My trip to Dublin was a last minute surprise. One second I was unpacking and trying to recover from our weekend in Avignon, and the next, I was packing again and off to Nice Airport. And since it was such a surprise, and I was only there for a few days, I didn't even tell my friends I was coming (bad Sara, I know). But it had been fourteen months since I had last visited, so I needed to soak up as much family time as possible. Because I was only there for a hot second, I didn't really take any photos either, so please, try to forgive me and make do with this photo taken on the Trinity College campus forever and a day ago.
And that last minute birthday surprise from The Husband was how I found myself arriving at my Auntie's house on the afternoon of my birthday. Whenever I go back, it feels like going home. I don't have a family home anymore. The house I grew up in New York was sold when I was 18, and the other house in Texas was sold almost ten years ago. My mother has a new house back in Texas now that I love, but it's not my house, it's her house. I've vacationed there, but I've never lived there. So the little house on Glenmaroon Road that my Aunt and Uncle have lived in for fifty years (50!!!) is kind of like home base.
When I was a kid, I loved pulling up in front of it's gate early in the morning (my flight from the U.S. always arrived early in the A.M.). I'd step out of my Uncle's car as my Auntie would open the door. She'd stand there in her bathrobe, her arms hugging her body, protecting herself from the cold as she'd wave me inside. She'd hug me and usher me onto the couch in the living room in front of the turf fire. And then we'd go to the kitchen for my full Irish and pot of tea. She'd then insist that I go for a lie down (whether I wanted to or not) to get over my jet lag, and up the stairs I'd go to a bed warmed by an electric blanket. She still puts the electric blanket on for me even though a flight from France leaves me jet lag-free. It's the little things, you know.
So there I was on my birthday, blowing out my candles with my little monkeys (Nephew, Niece, and Little Niece). It was surreal, but comforting, and I forgot how much I missed their little faces and catching up on all of the latest elementary school gossip. And it was nice to see how far Niece has come in ballet. Only ten and on her toes already.
The next morning, I headed into town for a quick stop in Penneys (or Primark as it's known in the UK... and fyi fellow French dwellers, one is coming our way soon too), and I was so overwhelmed by the huge selection, I got all flustered, almost hyperventilated, and didn't buy anything. You know that scene in Moscow on the Hudson, when Robin William's character has a freak out right there in the grocery store because there were just too many choices and he couldn't deal. Well that was me in Penneys. It wasn't pretty.
I fled to Toddy's for a Bloody Mary and a sit down with the Irish Independent to calm my frazzled nerves. And after lunch with one of my Uncles (fish & chips for him, club sandwich for me), I was all set. Living in The LPV has clearly destroyed my shopping prowess. I am not impressed. My faith needed to be restored, and what better place to restore faith, than church.
Nephew and Niece were making their Confirmation so on a Wednesday morning, we found ourselves squeezed into freezing cold church pews (somebody forgot to turn on the heating). See that one bit in the program below... that a losa, a losa... bit, yeah, well that's Irish. As if dealing with French isn't enough of a headache. Luckily, I had a stash of hidden gummy bears in my purse to keep me distracted.
So that was basically my trip. I hung out with my little monkeys, had pints in the pub, drank wine and caught up on East Enders with my main homegirl Claire, and that was that. It was quick, but just what I needed, and pretty much the best birthday surprise this girl could ask for.
P.S. Don't forget to enter my LPV t-shirt giveaway. Contest closes Thursday the 14th at midnight, Le Petit Village time.