Weekend Wanderer

WWW Days 16-17: Meeting the Fam

To my faithful readers:

I am so sorry for the complete silence the last 5 days! I was vacationing with my family in the remote wilderness, and my laptop was completely useless (though I did bring it with every intention to blog).

DSCF1895

On the beautiful North Shore of Minnesota: Gooseberry Falls

I hope this explains things a little. Now back to my “One-year-ago-today” adventures. The days I’m reliving now contain one of my favorite memories of Ireland – enjoy!

8-4-13

After a less-than-riveting day yesterday, I had something big to look forward to:

I have family in Ireland!

Let me start at the beginning:

When I was preparing for this trip, I heard countless stories from my loquacious uncles about the family farm in Ireland, and how we were proud Irishmen (Irishpeople?). I didn’t know how much of this was fabrication until I was provided with a map, complete with names and places marked out, addresses and phone numbers scribbled in margins, and memories on post-it notes.

Sidenote: I kept that map, much to my Uncle’s consternation (Sorry Uncle M!).

Although most of the relatives listed on there were deceased, I tried my luck writing a letter to a couple that were supposedly still alive. I can honestly say that I completely forgot about that little yellow card, until the morning before my departure.

It was 6 am (noon in Ireland) when the call woke up my poor mother – I can sleep through anything.

“Is Kelsea there?”

My mother almost hung up, thinking it was a telemarketer. I’m so glad she stayed on the line! I can’t tell you how surreal it was to hear a lovely Irish accent over the phone, making plans to meet for supper as if we were close family and not a complete stranger.

It warmed my heart in a way that made me happily silent with wonder. This was family. This was my family

Katherine

My lovely cousin Katherine!

Fast Forward to today: Peter & Katherine picked me up in their car – turns out they lived 10 minutes away from the Peros mountain cottage – small world!

I was nervous about the drive to Dublin (1 hour away). Would conversation be stilted from lack of relationship? My fears dissipated faster than the clouds that day as we sped along in perfect companionship. There was no lack of conversation, and it was never forced, it just flowed.

I found out so much that day about these incredibly warm, natural people. They were the epitome of genuine hospitality, buying me supper (Italian restaurant called Toscana…SO good) and sharing their lives with me.

When they regaled me with stories of my ancestors, and the farm we owned for 300 years (it still stands! I will be back to visit it someday!), I couldn’t help thinking that this only happened in movies. And yet, this was real.

Peter told me how he broke into a graveyard in typical Watson fashion to find out more about our ancestors (he climbed the fence), and had me laughing so hard I felt as if I were talking to one of my crazy, aforementioned uncles! It was unreal: this man whom I had never met was more familiar to me than half the people I’ve lived with for the last 3 weeks.

Peter

Peter and I were fast friends – after all, blood is thicker than water!

We talked about how our family wasn’t truly Irish at all, but rather Englishmen that were “Planters” from the Cromwell era (a fact that my uncle vehemently denies, but is in all likelihood true). That was a serious blow to our family, who had become “more Irish than the Irish,” or so the saying goes.

And then, it was over.

Peter was walking me to the Dart station to catch the train, and I was alone.

It was a beautifully fleeting moment, that dinner. It was the kind of connection that knits hearts and countries together, the kind that makes my world expand and contract at the same time.

My world was larger for knowing them, for being connected to this country, yet it was smaller because even in a strange new place, you can find a kindred spirit.

Until Tomorrow..

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hello, farewell

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