Nostalgia

At the end of the day, life is built on memories. Every new experience, group of friends and places we visit and live shape us as people. We make new memories everywhere we go. We spend 5 days a week for 14 years with our best friends in school, and often spend whole summers with them in between. We head off to college and make a new group of friends, sometimes losing touch with old friends and only consistenly seeing a handful. It’s new and it’s scary but it’s freeing. We have more freedom. Some of us graduate and some of us don’t. Some of us don’t go to college. Some of us move away and some stay at home. Some of us will get married and have children and some of us won’t. In all likelihood, some of us will live happy, fulfilling lives and some of us won’t. But we will all make memories. Sometimes it is good to take stock and reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

I am lucky enough to hold dual citizenship and don’t have to worry about overstaying a visa. A number of my friends here aren’t in that position and are forced to stay here until their status becomes more positive. I can head home at any time I want while they have to stay which makes me feel a bit of misplaced guilt. It’s not my fault that they can’t leave. The guilt comes from being able to satisfy my nostalgic needs if they get too high. I’m not one to let homesickness get the best of me but if there was ever a time that I needed to go home, I could. Nostalgia is a fickle friend, filling you up with happiness and longing all at once.

I follow alot of Irish tourism pages on Instagram and Facebook. I watch a lot of Irish t.v, sports and documentaries on t.v. and streaming services. I keep in touch with friends from home all over the world, thanks to the wonders of social media. I like to keep up with what is going on and scratch my itch of seeing home every once in a while. However, nostalgia and memories can creep up on you and leave you in a heap. A picture of Cork City from Patrick’s hill recently just dropped me back to when I was 11 years old and going to open nights for secondary school. Christian Brother’s School was on the list. I had a knot in the middle of my stomach as I walked through the school, knowing it was more expensive than the other schools. Even then, I worried about money. I knew this wasn’t the school for me and thankfully, despite one of my best friends going to that school, I chose Blarney, where I made other best friends. I chose Music as an elective even though I didn’t particularly like singing in public and only being able to play the tin whistle at an average grade. That class brought me my first girlfriend, constant laughs and most importantly, two of my best friends. We had trips to Dublin where we played Bullshit on the train and went to operas and didn’t understand them, secret looks that we shot at each other in class and inside jokes we would laugh about all the time. I went to different colleges than those friends from the class and we didn’t see each other as much anymore. I wouldn’t say we drifted apart but relationships and distance didn’t bring us any closer.

Thankfully, through living in different countriess and coasts of the same country, and with the help of modern technology, we’re still extremely close. Any awkwardness or distance is forgotten as soon as I see these two girls again and we go for food and gossip and chats. We talk about old times and new times and new memories we have all made in our respective new homes.
I have loads of other memories with these two and with all my close friends from home that I happen to think about randomly from time to time. I could list off pages upon pages of memories with other close friends but the fact is this particular picture put my brain on this particular path to think of these particular girls who I am very lucky to call my friends.
Sometimes I do feel guilty that my buddys here won’t get to see their homeland as soon as I can, but I know that in the future when we are all there together for a wedding or an event or just a casual meet-up, we’ll make new memories.

The Fear

This blog will do an in-depth analysis of Ireland’s greatest practical joke and live sketch show, The Fear. Imagine. Ha, nah. The title is of course referring to the state of absolute dread one might find oneself during a day after the beer. Extreme cases of, “The Fear’, could plausibly carry on for a second day, where the individual still feels sluggish and vulnerable to the world around them. A three day hangover has never been heard of in modern times but legend has it that the great Paddy Losty was perpetually hungover and never lived a day of his life past the age of twenty four completely sober.

People all over the world claim to each have their own cures for a hangover. They swear by this cure as the one true secret to feeling right as rain early on in the day. Some people drink water after every few pints to combat the hangover. That is, however, not a cure and is blatant cheating in the noble Irish sport of binge drinking. Some people drink a pint of water immediately before bed, as if your first non-alcoholic drink after eight pints and fourteen shots will stop the creepy crawlies in your head the next day. A lot of people have homemade remedies for the following morning, such as a couple of egg yolks raw…yeah, jog on. Most people believe that another bottle or cocktail will sort you out. The problem with that solution is that you have to catch the hangover at the right time. If you’re feeling rough but also a little tipsy and you start drinking again you should be good to go; but if you are just rough agus tà pian i do bholg, STAY. AWAY. FROM. BOOZE. It’s not going to help. You’re kidding yourself.
Yes, the only way to beat the hangover is to go the old Irish way and just suffer through it. Stay in bed if you have to, or if you’re an unfortunate soul who drank before a morning engagement, suffer through that with a fake smile and frequent trips to the bathroom. While it’s easy to talk about suffering through it, and God knows I have suffered through my fair share of them, it’s tough to know exactly what the fear is. It is a state of mind that fills you with self-doubt and paranoia. Let’s have a more in-depth look at some of these horrible times of existence.

Paranoia

Everyone’s out to get me. Everybody knows I was drinking last night. Oh God, they all know I got sick. They all think I’m useless. Was he looking at me on the train? She definitely got off at 59th street ’cause there’s a smell of booze off me.
An absolutely horrible state to be in, paranoia can send the most confident person into an almost depressive state throughout the day. The Fear thrives on the paranoia because it manifests itself into little movements at the corner of your eye, or a noise you thought you heard, or a breeze from an open window that you were fully sure was something crawling on your body. Any movement from your friends or coworkers is an act of digust on their behalf that you drank so much. Oftentimes they were right there beside you for the whole night and are thinking the same thoughts as you.

Self-Doubt

As the paranoid thoughts start to settle and eventually drift away, you start to have doubts about your day, your job and your whole life. Am I in the right job? Why don’t I always love it. I should love my job. Ugh, maybe I should move home. I’d be happier at home now with all the lads. I wouldn’t be this bad if I was at home. Do I have enough friends? Are they really my friends? Maybe they don’t like me.
All these stupid little thoughts sail through your head for a while, hindering your ability to focus on anything much. Not that I’d be doing much actual work, wha?!

Vulnerability

The work day is almost over. It’s coming up to 5 o’clock, or whatever time you finish, and you just want to be in bed after a nice feed because your stomach has finally settled down, but the journey is not over yet. The finish line is in sight but you still have to interact with a few more people before the day is over. Unfortunately, that’s being packed on a train, or stuck in traffic, or being jostled on a busy sidewalk or bus, and you’ve just had enough. Why are these people not sitting closer to the edge and why is it my knee they have to knock into when they stand up? Don’t they know I’m a fragile husk of a human and deserve love and attention.
Fair play to everyone with an attentive significant other who is there to care for you and hold your hair or rub your back when it’s time to get sick or when you’re feeling especially vulnerable.

Throwing Gawks

I think this is a Munster saying. I haven’t heard it used anywhere bar Cork and Limerick, and I possibly should have put this bit before the Paranoia paragraph. But I’m tired and don’t care. Don’t @ me. Following on from the last point, however, ‘throwing gawks’, or getting sick, is the best and worst thing to happen throughout the day. It would definitely be better to have someone there to give you the odd bit of encouragement. “Go on, get the last bit up there, good man.” However, I am proud to say that I face the toilet alone, and although I have never won a personal battle with the toilet seat as I puke my guts up, I have stared into the murky brown reflection and after a few minutes of quiet shame, I have emerged a new man.

Doing It All Again

Ah, the following weekend. Usually following an episode of The Fear (the state of mind and once again, not the fantastic TV show), one will swear off the drink for the foreseeable future. “Nah, I’m off it bai, I’m sick of feeling like shit all the time. Oh, and I’m off the fags too.
Cut to Friday night and while Shotgun is being played for the thousandth time you kneck another sambucca and traipse out to the smoking area to ask another lucky girl for a lighter. Shine on, you beautiful diamonds.

 

On a different note, I’m going to up the ante on this blog. I’m happy that some of my friends have seemed to like some posts and while most of the praise has been for these types of tongue-in-cheek blogs, I do like to write the odd United one. So Tuesdays will be personal blogs, Thursdays are going to be reviews of the movies I’ve seen, whether they be new in the cinema or whatevers on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime, and I’ll do a United preview/review/analysis on Saturday mornings. If people have made it to the end of this long-winded post that was written so that I wouldn’t fall asleep in work tonight, I humbly thank you. This is only really a bitta craic for myself but if there’s anyone that enjoys these, ily so much.

