Yes, I’ve made it home from the Emerald Isle safe and sound. Around 10 o’clock the night before my departure, I went to print out my boarding pass and realized the airline had moved the time of my flight up 1 hour! This wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t depending completely on public transportation, Ballinasloe to Galway at 7:40 am; Galway to Shannon Airport at 9:10 am – to get me to the airport by 10:50, in order to make a now 12:30 flight instead of a 1:30 flight. Now in hinde sight, this would have been fine as the day of my flight the airport was empty and I didn’t wait in one line for security or customs or anything, but my anxiety started to grow immediately. I had no other options since the 7:40 bus was the earliest leaving from Ballinasloe. Luckily (and probably not coincidentally, like my entire trip has been) Padraig’s brother, Niall came into the office while I was printing out my pass and I told him what was stressing me and he offered to drive me right to the airport because he was heading in that direction tomorrow! So I went to sleep that night with a completely clear conscience and was so happy I didn’t have to wake up as early as I would have for the bus.
It was strange that morning because everything felt so similar, waking up and eating breakfast with Roisin because we always got there earlier than the rest of the family, talking to Méabh about school that day, etc. But that day it was farewell for good and I got hugs from everyone…a rare occurrence indeed. Una came for the ride with Niall and I and told me all about Irish politics on our 2 hour drive. I listened highly interested and surprised that I hadn’t gotten such a detailed analysis in the entire 2 months that I’ve been here! Staring out the car windows I remembered my first few weeks here, staring out the bus windows every weekend in shock and awe of the landscape, the rolling green hills that go on forever, the innumerable stone walls, the dilapidated buildings that look to have been there for centuries. I wonder when this became the norm for me, when the switchover occurred, when this view stopped bringing tears to my eyes and started to feel like home. I thought of all the changes that have occurred since those first few weeks, all the people I’ve met, experiences I’ve had, lessons I’ve learned about life and about myself. And I felt incredibly content and somewhat accomplished. Though I was sad to leave Ireland and the whole traveling lifestyle, there was a new air about me. A new feeling of, “I can handle this,” whatever that maybe when I returned home.
At the airport, I checked my two bags and a brand new umbrella that I’d purchased for my trip to the Cliffs of Moher
since the other cliffs destroyed my sturdy little Tote from my co-worker, Mary, that I’d used the entire time I was there. I went right through security, I went right through customs…well not right through. The little thing I had to fill out asked if I was on a farm at all so clearly I had to check “yes” and then had to sit in a little room for a bit until a lady came to ask me about it. Obviously it was no big deal since they only cared about animal farms and we had none there, so before I knew it I was in my gate, waiting to board the plane. I’m telling you, smooth sailing all the way! I don’t think I’ve ever had a better flight/airport experience. The plane was not booked up so I had a free seat next to me, I watched movies and read, “The Watchmen,” and drank coffee with Bailey’s and contemplated some more about everything I’ve seen and done and learned and choked back tears a few times. It was great! Then, in New York my bags came out within 2 minutes of me finding the baggage claim. I caught the AirTrain to Jamaica Station, then the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station, then Amtrak to 30th Street where my parents were waiting. It was sort of surreal after all this traveling again to land somewhere that was so familiar to me. I mean if I thought it was weird to arrive on the farm after all those weeks of being THE foreigner everywhere, it was a nice change of pace I’ll admit. And reallllly strange to hear everyone around me speaking in American accents.
I honestly didn’t think that I would be affected by jet lag since it was only 5 hours difference. So I convinced myself I was fine and maybe I was, at least that first night. I arrived home to an awesome welcome home sign that my Mom asked my friends to make, and little accents from my blog hanging all around thanks again to Mama. Daddy popped open the champagne and I showed them pictures and told them about my adventures and Danielle and Jimmy showed up and I gave everyone their little Irish gifts and it was a lovely homecoming. Then, because I was still convinced I wouldn’t be tired, I met up with Amy, Rhion and Yasmine at Amy’s house and it was sooooo great to see everyone again!
Now, in the weeks leading up to my departure, I started to get a bit paranoid about money and work, etc. So one rainy day, when I was in the hostel in Dublin, I started browsing craigslist for jobs in the Conshohocken area, since before I left, I put a deposit down on a shared house there (and am now currently residing there). A few days later I had a few emails and before you know it, I had an interview at 10:30 am the day after I arrive home. Go figure! So I’ve been a busy little beaver these last few days, and yes, the jet lag did catch up to me. Thursday night I made an Irish vegetable feast for my parents and I and as soon as my belly was full it hit me. I hit my bed at 8 pm and slept soundly until 7:30 on Friday. I ended up having another interview on Friday so I met up with Danielle afterwards and planned to sleepover her house and catch up with her and Jimmy. But, again, as soon as we ate dinner, I passed out on their couch in the middle of the conversation at 9 pm.
Needless to say, I’ve been a bit off sleep wise, but I think I’m basically back to normal now. Just trying to get situated in
my new digs and catch up with all the fun people I’ve been missing these last few months! So for those of you I haven’t seen yet, get at me cause I wanna see your beautiful faces!!! 🙂 Thank you for reading my blog these last 10 weeks, it’s been really fun writing them and finding that so many of you were interested in what I was doing.
Good to be back, folks.