There are so many things I love about Ireland…
But sometimes, I just want to go home for a while. Lately it’s been one of those sometimes.
I really miss my best friends. And I wish I could squeeze my little nephew and niece. I pine for great Mexican food from one of those tiny little family-owned dives you find around dodgy parts of town. I miss watching American sports, especially as MLB Spring Training comes around. I dream about exploring the highways and byways of the Midwest in my beloved old car. I even miss multiplex movie theatres, antique malls and *blush* Super Target!
But mostly, I think I just feel a bit lonely for that familiar feeling of being home. It feels familiar enough around here by now, but it’s still not the same.What’s got me into this melancholic state? Well, I haven’t been back in a while, particularly to Indianapolis, where I spent eight years before coming to Ireland. I did a lot of growing up there, learning how to be myself and finding out what I was good at doing. I have an awful lot of fond memories from my time spent in Indy. And I also left some furniture there, safely locked up in a friends’ attic. 🙂
I think what tipped it off, though, was hearing about other people going for American holidays and feeling more than a little jealous! One of our friends just got back from New York, and she had so many wonderful stories to tell about her time there. She really got a world-class tour from the girl she was staying with, and while I felt really nostalgic, I was also very happy for her. Not everyone gets to see the “real” America, you know?
It’s harder for me when I overhear people talking about their shopping trips to the States. I know I’m just too sensitive, taking things too personally, and it’s great that we get an economic boost from all the Irish tourists who fly over to the cities with empty suitcases, solely to grab a bunch of bargains. But I kind of hate hearing about it. It makes me feel a little bit like the USA is only a commodity to be bought and sold, not lingered over or enjoyed or experienced. (Like I said, I’m taking this too personally)
It’s the same everywhere, though, isn’t it? I mean, it seems like American tourists are sniggered at here, stereotyped as being fat, loud and awkward, usually wearing fanny packs, sun visors and massive big cameras around their necks. It is a funny mental image, one that I have seen myself and I roll my eyes at along with the rest! I’m sure each nation or city holds a certain… disdain?… for what attractions bring the most foreign money into their pockets. What do you think?
I think I just wish people, when travelling to America, could enjoy some of what I used to cherish – snowy Montana mornings by the fire with a bowl of Red River Cereal and bluegrass on the radio… warm, humid summer afternoons wandering small Midwestern towns like Nashville, Indiana or Mansfield, Missouri, with an ice cream cone in hand and buzz of the cicadas in your ears… exploring the tidal pools in the uncrowded, rocky Pacific coasts and bays of Yachats, Oregon or Eureka, California… playing in the free water park at dusk in Tucson, Arizona, with your favourite kids… driving the beautiful old highways of the East Coast, through Maryland, Pennsylvania, the New York Adirondacks, Vermont and New Hampshire in the glorious colours of autumn… staring up at the starriest skies you’ll ever see outside a cabin in the Wyoming mountains… going somewhere a little bit crazy, like Wall Drug, South Dakota or Gatlinburg, Tennessee…
There’s just a lot more to America, and a lot more you can add to your life when visiting any new place, really, than bringing home the latest Abercrombie and Fitch fashions you got half price.