Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise

Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise

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I’m back in Ireland at the moment. I hadn’t intended on coming home. I was meant to travel to my aunt’s house in State College, PA and spend the holidays with family, but I hadn’t seen my sister for the best part of a year, and she was home from Australia, and it turned out flights to Dublin were pretty reasonable, so a few weeks before break I booked a flight.

I was met in Dublin Airport by my parents on Christmas Eve, and following two days of good food and endless board games led by my nephew Jamie, I found out where my friends were gathering on St. Stephen’s night and just turned up nonchalant as could be. It was deadly, but the more I recounted tales of Chicago, the more it became apparent just how much my life has revolved exclusively around Columbia lately. You’d expect that grad school would take up a considerable amount of time, but in moving to a new country and starting afresh, it’s hard to build a new life when all your eggs are in the one basket, I guess. That brings me to my first resolution:

#1 I resolve to not let the remainder of my time in Chicago revolve solely around Columbia and to make an effort to do more outside of school and meet more people.

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I deleted Facebook two years ago. I was away at the time and wanted to feel like I was away. Barring the infrequent email or throwaway tweet, I’m not the type to frequently keep in touch with friends. Through work, study, and travel, we’ve often been separated for long bouts of time, only to be reunited later and for everything to be just the same between us. It’s comforting, but it means I’m not always up-to-date with their lives. That said, when we catch up now, there’s always news.

This time the most noteworthy news came in the form of break ups, good friends becoming more than just friends, engagements, pregnancies, travel plans, and friends recording new albums… But, what most impressed me was my good friend John’s news that he’d trained for and completed his first marathon.

#2 This resolution has appeared in previous years, and, to some extent, I’ve seen it through but have often become distracted. For good measure, I resolve to once and for all become fitter than ever. I do not intend on doing a marathon anytime soon, but in keeping with building a new life in Chicago, I need to build a new lifestyle, get back to the gym, and start swimming again.

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This trip home has been somewhat strange at times. Inevitably, some friends move in different directions, but good friends remain good friends, and family will always be family. Having that physical distance from both Columbia and Chicago has proven great in terms of allowing me to properly evaluate how life in the States has gone so far, and catching up with family and friends has not only grounded me but inspired me to no end. Now, I’m looking forward to getting back to Chicago.

Don’t forget: the deadline for applying to the Film & Video – Creative Producing MFA program is next week. Fire any last minute questions you have to me at

Athbhliain faoi mhaise, or more simply, happy new year.