Al and Marsha's Journal
During the course of my four and a bit weeks in Donegal I have had the unique opportunity to have actually lived for a meaningful length of time along with the people for whom this is home. During this time I have had occasion to roam over a reasonably large area of Donegal and some neighboring counties. I have seen countless towns and villages, thousands of homes, farms and heaven only knows how many sheep.
I have to state up front that I harbour no illusions that I know this country in any serious depth. My time here has allowed me to skim the surface, to read the title page, and the forward, but that's it. However I am certain in my feeling that I have learned some valuable things about this wonderful country, its people, its places and its heart. I have learned much, but know little.
This place has a wonderful style about it, honed over many centuries of development, of strife, of invasion and of a lengthy and hard fought battle for political independence. The extreme patriotism and undying support of national sports teams, are obvious evidence of a new energy not diminished by time and cynicism which often befall older countries. It's actually weird, the Republic, as countries go is fairly new, but the Irish people as a group are most certainly not.
I have found my time here very rewarding and exciting; I love this place and feel somewhat sad to be leaving. I am somewhat comforted in the fact that, as of today, I am scheduled to return for several weeks in July accompanied by Marsha. After my work is finished on that trip we will spend two to three weeks traveling through Ireland and parts of England. That is certainly an adventure worth looking forward to.
We will continue this journal during that trip, and assuming we can get to an internet connection as we roam about the countryside, we will post our thoughts.
Marsha has always teased me about the fact that I always fall in love with every new place we visit. In the past I have fallen for Australia, Hawaii, Tahiti and French Polynesia, Israel, Istanbul, London, Paris, the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, and now Ireland. One explanation is that I am fickle. Perhaps I am. To paraphrase that wonderful song in the Broadway Musical Finian's Rainbow. (How's that for bringing an Irish connection to this thought!) " When I'm not near the place I'm in love with, I love the place that I'm in." I think, though that the better answer is that the world is an awesome place, and every part of it, and the people in it are wonderful to know. I am grateful that the unpredictable pathways of life have enabled me to have these experiences.
So, I look back with some regret to be leaving this happy town, this happy place, but look forward to returning.
That's it for now. Tune in about July 1, 2003 for the first installment of Phase II. That is if you can stand any more of this.
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