Learning to Be Flexible

It’s hard to believe it is already week three here in Dublin. So much has happened by time is really going by. I remember a few nights ago my roommates and I realized that we only have six weekends left. That may seem like a lot to some, but it’s crazy to think about when you’re still getting to know your surroundings. 

I knew before coming on this program I would face situations that would require great adaptability and flexibility. Living in a new country definitely teaches patience and makes you appreciate how immediate things come to you in the states. My work life has brought numerous examples of ambiguity and uncertainty. This week has been especially challenging as I started working on more serious tasks. It’s difficult to navigate when to ask questions or how to move on from one task to the next. Of course this comes with any new job but there is an added element when you’re in a new country. From a financial standpoint I have begun to learn things such as European tax codes and the Irish banking system. This is interesting because when I return I will know the European system better than the American one. Little things like different keys on the keyboard, Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, and different phone numbers cause more confusion than I would have expected. I am learning to adapt to the little things and maybe by the end of this trip they will contribute to a greater competency in adaptability. 

Outside of the office has also brought instances in which I had to be flexible. Spending is an area that I am currently struggling with. I am facing an internal dilemma of whether I am being responsible sticking to a budget or missing opportunities to see the world. I think the solution to this requires being flexible. I hear people around me say, “You can’t spend money when you’re dead” or “how much damage can you really do in eight weeks” but I am still worried. Hopefully I can find a balance and try to cut costs in some areas. 

The Irish weather forces you to prepare for anything. This week has been cold and rainy but I will keep hoping for sunshine in the days to come. I am starting to realize that no wardrobe is perfect for an Irish summer as it is really all four seasons in one. My coworkers love to discuss the weather almost to an exhaustion. Each day when I ride the elevator up to the third floor I hear at least one comment on the weather. It’s quite ironic that the Irish love to discuss weather so much because it’s usually not great. Maybe they bond over shared disgruntlement. 

Although it’s been raining I am getting used to it. I still love walking the streets past St. Stephens Green and down Grafton St. where all the aspiring musicians play. There are a couple of high school boys I have seen playing a few times and they’re usually good. Some may call them wannabe Ed Sheeransbut I don’t mind because it makes my walk a little more interesting. Because my office is located right in the city centre I have a lot of interaction with tourists walking around. Although I am technically a traveler as well I am becoming a little ashamed of my own kind. Whenever I see other Americans I feel myself cringe. I can see why the Irish think we are so loud and annoying. When I first answered the phone at work I felt like I was yelling because it was so quiet. Most of my coworkers are relatively soft spoken; I thought I was too until I arrived. It feels good that I’m settled in here. I have my feet on the ground and I’m not nervous about embarrassing myself anymore. 

As another week passes I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunities I have here. Never have I ever felt so unsure about the future. This is the most impactful part of being adaptable, not knowing what the future holds. I still have no idea where I will be traveling to, who I will meet and what work I will be doing. Even though I’ve been here for several weeks the sense of uncertainty is still there. I feel comfortable, yet I know I have more to explore here. I believe I am in a great spot, not quite to the halfway mark but seasoned enough to feel secure.