Beginnings and Ends

Sublimation: a phase transition from a solid to a gas, without passing through an intermediate liquid state of being

It’s been nearly a month since we left the torrent of Middelburg and began the adventure of Dublin. But where does this adventure actually begin? I can’t draw clear lines between one experience and the next, as they seamlessly flow together. I think.

Did my adventure of Dublin begin with the moving process away from Middelburg? Did it begin with the formal conclusion of my time in university? How am I supposed to measure my personal growth, or organize life-changing experiences when I feel like everything is changing all the time, while simultaneously remains the same?

In terms of chemistry, maybe I’m in a constant liquid state, moving from one thing to the next, and the rate of movement ebbs and flows, but my phase is constant. But right now it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like I’m trapped in a state of sublimation. I’m not a solid, not a gas, nor a liquid. I’m in a purgatory of change from one extreme to the next.

In our one month here, Mars and I have gone apartment shopping, signed a lease, built our home up from the floorboards, and secured jobs. Mars’s social life began with volunteering, and mine began with dating a local. Now volunteering is over, and the boy only lasted a weekend. And I still need to find another job to supplement the one at the cafe if I want to have an exciting life supporting consumerism.

So why does it feel like I don’t have a life? While at the same time it feels like I’ve lived an entire lifetime squished into a month. Am I just being impatient?

I really like my coworkers, and I feel like I might have found a place with them, as they do a lot of fun activities together. Hannah Montana and High School Musical nights?! And I’ve found another boss who is just as infatuated with John Mayer as I am?! I can’t wait to fall in love with all of them and begin a dysfunctional polyamorous relationship. The cafe itself is incredibly sarcastic from their decor to their menu. I’m really excited. But I also don’t want to get my expectations up too high…

And then there’s the boy. I don’t even know what to think, and my feelings are just as polarized. The beginning and the end were so closely tied together, perhaps that’s why I’m feeling stuck between extremes. The end of Us came while still at the beginning of Dublin. How can there be an end at the beginning? But I’ll be okay. I already had my time of embitterment towards men. No need to let one ruin it for the rest.

Or has it not even begun? I haven’t found my social circle yet. And I’m definitely not waking up at the same time nor going to bed consistently. I want to find a group of runners. I want to find a church that wouldn’t mind a protestant in their mix. I want to learn Irish. I want to start my podcast. I want to become a journalist and make friends with other writers or podcasters. I want to find where I belong.

Maybe I’m being unrealistic and a year isn’t enough time to settle in the way I want. Maybe I should stay for ten more. Or maybe I’m just being impatient. Maybe I should stop thinking about thinking. Worrying about worrying. Part of me sorely misses the Netherlands. Starting over kind of sucks.

I’m 21, I’ve lived and worked in three countries and counting, I’ve got a bachelor’s degree, I’ve got friends and family who love me, and I had a chai latte with these random old people that sat at my table yesterday. They were on their way to an afternoon play. One gentleman told me San Diego was his favorite city in the world. I exaggerated a Californian “thaaaaanks”.


  1. I love your idea about solid to gas and back again. Leaving and beginning always sucks for me. I am always not happy when i first move and am overwhelmed and then fall in love with the place and think I don’t want to leave…any Las Vegas. It is important for me to call friends all the time and be real about what is going on….also loved exploring the new place which you are doing. Love, JoJo


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