So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl, and I lost my heart to a Galway girl.
As wrong as it sounds, I probably shouldn’t have left American soil with a mentality to fall in love, because it generates unnecessary pressure and high expectations – but the hopeless romantic in me is not to be tamed. Despite better judgement, hopes ran high, and I’m coming home as single as ever; prospect count at just under nil. I’m also near dead from exhaustion, sunburned like hell, and my wallet is equivalent to weightless.
Ironically, my last day in Galway was centered on me. After breakfast and a shower, I circled around the city center as many times as my legs could afford, picking up a few last minute gifts, meeting shopkeepers, and trying to memorize every turn & corner. Upon recommendation (once again), I made an afternoon stop as Busker Browne for lunch, where I had my very first Guinness stew! Look at this beauty:
My poor body has been so confused with a heavy decrease in protein consumption and lack of weights – even though it desperately needed this break – so I unabashedly ate all of the pieces of beef first. I don’t even remember if I chewed it properly… or at all. It was the first and only true “Irish” meal I had in the last six days, and it was perfect.
I also made a stop at Griffin’s Bakery, which has been on my to do list since I saw photos on Pinterest months ago. I vacillated between getting an almond croissant, coconut macaroons, gingerbread cookies, just bread, an entire cake… they all just looked incredible! But I settled on a strawberry tarte, made with fresh vanilla creme.
Needless to say, great choice xt. (I’m typing this on the computers at Kinlay House – Irish keyboards do not have the hashtag!!!! THIS MIGHT BE A HUGE DEALBREAKER!) Then, Ireland showed me its true colors: the raining commenced. It felt almost as if this place was telling me that if I come back here, this is “how it is.” Not sure if it’s just meant as is (“this is just how it is”) or if it’s meant to be a deterrent.
The lack of hashtag might be affecting me a lot more than a little cloud water.
Eventually made my way back to the hostel to relax in the common room, enjoy my tarte, and met my new roommate Alex, from Limerick.
My last night in Galway was spent in various corners of Tig Coili, wonderfully drowning in endless traditional Irish music. My hair is the best it has looked since my lifestyle resorted to hostel living, my eyelashes cooperating with mascara (Hils – like Yzma!), and hell, even my digestive system had registered that I’m jetsetting around town. I’m feeling good. And I’m alone. Ten minutes into my last Guinness (perfectly poured by the bartenders at Tig Coili and paid for by a kind traveler named Johann), and it starts pouring outside. The ambiance is soft, yet chatty, and I’m wondering if my expectations were set just too high.
And then, the music starts. An elderly man walks in with his accordion singing the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love,” and the whole bar erupts in singsong. In a nanosecond, the magic is back.
When his little impromptu set ended, an Irish band walks in consisting of a fiddle, ukelele, bouzouki, and percussion. I made my way up to the front of the ‘stage,’ and ended up befriending Veronica – friends call her Vee – the fiancé of the percussion performer, Fabrice – friends call him Reece. She asks me how old I am, and what on EARTH I’m doing in Galway on my own, so I tell her: to fall in love.
She spends a good majority of the night urging me to walk to the back of the bar because she thought she saw some boys (while also not promising that any of them are decent looking or friendly lads). It was hilarious! We would talk about the house Reece is building for them, our families, their love story, and then she invited me (and YOU, Audrey) to come stay with them once their house is finished.
“I hope you like animals,” she says,”because we have horses, donkeys, chickens, sheep, lambs, and the like.” That sounds like another adventure in itself. She and Reece even invite me to sit with the band! I have never danced so much in my seat before – this little group was just AMAZING.
I read a blog post/ article yesterday about how second loves should be more important than firsts. Firsts get all the recognition, obviously, because they mark the beginning of all wonderful things; of new things. But then there’s also first heartbreak. It’s inevitable – we’re all human. When first love was lost, I never thought I’d be where I am today. Where I am standing (read, sitting typing on a computer/ Cassiopia, my iPad), today.
In the middle of the band’s set, I realized that I had fallen in love. It’s beyond cliche, but I had fallen in love with this moment, this place, this person I think I’m growing up to be. My heart is so full of Irish culture, food, and kindness. These last six days have allowed me to see that the world is truly at my feet: whatever I want to do, wherever I want to go, I can. It looks like I really did find love in a hopeless place 🙂
Go raibh math agat, for this lesson. It is breaking my heart to leave you, but I promise I’ll come back as soon as I can.