I'VE let too long pass since I last posted and now I don't know where to start when detailing the last month of my life which entailed six North American cities, a painful goodbye, a joyful hello, civil war ammunition, Barack Obama, the most beautiful baby the world has ever seen, the most annoying baby ever to board a plane, full body scans and a foul-mouthed but well-meaning delivery man. I suppose the best place to begin would be the beginning.
As you all know from my last post, a month to the day ago, I had decided to go home. What I didn't realise at that time however was that a letter was winging its way to me with the news that I had been called for an job interview in Dublin with an employer who should probably remain nameless for now. At the last time of writing, my intention had been to come home at some point in the new year or maybe even Christmas at the very earliest but seen as job interviews seem to be as common as a natural tan in Ireland at the moment, I thought it best to expedite my return.
Although I didn't have that many loose ends to tie up in Canada, my girlfriend unfortunately does and we therefore had to make the hard decision to spend a few months apart. It's the last thing we wanted to do but both of us know that it's necessary and will hopefully mean that the first thing she sees of Limerick won't be me in a dole queue. I'm counting the days 'til she arrives here which should hopefully be some time early in the new year. Until then Skype will have to do us.
Seen as I didn't expect the trip home to come this soon, funds for the flight weren't too plentiful so cost-saving layovers along the way home were unavoidable. One layover would be longer and far more welcome than the other two however, as I would break up my journey home with a trip to Virginia to meet my sister and new nephew who just turned five months old and had yet to meet his uncle.
Before I reached Virginia though, we had to drive to Seattle from Vancouver. This entailed a bit of a nerve-wracking visit to American customs who as it turned out didn't give a toss that I had technically overstayed my welcome in Canada by a few months. With heavy hearts, myself and the lady parted ways for a few months at Seattle Tacoma Airport.
From Seattle I flew to San Francisco where I had a four hour layover during which I didn't even venture outside the terminal as I didn't want to face the long security queues again. Dulles Airport near Washington DC was the next destination and along the way we were treated to a stunning view of the snow-capped Rockies as well as the dusty, flat plains of the American interior.
Upon arriving in Dulles I still had an hour and a half long drive to my sisters home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The town was the site of four major battles in the American Civil War as evidenced by every second store selling what they claim are Civil War bullets or rounds. What really tickled me was that the ammunition was categorised into Confederate and Union and for the most part, the Confederates demanded a higher price.
In stark contrast to the torturous farewell that morning, meeting my nephew for the first time was a delight. At only five months, he's quite strong and long and I don't want to get ahead of myself but I think it's a dead cert that he'll be a ladykiller and an international rugby legend if his uncle has anything to say about it. Not having seen my sister in18 months, I found it strange to see her act so maternal but I was delighted to see what a good mother she had become. Three days with them wasn't close to enough and before I knew it I was boarding a Greyhound to Washington DC and saying my second reluctant goodbye of the week.
My arrival in Washington DC coincided with that of thousands of attendees at the John Stewart/Stephen Colbert- organised "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" which seemed to have caught the imagination of the entire city going by the media coverage and the numbers in attendance. I stayed with friends of our family whose home was near the rally site and all of the famous political landmarks on Capitol Hill.
The couple, who moved to the States from Ireland 15 years ago both make documentaries for National Geographic so I stayed up late with them, drinking wine and discussing my recent realisation of the genius of Werner Herzog. Only a few hours after going to sleep I forced myself out of bed in order to take in what I could of DC before making my second trip to Dulles Airport that afternoon.
You'll have to wait a few days (that's all, I promise) to hear about and even see a few pictures from my whirlwind tour of the American capital though. I've decided this is going to be a two-parter. Until then folks....