The First Day We Went Abroad…

On this day in 2012, I grabbed the bags my friends had packed for me, jumped into another friend’s car, and as we raced to the airport on that sunny winter day, wondered what the hell I was doing.

CIMG1193I was leaving in a few hours from this photo opp–do I LOOK ready? Everything was a mess, hardly anything was packed, and I was headed to the great unknown to live a life I had not planned. Still, Starbucks in hand and dear friend in house (that’s the lovely Trish Maunder, the Amazing Andy’s wife), I stood ready to go. Sort of.

My son was dropping the dog off at my brother’s; Trish and I were finishing the packing that my dear friend Beth had started the day before; I was comfortably dressed for the long plane ride. We had reservations for the plane and the hotel and the car for our first week, I had a place to stay after that, and I knew I was going to Dublin. Beyond that, I had no plans, other than to get a job and try to find the happy again.

I had lost the happy when my father died. With my son away at college and the dog crapping all over the house (seriously, it was insane), I was lost and lonely and incredibly sick of the crap, figuratively and literally. I knew I had to do SOMEthing, but I didn’t know what. Then all this syncronicity stuff happened and before I knew it–after months of sleepless nights wondering what the hell I was thinking–I was on the plane and out of the place that had grown stale and sad. I was OUTTA HERE and off–but to what? And whom? I knew where and why and even how–how being the hardest to figure out sometimes–but what? And who? were still up for grabs. With more hope than I’d ever had to muster, I flew away…and landed here:


Not bad. Not bad at all. And what a wonderful, wonderful week I had with my son, Michael, at The Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt in the Wicklow Mountains, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

I was also booked into Tivoli, a house I found online, to stay with a woman I had never met who told me she lived in the Trinity College area: she did not. I took my son to the airport and waved him back to the USA, then turned around and–on my own in Ireland–made my way via two buses to a place I’d only seen on the internet. Thank goodness it was nice!

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The problem came when I decided that the couch, near the fireplace, was the best place for me…and I didn’t explore enough, didn’t travel (I was there to work and make money, not spend it), didn’t go out enough–didn’t do anything enough to make this extravagance worthwhile. For the next four weeks I remained somewhat depressed, and the constant rainy/misty/cold weather didn’t help. Ireland in December? Yeah, not a good idea–but we went to honor my father, to be there on Dec. 30 for the first anniversary of his death.

As time went on, I longed for sun. I started getting crazy about the idea that I could NOT spend one more day in that weather. A new friend of mine who was from Naples but living in Dublin, had lived in Valencia and told me that was the place that she could recommend for guaranteed sun. Others agreed, and so I spent my last days in Ireland frantically looking for flights and places to stay. Oh, and watching my money fly out the window. Seriously, our dollar ain’t worth much over there. But I don’t wanna talk about it.

Now, Spain had never been on my wish list–I was still hoping to go to France and Italy–but I booked the flight days before I found the place, so I was going. Goodbye my wonderful yet awful Ireland. I loved and hated you. I did not find a job, I did not find my Colin Farrell, but I did enjoy the people and the scones.

to be continued…


5 thoughts on “The First Day We Went Abroad…

  1. I am still amazed by your courage to leave! You are an inspiration! I so enjoy reading your blog… Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  2. Nice post. Patti. I personally “liked” Ireland, but did not fall in love with it, such as some of my cousins seem to have, connecting with very distant relations. When I visited Ireland, my brother asked me “how is the Old Sod?” my response was , “not so much sod, but Dublin looks a lot like Philadelphia, and Philly bars are better!” I have fond memories of the trip and some great pictures, but not planning a return trip while the dollar doesn’t go far. I’ll be looking forward to your next post on your travels.

  3. Patti, you went on a true Hobbit adventure and I think that’s an amazingly brave thing to have done. From reading all your Ireland posts, it seems you did find what you were looking for…you! Your friends are happy that you’re back here with us.

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