We ‘set sail’ from Brazil a year ago on a mission of sheer unadulterated madness - according to our contemporaries anyway. We got a slew of comments ranging from the positive “Go for it!” type to the “Are you crazy?” to “How irresponsible”. I eventually stopped telling people about it just to stop listening to the naysayers. Call me an ostrich.
The contrast was beyond description! I was trying to look for images that represent each place. We went from this…
Sao Paulo epitomised everything I hated in a city…. the dirt, the litter, graffiti, pollution, vile smells, concrete. I ached for green, for softness. I would plant tufts of grass in planters in our tiled yard. This photo puts our city life into a nutshell, the very close proximity of neighbours, the concrete and our striving for green even there.
Wales… how can I even describe our impressions there? Unlimited beauty, open space, Grass! Air that was clean and pure. Even animal dung had a clean smell about it. We worked hard… very hard… but it was good and satisfying. I enjoyed the goats! We fell in love with Wales. What a beautiful place in every sense of the word.
Wales came to an abrupt and rather tragic end due to circumstances out of our control. In a bit of a panic - we hadn’t planned to move on so soon - we went to stay in Northampton at the centre where Tat used to work.
We met wonderful people and had the chance to relax and recoup… until relaxing became a chore. We weren’t used to it, but weren’t allowed to do anything. Luckily, there was a stunning nature reserve nearby where the hours could be whiled away pleasantly.
Oh… and we got to see our first Snow!!!
Of course, we couldn’t stay there forever. We were in the guest rooms and they had an event they were booked out for, so we were on the move again. Moving on was becoming a little scary. None of this was in the original plan. This was where old and dear friends stepped in. We were on our way to Hemel Hempstead.
Northampton had prepared us for being back ‘in town’, though we were very much on the outskirts right next to a nature reserve. Luckily, Hemel Hempstead was a pretty place. We had fun times with our friends who’d known us since Tat was just two bricks and a ticky high. It was a time of shared memories.
Towards the end of our visit, I started stressing again. I got very sick with a cough that wouldn’t let go. I got to a point where I literally cried to the heavens one day… “Where to next?” The answer came from New Zealand and we applied to a place in Ireland.
Our first steps on Irish soil after the ferry trip over… a very special moment! As I stood listening to that ocean, a deep sense of peace came over me.
Tir na Si (Land of the fairies) was a delight to the senses! Most of my work was in the tea room, but I snuck out whenever I could to spend time with my donkey friends. The animals were my favourite part of Tir na Si. Our hosts were lovely and we had a very comfy room. When not working, the farm was so nice to explore and relax on.
We were happy… but again, ‘fate’ stepped in. There was a mixup with our dates. Jurgis had mentioned the date of our return ticket that had to be changed (the booking system didn’t have a ticket date far enough in advance) and they misunderstood. Family was coming over from overseas and they needed the room we were in. We were sad to go, but our next ‘home’ was so exciting…
Killruddery… there is so much to this place that it needs numerous blogs of its own. Adjectives fail me here. We’re very privileged to be living in the main house and need to walk through the tour part (I call it the museum) to get to our apartment. It’s so funny how one drops to a whisper when entering that part of the house. Jurgis is in piggy heaven. I work in paradise. That’s our lives in a nutshell right now. We’re hoping this is going to be long term(ish). We’re super comfortable, loving our work and the people here are beyond amazing.
In short, this year has been a hellava ride. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I do it differently? Absolutely! Am I sorry I did it? No… not in the least. There are things I miss about Brazil. I was thinking of my students tonight. I miss them. I miss a few personal things that got left behind and yes, I miss the comfy salary I had and having two computers (sharing a laptop has it’s challenges). There are things about Brazil itself that had wormed its way into my heart.
Each place we’ve been to since has a place in my heart too. We’ve learned some valuable lessons and made life-long friends along the way. We definitely have come off with many stories to share when we’re old and senile ;) Here’s to the next year or ten! Cheers!