A few days ago a friend sent me this quote,
“Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve been to. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else.”
When we moved, I thought that over a period of time we would become Irish. I am beginning to realize what will happen is we will become “of Ireland.” The process is already beginning. There are aspects of my life that are deeply ingrained that were, are, and will always be American. I cherish them: books, movies, music, people, foods. They are part of my DNA and nothing will ever be able to change that.
At the same time, the things I have always loved about Ireland are beginning to gently infuse themselves as well.
A few nights ago, my two sons and I went to a local pub and listened to three hours of Irish pipes, whistle and guitar music. It was simply brilliant. There were never more than 20 or 30 people in the room and I was 10 feet away from the musicians — Eoin Duignan and Tommy O’Sullivan. The cost? A gently nursed pint of Guinness. Such an opportunity simply would not be available in America.
I do not think I will become homesick. Instead there will always be the soft and gentle memories that will always be part of my everyday life. When we were walking home from the pub the other night my younger son said to me, “Dad, I know you love it here and will probably stay here the rest of your life, but you will always be American. You should be proud of that. But you should love your time here just as much.”
So it would appear that I will be living in my own country, full of the best of at least two lands, and probably more. That is an unexpected idea. One I like.
In ancient times map makers would label areas known to be dangerous or uncharted with the warning, “Beware there be dragons here!”
The one thing I am certain of……there be no dragons here.