Well, I'm officially back from Ireland. My body arrived on Friday, but my brain was a little slower in transit. I knew this morning that we were really back home. This revelation was revealed to me in direct correlation with the lateness of our lever (waking up process: see Marie Antoinette).
I woke up a little bit late, got showered a little too slow, lingered over breakfast a little too long. Because my mom is out of town and I stole her car, I was able to send Austin and Moira on to work/school and tend to my sopping wet hair and Sabra's delayed morning diaper. I had bought myself an additional half hour to collect ballet shoes, Charlie and Nudder Charlie, and drink more tea. Nevertheless, I still managed to get out the door without an article of clothing that most females over the age of 10 find necessary, and also without lunch for myself.
Ah well, tis life. I can't say that either of these things bothered me too much, though I do feel a bit more 'free' than I like.
I drove Sabra to Godmama's house, she singing 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' interspersed with woofs and yips. Sabra has spent the better part of this year pretending to be a dog, and we have quite grown used to her answering our queries with a hearty WOOF.
After the quick handoff in which I am more sad to leave her than she me, I returned to the car for some much needed solitude and loud singing.
My sister, who is The Best Person In The Whole World, made me a mix CD for my birthday (along with other things that I persuaded her to buy for me) that I just love. It had old stuff, new stuff, and strangely compelling stuff (Prince). My kids now know the lyrics to some of my favorite late 90's songs, which I find shocking and funny.
Moira asked me what the Spice Girls mean when they say:
"Tell me what you want, what you really really want. I wanna...I wanna...I wanna....I wanna....I really really really wanna zigazigahhhhhh." She was sad to know that nobody, indeed, not even the Spice Girls, know the answer to this mystery.
Well, I cranked up the volume on Duffy, because she has some sort of odd pull on me. I Natasha Bedingfielded my way to work and lamented the passing of my last lovely drop of tea. I gathered my things and pulled my jeans back to their correct position. I had so many lovely things to eat whilst in Ireland that my pants are suffering the ill effects of my 'just one more lovely chip' vacation mantra.
I was headed to the front office to turn on my computer. Most days it takes about 15 minutes, but there is the occasional Monday (always, always on a Monday) that it takes upwards of an hour. It seems to happen when I don't have a book to read or anything else to pass the time save talk to people on their way to their offices/cubicles/former mop closets.
While I like the people here, I hardly want to talk to myself in the mornings before 10 a.m. Thus, I really really don't want to talk to people about why they are late or how they spilled their coffee on their favorite knock-off Louis Vuitton bag. After 10, I'm all ears. Or at least, I'm all eyes. I'll look at you even if I'm not listening to what you are saying.
Well, I was on my way when I saw my face in the reflection of a framed photograph. While I was pretty sure I didn't have a bald head as the photograph suggested, I did note that my face was completely unadorned. I made a detour for the ladies' bathroom and dug through my tote bag.
*On a side note, just in case I haven't expressed appreciation enough, let it be said that I love tote bags. My life would be empty without them.
Well, I had luckily remembered to put my makeup in the blue tote bag that is currently experiencing the distinction of being my favorite. While I don't freak out if people see me in my natural state (just my face though) I do like having mascara and a bit of something to color my cheeks. It isn't a necessity, but it really does make me feel prettier. Yes, yes, I know that it implies all kinds of things about beauty that I don't agree with. But I'm not about to compete with my friends sans makeup.
I quickly painted some lines above my lashes and coated the lashes in tar. Ahhh, beauty.
I usually use the Bare Minerals stuff, which I like because it tells me I don't have to wash my face if I'm really tired. After all, the makeup is pure. But I have to confess that all the suggestions of 'Swirl, Tap, Buff' haven't really made sense to me yet. I've been using it for a few years, and I still feel awkward, like a seventh grade girl trying to put on liquid eyeliner.
Needless to say, I get the powder in places it doesn't belong. Not anywhere weird, mind you, but it does get on the counter and sent in cloudy poofs through the air, usually towards Austin's black pants or up his nose. Today it was just my hands, as Austin's magnetic person was nowhere near the powder. I turned on the faucet to wash the bits of ivory that didn't get 'SwirlTapBuffed' onto my face.
I turned for a paper towel...
