I am not saying goodbye to Ireland and the people I spent time with here, instead, I am simply saying see you later. My time in this country has differed from the last two places I have visited, Barcelona and Lisbon. I fell in love with all of Lisbon, found the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona, made friends in both places, but I was still far, far away from my family. When I arrived in Dublin, over two weeks ago, I stumbled out of the airport and into my hostel, explored the city, as I had become accustomed to doing, and made the most of the few days I had there.
Four days later, I boarded a train to Waterford in the Southeast of Ireland to visit family friends, and old neighbors, whom I had not seen in eight years. I was greeted by the woman who was like a second mother to me when I was a young one and too afraid to stay home alone after school. The moment she smiled and said my name is when Ireland began to feel like home. I spent one night with the Farrell's in their seaside village, Dunmore East, which was a short drive outside of Waterford. We spent the twenty four hours we had together catching up on the past eight years of each others lives, laughing loads, drinking tea, playing guitar and ukulele, hiking along the sea, and surprising each other with the ways we had all aged and grown over the years. I said my goodbyes the following day, but I knew I would be back to see them all again soon. It had been too long before, and I never again want to go eight years without experiencing the light and joy that is the Farrell's.
I was comforted leaving the Farrell's knowing that my friend, Amy, awaited my arrival in Belfast. I traveled by train for nearly five hours to reach the city from Waterford, but it was worth every minute. Amy and her boyfriend, Jonny, were there at the train station to pick me up and drive me home. What a treat it was to have someone drive me around, as I had become used to dragging my luggage with no ease through metro stations, trains, and buses. I was grateful for the lift and, even more so, the warm welcome. We opened the door to their home, and I was ecstatic to have three dogs run at me. We joked later on that the title for their Airbnb would be, 'Cozy Room with Three Dogs Running Atchya,' with the thickest of Minnesotan accents you can imagine. Amy's home was a full one, and I was grateful to have a place to stay there. With my addition, there were eight of us living there: the dogs, Patch, Lily, and Bella, Beverly (Amy's Mother), Jonny, Ben (Jonny's Brother), and, of course, Amy. We all shared loads of laughs, smiles, jokes, and silly times. They did not just open their home to me, they made me one of their own. Beverly became like a second mother and a friend and having Amy around was like having my sister by my side again. I could write on for ages about the twelve days I spent in Belfast, but I know that the memories will live on in my mind and soul for long after my departure. The way I imagine the city may change and fade, but the memories we made, hiking into the foggy abyss, laughing until our bellies hurt, and practicing loads of yoga together, will remain vivid in my heart. I will miss this country and the people dearly.
So long, Ireland. I'll see you soon, Denmark. x