Paper dreams

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Have you ever wondered, “What exactly is my purpose on our little shining blue ball floating around in our vast universe?”

Have you?

Congratulations, so have I!

It took me the better part of my teenage years to get to the stage where I thought, “Yes! Eureka! Yes, I found out what I am doing here!”

Translated, it sounded more like this, “I know where I am going to live!”

Part of the master plan that had been hiding in my unconscious mind had already been set in motion, albeit drifting rebelliously between my conscious and the harder to access unconscious level, before mischievously appearing again.

Soon after my rather-Einstein-inspired outburst, I went from being exhilarated to being in despair, as my goals seemed so different to the path everyone in my family had walked before me.

Aside from my more adventurous take on life, that goal would lead me outside the kingdom of Belgium, and I wondered if perhaps, I might have interpreted things a little bit too vivaciously. To make sure the way towards my dream was not hampered in any way, I regularly kept giving myself wake-up calls to double-check if maybe, just maybe, my reverie was out of my league.

That goal?

I, Willeke-Maya, was to find “craic and sceitimíní” (Irish for ‘fun times’ and ‘bursts of positive feelings’) in the west of Ireland. I would walk in the footsteps of James Joyce in Dublin, William Butler Yeats in Sligo and I would have the Atlantic Ocean in front of the house. In the back garden, a long-distance view on the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, countless sheep to the left and to the right of the house, a personal library with books all over, an open fire and a big Irish Wolfhound to keep me company.

And of course, an Irish husband and kids also.

I flew 800km to the north-west of Europe a few times, travelled around, camped next to lakes and ran up hills. Cheeky as always, I imagined seeing myself roll downhill like tumbleweed in the wind. Since Belgium lacks anything higher than 600 metres, people would not appreciate their grassy knolls being redecorated by myself as I wanted to take full advantage of the rolling downhill.

After all, “Isn’t it gas that anyone can do so in Ireland without anyone ever wondering who that mad cow is who is… well… rolling downhill?”

Needless to say, I wanted to do more of the same, while also reading, writing and watching every Munster and Ireland rugby game possible.

IRISH HEART (2017_06_05 18_12_06So…

I moved.

Fourteen and a half years after emigrating to this dazzling emerald gem surrounded by “a snot-green sea,” as James Joyce ever so eloquently referred to Dublin Bay in Ulysses, I am still here.

The Atlantic Ocean, mountains and sheep are as far as I’m aware, still there, also.

And the dogs? Oh, I’m sure they are in a pre-conceived status somewhere.

It’s all still there.

Over there.

On the other side of Ireland.

I know. Not on my side of Ireland.

I still find myself near Dublin Bay, the Irish sea and somewhere between the Hill of Tara and the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.

And therefore, nowhere near the Atlantic and Macgilly’s mountain range if anyone has difficulty interpreting a map of Ireland.

The sheep, dogs and human additions to my life are still missing also, but I am still in the same house that became a home near Dublin’s ancient east coast, where parks and trees are aplenty. It is also where I have been collecting a record number of medical appointments since moving here in 2002.

You see, some people collect children. Others raise cars and others again, a mixed-up combination of the two. Yes, you can consider these people pretty standard in that regard, and fair play to them.

I, however, collect hospital visits, goals, dreams, memories, vistas I always wanted to see, beautifully covered boxes, books, stones found on beaches around Ireland, diplomas and names of dog breeds I love.

My choice of things to collect may seem different to many, but that’s OK. “Each to their own,” as we say in Ireland.


I still dream about the Atlantic Ocean and MacG’s mountains, or about any sea or mountain around Ireland for that matter. This girl hasn’t been running up hills or rolling downhill for a decade, now, but despite technicolour rainbows and bright dreams that blur the sight in my eyes and sets of trigeminal neuralgia, I wouldn’t roll rule it out in my hopes and dreams at all.

I can just see myself rolling downhill somewhere in Kerry trying to catch my future, first ever dog called Jack, a magnificent Goldendoodle. Being an insanely mad dog lover, it could also be one of these other popular dogs, like a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, Weimaraner, Husky, Cocker Spaniel or Beagle!

Bloomsday – June 16th, 2017 related articles where James Joyce is mentioned:

©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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