So after a long break from studies and a lot of immigration woes later, I reached Limerick. Well, my immigration woes are still not over as they made a mistake with my GNIB card and I waiting for a new one.
One of the first things that hit me when I reached Ireland was how empty it seemed. Granted I did not fly into Dublin and my hotel was outside the city (in Raheen). But I think its way less densely populated than Leuven was.
The next culture shock was shops and supermarkets open on Sundays!! And the fact that supermarkets don’t close before 10pm on weekdays! I was absolutely delighted.
But this is not a travel blog. I don’t like travelling and hate it when people say their horizons are broadened when they travel. Fuck no. Its expensive (I am still middle class). And you see only the parts which the tourism department of the country wants you to see.
One of the things of setting into a routine is the regularity in the faces you see almost everyday. I take the 304 bus from Sexton Street just before 8am. On the second floor of the bus you see the same bunch of school-going teenagers jumping about. If you are lucky, you can also see a bit of parkour performance from one of them. Its funny until you realize they will hurt themselves one of these days. Then there is another teenager who carries what seems like a violin case everyday. She ignores the bunch of kids and their antics.
Then there is the green haired lady with a cat ear shaped headphones with the outer texture of a leopard skin. Then there are these two girls who get onto the bus everyday from William Street with a cup of Starbucks coffee and saying to one another, “Oh how I love coffee!”.
Every now and then I see a differently abled kid who gets into the bus from a stop on the O’Connell avenue. He seems like a good kid. I often feel for the parents of kids who are differently-abled. Its hard enough to manage a career with a normal kid and it is so much harder with a kid who has special needs. The constant worrying they have to go through every time their kids leave the home. A big shout out to them. The TV series called ‘Atypical’ captures brilliantly the struggle of a kid with autism and everyone around them as they go on about their daily life.
My return times vary quite a bit and unfortunately I have not captured a regularity in it. Also, I am typically on the phone with my parents or my girlfriend on my way back.
The frost covered mornings are often a beautiful sight. The weather varies quite a bit here. One day it can be freezing, the next day it can be rainy and 10 degrees Celsius. I always get down at a stop called Avonmore Road and walk to my office from there. The bus takes a diversion of 3kms just before my office. I find its better to just get down at Avonmore road and walk the rest of the path to my office.
And everyday, the same set of technicians who work nearby get down with me. And we have started to recognize each other and the usual nod or “How are you doing?” greeting.
(The Irish use “How are you doing” as a greeting. They don’t really expect an answer. Imagine that in Belgium! It will be paramount to a scandal to ask someone you don’t know in Belgium how they are doing.)