As I sat in the Columbus airport twelve days ago (scared to death to fly for the first time) it occurred to me that after this trip my perspective would change. The world would either grow or shrink, get bigger or smaller. After spending the last dozen days in Ireland, I have come to the realization that the answer isn’t definitive. The reality I have experienced while here has caused my world to both expand and contract. I have now gone past Americas’ borders, to my great unknown, and am better for doing it. This experience has taught me that a place can be radically different and comfortably similar at the exact same time. There are pockets of home wherever I wander, and new feats to conquer wherever I go.
The people in this small farming village remind me a lot of the friendly Midwesterners I have grown to love back home. I see my family in them: hardworking men and woman who move the earth with their hands, the same hands they use to wave at me as I pass by. If I stand still long enough in a pasture here, the cattle will come right up to me and stare, just like home. People are incredibly polite, full of wit and wisdom and incredibly eager to talk if you lend them your ear. Parts of the landscape remind me not necessarily of my home, but different corners of the states. Yesterday we wondered to a hermitage that felt tropical like Hawaii; today we drove through pine dotted mountains and I was convinced I was in Washington State.
In this sameness, things are different. Words mean different things here, a handful of people cautioned me to ask for a lift instead of a ride. If you ask for chips and you get fries, ask for fries and you get nothing. A bar is a pub, and if you’re looking for craic you’re looking for fun. Things are greener here, the earth is well looked after and food is organic. I will never again be able to enjoy an egg purchased in an American grocery store; when you crack an Irish egg the yoke is thick and dark orange. That being said, I am longing for a snack-wrap and a large sweet tea from Mickey-D’s. Iced tea in general sounds wonderful right now, they don’t serve that here; tea is bitter and tea is hot.
The first thing I am going to do when I reach home is lay out in the sun with my earbuds in and soak up all of the warmth I’ve so desperately missed. I was right in expecting it to be mid fifties here, but what I did not plan for was the wind. This wind changes the sky, which is so much bigger than any Ohio sky I have ever seen. I keep finding myself comparing Ireland to the wild west: big and open and free. I belong in a place like that; something I have always thought has now been confirmed.
Gaining six hours will be weird, adjusting to the time of day will be hard; here they use military time which I have now grown fond of. Most difficult, though, will be living in less light. The sun rises around five and sets around eleven which has made it impossible for my body to understand what time of day it really is. Home will regulate this; home will reset my system just like it always does.
Two more days and two more flights until Ohio and I will fully live every last second of them.