4pm approached and I was in the arrival hall. There weren’t a lot of people waiting so I had full view of the gates and the entrance doors. I knew that within minutes the family would walk out and at the same time my brother-in-laws would walk in the entrance doors. And I’m standing there, sweating buckets (even though it was only 5 degrees). I was having hot flushes and was dying to tell everyone that I was about to surprise the family by coming home after a year of being on the road, unannounced. But I didn’t. I just waited and waited and jumped for joy inside.
And then it happened. My mam walked out, I left my luggage unattended (oops) and ran towards her, hugging and hugging her for ages… My little sister didn’t know what was happening, and the brother-in-laws – who had also just arrived - were even more confused… ‘Where did you come from?!?!? Weren’t you supposed to be in… some place in Asia???’ There was so much happening, so much explaining, so much hugging, so many people… all quite overwhelming.
We drove to Hulst and in the car, I felt to be vomiting words… I talked and talked and talked… it was all just ‘bla bla’… and, on reflection, this showed that I hadn’t been chatting freely with people for quite a few months. Everyone just let me chat and chat… without interrupting… Wouw such ‘freedom of speech’ was the biggest treat! Once I’d surprised the sisters - who were shocked and even shed some tears of joy - I started to run out of steam. Come to think of it, I didn’t arrive with a huge amount of energy to start with, after travelling continuously and having passed through various timezones. I was more frazzled than I’ve been in a long long time… I didn’t know what day it was, or what time it was supposed to be according to my bodyclock. Everything was ‘out of whack’…
Needless to say that being apart of a family, with 14 members, was quite a big adjustment. I didn’t expect to get so absorbed in their lives. Or, actually, I did, but I didn’t expect for it to take its toll on me so much. At times I struggled when dealing with the amount of people around me, who I was able to understand and communicate freely with. My head spun on many an occasion as I tried to keep up with the haste of their days. I became apart of only their world and because I wasn’t on top of the jetlag and not full of a huge amount of energy, I felt distant from my own world. I was overwhelmed many times and I felt to be losing myself. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t on my blog… why not? Due to a frazzled head that couldn’t think properly. Nor did that head dare to make sense of the events that had come to pass. The time in Holland was really like being in transition… I knew it was only temporary and a sense of ‘me’ would soon return. So I did all I could to keep ‘with it’. I spent precious time with my nieces and nephews, with my sisters, with the family. I shared the most important things with them before it was time to move onwards to Ireland.
On Wednesday it was time for me to leave. It’s always sad to say goodbye to my sisters and their kids of course. But I needed to move forward, because movement felt to have stopped whilst I was there. I knew that there were things waiting for me in Ireland. I needed space to clear my head and to get passed the jetlag. I needed to focus my mind again on the things that would bring me towards new experiences. I needed to get to the place where everything felt to be happening for me. And that was Arklow in county Wicklow, Ireland. I never ever thought I’d hear my speak these words, or write them… but it’s how it is right now; this is where I need to be and it feels amazing.