Monday, January 6, 2014

Dublin scenic tour, part II

Today the kids started at their new school.  They were very excited to put on their school uniforms this morning. To them, uniforms seem very Harry Potter-esque. It was so lovely that after breakfast, we could all just walk around the corner together and wait for the school gate to open. The school is in an old house, so it feels Harry Potter-esque also. The kids were welcomed warmly by their teachers and new classmates. When I picked them up, they both declared they had a great day. Sounds great, right? Well it is, but let me rewind a little...

I couldn't sleep last night. You would think it was me who was having my first day of school. Luckily I have been reading a very enjoyable book, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire (thanks for the recommendation, Doris.) So, I stayed up quite late and finished my book, but still didn't sleep all too well. It was a very windy night and we had put quite a few bags of Ikea packaging materials out on the curb for bin (garbage/recycling) collection this morning. I kept hearing noises and picturing the trash and packing materials being whipped up and blown around the street. I think I was partly concerned we were not making a great first impression with our new neighbors (none of whom we have even seen or met.) For instance, late Saturday night, DH was investigating knobs and gadgets by the front door and found we have a panic alarm. It's really, really loud. It took a few minutes to figure out how to turn it off. Then after our Ikea delivery yesterday, the evening was spent pounding and hammering Ikea furniture together. Our little townhome shares the walls on each side with other houses. So, I was feeling a little worried that we were being obnoxious new neighbors.

Anyway, so I couldn't sleep and kept waking up. By 6am, I decided I may as well get up and go for a run to explore our new hood and get started on a (hopefully) regular exercise routine. I figured that a half hour run would give me plenty of time to get back and showered before I had to get the kids up. This is where my morning deviates from being great. I ran down a street that I knew would take me towards the strand and then turned to run along the water. At 15 minutes out, I turned to go back. At first I thought I was on the same road, but soon began to realize this was not the road I had come down. The first clue was that when I was first running, the big Aviva stadium was on my right. Now running back, the stadium was on my right again. It was still dark out and the streets look quite similar, but the stadium could not have moved. Also, I do not have a working cellphone yet, so I don't have my usual navigation and I couldn't make a call.

Dublin is definitely not arranged on a grid, like many parts of Los Angeles, so the streets wind and end and are really quite maze-like. They will also only have the same name for two blocks and then the name changes. I seemed to be running away from our house rather than towards it. I came to the train tracks and there was a little dark lane running alongside them. A tall man in what looked like a top hat and black coat turned to go down the lane. It reminded me of a Dickens novel. I knew that we lived near the station, so I questioned whether it was wise to follow that tall man down the dark lane. I was worried that if I went forward I would stay on this maze of streets that all looked the same but were not bringing me out to a main road. At least I knew my way from the train station. So, I decided to go for it. I ran past him a good distance and came to a gate. The gate was locked. I thought maybe the tall man had a card or something that would open the gate, but decided I could easily scale the wall beside the gate and get over without any card. After scaling the gate, I kept running and came to what must be the Dodder river. I crossed the river and came to a dead end, not the train station. I knew if I followed the river that I would get to a place near our house. So, I turned and ran and then hit another set of closed gates. This time, the gates were tall and they seemed to lead to a construction site, not more of the path. Ugh.

I turned around and decided to run back. It was already close to 7am and I was getting quite panicky. I knew that DH and the kids were getting up at 7 and I was not going to be there. Would I even get back in time to bring them to their first day of school? I couldn't call and let them know. I saw the tall man walking towards me and wondered where he was going and how he had gotten through the first gate. He was very elegantly dressed to have scaled the wall, like I did. Again, his presence made me a little apprehensive, but I decided to ask him for directions. He was surprised to hear that the second set of gates were locked, but said it was likely because the storm had caused a flood warning for the Dodder. He said that he would need to turn back too but if I got back to the road where I had encountered the train tracks and followed it instead of turning, I would get to the south end of Ballsbridge. I could find my way from there. So, I backtracked and went across the tracks and ended up at the RDS. The winds were very heavy at this point and I was running into a headwind. It was pouring rain and all I could think of was the kids. Though, I was quite far south from my house, I fortunately knew my way from here. No more shortcuts along the train tracks, no more labyrinthine housing estates, no more locked gates along the river. I had been running for over an hour and was so worried about the kids waking up to no mom on their first day of school.

I arrived home to find them all eating breakfast in our toasty little kitchen. DH had figured I had gone running and gotten lost, but asked me not to explore our hood until after the kids are in school in future. It was all uphill from there though!

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