I have finally managed to focus on my exciting blog project: my five blogs about Ireland. My humble homage to the emerald isle as I am heading to my fifth-year anniversary of moving here. It is somehow scary to realise how quickly time passes by and seems like only yesterday when I landed in Rosslare. What an exciting journey, what an amazing experience, what an incredible opportunity!
This, the first of the series will praise those who I have met along the way; probably without knowing they have helped to make me feel like I am home. I am aware that there are all sorts of people wherever you go, but most Irish are welcoming, warm, helpful, generous, talkative, funny, and of course good craic.
In one of my trips, returning from Ireland, just before moving there, I sat next to a couple on the plane. I cannot remember how we started a conversation. Five years later I have no doubt that as they were both Irish, the horrible weather we were leaving behind and the hope for some Mediterranean climate must have gotten us to chat. They were eager to listen to my plans of leaving everything behind and making my dream come true. They were so fascinated with my determination that we exchanged phone numbers so we could stay in touch. They also helped me to get in touch with a recruitment agency. I felt like I had won the lottery, as if I had got the lucky seat! Five years later, I can tell that this is what many Irish do; help others even if they are strangers.
Another memory, after I moved here, on a cold winter afternoon; I had gone for a stroll in Phoenix Park and decided to treat myself to a nice cup of tea and some cake. All the small tables in the café were taken so I took a seat at a nice big table with a bunch of fresh flowers. I felt bad for having such a big table to myself because in Catalonia we do not share tables. Imagine my surprise when a man on his late seventies and his grandson (probably on his early twenties) asked me if they could sit down? What? At my table? Really? Am I supposed to say yes? Cannot they see I am sitting here? Despite that, I smiled and agreed, at the end of the day the table was big enough, so there was no need to interact with them. Famous last words! We chatted away for a couple of hours, talking about following your dreams, enjoying many moments and being true to yourself. What had started as a shock for me ended up being an unforgettable experience!
At one stage I decided I had been to Phoenix Park too many times, and spotted Saint Anne’s Park on a map. It seemed big enough for a nice long stroll. As I was waiting for the bus, I asked the lady next to me if this was the right one, which triggered a nice chat. The usual banter, the weather! Talking about it brings you anywhere, helps you get what you need, makes you seem like a local. The bus arrived and we got on together, while still talking away. A couple of stops later, the lady announced that she was going to make sure I got to the park by getting off the bus with me and walking me to the door. She added “it is only a couple of stops away from mine, and I can do with a bit of walking”. What a nice thing to do! There we go, chatting away about life, making memories, and following your dreams all the way to the door of the park. Just before walking down the road to her house, the lady congratulated me on my bravery and wished me the best of luck.
Last summer, while on a camping outing with my partner, we decided to go for a walk and explore the countryside, as we always do. Warm evening, blue skies, taking pictures, making plans, relishing the sounds of nature in the middle of nowhere. We caught sight of house with a lovely garden, flowers, pots, unusual ornaments, and a stream. We got lost in time admiring the inspiring beauty of the place when the owner came out to greet us. After a few compliments on the beautiful display, he offered to give us a tour around his farm, so off we went. What a great opportunity! As we were about to leave, the wife came running towards us to apologise on her absence. She had been getting ready to go and collect their grandson from town, which meant unfortunately, she wasn’t able to offer us a cup tea and some cake. Just to make up for that, she had brought out a couple of ice-creams for us to enjoy. What a nice thing to do! I still remember her disappointment at not being able to invite us in, and her willingness to apologise and share a treat with us – two complete strangers!
I have lots of stories that I have collected over the years along the same lines, maybe for another blog though. I cannot thank those whom I have crossed paths with enough. The Emerald Isle, and its people, have made me feel like I am home.
Jay Cee Moon ©