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Homeward Bound


View Ireland / UK on akgearhard's travel map.

We are on the plane now. I've got J next to me, Luke and Beau in front of me, the loudest children known to man behind me, a blanket of blue water below us, my playlist on repeat, and a smoking hot cup of creamer with a splash of coffee in it at my fingertips. All things considered, life is good.

I figured I'd take a moment to reflect on a couple of things that we've learned this trip before we get home this evening and they fade away as our reality comes quickly back to life...

There's never enough time.
Home, away, working, playing, healthy, sick - it seems that there is rarely an occasion where life issues us "enough" time. It is up to us to be responsible with the time that we are given and spend it wisely when and where we are gifted with it. We will still likely find ourselves wanting more or wishing ourselves back. Time is so precious.

Swim sideways.
Somewhere along our trip, Luke and the kids discussed how to get out of an undercurrent ("swim sideways!") and in another conversation when discussing what to do when choking, one of our brilliant children tossed out an excited "swim sideways!" coining this the universal life-saving technique. As a backup, we'd also suggest throwing yourself up against a table when choking -WHILE swimming sideways - if additional emergency measures are needed.

It takes rain to make a rainbow, love.
This is as true with the bumps in our life as it is when the rain falls on the rolling green pastures in Ireland. The remarkable ROYGBIV rainbow will shine down, but not without the rain. It was a splendid message to be reminded of up close and personal on a daily basis.

Your name doesn't have to be Norm to be welcomed in Ireland.
As intimidating as those first few steps into the pub were when we arrived in Dublin, we came to realize that the close-knit community here is kind, welcoming, and happy to call you a friend as long as you're willing to do the same. Your name definitely doesn't have to be Norm.

5. Plan for change.
...and then accept it. There is a reason we don't make detailed travel plans. Truly. Items of permanency before traveling abroad include passports, international drivers licenses, and car and housing reservations. As you've seen, even these things change. Our lives are bound by schedules at home as we hop from soccer to football and Spectra to the firehouse. Freedom is fabulous and allows you to think and plan in the moment. Sitting captive as a family in our room in London wondering if we'd been scammed required some display of calmness on my part to show the kids how we respond in a potential emergency ("SWIM SIDEWAYS!" they said). We talked it through as a family, made the best of it, and moved on. The rest is just details.

6. Guinness pouring is an art.
Simply put, there is detail to pouring this masterpiece correctly, ensuring the right color of its foam, and placing a perfect four-leaf clover with the grace of a barista's hand in the whip on top. My gratitude to James for starting our education properly.

7. Good things are worth waiting for.
Mumford and Sons sings one of my all-time favorite songs, which congruently boasts one of my most despised phrases - "I will wait". I don't like waiting, which is likely why Sweet Jesus decided to upgrade his Patience Plans for me in both my personal and professional life to that of the mighty snail. Let's just say, I'm definitely working on it. As I am now looking at landscape through the lens of my camera that I've dreamed of while seeing photos online, I rest assured that good things are definitely worth the wait.

8. 'Feck' is a real Irish word.
I thought I invented the spelling based on what I was hearing (see the March 21 entry). Imagine our surprise when we found 'feck' magnets in Dublin yesterday. Enough said.

9. Stop Selfie Sticks.
I don't know what these things are really called, but after seeing hundreds of them attached to phones, cameras, and anything with a screen to assist with selfies, this is what I've come to know them as. I figure they can function dually as a small baseball bat used to lightly remind their owner that taking a picture of themselves while on the Cliffs of Moher to prove attendance is not more important than respecting the boundaries of those attempting to walk by safely with both eyes on the path. Look up. Look around. And please huck that stick. I will gladly take a photo for you anytime.

10. Enjoy the moment.
There are an infinite number of ways to document our journeys in life. Unfortunately, moments often slip by quickly as we work to capture them and share them with the world. I am terribly guilty of juggling my camera lenses in the heat of a beautiful moment in my best effort to capture everything about it. I figure the iPad can then catch anything the camera missed (the sound and the feel). After all that is finished, I can then hope the moment hasn't passed so that I can see the smiles on the kids faces or cozy up next to Luke to enjoy our surroundings. If only the moment I was initially captivated by were still around...

It's amazing to watch how much people miss in their best effort to prove that they were "there" as they twist, tweet, link, facebook, and photograph the moment away. I've found myself nearly sitting on my hands on multiple occasions this trip forcing myself to look, rather than photograph. It is far easier to actively be "_________" than it is to just plain BE. Note to self: Get out from behind your camera and join the world. Look around you. Take in the smell. Touch the grasses and the rocks. Listen to the sounds. Remember the looks on the faces of those with you. Enjoy the gift that you have been given. 'Now' is the only thing we have and for that, I couldn't be more grateful.

Until next time...

Posted by akgearhard 21:39 Archived in Ireland

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