Saturday, September 16, 2017

Quocunque jeceris stabit

Since last we spoke I have been some places and seen some shit, man, and by "shit" I mean horse plops. You are so excited to read this update now.

P and I flew out of Austin at the tail end of Harvey, leaving our adult children here with the wind and the rain and the panic-induced gas shortage (there are a few things I've done as a parent for which I may never completely forgive myself and I've tucked this trip away into a tiny little corner of that space). We were in Dublin for five days and the only touristy thing I did that I'd done before was Trinity College and the long room in the old library because come on, if I'm in Dublin I'm going there, you can bet money on that. I am going to sit in that room for an entire hour, and during that hour there may come a point at which you wonder if I am okay, and the truth is that I'm SO VERY OK that I appear not at all okay, and it's fine. Just leave me to it. I'm inhaling the aroma and soaking in the filtered light and trying to pretend I'm alone in there, just me and the books and the busts and that incredible ceiling.

Apart from also visiting the National Museum of Archaeology (which is FANTASTIC) and getting lost in Temple Bar (WHO DESIGNED THESE STREETS?) I mostly stayed south of the canal this trip, stomping around Rathmines and Ballsbridge and Ranelagh, visiting little shops and parks and gardens and admiring the gorgeous ironwork fences and the view of the Wicklow Mountains and the chimneys of Upper Leeson from our hotel room window.

Just like last year, we were in Dublin this time for an industry conference that P attends (he was presenting this year), and we learned this trip that next year the conference will move to Dusseldorf, and I am sad because that likely means this was our last trip to Dublin for a very long while, and I LIKE DUBLIN. I like all of Ireland, actually. I understand Ireland, nothing there feels strange to me. If I have a home away from the US, Ireland is it. South Dublin is it. I will miss it so much.

After Dublin we hopped a little propeller plane for the Isle of Man and OH YOU GUYS. If you ever get the chance to visit the Isle of Man. DO IT. Do not hesitate, not even for a second. It's 30 minutes by air from Dublin or Manchester. It is by far the most beautiful place I've ever been, ever ever ever, with by far the nicest people I've ever met in my entire life. We stayed right on the Central Promenade in Douglas and only saw a fraction of the island, from Port Erin up the southeast coast and then north to Laxey and Snaefell, but holy criminy was it amazing and gorgeous and just ... wow. Just wow. Go there. You will not regret it.

The weather was gorgeous our first day on the island but the second day there, which was at the halfway point of our entire trip, it turned wet and grey and chilly and windy and I kind of hit a wall that day from which I never recovered. I have about seven days in me, vacation-wise. Ten if sun and sand and slushy drinks are involved. But this was a fifteen-day trip, you guys. That is too long for me. I am a delicate fucking flower; I can't go that long without my food and my kids and my bed and my Texas weather.

After three days of Manx shenanigans we headed to England, specifically to Cheshire, more specifically to a little town called Lymm that lies on the Bridgewater Canal between Manchester and Liverpool. We were there for a week and the weather stayed awful and my mood stayed awful but holy shit was it gorgeous there. We were there specifically to do some genealogical research on P's side but I did not expect to fall in love with this little town, with its footpaths and deep dark woods and gorgeous meadows (full of horse plops, but also flowers! and berry bushes! and apple trees! and chestnuts! it was so pretty!).

We were in England for another five days and then we flew home sweet home just as Irma was roaring through Florida. Whatever else happens, I am home now. I have my kids and my dog and my bed and my house and my warm sunshine. It's so good to be home.

But you know what? The UK is fabulous. We didn't have a bad meal the whole time we were there, not one. The people we met were without exception friendly and kind and incredibly patient with us, even the old sexist, racist anti-Semites (that was all one guy; his name was George). Everywhere we went was gorgeous. EVERYWHERE. So green, so many trees and flowers, so many dog owners, such beautiful waterways. Dublin is super fucking expensive but the Isle of Man and Cheshire are dirt cheap in comparison re: meals and lodging and transportation. They have Strongbow Dark Fruit cider on tap everywhere, which we can't even GET here in the US, so unfair.

It was an amazing trip and I'm glad it's over and yeah. Let's do fall now. I'm super ready for fall.

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