We recently caught up with Alisa Kuzmina, a participant on our Work in Ireland program from Canada. As we got to chatting, Alisa mentioned ways to make the transition to a new, unfamiliar country easier. She spoke a lot about the ‘mini moments’ when everything seems to fall into place and feel like home.
Regardless of how prepared you are for your big move, beginning to live in a new city can feel pretty overwhelming. What if I’ve spent my last twenty on a dinner I’m going to hate? Should I splurge on that couch cushion at Penney’s? Will I ever find a latte that tastes like back home? And wow – I spent that much on busses today?
In order to plan my days efficiently, I’m always trying to think ahead, and even that can make my head spin. Throw in the endless hustle and bustle of O’Connell Street and sometimes, all I want is to hide under a blanket. This is where Mini Moments come in handy. Mini Moments are those tiny victories you feel when you’ve discovered something that’s just right. Something that’s exactly how you hoped it would be. Something that makes you feel that tiny bit of comfort in a sea of unknowns.
My first Mini Moment was finding a bag of three passion fruits for a euro at a local SuperValu. One Euro! Back in Canada, passion fruit is so expensive and considered such a rare delicacy that grocery stores put it out on shelves almost decoratively. I remember once treating myself to just one of those little fruit. It cost about as much as a month’s Netflix membership. I ran home with it and when I opened it, it had been so dry and damaged from the seventeen million kilometers it had to travel to get to Canada that I barely tasted any of it. I can’t imagine my face that morning at SuperValu, but I know I must’ve stood staring at that passion fruit for a good long while before carrying four packs of it home triumphantly.
My next Mini Moment was having a heart to heart talk with the bus driver of the 29A. I heard that you need to tell the driver where you’re going so that he can take the right fare off your bus pass, but what do you say when you don’t know where you’re going? “I’d like to get off at the stop by the half-eaten sandwich.” I mean, I know my address, but the stops aren’t very specific, and okay, I’m a little shy when it comes to sharing personal stuff like how long I plan to be on the bus. Anyway, that day, the bus driver saw me awkwardly tapping my bus pass on the reader (something I’ve resorted to doing to avoid any communication) and asked me where I need to be. After I explained my half-eaten sandwich predicament, he ignored the forty-five people in line behind me, and very slowly taught me that from the city centre to Howth Road, it’s a simple “Two oh-five please”. That evening, slurping up spoon-fulls of passion fruit, I thought about my Mini Moment of finally mastering asking for exact fare instead of paying the full amount. A triumph in public transit.
My most favourite Mini Moment is one I created myself. A few days ago, feeling like I needed a night in, I stopped by a grocery store on my way home and picked up a few new ice cream flavors and chocolate bars I’d never heard of before (Lidl is great for that! Hello Sicilian Pistachio gelato for a Euro!). I also grabbed a new bottle of wine to try. Back in my apartment, I sampled my little treasures while watching a hilarious random Irish reality TV show, sitting back against my Penney’s cushion. To date, it’s been one of my favourite nights here in Dublin! Not every unknown is scary, after all.
Savor your Mini Moment. Make a big deal out of every little thing you find that makes you happy. These moments will come together to eventually make all the stressful stuff worth it, and to make lovely Dublin feel even more like home.
A little quiet breakfast Mini Moment: