My 100th Post

When I started this blog, I never thought I would make it to my 100th post, especially within only a few months, but here it is. I also never thought, when I started this blog, that it would veer so far away from what I originally wanted it to be.

I had a great talk with Jess Ralph the other day (it was also a comforting talk, since she called right after I found out that Spazzy had passed) and she spoke to me about my need to be creative. She commented on the fact that she had hoped my blog would be more than just a way to stay in touch with family and friends while I traveled. However, it quickly (and understandably) became that way while I was on the road. Which is fine, and I love what I have done here, but at the same time I know I have more to offer.

For example, whenever I start to talk about philosophy or existential concepts or even my personal ponderings, I always apologize for what I’m about to say. Assuming that people will either think me crazy, or be bored with my ramblings. However, as Jess pointed out to me, that is exactly the stuff the she thinks I should be sharing. In fact, she was incredibly kind about it, and even said that something about my “wonderful thoughts” being put to the page – those feelings and thoughts I always have, and yet never grasp tightly enough to truly make concrete.

So in that light, I will be creating a new wordpress blog (currently not present), in which I will offer no apologies, and write from my soul rather than my just my fingers. And perhaps this will lead to memoirs and essays worthy of something more than just a blog, and I will finally start to put together the book that is begging to be written.

Thank you for taking this journey with me these past few months. It has been unbelievable, and utterly life-changing. I will continue to use this blog for my meanderings and my travels. For I hope to never cease traveling this world.

Spaz: in memoriam

My beautiful cat, Spaz, died today.

She was already nearing the end of her life, but no matter how one prepares for such an event, the moment is always too near. She was run over by a truck, which at first struck me harshly, but later I realized this was probably for the best. As my grandpa said, “She didn’t know what hit her,” and as much as his ill-timed humor made me roll my eyes, it’s the truth. Her death was probably quick, whereas old age would have started to hurt more and more as the days went by.

The other evening, I felt the pressure of her laying upon my legs while I was in bed. I was at my mothers; she lives at my father’s house. It was probably this moment that prepared me for the call from Joel today, telling me she had passed. I felt her presence all around me these past couple weeks. Last Friday, I found her sitting beneath some shrubbery, laying resplendently in a pile of autumn leaves. The sun filtered through the branches, and shone on her. She looked lovely, and I captured this moment with a photograph.

So you see, I was well aware her time was coming. And I will let her go as gracefully as I can.

She was such a bitch. From the moment I picked her – at the local animal shelter. All the kittens were laying on top of each other in big balls of furry fluff, but not Spaz. She was maniacally climbing the sides of the cage, meowing as loud as her little lungs would allow her. I knew she was mine from that moment.

Since then, she only responded and showed affection to me (except later on she bestowed such kindness to my Grandpa – who could resist him?) and we had a gentle and wondrous bond. I truly felt that she understood me, and would often give her instructions out loud in English, and she would listen. Every night for years on end she lay on me, either curled upon me, or right upon my legs. I couldn’t move, and the nights weren’t always the most comfortable, but I didn’t care, because we loved each other. I joked every day about her being a bitch, but I do the same with Panda, so perhaps it’s my deranged way of saying I love you.

I’m going to miss Spazzy. She helped me through so much. She helped me through my parent’s divorce and it’s aftereffects. She helped me through my move from my mother’s to my father’s, when life was a mess and I could barely breathe from the pain. She sat with me as I sobbed when a boy continuously broke my heart. She meowed for me when she missed me, she ate the little cat treats I sprinkled across the floor, and she sat outside in the upstairs window, meowing incessantly until I let her in.

I will never forget the gentle pressure of her upon me. Nothing was more comforting than to have her there, purring with joy, loving me in that non-judgmental, unconditional love that only a beloved pet can give. I am without that kind of love in this world now, and that breaks my heart a little. However, Spaz has returned to  that place from which we all originate – the gentle and powerful embrace of the earth. And I will find her there one day, and she will once again meow and purr with joy. Her spirit was strong, and she added to this world with her strength, spunk, and her love. We are without her now, but I will adore her forever.

My beautiful, beautiful Spazzy.

Autumn’s Awareness

I shouldn’t be writing in this blog. I should be writing. Creatively. I should be writing creatively.

