Have you ever wondered, “What exactly is my purpose on our little shining blue ball floating around in our vast universe?”
Congratulations, so have I!
It took me the better part of my teenage years – if not very young adult life – 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.
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 have the Atlantic Ocean in front of the house, a long-distance view on the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range in the back garden, sheep to the left and the right of the house, 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 tumble weed in the wind. Since Belgium lacks anything higher than 600 metres and people would not appreciate their grassy knolls being redecorated by myself, 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.
So… I moved.
Fourteen and a half years after emigrating to this dazzling emerald gem surrounded by “a snotgreen sea,” as James Joyce ever so eloquently referred to Dublin Bay in Ulysses, I am still here.
The Atlantic, mountains and sheep are 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.
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.
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 combination of the two. Yes, you can consider them 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, and 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 dreams at all.
And as it so happens, I just added another dog breed to my list after saying, “Oh my god, I want a Goldendoodle!”
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