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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shocked by amazing Ireland

I have a little travel-buddha that sits on the kitchen windowsill here at home. It was a present I got last year, before I left for Australia in April. A friend of Orla’s gave it to me. I never took it with me on my travels; it was too heavy. Now that I’m back, I’ve seen it sitting there, looking out at the garden. It’s like it was waiting for me. The little Buddha wanted me to come back and collect him; this happy little thing I’d only be too delighted to have with me when the times comes for me to be leaving.

Everyday, since being back in Ireland, I‘ve given his belly a rub. For the next weeks to come, I’ll continue. Rubbing it and wishing for travel, is something I‘ve been needing to do. Because I can’t stop dreaming and hoping to get back on the road.. even though I’m doing something I love so much right now.

I’ve been throwing myself into the writing this week. And I can’t tell you how much I’ve been loving it. It’s so fulfilling and I feel like I’ve got a full-time job. I go to the library in both Dublin and Bray, and I can’t seem to get enough of the whole scene. I sit in silence, am totally absorbed in that moment and I forget about the world actually turning. It’s like I get transported each day, for hours at a time, to a world that’s far away from here. A world that I’m creating. And I love it! Still I trust though, that I’ll be needing to leave, once this is out of my system. Otherwise the urge to be rubbing the travel-Buddha‘s belly everyday, wouldn’t come. I don’t want to switch-off the travel urge. It’s very much alive. But at the same time, I’m shocked by how much I’m enjoying my time here in Ireland. And it’s all because I love what I’m doing each day.

Everything I now see in Ireland, amazes me. This amazement got stronger over the past few days. I can’t say for sure what’s happening. But all I know is that I love the things I’m seeing and experiencing. I love walking through Dublin - and seeing the people all looking so “Irish”. I love the way a total stranger would call me “pet” and treat me like somebody they’ve known for years. I love the ease as I walk down the street. I love the smells coming from the pubs, which is usually of vinegar and chips that’s being served for lunch, as I walk past. I love the scent of the freshly cut grass, that gets stronger, just as it starts to rain. I love the drive to Bray with Mam in the car every morning, along the road that passed the green hills. I love the sight of the little kids with their red hair and super strong Irish accent. I love getting the train to Dublin and feeling no pressure whatsoever in terms of the crowds of people or stares. And most of all, I love that this new appreciation has come, due to me having experienced a different country so extreme. This makes me automatically love a game I’ve started playing in my mind, as I sit on the train: comparing the people I see in the city to the people I would see in India. It makes me so happy; these differences!

I’m one and the same as them, of course I’m well aware of this. But I can still have the ability to witness everyone from the outside looking in. I can step away from it all; from both the people and the surrounding world. And the differences in mannerisms, in attitudes, in approaches towards life then start to jump out at me and I simply have to laugh, when they don’t give me a sense of wonder. Otherwise I’d simply cringe. But I don’t cringe! If I can’t see the wonder, I have to let go of any sense of frustration or sense of loss I may feel for no longer being in India. I can then realize that everybody sees life differently, and it doesn’t make their views, habits or ways of living and looking at the world either right or wrong. It’s just a simple fact of living. And to be apart of these contrasts, but at the same time to be the observer, is amazing. I can experience the best of both worlds, and that is so freeing!!

This is exactly why I’m appreciating Ireland in a different way. It’s getting me to connect properly with my roots. I can feel that now more than ever before. I can be so grateful. And whenever I get a sense of panic at the thoughts of not having a flight booked to anywhere in the world, I have to tell myself that there is nowhere else in the world I need to be, not just yet anyhow. I need to be here for now for different purposes. And connecting is one of them. Connecting with the family again, was my initial reason. And suddenly a few more have been presented to me. Connecting with Ireland in general and seeing it for the beauty it owns, and giving my mind the space it’s need to breathe and to express itself - hence the writing.

Connections on different levels - my roots, my family, myself. I’m so lucky to be getting this chance. And the thing that drove me to be here, was a priority I had when I was travelling; I needed to share my experiences with the family. It’s way different than sharing experiences and stories with fellow travellers. But now I’m getting the chance to share with the Kennys and the Keoghans! And not to the extent though where they think: “oh no, here comes Niamh again with her stories”. Not to such extremes. Putting these thoughts into their heads is actually something I’d much rather avoid. I’d rather keep my stories to myself, if I’d otherwise have the tendency to swamp them with my experiences.

When I was on the road, I often felt like I was changing so much, that I was becoming disconnected from those living their different lives at home. It would make me feel distant at times, and yet other times it would be a reason for me to continue travelling without making the effort to connect; at times it felt to be the easiest thing to do. But my family are too dear to me, to let a disconnection develop, due to differences in cultural experiences as well as distances in time and space. Therefore I’m positive that I’m where I need to be for now.

Yet, I still ask everyday for travel to be my life; supported by the writing. It’s a dream I’m hopefully in the process of making my reality, if I’m not already living it..

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