I am aware that any writing is better than no writing, but I still feel guilty that I’m not putting my creative powers to better use. The other morning, while packing up merchandise for his and Lizzie’s California tour, Baba told me that Lizzie wakes up every morning around 5:30. TO WRITE. That is dedication, passion, and respect for her art, and I know fully well, as I have for months now, that it’s exactly what I need to do. I need to put the pen to paper, and write. And not about my feelings or my whinings or my day – but from the clandestine, beautiful recesses of my Soul.

Currently Dharma Dog is laying by my feet, snoozing. Which is far better than crying, which is basically what he did througout the entirety of last night. It reminded me of a babysitting job I had years ago where the little boy wouldn’t fall asleep and kept crying hysterically, and we both ended up on the floor crying and desperate. I think I got about an hour of sleep last night, since I also randomly became sick in the middle of the night. All of this led to me calling out of work, which is ridiculous since it was my first day of work in about six months. Which is terrible. But also sort of amazing. Haha.

I’m dog-sitting Dharma for the next week and a half, while Lizzie West and Baba are out in California helping to change and re-awaken the world. I was honored to have a wonderful night with everyone a couple days ago, where we made dinner and shared music, and Lizzie sat down and read the synopsis of her book to us. The following morning, I drove Cam (their fellow musician and friend) to the airport. It is absolutely refreshing to be around people who are so alive, and authentic, and using their voices to inspire change and Beauty. I am so grateful to have such wonderful people newly in my life, proving that even the smallest of moments can change the course of our steps on this earth.

I am already feeling terribly stifled here in Massachusetts. There is much negativity in this house, with my mother, and as much as I love her, I am afraid her home is not conducive to my newly-awakened Self. I am attempting to create an effective open dialogue with her, in the hopes that no drastic decisions need to be made, but I am simultaneously aware that I can not and will not return to the desperation of my life six months ago. To have traveled for the last six months in vain would be a travesty, and I therefore will take the lessons I have learned, and the windows of fresh air I have opened, and continue to breathe deeply of this life.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is certainly a movie I will return to again, much like The Breakfast Club or High Fidelity. Similar in context and mood, Nick and Norah brings us back to a time when movies were more than just cheap thrills and bawdy humor – they were a representation of the time, of its subcultures, and the intricate interplay of personal relationships within that time and culture. I was consistently impressed with the acting, the music, and the natural flow of the entire picture.

Certain reviews have claimed this movie to be a letdown compared to the highly praised Juno, but in fact I found the contrary to be true. In comparison to Juno’s forced quirkiness and slight pretentiousness, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was a breath of fresh air.

Michael Cera is someone I’ve watched from the corner of my eye, not totally convinced he was the real deal, but this movie, and his role as Nick, makes it official for me: he’s a great actor – both dynamic and adorable. He’s basically the John Cusack for the younger generation (so I guess I’ll just have to keep my feet in both those pools).

Kat Dennings as Norah was a perfect fit. I found her character to be well developed and believable. She has both a 50’s pin-up girl beauty to her that is quite fascinating, whilst simultaneously carrying a girl-next-door quality along with it.

I’d also like to add that my mother considered Ali Graynor (who played Norah’s best friend, Caroline) to be the best drunk she’s ever seen on screen. Not sure how that relates to anything, but thought I’d add it since my mom wouldn’t shut up about it. Hm. Not sure what that says about my mom.

Overall, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is worth the trip to the theater, especially since I officially believe again in whimsy, inspiring music, ridiculously fun frienships, and the fresh awakenings of new love.

Starving in Vermont

I can’t stop eating. I know part of it is the fact that I have food available to me, while for the last month or so it was a foraging scavenger hunt throughout Europe. But it’s an unnatural need to eat – as though I am starving, when I know I am not.  Yet, I feel hungry; I feel ravenous.

Sadly, I think it’s one of those times where the analogy is obvious: I am starving. I am starving for something, hungry for something… something more.  Here I am, back in the States, and quite obviously mourning the loss of Ireland and everything it meant to me. It meant opportunity – for my words, for the landscape, for love. I came so close to understanding – I almost touched Peace, and then I had to leave. So I feel restless and needy, and so I eat.

I’m also in Vermont right now, which is another situation for me, since this is another place I believe I could be happy. However, I don’t think I could move up to the house, since I find it so hard to be alone here, which is very confusing for me. I have never found it hard to be alone anywhere– other than this house on Lake Parker. Crazy.

