“Can I help ya, dear?” Asked the station attendant, which a very heavy Irish accent.

“Sure, probably, I’m just trying to get some kind of signal here.” I replied, then showing her the map on my phone. “What bus should I take to get here?”

“Oh, you should take the 16, follow that couple there all the way to the bus stops ‘ere, and go to the 16. It’s more direct, and if I were travelin’ alone, I’d want the most direct route. ”

“Good idea, thanks for your help!” I followed the elderly couple across the airport bus depot.

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Monday back home was busy. The whole past week had been busy. I hadn’t slept much, I hadn’t been out of the house except for errands in weeks. The reasons why are my own, and also a reason why I almost didn’t get on that plane at 730pm that night, but as you’ll notice, I did, despite my own mind. Anyway, back to the busy Monday…

I had to leave at 7 to take Dad on an errand. To my surprise he didn’t take nearly as long in the stores as he normally would. He doesn’t walk too quickly these days, and also just takes a really long time to do anything. Yet, he was in and out of two stores in under an hour. So proud.

The reason he had to hurry was because I had an interview for a teaching job at 11, and I didn’t want to wear my interview clothes all morning, so I had to change before hand. I also wanted to make sure I helped mom with a few things. My interview went well, I think. Hopefully I’ll know more when I return in a few weeks from my trip.

Thanks to my own neurotic need to make sure I had lots of time before my flight to wrap anything else up, I had taken care of other errands the night before online. The joys of the Internet make it so I never have to talk to people and can save time when I need to by doing things independently.

After three hours of sitting around at home, helping when I could, and trying to force myself to leave, my friend arrived to take me. I said my ¬†goodbyes, some perhaps for the last time, and ran out of the house so I couldn’t change my mind about leaving.

My friend, of course, awkward as he is avoided at all costs asking me about anything serious. It was all Pokemon and did I want to stop anywhere for a “last stop” before three weeks of no in&out or etc. I just smirked and replied “no” to every question, and made fun of his broken Pokemon app. Someone tell him he shouldn’t do that while driving.

Well, the security line looked long, but moved quickly. About 30 minutes later I was through, and still had two hours before boarding (really I would find out that I had 3 hours because the times were incorrect on the boarding passes, also, the printed boarding pass at home would not be valid and they’d have to print a new one at the gate… Why Aer Lingus, why?!).

Nothing sounded appetizing, so I just grabbed some water, and sat. I crocheted for awhile, called home twice, plus dad, and texted Aunt Kerry a bunch. The area around me didn’t look to full, and finally I was on the plane and realizing I had two seats all to myself. I almost took an entire row of four, but really, I didn’t need it. As for the rest of the ten hour plane ride, there would be ridiculous turbulence, which would force the pilot to come out and comfort the mom of 5 near me who was freaking out. Also, not the greatest movie selection, overly expensive internet that I refused to pay for, no vegetarian food except pretzels, but again, two seats to myself and no one would complain about that.

When I got off the plane, I headed out towards customs, and passport check. Why would you separate EU and NON EU passports if you’re just going to shove them into the same line at the end?! Just a note to the smaller airports out there… That’s just stupid.

This is where the nice bus depot attendant helped me find which bus would get me to where I was staying. I hadn’t realized just how CENTER OF DUBLIN I’d be. It was 8 miles from the airport, and definitely in the middle of everything. Normally I don’t stay so close or even in town. I prefer the more rural, outskirts but since I wasn’t driving this trip I didn’t think that’d be wise. Anyway, once I got to the 16 stop at the airport depot, the 16 bus pulled up immediately. I hadn’t gotten my ticket yet, and I didn’t have exact change yet. I tried three credit cards before finally having to give into the one ten euro bill I had. Several coins later, and probably so annoyed people waiting on the double decker bus, I was finally sitting in a front seat, trying to figure out where my stop would be. Also, wifi on all the buses – super awesome. Take note Los Angeles… Wifi on buses.

The bus stayed relatively empty until we were near college green and O’Connell. Then there were tons of people getting on and off. I couldn’t really see much out the window.. As the window was high up, and being short, it was hard to see over the metal side. I did see a lot of tall brick buildings; all very old, weathered, and discolored.

“Excuse me, where is, uh, center, Dublin?” Asked the German couple behind me. I’d hear about 6 more languages over the next day.

