Sunday, June 16, 2013

Irish Hospitality and Signs

Know what makes a great trip? Making your plane. Sadly, the airport doesn't care if they've scheduled your plane to land ten minutes before they shuttle off the other plane you're supposed to catch that's clear on the other side of the massive airport. Nope. As we all know, everyone has super human speed and can easily catch it. After some hypervehntling, anger, and panic I calmed down and gave myself a stern talking to. 'Keely,' I said, 'You're on a vacation, relax. Things'll work out.' And you know what? They did!


Perhaps things didn't work out in the way they should have, but rather, they came out as they should be. After arriving in Dublin airport I quickly took the bus through Dublin to the train station. It sure has changed from when I was last here! I can't say that I'm entirely impressed, as the buildings are jarringly sleek and modern, and in my opinion look almost tacky when stacked next to a building that has color, character and is clearly several hundreds older. But that's Dublin--always changing, always doing something new while retaining the old. The number of side streets and winding narrow alleyways was a bit dizzying, and I have NO idea how people memorize all those cramped streets.

After missing not one but two trains to Tralee, I finally managed to catch the 7 o'clock one. I tried VERY hard to stay awake to see the beautiful landscape, but I was so lightheaded from the lack of sleep that I slept anyways. I awoke at Mallow station where I traded trains. As I sat down, I realized something awful. I had NO idea what I was doing. I couldn't make a bus to Dingle because it was already 9, and I didn't know ANYTHING about Tralee. I paused when I entered the train and saw an elderly couple. Now, I don't know about you, but I've learned from a very young age that the elderly generally have the most interesting stories, so I plopped myself down across from the couple and was joined by another elderly woman. This, my friends, is where the universe stepped in.

After a few nods and polite smiles we looked out the window before I stuck my hand out, put on my best smile and introduced myself. They were friendly and warm and when they heard my story the woman, Kathrine, clucked her tongue and said, "Oh well now, we'll just give you a ride! I used to be in the hospitality business you see."

A debate began with her husband as to where I should stay followed by a flurry of phone calls and texts. After receiving answers of 'sorry, our B&B is full up', she set her phone aside and said not to worry, she would give me a ride and find me a place in Tralee anyhow. The woman next to them didn't know them--but it was fine, because it turns out they all knew the same people in the villages anyways! In fact, Kathrine's cousin married the woman's nephew! Who knew!? They traded all sorts of funny stories and I couldn't be in better company!

When we arrived to Tralee they bundled me off into their car and drove me to two B&B's but were shocked to hear everything was full up! They muttered amongst themselves and then Kathrine smiled saying, "don't worry love, if the hostel is closed we'll just take you home with us and I'll take you to a bus in the morning."

The hostel was not closed, and so after hugs and kisses I was sent upstairs, where I was greeted with more kindness. The man who gave me the room must have sensed how tired I was--and how little on hand cash I had, because he gave me an eight bedroom dorm all to myself! I was tired and dragging my bag upstairs when he pointed to the door.

"You're in this room." He said. I looked at the door and nearly burst out into hysterical laughter. I had been fretting, wishing the hostel had been closed so I could be surrounded by the warmth of Kathrine and Sean (they felt like grandparents I never had) for a little longer, and wondering if this was the right place to be. The universe answer in kind by putting on my door, a sign so clear I couldn't ignore it. This whole trip was about the book I was writing, and the author who so inspired me, W.B. Yeats. If I had thought I was in the wrong place, and that everything had gone wrong I was surely mistaken.

 Life, my friends, is full of signs if you look for them. However, sometimes the universe likes to throw it in your face. Clearly I was exactly where I needed to be, and W.B. Yeats made sure I knew it!


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