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Nothing could have prepared me for this place. Honestly, to say it's beautiful is a colossal understatement. This land takes beauty to a whole new level. Not only the sights and sounds, but the people, too. But more about the people later.
When I got off the plane I expected ... I don't know what I expected, exactly--but it wasn't what I found. Even the airport was breathtaking, surrounded by miles of open land covered in a rich, deep green grass that looks more like real carpet than the stuff that Mom had in our family room at home.
And you know how we always thought that Vermont was hilly? Mountainous, even? Well, we were clueless. This place is so endlessly rolling that I fear even a ship's first mate could find himself seasick. I hope I get used to walking on the lumps and bumps of this new place. If not, I'll be spraining my ankles every day. Let's hope the sidewalks are flat, at least. Hell, I hope they have sidewalks--I haven't seen any yet.
Riding from the airport to my temporary new home was an adventure. Irish taxi drivers are like taxi drivers the world over; they talk nonstop and spend more time pointing out the "sights" than they do paying attention to the road ahead of them. And what a road it was! Narrow and unlined except for the ruts that look like they were made by elephants, the "highway" between Dublin and here isn't one I'll look forward to riding again. I kid you not--my hip is bruised from being bashed against the inside of the decrepit little taxi. No exaggeration, Lily. It's the truth.
But I did get to see some things that you just don't see at home.
The driver--Shamus was his name, by the way--wascareful to show me places to eat (Mulligan's Pub being at the top of his list) and the chemist's shop (they don't call it a 'drugstore' over here) for finding my 'female fixings.' I can hear you laughing, but I promise you--that's exactly what he said. Can you imagine? A modern man--in his thirties, probably--says 'female fixings'? Never in New York, huh? And he did it all after he asked me out to dinner--did I mention that yet? Well, more on that little tidbit later, too.
When I inquired about the castle, the ruddy-faced, red-haired Romeo clammed right up. I pushed him a bit, claiming that I wanted to learn about all the old castles in County Meath, and asked him to tell me what he knew about the place. I wasn't above turning on the fluttering-eyelash, hair-tossing routine, either. Sadly, neither my pointed questions nor womanly wiles had a positive effect on the now silent-as-the-tomb driver.
Muttering something beneath his breath, he made a point of showing me St. Brigid's Church, an imposing white brick building right in the center of town. Under other circumstances, I would have loved to learn more about the building, since it's undoubtedly an important historical monument. There's even a hilly little graveyard with moss-covered slabs of granite behind the church. Shamus made it clear, though, that not only was he not interested in talking about the Castle, he wasn't at all as interested in me as he'd first been. So I thought it prudent to keep my mouth shut about the church--no comments on that one.
When we reached the rental cottage, a thatched fairy-tale fantasy like the ones we drew with our crayons as children, Shamus unloaded my baggage from the boot (it's not a trunk here, no matter how much it looks like the one on my Audi). I swear I could hear him say something about banshees and ghouls as he drove away.
Oh, and no second inquiry about going out to dinner with him before he left, either. Which was really too bad, since he was temptingly handsome and, as we both know, I'm currently single. Again.
Ugh, let's not go there.
Did you think Ireland was going to be like this? I admit that I didn't. And I haven't even scratched the surface of my explorations--I wonder what I'll find when I get down to looking around. I'll keep you posted as things here move forward.
For now, I'm off in search of a hot meal. I didn't see anything that even comes close to resembling a Wendy's or a Pizza Hut. I hope the food here is easier to understand than the people are!
I'm glad I came here, Lily. It's going to be good to get some distance from the mess back at home. Maybe I can begin to figure out what I'm going to do next. After all that's happened, I'd like to crawl into a hole and bury myself, but I know I can't do that. I know. I know ... I can hear you pressing the buttons, dialing Dr. Monroe as you read this. But don't. You don't need to worry about me. I'm going to be fine. I promise.
Now, I'm really going to find some food. I'll write again soon.
P.S. As soon as I get the Internet thingy hooked up to my laptop I'll send e-mails, too. Don't worry, though. The snail mail will keep coming--I know how you love to examine the strange stamps, tear open the envelopes and hold the pages in your hands. I do, too. It must be one of those silly family things, don't you think? Maybe all those letters we got at camp from Granny when we were kids--you know the ones. Anyhow, the e-mails will soon be on the way, too. Just thought I'd let you know.
Posted April 24, 2011
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Posted April 20, 2010
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