I feel as though I’m rambling, but there’s not much I can do about it.

Aer Lingus: Flying home

I am currently on the flight home from Shannon to Boston, and will be arriving in another seven hours or so. Hopefully Momma will be there at the airport waiting for me.

I can barely comprehend that it’s over. Kara and I lay in our beds last night, talking through the magic light and the darkness about all the things that we’ll miss.

Some things we’ll miss:

1.    Playing UNO
2.    Tea
3.    Irish accents
4.    Sheeps and coos in the road
5.    Twingo. Oh, dear Twingo.
6.    Rolling hills & never-ending green
7.    Beef & Guinness Pie
8.    Rainbows
9.    Pubs
10.    Bulmers
11.    Taking advice from locals
12.    Hitting my head (okay, I won’t miss that!)
13.    The road map of Ireland
14.    Bread & Nutella
15.    Irish Pub Songs, especially I’ll Tell Me Ma
16.    Dancing
17.    Flanagan’s Hostel in Doolin
18.    John O’Donohue
19.    Kindness from strangers
20.    Magic

We probably had about 80 more items on that list by the time the night was over, and it was a wonderful way to recap our time together. I loved my dear friend so much in that moment – knowing how far we’ve come on this trip, and the things we’ve gone through together.

We both woke up this morning around 3 or 4 while she was preparing to leave, and said our goodbyes. I wanted to hug her and not let go, and stay traveling forever. It’s been such an incredible journey. It hasn’t all been easy, but we worked together wonderfully, and we made it all happen without too many bumps or bruises.

If I had possessed even the smallest reason to remain in Ireland, I would have done it. I had already considered what I would need to do to get a refund on my ticket. However, there is simply no rational reason (at the moment) to stay, so I am returning home to spend some time with my family, and get back to work earning some money. Work. ::sigh::  ☺ So much to do.

Listless in Limerick

I often wonder why, being such a happy person, I am so prone to depression (or at least terribly depressing thoughts). I am actually surprised when people tell me that they never wish for death, or are ever overwhelmed by the utter futility of it all. I feel this way at least a couple times a month, if not daily.

Interestingly enough, the times I feel the most overwhelmed are usually the times that I also feel the most potential. I suppose it’s the dichotomy between what I know the world and people could be, and what the world and people actually are that devastates me.

But enough of that. Just random thoughts spilling through my fingertips.

It’s a little past midnight on Sunday night. Kara and I have one more day here in Ireland before we head home. I feel, however, as though the journey is incomplete, but I am unsure why. I think it might have something to do with the decisions I have waiting for me when I come home: the choices I have to make in order to determine the rest of my life. Yes, those choices.

I keep reminding myself that I have plenty of exciting reasons to go home, and that there are a handful of positively wonderful people in my life. I need to continue to surround myself with good people, and continue to insert myself into the world rather than allowing the world to force itself upon me. “We all have a choice” says the Guinness ad, and I will listen to it. ☺

I will miss the pubs: the dim, delicious atmosphere of old wood, good music, and a beef and Guinness Pie.  There’s nothing more relaxing than finding a good corner to relax and listen to live traditional music and drink a pint of Bulmers. We truly don’t have many places like that back home, which helps to explain why I usually don’t go out.

I suppose I’m ready to go home, though. It’s been a long time, and I’ve spent more of the past year traveling than I have in one place, so I suppose I could use a break – or at least a job, haha. But not funny. I prefer the retired life, but I might be reaching the end of that particular rope.

I think I might place an ad for a good cuddler for the winter. It’s going to be cold, and I need someone to snuggle with.

I’m not joking.

Galway, Ireland

Oh goodness, writing a poem made me feel so much better. I haven’t been able to write much this month – I think the last poem I wrote was at the beginning of this trip, near a month ago. I love how the writing of a poem can mean such closure for me – as though I can close a door after putting my pain into prose.

Tonight we are in Galway, where we just returned from a pub-hopping four hours where we attempted to find live music. We succeeded in finding it, but along with it came pubs so crowded we could not move, and plenty of sketchy men. It made me wonder whether Lisdoonvarna was really any worse than any other pub on a Saturday night. However, the music we did find was wonderful, with a fiddle, guitar, and accordion, so that made the evening much more complete. That, along with the delicious crepe I had prior to the pubs.

