This morning I discovered a gossip mag under the mail I’ve been collecting for my host while she’s away. I turned on the kettle, made myself a “cuppa,” and settled in to read about Posh and Becks’ transformation into a Hollywood power couple. Ava hopped up and nudged me because she knows I’ve been keeping treats behind the cushion to try and lure her onto my lap.
This is home. Doesn’t matter if it’s temporary, they all are. Last week I was doing dishes in my sink in Edinburgh, today I’m setting my table in Dublin, next week I’ll be sorting out whites into my washing machine in Bath.
I explore all of my new hometowns with a reserved curiosity. I tour the museum, try a local specialty, and take a photo of the city’s architecture as if it were there all along and I’ve finally decided to appreciate it. Because if these places are my hometown, then I am a tourist in my own city. When foreign becomes your state-of-being for so long then it loses it’s potency and becomes normal, just like anything. You can’t smell your own perfume.
I was interested by a billboard I saw the other day on my walk home from the tram. Avoca: one of the World’s 100 Most Inspiring Stores. The next morning Corey was deep into editing a video for work so I decided to venture out on my own.
You could mistake Avoca for one of those modern looking medical buildings that house floors of different practices like acupuncture and gynecology. But inside it was as if Whole Foods and Anthropology decided to make a department store.
I glided through the sections of porcelain cookery, smelled exotic candles, and ran my fingers through furry throw pillows. You can imagine the dissonance I felt among these beautiful home goods. I had nowhere to put them.
Sure I could indulge in one of the fancy pink pastries in the Whole Foods type section. But what was I doing? I was in Ireland for the first time. If I was going to eat anything it should be a steak pie washed down with some Guinness. But I had toured the Guinness factory the day before. I even bought a t-shirt from the gift shop. Couldn’t I have both?
I left the pink pastry in its dainty case, and I left the Irish women who were picking out their own pretty things. I walked home and looked out at the hills where I could make out brown dots I knew were cows. Those are Irish hills, Irish cows. I repeated to myself, trying to feel some astonishment of being in this place.
I came home to Corey now relaxing on our couch. I sat down next to him and watched the rest of a Netflix documentary while it rained outside. When it was over, Corey asked me if I was hungry.
“Yeah,” I responded. “Let’s go get some pie.”