A few ponderings about Dublin, future and contentment

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It's a tranquil afternoon in Dun Laoghaire. The sea is about two hundred yards away and the tide never seems to be present here. Delightful. In front of me - a slightly too watery latte (made by a Polish guy who seems to be new in the cafe, ah well, I'll just give him time). It looks like something went terribly wrong with the air conditioning - judging by the reaction at the table next to me I am not the only one thinking the smell is somewhat reminiscent of pooh.

I have to admit Primal Sneeze is right. I am suffocating in frustration. Especially for the past couple of months. I guess the fact that I got a chance to travel this year more than ever (thus the balance in my credit card is zero) had influenced my feelings as well. I know, it is not Cambodia or Argentina (yet), just Krakow, Seville, Italy (Interrailing from Valle d'Aosta to Palermo and back up North) and Denmark (Odense & Copenhagen). Hope you have enjoyed the pictures.

In other words I have been busy exploring the continent and whenever I come back to √Čire I have to face the bitter fact that Dublin is a part of an island. Not only just geographically. Despite the fact Dublin makes it to majority of various polls in Europe estimating the possibilities for job seekers and the quantity of happy people living here (and most of the time it's in the top 10 at least) there are still many things to be improved.

As I was reading the list of 20 most liveable cities in the world announced in the last issue of Monocle at work (during those lazy afternoon hours), many customers expectantly were asking if Dublin had made it to the list. I had to disappoint them. The criteria for selecting the cities(sustainability, medical care, public transport, local media, access to international media, environmental initiatives among others) were exactly the ones where Dublin needs a huge push forward.

Bellow are the cities in declining order that, according to Monocle, are the most liveable in the world:


Despite the fact that almost all of them belong to countries that have high GDP per capita and wages far greater than the ones in Lithuania, it looks like economic factors were not the most essential ones for Monocle. And I take my hat off for that.

By the way, does anybody remember the 178-nation "Happy Planet Index" which reveals the the south Pacific island of Vanuatu with a population of 209 000 is the happiest nation on the planet, while the UK is ranked 108th? The index is based on consumption levels, life expectancy and happiness, rather than national economic wealth measurements such as GDP.

However let's come back to Dublin. I believe everybody could sketch a must-do list which could improve living here. On the other hand a temporary infatuation with a country were you've spent a mere week and living in it most of the time turn out to be two totally different stories. Conclusion - Dublin is great yet it has the potential to become greater and on a vast scale it all will depend on the generation to come. I hope this generation stops scratching the balls (a sight seen on the streets of Dublin more often than in any other city I have been to) and starts using the hands to build a better country. Their parents gave them the Celtic Tiger. What are they going to give to their own children apart passion for Guinness and GAA?

Now don't get me wrong. I deliberately posted this beforehand. Yet I have to assert that constant state of happiness for me is unfamiliar. Therefore (some might say driven by frustration) recently I did the following:

* A couple of weeks ago I applied for a Photography and Digital Imaging course in the National College of Art and Design. As always is the case in Dublin the 24-week-long course should cost what each year of full-time BA studies in photography costs in the Netherlands. One doesn't have to be Susan Sontag to distinguish the level of photography over there and here, in the Emerald Island. The course, after researching the works of the graduates of the college, seems to be one of the best in Dublin and without the promises to teach you to make pretty shots. Fingers crossed...

* Applied for volunteering in Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures. Last year I was over the moon as I watched buskers banging congos, a violinist Oleg Ponomarev in leather trousers, who brought the house down playing Russian//Gyspy music and Congolese guitar wizard Niwel Tsumbu. Many visitors of the festival said they did not expect such a cultural fiesta in an island. This year should be just as good, although what a shame, Lithuanians do not participate again on a larger scale and I don't know whom to blame anymore - our embassy or the lack of initiative in our Ministry of culture or artists themselves... As for me I am getting an M size T-shirt and a badge "Volunteer". Hopefully the boss will be happy enough to give me a weekend off...

There are a few more things but I will keep them undisclosed for a while.

So I guess frustration is THE driving force for me.

Blessed are those who are busy from 8 am till 5 pm and drunk afterwards, for they shall have no time to ask wrong questions.

Blessed are those who fall asleep without wondering what they might dream about for they shall fall asleep immediately.

Blessed are those who fall in love with those who are imperfect and don't attempt to change them for they shall have less grey hair to pluck.

Blessed are those who are not frustrated for they shall live in contentment.

I promise - no more mentioning of frustration :)

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