Home at Last

In less than 24 hours I will be back in Cork. In my eight months here in the Big Apple I have rarely missed the actual place that is Ireland, only the people. In the last few days, however, I have been filled with an excitement like the one we used to get on Christmas Eve. No chance of sleep until the early hours of the morning. The first few minutes of being woken by your parents or siblings to be told, “Santa’s been here”, are a foggy mess as you navigate your way downstairs through bleary eyes and badly lit staircases. As soon as you reach that tree, though, your fatigue is gone and you are ready to enjoy that fantastic day.
That’s exactly what I’ve felt for the past week. Although I’m an adult and I realise now that sleep is key and not a punishment from our parents, I just couldn’t get a proper dose of shut-eye in the lead up to my Christmas trip home. Technically I will miss Christmas itself but I don’t care. As I was thinking about this post I remembered the countless people who are out here illegally and cannot return home for fear of deportation, a number of my friends included. It’s a deeply sad issue but it also means that I will have a second family here at Christmas, ready to give out about work and get drunk with myself in the local bars.

Despite missing the people from home intensely for the last while I have now recently begun to yearn for the polar opposite of New York. Sometimes busy but never quite as busy, Cork will always be home. A part of me almost wishes that I am moving back for good. Another bigger part of me knows that I love it here in my birthplace and that I have had the best eight months of my life.

When I purchased my ticket to fly out here back in December of 2016, I booked a return ticket also, just in case I didn’t like it. As with any new city that I was going to be living in I took it handy at first. For the first month or two I wasn’t quite sure about this place and could never have envisioned myself staying here for longer than the agreed upon time with Aer Lingus. Now, I can’t wait for the next year and to see what it will bring and what I can achieve.
Right now I am just a doorman and haven’t fully realised what it is I could also do out here. New York city is the place to put the hard graft in. While you might yearn for a break and lament your lack of free time, you get out what you put into it. Work hard, Play hard, as the motto goes.

I have promised myself that next year I will do more in New York city, culture wise, but I will also do more work that is handed to me. I will write more frequently on this, take some writing courses online and in the city, and I will apply for work in some of the local papers. I can’t keep telling myself that I will do it later, or next week, or next month. So as soon as I am back it will be all guns blazin’.
I also will travel America more, and come next August, when I plan to return for a Masters and more travel, I will be able to say that I survived New York city and that I grew in terms of work ethic and responsibility.

As for now, I am extremely looking forward to coming home for a few weeks. A few quiet pints down the Squire and a big weekend with the lads in Waterford, interspersed with some quality family time are on my present to-do list, and that’s the only list I care about right now.

Here Goes Nothing

Well, what’s the story? Like thousands upon thousands of others I’ve decided to start a blog. Everybody and their mother seems to have a blog these days so I thought it would be a good idea to add my mundane thoughts into the endless void that is the internet. Perhaps when somebody has finished a post about someone’s time studying abroad in Ireland they might happen upon my humble page and have a read. Perhaps I’ll write two or three posts and become lazy as always and just stop. I’m no betting man but I’m betting on the latter.

I joined WordPress because I want to write for a living; be that in journalism or in creative writing. I’m not too pushed but I’ve seen the power of the blog and what it can do for your career. Take Retro-Flame, for example. A Kerry girl and one of the biggest success stories out of Ireland started with a blog, giving lifestyle and fashion tips among other things. I read her posts occasionally because I’m genuinely delighted that someone so young is making it so big in New York. I am also making it big in New York, but in the sense that I drink too much on the weekends and eat too much on the weekdays, leaving me pondering why my 38″ pants are a bit snug even without a belt. We’re both making it big is the point I’m trying to make.

While I do enjoy an aul lifestyle post every now and then, especially when my head is absolutely banging from a hangover, this page will probably be a collection of random posts concerning my love/hate relationship with New York, my love/hate relationship with Ireland and finally, my love/hate relationship with myself. I love a bit of film, t.v. and sport so I might throw in the odd page of shite-talk about that part of my life too. Maybe.

In all seriousness though, I do want to write for a living someday. I don’t want that living to be in a crap studio apartment in Manhattan which I share with three other lads all living off the one can of beans before payday. I want a nice apartment or house somewhere in the world where I can write for the day while watching episodes of Hardy Bucks and Match of the Day in my jocks. I want it all and I want to put in just enough effort to get there.
So here goes nothing.

See how I made the ending of that match the title. I’d say I’ll make it big lads. Lads?