“Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams. Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before. Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”
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August 2014: I was trudging through yet another stressful work week to come home to a gift from some friends in Galway.
October 2015: Counting down every second until the weekend, to come home to a gift from some family FROM Galway.
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A few months ago, my younger brother spent a week in Kalamazoo, Michigan with my parents for a tennis tournament. After a [very exciting] week for both Drew & co., my family were on their way back to Chicago when they made a pit stop in Saugatuck to visit my cousins’ – Peter & Shaun – bed and breakfast.
After learning that Peter met Shaun, a born & bred Galway native, my dad insisted I reach out to Peter via Facebook. Long lost cousins, reunited!
It’s better than that.
We’re well underway into Q4, and you can tell by the lack of sleep and increasing number of empty cubes at work (damn Autumn colds) that it’s time to buckle up. Reminding myself that I just have three more days until I get to sit at Gillette with my cousins, I come home to find this: a box from P. Ta in MI.
From friend request to weekly texts, I don’t think I have ever interacted with someone over the Internet before meeting them in person, and immediately knew deep in my gut that they were, and will always be, my family. #blessed gets a bad rep, but I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times over: I won the damn lottery with the family God gave me.
Needless to say, Peter is essentially living my dream: owning a B&B and loved by an Irishman FROM GALWAY. My two simple requests from life*. Oh, and their website plays Phantom of the Opera on loop. Are we kindred spirits, OR ARE WE?
*Still accepting all applications from Galway gentlemen.
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Familial love and gifts are two concepts that should be given freely, with no expectation of recompense.
I remember my dad texting me frantically about Shaun being from Galway – in between sending me photos of the incredibly exquisite dinner they were having that night – and how he was in the presence of the purest, kindest souls he has ever met in his entire life.
If anything, opening the box to this ring has resonated that reflection so soundly. I will never forget it.
If you’re still wondering what my reaction was, I cried (obviously). Fits like a glove. Like two hands that were meant for each other. (Is this how moms feel when they hold their newborn for the first time?)
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There has always been something about Galway that has stolen my heart; and the people I have met because of this tiny coastal town has proven to me again and again that my heart will always win over my head. A city of kind people, they say.
A city that redefines kindness, I say.
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The second inked ‘x‘ on my back was to find love – and this time, it came from my own backyard. Love you both.