Tomorrow, we head to Limerick, where we spend our last two nights of the trip. Here’s hoping they go well and we end the trip on a high note. I’m not looking forward to figuring out the airport, since Kara leaves at seven in the morning, and I leave at one in the afternoon, and five hours extra in an airport does not sit well with me. I might just have to cough up the extra dough for a taxi, methinks.

There is no doubt in my mind I will be returning here, to Ireland. I just need to remind myself of that. It will make the departure from this beautiful place a bit more bearable.

There’s just such magic here. However, I need to remind myself that the magic is everywhere – it’s merely a matter of living moments as they arrive, and entering the flow of the world around us. I know half my reader’s brains shut off when I start getting all metaphysical and such, but I’m only relaying concepts I believe to be true, and which mean very much to me. Life, and the landscapes within it, has a natural and beautiful flow.

When we enter into the rhythm of the earth’s heartbeat, magical things happen.

It just seems that in Ireland, magical things happen all the time. ☺

Connemara: we are all lit within

Nearing the end of the road – at least the one in Ireland. I can’t even comprehend that an entire month has passed – it seemed never-ending when we first began. But now I’m trying to figure out flights and rides home, so I guess it’s all very real.

There’s someone in particular I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t see before I go, but alas, what can I do – I didn’t get any of his information, just gave him my card with my email.  I suppose that was entirely my own fault. But I’ll give you a hint – he’s the bouncer from Lisdoonvarna. Okay, that’s a really big hint.

“Remember we are all lit within” – Lizzie West

Doolin, Ireland: to find some peace

Agh! You won’t believe it. We literally missed Porry by hours! I knew I should have called him yesterday, but we didn’t. Yesterday was a rough day; we were happy to have survived it. However, I guess that means it just wasn’t meant to happen, if we missed each other so closely. Mr. Flanagan said that Porry said something about “being a butterfly” and “leaving while the moon is full” which is absolutely priceless, so I guess I’ll let him have his journeys.

This little hostel is fantastic. I really can imagine coming back here, very soon. Right now, I’m relaxing after a delicious dinner cooked by Kara, while our clothes are being sifted through the washing machine and a cute German family has dinner at the table beside me. We’re the only two groups in the hostel tonight, so it’s quiet and cozy and wonderful. The owner even lit a fire in the common room, so it’s warmer than it was here Saturday night.

Oh, Saturday night. How I miss thee.

It’s been tough for Kara and I to keep our heads in the present, since we have so much to think about and our emotions have been ambushed and scattered across the country.

At least it’s a lovely country. ☺

I’ve been having nightmares for the past few days, mostly about coming home. It makes me a little nervous, because even though I’m not actively thinking about it, my subconscious is obviously concerned. The dreams usually involve either extreme fighting with my parents, going back to high school and failing my classes, or total feelings of entrapment and despair.

Needless to say, none of them are very comforting.

I suppose I’m mostly concerned about losing myself again, in the madness that people call “life”. I’ve learned now that there is so much more to life than surviving, and I truly want to live every single day I have left. I really have no idea what to expect when I get home, and I suppose I need to start defining reality myself rather than just ‘waiting’ to see what happens.

In that case, I want to ensure that good people surround me, I laugh (heartily) at least once a day, and that I continue to live within the rhythm of the earth.

Not too much to ask, I’m sure.

Last night, Kara and I literally slept in a cabin in the woods. I had to use the toilet before bed, and there I was: walking through the darkness while it rained, armed with a mini flashlight and the fear of God, scared out of my bleeping mind. I had to walk all the way to another building a couple hundred yards away. I may not be high maintenance, but…seriously. I don’t like camping, especially when I’m not in the least prepared. Haha. Regardless, it was a cute hostel – it was called “The Peacock” along the Beara Peninsula, which was a lovely drive. And like I said, there was a guinea pig peninsula and a large sow (videos to come!) which lent a measure of ridiculousness that made it all worth living.