I explained that I was new as well, but I pointed to a spot on the map that appeared to be the heart, O’Connell street, since I looked like it lead everywhere and was in the middle. Since that’s where about 30 people got on, I figured I was pretty right.

An hour later, I finally made it to my stop. The street was long, and busy. There were lots of cars and people walking all around. The center divider was lined with tall trees, that were so full they darkened the street and the houses were basically all attached at the sides, again built of stone and brick.

I glanced at my phone, and headed back down towards the intersection the bus had turned into and stopped just short of. I went right, onto a very busy street with no trees, but shops and apartments as far down as I could see. I walked down a few of the colored doors (all the apartments had brightly colored doors that stood out against the bricks and stones). I found mine, and proceeded to follow the instructions to get in. Airbnb – seriously my favorite in choices for traveling. I’ll be sad if Santa Barbara votes it out of the city.

So after a few tries I couldn’t get the lock open – remember, I haven’t slept since Sunday PST from 12-5 am, and it was now, technically, Tuesday 7 am PST, or 3pm as I’d call it for the next 20 days. After five minutes I realized I swapped two numbers, so I tried the lock again and it opened.

My host had kept in constant contact for the last hour to help make sure I got in okay. The hallway was narrow, and dim with just some natural light from a window above the door. The walls were cracked, and the floor had some dull red carpet pattern going on. There was a line of slightly opened, and very old white creepy cupboards on the right, under a fire alarm system. There was also a somewhat empty ikea 16 cube shelf at the farther end of the cupboards. Here’s where things got tricky: there were no keys. So about a half hour of back and forth texting and finding some spare emergency keys in a cupboard after trying to sift through envelopes on said cupboard for one with my name on it and not finding it… I finally made it in. Later we determined that the maid had not yet come, and the keys I needed were on the kitchen counter. My host was still pretty awesome for being that responsive, and he even sent her over to clean that afternoon. I ended up going to sleep after letting her in.

After I got in, I explored the apartment. The hallway behind the front door was extremely narrow, just enough room for small person to enter. Ahead of me were some stairs and to the left of that a washer/dryer and the bedroom door. I threw my stuff down on the low bed. There was a tall cabinet on the left next to the door and shelf on the right at the foot of the bed, just under where the stairs were. A couple of old dark brown leather chairs sat opposite each other next both the cabinet and shelf. There were two windows, curtains open – I close those immediately.

I then went out the bedroom to the left, and up the super narrow, short but steep stairs. It desperately needed a handrail. I can totally see myself taking a nasty fall some morning before I leave. At the top were some trash bags, a clear sign the maid had not come. The bathroom was directly ahead of that, and the kitchenette area was to the right of the stairs. A bright green futon behind the railing that edged the stairs area and a wall-folding table was at the end of the black granite countered kitchenette, just under one of the two windows. I looked out and saw an ivy covered brick building, definitely the next apartment over. The sky above it was a grey-blue, with clouds. Rain was iminent.

Clearly a lot of shopping was done at IKEA. Have I mentioned yet that on one of the digital bus stop signs, I read that there’s a bus that goes directly to ikea? It just reads ## IKEA… I’ll see that a few times on my walk the next day, but I digress…

I was ready to crash, but I knew if I did I’d never eat, and I hadn’t eaten since Monday afternoon. So, I ran out to explore and find some place to grab some tea and maybe a sandwich. I went out, down the stairs of the apartment entrance, and went left. Shrugs, let’s see what’s that way.

I walked down to the intersection again, and then crossed – I see now why people in Boston don’t wait for the lights… Since most of them are Irish and apparently no one waits for lights here either.. Stereotype alert!! Here is where I realized just how obvious it must be that I’m American…I wait for lights.

I wandered down more apartment buildings and found a business district-like area with a coffee place. I was able to get some tea and a sandwich. It all seemed out of place from the trash and crowded streets I was staying near but I just went with it. It seemed so far that everything I would need was within a mile, so walking wouldn’t be a problem. Or so I thought at that moment. Later.. Well.. You’ll find out just how painful walking will become.

I made it back home, ate a bit, and fell asleep. The maid came a short time later, I let her in and went back to sleep. There’s not much more to tell about day 1. Day 2… That’s another story.