mean it quite literally, presenting it as a title: Paris.

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… though, to be quite honest, I’d have to say that the City of Light seems more appropriate. I didn’t quite get the “City of Love” vibe (but perhaps this is because I speak no French other than mais oui, merci beaucoup, pardon, and bonjour).

City of Light, though — that’s a name I could get behind.

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…even if it is supposed to be due to the Age of Enlightenment and not electricity.

Basically, the long and short of it is “Paris is awesome” and “Paris has great food” and “Paris has these super-crowded Christmas markets but they’re delightful and totally worth getting squished against a dozen strangers every five feet.”

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Also, the bridges are beautiful;

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the architecture is lovely;

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& you can casually stop by the Louvre to see things like the Mona Lisa or Venus of Milo or the Wedding Feast at Cana… or people taking selfies in front of Cana, as the case may be.

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(… I laughed. A lot. I’m sorry, between the people taking pictures on iPads and the selfies in front of artistic masterpieces, Paris completely cracked me up. I do dearly love to laugh, though, so that really just endeared the city to me.)

But oh, the churches. From Sacré-Coeur (which I still can’t spell without googling) to Notre Dame to Sainte-Chapelle… Amazing.

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Did I mention the food? There were crepes, cheese, streusel, and, of course, macarons involved… and also wine. Delicious, lovely wine.

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The macarons were the prettiest, though.

And yet… for all of this beauty, for all of its architecture and love-locked bridges and famous works of art — and I even got a new wallet! — for all the welcome of the friends we stayed with while there (and their patience, and their air mattresses, and their delicious wine and cheese and eclairs) —  for all of this, yes, I loved Paris. But at the end of it all?

At the end of it all I was glad I was going back to Dublin. Something I’ve been thinking about since Advent started, really, is that this extraordinary-living gets rather wearying after a while (for me, at least). One can only go on so many adventures before one wants to snuggle under the covers and read a good book, or walk around a familiar city soaking in the music and Christmas lights, or stay in and watch a movie, or sit with friends and just talk. What’s the point of extraordinary time if there isn’t ordinary time? What makes adventures exciting is the knowledge that they are different. I, for one, cannot exist in a constant state of motion: this semester, much as I’ve loved it, has worn me down. As much as I am completely and utterly in love with Dublin and, quite frankly, this country as a whole — well. I think it’s about time for me to be home.

But oh, Ireland, I’m going to miss you. You’ve taught me much more than I have yet realized, I’m sure, and how glad I am that I came to this place! Thinking of leaving you is like a stab to the heart: I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that I won’t be walking around Grafton come January, reveling in the multiple street musicians that have taken over the sidewalk. Philadelphia will seem so quiet in comparison — goodness knows all the other cities I’ve visited feel silent compared to the continual bustle and cheer and music of Dublin.

Ten days more: two essays, one research paper, one reflective paper, and then five more days between me and home, home, home. I wouldn’t say I’m homesick, friends.

No, I’m not homesick. I’m just a girl that’s homeward bound, eventually —

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— just a college student excited for home-coming.

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