Travel – A Look Back at Our Irish (and Welsh) Adventure

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​On August 14, 2017, my family and I boarded an airplane and flew across the Atlantic Ocean to the western side of Northern Ireland, the land where my mother-in-law and her family was born and raised. Our trip was for many reasons, primarily returning my mother-in-law’s ashes to the land of her birth to be put to rest with her father, as per her request.

It was also an opportunity to catch up with our Irish cousins, for me to take a side trip and pilgrimage to one of my saint’s holy wells, and for our family to have a much needed break and time away together. This would really be one of the only vacations we’ve taken for this length of time.

Between leaving at night, the eight or so hour flight, and the time difference, we arrived on Tuesday, August 15th at approximately ten in the morning.

That was two days and one year ago, and for the next two weeks or so (perhaps a bit longer since I began this project later in the week than I had planned), I’d like to include you on my look back, my reminiscence, my retrospective, my journey, contemplations at no extra charge. In fact, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about aspects of this trip (as well as my previous trips to Wales) and I know it holds a tender place in my heart as well as my family’s.

Let’s begin.

My two youngest children and my brother-in-law had never been on an airplane before. I am a nervous flier. Everything couldn’t have been smoother, although the plane was quite loud and bumpy. It wasn’t terrible; I think it was normal, but it still rattled the young ones. We held hands for parts of it, and my son couldn’t really eat his dinner. He was much better on the return flight, I think because the first one was over.

We arrived at Belfast International Airport, got our luggage, got our rental car, loaded up the sat nav as they call the GPS there and headed to our cousins’ in a nearby town, about fifteen minutes east.

More to come in the days ahead.

Belfast travel collage. (c)2018

I Remember – First Plane Ride

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I have a vivid memory, but I’m still not sure how much of it isn’t fantasy. I’m holding Dad’s hand and we’re boarding an airplane. We are standing in the aisle looking for our seats and I picture myself perfectly. White patent leather shoes to match my little purse, carefully placed Jackie O style on my arm. My jacket is all white and buttoned up to my neck, the collar properly turned down. I don’t think I had a hat. Although my hair is neat, as neat as a five year old’s can be anyway, but still sticking out over my ears, a little more than it does now. I’m not wearing the gold pin of pilot’s wings, but I must be clutching it in my small hand. I kept that for a long time after, but haven’t seen it in decades. I did get a replacement provided by my friend, but now you have to ask for your wings. They don’t think they let you visit the cockpit anymore either, although I don’t recall visiting the cockpit on this flight. We were on our way to see family in Toronto, Canada, and since we always drove and my mother and siblings weren’t with us, I can only imagine that it was for some kind of big event like a funeral. We always stopped in the duty-free shop when we drove, so I can only imagine that we did on this visit as well, although Dad could have only gotten half the normal allowance of whiskey and cigarettes, a staple of ours on our return trip to the United States. My parents didn’t drink, but this was a time when you kept alcohol in your house for guests; just in case. These little snippets of memory pop out at the least provocation. Sometimes, they don’t seem so far away.