I am writing this in a pub, watching some study abroad students from Brazil watch the world cup. On the one hand, I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t know much about football (just enough to know not to call it soccer). I know nothing about alcohol (not enough not to try to order something with rum in it and to be informed by the bar tender that they don’t have it during the summer). Still, it’s nice to see people happy. Well, sometimes theatrically unhappy, but still… they’re passionate. And that’s beautiful.
I could have stayed in my room tonight. Gotten ahead on my homework, written a little more of the Exiles. But I need to know more about life, I think. I’m a social, but proper intellectual, and I spend most of my time with other smart, straight-laced people. We spend a lot of time thinking and judging people. And sometimes that’s exactly what I need. I usually can’t stand when people only talk about normal things and don’t seem to want anything that doesn’t fit the mold. But I think there is more than one way to be different. And, as a writer and an artist, I need to open myself to more than my usual experience.
So, while my friends are a home for which I thank G-d every night, I am also coming to except that to grow, I need to feel free to wander, too.
I’ve been thinking about history. Each place has a distinct story, stretching back further than any of us can remember. Ireland has seen the rise and fall of history, and so has Georgia (though we talk about less of it). And as a person, I’ve been here for practically none of it, but here I am, going from one place to another. I know that there’s nothing inexplicable about travel, but it is still, in its own way, a kind of magic. Place is immutable; Ireland has an identity completely separate from Georgia, but today, my experience will contain them both.
I am aware of both how normal and how exquisitely precious this is. On the one hand, people fly all the time. Yet my family has had to work so hard to make this trip happen for me. The fact that I am here is itself an honor. I can also appreciate how much easier it is to travel now then it was in the days when people could only go across the sea by boat. I am the recipient of so much privilege, and this itself scares me. I hope I will be able to get the most out of this trip, and I worry that the desire to fully experience it will itself cloud my experience. Still, there is one way around this: I will enjoy this trip, not for anyone else, but for itself, and for me.
Today I am a link between two worlds: Ireland and. Georgia, and more broadly, the past and the future. Even though, as an author, I am used to bridging the gap between universes, this journey is to places I don’t control and into situations I cannot anticipate. I am ready. Let the adventure begin!