Couple hours later:

Had a really relaxing night. Played UNO for a while in front of the fire, and reminisced about Porry and the ridiculous times we all had here last Saturday. Couldn’t believe that a week had almost already gone by. Couldn’t believe that it’s almost been a month traveling – the two Karas conquering the UK and beyond. Tried to handle the fact that we’ll be home in the states in only a few days, and tried to handle that calmly and rationally. We just know that so many things have changed now – both within us and around us. And it’s crucial that we remember who we are, and who we want to be. For myself, I know that I would absolutely be willing to change my entire life, if that was what God wished for me. I just need to stay aware of the earth and His spirit around me, and follow the path of my soul.

Dorky, perhaps. But absolutely true.

On the Shannon Ferry

I’m trying to act like I don’t care whether or not Porry is in Doolin or not, but I care so much it’s silly. Currently, Kara and I are waiting in the car for the Shannon Ferry to arrive and take us across the water, which drops us off again in County Clare, about a half-our outside of Kilkee. From there, the plan is to drive up to Doolin and spend the night, since it’s somewhere we feel safe, and have nice memories. But I’m not going to lie – I will be terribly sad, perhaps even devastated, if Porry is not there when we arrive. We went there this past Monday in hopes that we could spend the night playing cards and making dinner with him, but alas, he was running around County Kerry in his motorcycle. We understood this, and went away, but we’re hoping and praying that he’s there when we arrive today. I’ve called twice, but only got the message machine for Flanagan’s Hostel, so no such luck trying to figure out whether our dear Porry will be there.

UPDATE: Just spoke to Mr. Flanagam himself. Porry will NOT be there this evening, which is basically devastating, but alas, we’re still heading that way. It’s going to be sad to be there without him, though.

I spoke to Mr. Flanagan last week about perhaps coming back sometime and earning my keep. Especially if I get a job teaching, it would work out well for me to come over here in the summer and work at the hostel in return for a bed. I could stay in the hostel, right in County Clare, and write my heart away. So that’s certainly something I am considering.

I am also considering all the possibilities involved with Ireland. ☺

And boo to boys who don’t use the Internet and therefore don’t send emails and therefore we can’t come see them!

Beara Peninsula: randomness & remembering

I’m not the best updater. I’m trying to update as much as possible, especially so I can keep all these wonderful moments in my mind forever, but I simply find it ridiculously boring to repeat the things that have already happened, no matter how fascinating they are.

The past couple days have been downers, but that’s mainly because this past weekend was so amazing. I’m still in awe of this past weekend – I think those days might have been some of the best of my entire life. Yet the decrescendo after them is threatening to be the death of both of us, for there is so much to think about, and yet everything seems less alive because of the unbelievable highs of the weekend.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot about Ireland. I know that I am in love. I have never been anywhere that has captivated me this much – and that’s saying a lot after all my travels this past year. I am absolutely in love with Ireland, and it’s going to be hard to leave this place.

It’s crazy how certain experiences have the potential to absolutely and completely change ones life. There have been a few moments in the past week that certainly were palpable enough to vibrate the present straight into the future. I found myself dreaming things I thought I had given up, and coming alive in ways I thought I never would. It’s almost scary how the slightest breath can change the direction of your life.

Monday night was Limerick. We spent a little time in town that night, had a drink at the pub, and then headed back to our wonderful HOTEL room – with its fluffy comforters and our own shower and towels and yummmmm. It was absolutely worth the extra money. The next morning, we headed off to the Angela’s Ashes tour in downtown Limerick, but it had been canceled due to poor weather. We’re hoping to catch it next Monday, when we head back to Limerick for our last night. So instead we shopped a little, and then headed out to Cork. Cork was basically a waste of time, for we stayed in a dingy little hostel in the city, where we were not in the mood to deal with it, woke up, went to the English Market, and then headed out. I’m sure we could have decided on doing something better, but alas. Today we drove from Cork over to the Beara Peninsula, where we drove the entire length of the coast road and ended up in another less-than-fantastic hostel. I really think Kara and I need some good things to happen to us, because we’re currently tired and frustrated and freezing and hopeful and annoyed and confused.

A few things that have minutely redeemed this day for us:

1.    Rainbows rainbows rainbows! I’ve never seen so many rainbows in my life.
2.    Random little store/café on a road we accidentally traveled down and proceeded to have tea and brown bread with butter
3.    The guinea pigs in their own little peninsula outside our cabin
4.    The big-ass pig sitting in his stall who snorts at us as we walk by.