Thursday, July 9, 2015

Slán Go Fóill

Tomorrow I get on a plane and leave Ireland. I am feeling so many things at the same time.

I am excited to get back to Texas, to see my family and friends, who I have not been in the same time zone with for far too long. I am hungry for the tastes of home: fajitas and brisket and kolaches are so close I can smell them and I cannot wait to sink my teeth in. I am daunted by the amount of money that will slip though my fingers in the next two months. Between consumables and clothes shopping and vacation expenses and buying a car I am about to part with a phenomenal amount of cash, to my long-term benefit but short-term consternation. I am eager to get to Ethiopia, to start a new job, new chapter, new challenge, new life. I am worried that I may not meet high expectations when I get there. I am ready for some relaxing vacation time, and overwhelmed by the list of things still to do before I leave America again.

But mainly I am already pre-missing Ireland so much it hurts. The weather has been just perfect for most of the last few weeks, and it's hard to believe I won't be able to bike down to walk on the Great South Wall anymore. It hasn't really sunk in that I have had my last lobster hash at Whitefriar Grill, my last pork belly and scotch eggs at L. Mulligan Grocer. Everywhere there are ads for concerts and festivals and shows and events that I won't be here for, and it just seems wrong. It seems unreal that all those Ireland trips I hadn't quite gotten around to yet will remain undone. I have a lot to look forward to in other places, but I don't want to leave.

As one might expect from a country with a long painful history of emigration and a rich musical heritage, there are many, many sad songs about leaving Ireland. I'll take my leave with a new version of an old favorite. And unlike the emigrants of old, I can always come back someday. So for my goodbye I'll just say slán go fóill, see you later. One day, I will.

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