Fugitive Firefly

Running away with the last bit of hope

I've been lied to!

Ok, maybe not lied to, but definitely mislead!

You see, all this time I had assumed that I would be taking classes with other Irish students, that us "yanks" would be integrated with the locals. Am I? Well, the answer to that is a horrifying NO. All of my classmates are other study abroad students, here for the summer program of Irish Studies. An dáirie atá tú, are you serious?!

Am I disappointed? Most definitely. Am I being over dramatic? Quite possibly. Is this going to make it a little more difficult to meet locals? Maybe. Is that gonna stop me from trying? No feckin' way :P

Details of my trip (and maybe pictures) to come later.

Is geall le sos malairt oibre

[written during the 6 hour flight]

"Have you ever flown before?" asked the TSA. If I hadn't been so tired, I would have laughed.
Before we start, let's get on thing straight. I travel. A lot. In the span of 20 years, I've covered thousands of miles (possibly more than 100,000..I've lost count). But don't let me deceive you- I haven't been to many different places, just a lot of the same cities. I've never been west of Michigan, north of Niagra Falls, Canada, or south of Key West. This trip, however, has brought a few firsts.

I've spent a good amount of time on a plane these past two years; so much that the routine had grown monotonous. No, really. I've memorized the pre-boarding speech and the safety speech. Not to mention that I'm always at the window seat closest to the wing, so I have a fairly good idea of what's normal plane behavior. Is it any wonder why this flight in particular didn't worry me?

Well, this time around I had a layover in New York- a foreign airport but not a foreign concept. While sitting at the gate, the woman beside me noticed my card of Irish verbs. That thing is a conversation starter, let me tell you. Her and her daughter live in Dublin and so were curious as to what I will be doing during my stay. All of that, however, was just to lead up to what they really wanted to know. "Aren't you travelling with anyone?"

"No," I tell them, and watched them try to hide their concern. I know how ridiculous it must have sounded, to be going to a foreign country on my own...to get from Dublin to feckin' Galway without a companion. I wasn't afraid though; somehow the preachings I got from my fam triggered some sort of bravery (or more like a stubborn determination to show that I'm not like most people). At this point, I was still convinced that this was just like my other trips. Just longer.

Finally it came time to board. A brief, mild shock went though my system when I stepped inside. It was so...mòr! I'm sure that someone reading this is probably chuckling but some part of me was anticipating something closer to the size of a Boeing 737...not an Airbus 330. I made my way towards the back of the plane, taking my seat and securing the seatbelt around my hips. See? It's still the same. I could not, however, continue to lie to myself when the safety video came on. First of all, it was a video, not a stewardess making hand motions. Second of all, it didn't follow the script that I had familiarized myself with. It was at that moment that the truth finally broke through my consciousness. This is different. This is foreign to me on all levels- new country, no companion, no familiar person(s) waiting for me at baggage claim. And did I mention I have to catch a bus to take me from Dublin to Galway? Ok, maybe now I'm a little scared. Just how crazy am I?? I guess all I can say is...

Tapaigh an deis!


Note: Footnotes are the little numbers that will appear throughout the text. Sorry they're not superscripts...blogger wouldn't let me.

Life is funny. As you get older, you gain more responsibilities. (That’s not the funny part, I promise). However, for most people (or at least for me), paying rent, working a job, etc does not make you say “Oh no…I’m an ADULT!” Instead it’s the little things that happen.

I met up with my best friend from middle school the other day; it was the first time in six years since we last saw each other. She has a kid now so we went to the park to play on the playground. Sage, my friend’s daughter, is trying to play with the other, older kids. Looking at them, I realize that not a single tot would have been born in the 90s. That’s reality check number 1. Then we made a fatal error and listened in on some of their conversations.1 It was two girls and someone’s younger brother, squatting beneath the big slide, talking discreetly.2 They each had boyfriends (both lads were unaware that they were in a relationship with a girl) and then started talking of Jake and other boys. Everyone knows a Jake; the boy that the teachers like, the one who is friends with all the boys and the crushee of every girl. 3 My friend and I crack up laughing. For us it just felt like yesterday we were doing the same thing. Though it had seem so difficult, so drama-filled, life really was easy back then.4 Think about it. All you had to do was tell a Jake that he’s your boyfriend and Ta Da! you had a boyfriend. The teachers’ idea of an assignment was gluing macaronie to cardboard to make a photo frame. And all you needed to be the cool kid was Crayola’s 64 pack. Anyway, listening to the conversation was reality check numero dos.

And then it happened.

Sage had attached herself to a boy about four years older than her. He didn’t think she would be able to keep up but she totally proved him wrong…until finally he found something she wouldn’t be able to reach. She tried but without success. It was then that he said the horrific words: “Haha, you’d need an adult to reach that!” I look at my friend and she looks at me. We were these “adults” that he spoke of. There is no way I can fool myself into thinking I’m still a kid now.

You see, though I am 20-years old and though I have way more responsibilities than desired, I never felt like what this boy called an “adult.”5 Growing up had never scared me…until now. In less than two years I’ll have a B.S. degree in Psych and will be completely financially independent. Then there’s the fact that three of my friends now have kids and many more are engaged to be married. When did I get to be old enough to be married?6 At this point, my future is quite uncertain. I don’t know what I’ll be doing after Pitt. I’m clueless on which grad school is best for me…or even if I want to go. And I haven’t the faintest idea of who I’ll end up with or when. Yeah all of this can get overwhelming sometimes but I’m very much a “see where the wind takes me” type girl and am confident that I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be.

But that doesn’t change the fact that some days I’m scared shitless.

“I’m looking at the vast emptiness that is my future.” Casey Cartright, Greek
1Don’t give me that look! Have you ever been around kids? They talk loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.

2Or trying to. See above footnote.

3My Jake in elementary school was actually a Logan. Just throwing that out there…

4 Not that we’d ever admit that to our parents. They’re not allowed to be right.

5 It probably doesn’t help that most people mistake me for a 17-year old. (18 on a good day).

6 Another thing we don’t like to admit to our parents- time does go by fast.