a love letter

 

Dear Dublin,

I know it hasn’t been long but I miss you…

I’m sitting here in the balmy tropical heat of Brisbane with the sun gently kissing my skin and a river front breeze caressing my face, but I can’t stop thinking about you. I’m wondering, when will I see you again? I long to hear your rough, character-filled and familiar voice, to smell the pungent Liffey that flows inside you, and to touch the cobblestones and potholes that dimple your aged and uneven face.

I miss your offensive charm and unabashed ruggedness. I miss the obnoxious, boisterous air you assume after a few pints. I miss the familiar faces we’d pass as I strolled to meet you. I miss the secrets that we shared together on cold, lonely nights. I miss your gritty and dishevelled demeanour and the endless grey clouds that hang above your head. I know you’ve had a lot of people leave you in the past but I wanted to stay. I want go for pints and do the things we used to do. I want to feel like I’m in a John Cusack film again and walk with you in the rain.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m fortunate to have Brissy, she’s warm and open. We’ve shared a long history together. She’s well-off and knows how to make a good home, but she’s not you. She doesn’t send shivers down my spine or turn my skin bumpy and blue like you do. She doesn’t serenade me with the sweet songs of her history no matter how dark they might be. She doesn’t welcome me in with open arms even if I’m a stranger to her. She doesn’t question why I’m here and what I’m doing with myself. She doesn’t have that European sensibility that I love.

I know you said it’s over and that we can’t be together anymore but I want to give it another go. I promise to be good. I promise to support you and appreciate you. I’ll contribute to your wealth and ever sing your praises. I’ll be loving and respectful. I’ll stay with you. I know you can’t answer me right now so I’ll be here, waiting, thinking of you Dublin.

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a love letter

dating in dublin: a confessional

Being single in Dublin has been really quite interesting. The dating scene here is no different to anywhere in the world, the bars, pubs, clubs and kebab shops are lined with the city’s desperate and dateless come 4 am, and well I guess I’m one of them. Having moved here with the hope of staying permanently, it wasn’t long until I started meeting new people and going on dates. When you move to a new country you try to put yourself out there a little more and do things you wouldn’t normally do. And that’s what I did, put myself out there more than ever before and much to the bemusement of my friends, was just rejected more than ever before.

I suppose it all started in the first two weeks of moving over when I exchanged numbers with a bearded guy I met whilst at work. He had just moved back from spending the last two years in Australia and was suffering the return-to-home blues. He was keen to chat about sunnier places and even keener to move back there. However, being in a similar situation to me, he couldn’t because of visa restrictions. When I jokingly suggested that the solution to both of our problems was to just get hitched, he beamed at the idea. Needless to say, this would heed as a warning sign, unnoticed by me, for what was to come. A few dates and a successful bike purchase later, romance was stopped in its tracks when the wannabe Aussie appeared crying in my front garden at 2 am one night. Though my place was not equipped with them, alarm bells were certainly ringing. Needless to say, he was not seen again.

From comical story to comical story, my love life continued much in the same way for the remainder of the year. It has been full of rejection and embarrassment, mostly on my part, and not many happy endings (pardon the pun). So much so I thought I ought to write down a few of the experiences I’ve had. You see, something about living away from my usual context, ie. the judging eyes of family and friends, meant I started going on dates with people I probably wouldn’t have normally. And the results… funny but kind of disappointing. In the past year I’ve been on dates with someone 5 years older than me and someone 7 years younger than me. I’ve been on a blind date and a group date. I’ve been on an open air cinema date and regular dinner and drinks dates. I’ve had dates crashed by friends and I’ve chaperoned other people’s dates. I’ve had someone bring a surprise married couple to a date and I’ve had a non-date with a friend that turned into a date. I’ve left my phone number for cute bar staff, baristas and random hotties in more places than I’d like to admit. I’ve not been rung up by said “cute bar staff, baristas and random hotties” more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve been broken up with when I wasn’t in a relationship. I’ve been on a ‘date’ with someone who had a girlfriend and had no intention of being on a date with me at all. I’ve been asked out by girls and guys alike. I’ve had outrageous propositions thrust upon me and I’ve had my appearance validated in more ways than one. All that and I’m still single.

Now my Dublin year is coming to an end, I’m probably further away from romantic success than ever before but at least I had a good few free dinners. So here’s to this year, I’ll be 28, fat, broke and living with my parents. It’s unlikely to be the start of a Mills and Boon romance either.

 

dating in dublin: a confessional

my grandma was a prostitute

And this year it changed my life but not in the way you might think.

As far as we can determine, my grandma was on the wrong side of the tracks. Born in Dublin, she moved out to Australia with her parents when she was 8. By 25 she had had a partner, a husband and an affair, she’d given up 3 children to adoption, gone by at least 4 different names and her only listed occupation was as an exotic dancer. Her very short marriage, during which she had no children, ended dramatically following claims of domestic violence after she attacked her then husband with a knife. In 1966 she was seen scantily clad in Side Show Alley at the Sydney Easter Show. This was the last known sighting of her, despite there being no record of her death. This is also the only information we have about her. With a checkered past and a few pseudonyms under her belt, grandma had vanished without a trace. Until this day not even the Australian government know who or where she is.

50 years later, all her name changes, lies, cover ups and dubious acts have had more of an impact on my life than I would have dreamt of. I write this blog as a very single 27yr old in the dimly lit, dank asbestos box that is my apartment in Dublin, Ireland. I live below a taxi-driving, drug using couple and next to a dog called Crumpet. The beautiful area I call home is Dublin 6 in the city’s inner south, affectionately nicknamed the Dirty Half Dozen. Earlier this year I packed my life in to 37kgs and crossed the globe to a place I fell in love with the previous summer. A place full of promise, intrigue and excitement. A place where, with my grandmothers Irish heritage, I could gain an Irish passport and settle for good. Ha if only.

Instead my Golden Ticket to the EU has remained out of reach. The privacy laws surrounding adoption in Australia and a shed load of government red tape has me left high and dry. You see, despite the undeniable fact that my grandmother was born right here in Dublin, I lack the documentation to prove it. With her apparent and seemingly deliberate disdain for honesty and her legal name, Grandma has made it almost impossible to convince anyone she’s one in the same. In a game that’s all about ticking boxes I can’t muster up as much as a coinciding name and birthdate. I mean, if the Australian government can’t determine this woman’s whereabouts, what hope do I have.

So after a year long wait and to no avail, I can wait no longer. My visa runs out March 4th and despite my efforts, I must admit defeat and make my way home, with my proverbial tail between my legs. But before I do I have decided to start a blog to document the places I’ve been, things I’ve loved, things I’ve not and show you why I really want to stay in Ireland. Despite the weather. Despite the ghastly minimum wage. Despite being away from my family. Despite the lack of decent healthcare. Despite not being able to pay with card in cabs. Despite the cost of living. Despite the chips not being properly salted. Despite 1 and 2 cent pieces….

My grandma was a prostitute and in a very weird way, it inspired me to start this blog.

my grandma was a prostitute