in much the way that bricks don’t

A very thorough and no doubt scientifically rigorous Google search persuades me that rainbows are particularly common in locales with fickle showers and sunbeams with urgent appointments. That is to say, it’s not just your average rain that sprays the sky with sliced up sunshine, but rain you won’t see coming and don’t catch leaving. As you can imagine, Ireland is rainbow Costco.  

Even my thorough pre-departure literature review of the back of a Lucky Charms box didn’t prepare me for how often rainbows would punctuate my time in Ireland. I’ve seen them when  I’m exploring new towns like Killarney and Derry, when I’m lost and soaked through at the Gap of Dunloe, and even when I’m picking up packages from the UCD mailroom. When the first Dublin flurries fell on a casual stroll, a rainbow framed Christ Church Cathedral. They’ve even welcomed me to class on mornings when it hasn’t rained in days. In fact, I’m now quite convinced that I have no idea how rainbows really work, and that they keep popping up simply because they feel like it. 

Zoha and Teresa are also rainbow fans.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about these cheeky fellows is that they have no interest in being photographed. They fade away just before I can snatch them with my camera or otherwise prove too dim to make good pictures. It makes me wonder how many of the elusive illusions are waiting just out of sight, too faint for human eyes to detect against freshly blued skies. Maybe that’s also why I’ve seen so many in the few months since arriving in Ireland: I’ve just started looking for them more. 

Nothing wraps up a full day of hiking like a rainbow.

Of course, I’m sure rainbows couldn’t care less about how much I enjoy encountering them. This is certainly another reason why they bring me so much happiness: you have to soak them up while they’re around, because you never know when they’ll disappear again.  They last just long enough for you to wish they were there a little longer, and then you’re left wondering how many hours, weeks, or months it will be until the next one. 

Even a UCD car park doesn’t look half bad when framed by a rainbow.

The best part of all these rainbows is that, even after nearly twenty sightings in my first semester, seeing one is still just as awesome. Each marks a new adventure, a new memory, and a new reason to slow down and enjoy things. When I’m walking to class on a schedule that’s beginning to solidify into a repetitive routine, a few seconds of smiling at the sky are a reminder of the daily surprises waiting for breaks in the clouds. Of course a year in Ireland would be fantastic; I knew that since before I flew over. What I didn’t expect were the tiny treasures, from original constitutions to rambunctious twelve year-olds to beachside drama to bread and honey to record-setting crossword times to kitchen table cards and on and on and on. It’s the sneaky and spontaneous moments you won’t see coming and don’t catch leaving — the rainbow moments — that have made this experience truly exceptional. 

Waking up to a double rainbow outside my window.

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