Well, I guess I should tell you where I’ve been for the last 4 months. It’s really been a while since I checked in. And maybe I should do it a bit more often, but people are inherently flawed, aren’t they? And I guess my one true flaw is the inability to maintain a regular blogging schedule. Sorry guys.. But here I am. Finally.
On March 12th, I flew home to Ireland for my father’s funeral. After a full day of traveling and 5 long, arduous flights, we finally landed in Dublin. I wish I could speak of Ireland with the same wide-eyed wonder that I experience in new countries, but it’s difficult to describe it without each encounter layered upon a history of recollections.
If there’s anywhere that truly hits me with nostalgia, it’s the Dublin airport. As soon as I step off the plane, every memory hits me with the swell of a thousand oceans.
Every aroma from the characteristic manure and grass scent that hangs in the air when you touch down to the cigarette smog that lies just outside the baggage claim is welcoming and almost comforting. I rush through the doors in the usual airport bustle and remember the other countless times I’ve walked through the terminal. I push through to passport control and grow antsy with the same anticipation as three-year-old me had, knowing my family waited on the other side of the hall. After waiting in a seemingly endless line, I made it to the other side. Nearly home free.
Dublin Airport is almost consoling. The baggage claim is the same, the terminal, the bustle of people, the chatter clashing county-branded accents. I love it. If not for the gaudy display of St. Patrick’s Day orange and green streamers racing through the terminal, it felt like time had stopped in Dublin. As if the last six years in the states hadn’t touched the faithful airport and I hadn’t left.
Time does, however, do a number on people. As we made our way out of baggage claim, we were welcomed by a familiar group. The same laughing bunch of relatives, only now scattered with graying hair and creases in their smiling faces. But I’m sure you already know the excitement of seeing family though, so there’s really no need for my description.
You see, my grandparents live in the same little house they have lived in for sixty years. The same cookie cutter house crammed between other cookie cutter houses on the same street in the same town that they raised their eight children in. With the same view of the same old round tower out the window. And I love this house. Some of my earliest memories were made in this house, on this street, in this same little village.
And so that’s why I can’t speak of Ireland through fresh eyes. The fabric of my being is sown with little threads and stitches of that house.
So. What did I get up to you ask?
That’s a long story, and will likely be split up into different cities.
So. While in Dublin, I went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. That’s right. St. Paddy’s day in Ireland. How wild! Except it wasn’t really that wild. We went to the parade, which actually turned out to be pretty phenomenal. Coming from somewhere that typically doesn’t even entertain the thought of a Paddy’s day parade, I was blown away.
And then we (my sister, aunt and I) walked across town to the stadium. Turns out, the GAA club finals were the very same day so we spent a good majority of our day watching hurling matches. And guys. I think I found my sport. Not that I’d ever want to play it, but hurling spectating is possibly the most entertaining experience I’ve ever had. You see, when the opposing team scores, it is almost entirely necessary to yell “FECK!” If you don’t participate in this strange colloquialism, you are cast as an outsider. Either you’re fecking or you’re not. That’s all there is too it.
And even stranger, the best way to criticize a player is to say “Come on, ____ boy!” and just fill in the blank with their jersey name. Weird right. So in culturally appropriated fashion, I was “feck”-ing and and “come now, Kelly boy!”-ing before I knew it. If you ever have the chance to watch a hurling match, jump on it, because I guarantee you will come out grinning.
Now. On to the next city… Cork here we come!