I have become fairly familiar with airports. When I leave home destined for Dublin, I look forward to the freedom I have in Ireland to live my life completely independently. I get to decide what I eat every day, what I do in my free time, and I can pursue my degree whole-heartedly. I also know that I will miss my family and my cats and having the comforts of home. And when I leave Ireland destined for Harare, I know that I will miss my Irish life all the while enjoying my home life. I am lucky to be able to say that I am happy in both places.
I have just arrived home after being at Maynooth for nine months. I am always surprised by how easily I adapt to being home. After the first day back, I felt like I had never left. The same is true when I arrive back in Ireland. I feel equally comfortable in both places. When I was deciding to go abroad for university, I was worried that home would become slightly foreign to me, or that Maynooth would feel like boarding school. Neither of these proved to be true, thankfully, because I have managed to find a comfortable space of belonging in both places.
One of my biggest concerns was adapting to the weather in a cold country. I am used to a very temperate climate with one specific rainy period. I was not prepared for rain no matter the season! They say that in Ireland you can get all the seasons in one day – this has proven to be true. The rain and clouds can be suddenly overtaken by sunny blue skies. My home weather does not vary so much. Zimbabwean people only talk about the weather when it becomes too cold (that’s when it goes down to 15 degrees Celsius!) My Irish friends exclaim that it is “roasting” when it is anywhere around 20 degrees. I have not experienced summer in Ireland yet, which is why I have a biased view that Ireland is always cold. I am sure that the summer will change my mind!
During this past semester, there were a few days of heavy snow that were very unusual for Ireland. I woke up to a blanket of snow covering everything. The campus turned into a winter wonderland like I had never seen before. I was not prepared, however, for all the shops to close. I ate some inventive meals for a few days! The best part of the snow period was that my housemates and I spent so much time together. We sat in the kitchen drinking tea and looking out the window, watching the snow fall. When we did venture out, we hobbled along the icy paths taking pictures of the beautiful scenes. After classes began again and the snow melted, I was glad to see green grass again! The snow was pretty, but nothing beats the lush greenery of Ireland.