You may already have guessed that County Wicklow isn’t three hours from the Dublin Airport – at least, it isn’t now. My impression is that not long ago, all the roads to be had were winding, bumpy country roads, and at that time it might well have taken several hours to get from here to there. But there are new highways now, apparently, and fairly recent ones, so the trip was 45 minutes or an hour at the most. It was night, and there wasn’t much to see, but I was just so relieved to be safe in the hands of folks who knew their way around!
You may also have guessed that my two angels were the kind people I was going to be staying with. It turns out that my travel buddy had nobly badgered the airline until he was given information about my new flight schedule. As nervous as I was that I would continue to have trouble reaching someone I knew, it never occured to me that just the right people would be standing right there when I came out of customs. Miracle!
So there I was, safe and sound, worn to unintelligable little bits, sitting in the passenger seat on the left side of the car. It felt strangely empty, but I was too tired to make more of it than that. We chatted very pleasantly all the way home.
The home we finally reached was a sprawling ranch house with big, warm rooms. It looked a lot bigger on the inside than from outside, and when I say the rooms were warm, I mean more with substance and human spirit than with actual heat. The kitchen had a small fireplace that seemed to be lit most evenings, and the beds had huge thick comforters with real weight to them. For all the chill of the Irish weather (and coming from Ohio, I’m certainly not complaining), the house was comfortable and somehow good-natured. Maybe a place inhabited by kindred souls. ;}
It was New Year’s Eve, and after the upset I’d felt about the threat of being on a plane the whole night, I wasn’t about to miss it. Part of me considered going to bed early, but the rest of me couldn’t handle the idea. We ate an incredible dinner of Indian food – big bread pita-sort-of-things and chicken in sweet stuff and shrimp in spicy stuff. We toasted the New Year with champagne around eight, and most went to bed. My travel buddy and I sat up at the kitchen table, ate candy and chocolate, drank Guinness and Cointreau, clinked glasses at midnight, and chatted till half past two.
When I woke the next day, I peered at my defunct cell phone. The sun was peeking insistently around the curtains. But my phone said 8:00am, and I wasn’t about to wake up at 8:00am, not after that flight, and the night of conversation. So I went back to sleep.
When I woke again, it said noon.
And the curtains were dim.
I knew I was further towards the North Pole, but I wasn’t that much further. There was just no possibility that it was going to get dark at noon. Could it be a storm? Could I be wrong about the daylight hours in Ireland? Eventually it occured to me that my phone might be wrong… and then, slowly dawning, that my phone was still on Eastern Standard Time.
I had slept from 2:30am to 5:00pm the same day, and man did it feel good!
Jet lag still bothered me a little bit for the rest of the trip, but it was muchly reduced by that one big sleep. I can’t recommend a good big sleep enough, for overseas travel! (And maybe first class instead of coach? Er.)
I think we ate lamb that night at dinner. There was lots of wine and it’s clear to me now how much I really enjoy a few glasses of wine during dinner. (This never would’ve occured to me before, even though I’d done it once or twice.) The lamb was just not possible. It was so soft and tasty, there is just no way it was real. The lamb I have had in the past has always been a little tough and stringy, and this lamb was like butter. Fairy lamb. But when I put it in my stomach, it stayed there for the appropriate length of time, and availed itself of the usual departure. It tasted amazing. That was some lamb. Wowee.
That night there was more good conversation, and the next day there was neato grocery shopping at a market with a shelter for the shopping carts that said ‘Trolley Park’. There were so many different and interesting things at the grocery store! Shopping was never so fun, and I didn’t even buy anything!
I’m not going to share any of the work bits (obviously), but I will say these things about the rest. It was comfortable and pleasant, like spending a week at home. Isn’t that silly? Very few trips have seemed the same, and the ones I can count seemed that way because I had visited the same place, or the same people, many times. But for a first visit, this one was just so warm and friendly. Comfy. Normal.
As I said before, the feeling that I’d been transported to another planet was notably absent. I’m not sure why I expected to feel that way. It might be because I only traveled through countries where English was spoken, accents or no. It might be because I was staying with people who were my friends as well as anything else, it might be because I was staying in someone’s home instead of a hotel. It might have been a lot of things. But it’s really nice to know that the rest of the world isn’t another planet, and people are people all over. Isn’t that funny?
I have a hunch it will be that way everywhere.
Tagged as: Blog