March 12, 2007

Away from home, home again

I found my way back to Belfast with a cup of tea this morning and watching this (a big song we listened to the duration of the trip).

The seven-hour flight was easy because we went out for our last night in Belfast. The feeling that all in one day we were having tea and high "fibre" cereal, walking the cliffs of Ballycastle, dancing the night away and finding ourselves looking at the docile shots of the airplane safety passengers is almost too much to ponder.

The first day of the trip was similar and I suppose it is fitting that the end of the trip was more of the spectacular same.

I think the most difficult part of coming home was saying goodbye to Maguerite, Pat Joe and Kate, our amazing hosts. I can't say enough about their hospitality and generousity, particularly in their own tenous situation of possibly moving to another flat. Their kindness never faltered--even when I told them I didn't take milk in my tea.

However, I have not seen the last of them. I have just signed up for a Bebo account and have their e-mail accounts. I'm making Wednesdays my Irish writing days, so they will get a letter every week, whether they want one or not. I've also invited them to visit me in New York to keep the travel love flowing.

Saying goodbye to Ireland was difficult. I don't usually have the presence of mind to do this, but the moment my foot left Irish soil at the airport, I marked it. Tears filled my eyes unbidden when I saw the green of Ireland vanish in a white screen of clouds. I think that was the best way to have it, though. The pain of watching the fields slink away would have been even worse.

The flights were rather uneventful, but U.S. Customs was an experience. I hesitate to write much on this subject because of the tight security, but we went through some extra stuff because we visited Mags' farm.

In any case, we made it back into America without any international incident, so all was well.

After being deposited at home, I thought I would have crashed, but I was elated to see my family again. The entirety of my luggage was spilled out on the kitchen floor, and I handed out gifts: chocolate, wool and nearly every kind of tourist trap item out there--except glass and pottery.

Something trite is bound to follow, but this trip has changed me. I made it another country. New friends who have been beaten with a hammer, new places with interesting details that I won't talk about in this blog. I guess it all comes down to one thing. There are times in your life when you question your ability to live up to your dreams. And when you suddenly see "traveling to another country" crossed off your mental list in an Irish grocery store or an abbey or the loving look in a once-stranger's eyes, you can scarcely believe that it is real.

I've actually pinched myself--okay, so that was trite.

After the gifts were disbursed and my suitcase lying stagnant once again in my bedroom, I picked through the mail that arrived in my absence. I opened it last. Dreams come in cream envelopes with purple torches on them. It's official. I'm accepted at NYU, and I've the letter to prove it.

So that means that I'll have the Irish visit me sometime soon--a dream within a dream, or maybe a reality I can now believe.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at March 12, 2007 9:13 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: ChrisU at March 16, 2007 11:10 PM
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