I am home in Montana now, moved out of my apartment, sold, gave away or threw out most of my possessions (including a journal which I shortly therafter discovered a homeless man reading while sitting comfortably inside my dumpster!). I spent a few displaced weeks in early December with Kristi W. and Claire, Regan and Jack, sleeping on futons and blow-up mattresses until I finished my job at Heartland on Dec. 14. My office had a nice going-away party for me, lots of tears, actually, and not from me! Immediately after, I drove West in the middle of a bad snowstorm, but got through it OK in the usual three days. I saw amazing starry skies and snowy mountains, crashed in cheap hotels (except for the Kelly Inn in Mitchell, SD, which was really nice, I guess it’s a name you can trust?), and, of course, I stopped for some 5 cent coffee and the 30% off Christmas sale at Wall Drug. So now, here I sit, in my parents’ living room, Christmas decor and cookies all around, loads of snow outside, and a car I need to sell sitting in the garage!
I can’t believe how full the last month or so has been. I’d like to say it’s gone by fast, but it hasn’t felt like it… it’s just felt busy! There were times when I was sitting around my apartment, thinking I would never be able to move everything out in time… then there were times when I was living out of a suitcase with friends that I didn’t know how I’d get the energy to drive three days to Montana… now, of course, there’s the wondering how-in-the-heck I’m going to get on a bus to Tucson on Wednesday, and how I’m going to transport my two enormous suitcases from bus to bus during the four changes. Add to that a short flight to LAX next Sunday, 12 hours spent in some undetermined place, and then the REAL flight I’ve been waiting for… the 6:30 a.m. flight from LAX to Dublin (via Philadelphia). Seriously, when I think about all these details, plus all the ones I have not mentioned (cell phone, setting up an IRA, bank accounts, college loans, other bills, changing addresses, plus Christmas!), I just want to hide under the covers. But hiding or running never helped anyone out, especially someone with such a strong desire for this new life. Some people say I’m an adventurer… somehow I don’t see that, because I’m always so worried and scared… but I guess I have kept pressing on anyway, with the cheers and prayers of family and friends. And my own hope, truthfully enough – my hope that dreams really do come true (so cliche, I know) and that I’m on the dawn of a new dream, if only I’ll take the leap of faith and go after it.
But inbetween, I must say the best parts of this have been making the time to see friends and family before I leave. Even though I know I’ll just be gone for a while (whether I get to stay in the country or not, I’m sure I’ll visit the USA often, dragging Frank along too), it’s been important to see people I care about, who care about me, too. There have been many I could not meet up with because of schedules or locations… but the phone calls and letters have been good as well. I talked to many people in Indianapolis before I left, promised to write, caught up on their lives, too… and here in Bozeman, I’ve gotten to see old friends I’ve missed for a couple years running. Then there’s my family, who have been so loving and so much fun, I can’t imagine skipping them on my route to Ireland. Christmas is not even quite here… but this year it has been a month-long event for me, and a very, very special one that will stay in my memory no matter where I go in the coming months. I feel like I’m gushing about myself, so forgive me… because the truth is, without each of you, I would never have even found my dreams, much less pursued them, and I hope in a small way, I can honor each of you as I go.
So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and thanks for everyone’s advice, laughter, gifts, hugs, encouragement, warnings, tears, books, food, emails, Christmas cards, text messages and great company as I excitedly to prepare to follow my heart in a big way. I thank God for you and believe wholeheartedly that every friendship and kinship I’ve had was definitely meant to be. Keep in touch! Come visit! I won’t be far.