And I'm sorry to say, I'm just now at the point of this blog. Consider this your intermission should you need to use the loo or grab a bit of nourishment. I don't know how much longer this show is going to last.
Ok, better? Good, let's go forward. When we last saw our heroine, she was facing a paper towel dispenser, hands dripping, and mind soaring overseas.
I looked at the dispenser, and it looked at me.
"You...paper waster!" I said, disgusted at its luxurious ill use of resources. "They wouldn't have you in Ireland" I sneered. "They wouldn't like your kind and you couldn't find a job anywhere."
And I turned instead towards the air blower thing that I have in the past thought of as a poor man's paper towel.
I took my almost dry hands and picked up my bags. I walked to the office and turned on the computer, and it took awhile for me to realize that I had just experienced a PTC.
Post Travel Change is to what I refer. I don't know that it is a real term, but then again, many of the words I use aren't really words at all, unless you want to redefine what makes a word. I wouldn't mind this argument, but I am married to the most logical person on the planet, except when he wants to buy a new car or computer. So for now, let's just allow me to coin a phrase, as the cheeky little saying goes.
Post Travel Change...have you ever experienced it?
We can all know or at least agree that traveling, especially traveling to new cultures, changes a person. The changes might be big, they might be small. You might find your true purpose while you meander through the halls of a Parisian museum. Or, you might find that you can no longer eat bad food after tasting the delights of the Mediterranean. PTCs can be life changing, earth shattering, or just subtly life enhancing. But often, I think, there are just numerous, tiny little flecks of personality that have shifted. Now, when you hold the personality to the light, it reflects juuuuust a little bit differently than before.
I think this might be why traveling is so very enticing. Humans are naturally curious, and those of us that want to figure out what life is all about are even more so.
If you see the way the moon hits the water in a different country, it gives you an entirely new feeling than seeing the moon at home. Same moon, yes. Same spectator, no.
I had a really incredible, amazing, lovely, and restful trip. And each day that has passed since I returned, I have realized anew just how great a trip it was.
I can't say off the top of my head what changed in my life. I can say that I learned to instinctively head for the passenger seat on the left side, but that isn't very deep and meaningful.
I could say (though you would be shocked) that I learned to reach for tea when I was tired, cold, hungry, sad, full, happy, bored, talkative, restless, or just coherent. But again, this isn't so much a great change as it is a small sprinkle of emphatic emphasis on my already established tea love.
And I could also say that I got used to all public restrooms not offering towels, either paper or cloth, for my hand drying needs.
Ireland, from what I understand, is both an ecologically and financially aware country. Paper towels cost money and they are not helpful in the need to reduce paper usage. Therefore, Ireland (or at least County Galway) doesn't use them.
I found that after the first time or two of looking absently for paper towels, only to have a machine breathe heavily on my hands, that I liked this small little difference. I began to think of how stupid and wasteful the public restrooms in my hometown were, and how crazy it was that I had grown used to using towels simply because they saved me an extra 45 seconds and the loud noise of a dryer.
Is this what my trip was about? No, of course not. If I only came back with a passion to campaign against paper towel usage, that would be sad to a degree of ridiculousness.
No, paper towels only get me started. There is so much more to write down before it all vanishes in a cloud like my face powder. I need to tell you about the pace of life, the beautiful sheep, the air that refreshes much more than your travel weary face, and the incredibly complex people.
I think it quite possible that I could write for the rest of the year on my trip. Not to bore you, of course. Not to rub it in that I saw Ashford Castle and the coolest friary in the whole world while you were at work or making CrockPot dinners.
No, I want to make you feel like you were there. I don't really begin to hope that I could do such a thing. Even pictures of a land so beautiful can't tell you what it feels like to stand on Ireland's soft springy earth.
But...until you get to visit (and visit you must) you should dream just a little bit about what Caherlistrane looks like...and what a fresh oyster made by an Irish fisherman tastes like...and what a pub full of ruddy faced Welsh travelers sounds like...and what a field full of Irish cows smells like (Irish manure)...and what the cold nose of your spouse feels like when he kisses you after you cross the street just because there is time, and and time, and more time.
Hopefully, hopefully, I can make you see it. I want to make you fall in love with it, and know about it, and one day go and see for yourself.
When you do, eat the oysters and laugh with the Welsh travelers.
Just don't look for the paper towels, because there aren't any.