Despite the fact that the lady in the Claddagh store told me I had pudgy fingers, Ireland was more than I ever thought it could be. Looking back, it went by in the blink of an eye. But while I was there, everything seemed to slow down. No one was ever in a hurry (which made for a huge culture shock when I landed in New York City and someone shoved me out of the way in a Wendy’s line) and everyone was just taking life one day at a time.
My second leg of the Ireland tour began in Cork to the south and headed up the west coast to Galway and Westport. After a minor complication of being unable to rent a car, I secretly breathed a sigh of relief since the Irish road system was clearly designed by a meth addict. So unfortunately I did not get to see Kerry, but it is all an excellent excuse for a return journey.
And the family that I have met on this trip would make a second trip more than worthwhile. When I left a month ago, I was very focused on how my perspective was going to change, or what kind of clarity I would achieve. But coming out on the other side, I have realized that this has been anything but about myself. I’m still recovering from the overwhelming amount of family willing to greet me with such open arms thousands of miles from home. The selflessness that I’ve seen demonstrated has reminded me not only of the importance of family, but the importance of stepping back once in a while and removing yourself from the equation entirely.
From rushing out in the rain at 3 in the morning to pay for my cab, to taking hours to drive me through the scenic route to a destination, it is crazy what everyone has done for me just to make me feel at home. When I flew back to Dublin from Barcelona, in a weird way I did feel like I was coming home. Granted, none of my relatives have been with me long enough to realize how annoying I am, but that’s all part of the process of becoming a real family.
So no, I did not reach some amazing revelation on my trip about what I want to do with my life. I didn’t find some weird religion to dedicate my life to, or get engaged to a strapping Irish lad. I simply went and had an absolutely amazing time. And that should be a good enough trip for anyone.