Happy Saint Paddy's Day!
To talk about Ireland, I’m going to have to go way back to my Pre-Kindergarten years. I may be an unfiltered, social being now but as a a 4 year old toddler I was petrified of school.
There came Kelly. I’m not exactly sure what school yard game we were playing or what letter of the alphabet we were learning but it’s then that I made my first ever friend. She introduced me to other members of our class, to the world of girl-power as told by the Spice Girls, and told me about this emerald isle that her parents immigrated from – Ireland.
3,000 miles apart.
I could not tell you how much I loved hearing her parents’ accents or how welcome I felt in her home. How her family was the only family my widowed father trusted me with after my mom passed away because he saw how Kelly’s home felt like home to me too.
Fast forward to 2012. I graduate college and I haven’t seen Kelly in 7 years. Kelly moved back to Ireland a while before that. BUT THANK YOU INTERNET! Kelly and I are still the closest of friends. Distance doesn’t keep a real sisterhood apart (Am I right, Kelly?!). Graduating is hard. It’s scary. What do you do with your life now? I started school being petrified and leaving school had me feeling a new kind of scared – WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO NEXT?
First trip to the Emerald Isle.
I had my bags packed for Europe anyway so I called Kelly and asked her if I could come visit – not for a few days but for a 2 whole weeks. What was I thinking? Not sure. Probably on some travel high but Kelly said yes.
Now, Kelly’s awesome. Her sisters are awesome. Her mom is just the coolest. But there is no way on this Earth that an entire country could make me feel as welcome as they have, right? WRONG! Welcome to Ireland – The Land of a Thousand Welcomes.
My first night there I went on the craziest, drunken experience involving smashed glasses, lighted matches, and airplanes (I’ll keep you guessing on that one) than I had in 4 years of college. Each of her friends made me feel like I had known them for years – inviting me out for pints and willing to show me around. Shopkeepers and bartenders, rugby players and burgers at Super Macs. Every day and night was a story to tell and every person was their unique blend of crazy, generous, intelligent, and that awesome kind of unfiltered.
Home away from Home.
I’m going to be real – as always. I’m not going to say I wasn’t slightly scared of what the real world was going to look like for me but the people of Ireland showed me that a good pint, some great friends, and a welcoming heart makes for a kick ass – and more importantly – happy life. Sometimes when life has me knocked of my horse, I get on a plane and go to Ireland. Because just like’s Kelly’s house in the Bronx, Ireland feels like home to me.
I know a lot of you want to know how to travel or where to go or what to see. But, sometimes, the best part of travel is the people you meet and how they shape your life in the most amazing way.
Now go get drunk of Guinness and if I can make a suggestion – get an Irish breakfast tomorrow morning. Your hungover, zombie self will thank me.
World Citizen Sita.