The first time I ever truly encountered the world on my own was when I moved to New York City for the summer while I was nineteen. I was in town for an internship ahead of a semester abroad in Hong Kong, which, for logistical reasons, I’d depart for in August straight from LaGuardia. In other words, I showed up to my Brooklyn apartment in May with a suitcase and the knowledge that I wouldn’t see home until the end of December later that year. Having never left the Midwest for a city any bigger than Minneapolis, I was a ball of nerves when I stepped into my bedroom.
My welcome to New York City was given to me in the first Irish accent I had ever heard. Emmet Lyons, my new roommate, had just moved from Dublin with a dream of breaking into the broadcast journalism industry after graduating from University College Dublin. In true New York City fashion, Emmet hustled through a series of odd jobs in the media and film scene while working at the gift shop in NBC Studios. We lived with a rotating cast of strangers in a room that held a set of dual bunk beds while paying an exorbitant amount of rent that, frankly, I’d rather not print. Perhaps due to the regional warmth that both of our homelands were known for, we quickly became good friends and spent most of our summer nights on the roof wondering what in the world we were going to do with our lives. It was one of the best summers of my life.
When our time together neared its end, I vowed to myself that I’d one day make good on my newfound dream of visiting Emmet in Ireland, though I wasn’t quite sure how that would happen. I never would’ve imagined that I’d retell our story three years later in the Mitchell interview that would send me to Dublin and Emmet’s alma mater. In a stroke of pandemic-induced luck, Emmet ended up moving back home from London and we recently had the chance to reunite, making good on a promise we made in pure aspiration.
I could barely wrap my mind around the odds as we stood together and shared a couple of takeaway pints on a beautiful spring day in Dublin. It was nothing short of the kind of magical experience that we’ve all sorely missed in the pandemic era. Although the future turned into a reality we never could’ve dreamed back then, I’m happy to report that our goals remained intact – and then some. Emmet now works for CNN and has an Emmy under his belt while I’m planning on moving back to New York City in the upcoming fall. At fate’s current rate, it seems like I may not be able to see Ireland in the way I had hoped to a year ago. Nonetheless, I’m reminded in moments like this that life still goes on in ways that always have a chance to be a beautiful surprise.