In which I share some thoughts on leaving Ireland, and the children assure me they’re not sociopaths

It’s nine o clock on a Monday night, our last in Ireland. Even though we’ve got a few stops before getting back to Denver, this day feels like the end of the year we had planned. Ireland is giving us a proper Irish goodbye, with gray rainy weather and low cloudy skies. You’d think that packing up a life of six months with all of its attendant detritus would be overwhelming, but not really. Over the last few weeks, we’ve packed 4 duffle bags, one large, one medium, and one small, and one extra small rather like the bears of fairy tale, or perhaps like luggage matroyshka dolls, and have sent them across the ocean with those who have come to visit. What was left was clothing, some shoes, a few souvenirs, and lots of mugs, which we couldn’t really send home early as we needed them for our daily morning tea. At this point, we’ve managed to pack everything we are taking with us into our original travel backpacks, plus one additional small backpack for each of us and one extra medium sized duffle bag. 
Today was spent packing for a few hours, after which our friend Alena came by to cart away things which were staying behind, including those which she had kindly lent to us, like her bicycle and a corkscrew. We also packed grocery bags full with food that wouldn’t get eaten, though as for that we did pretty well and didn’t have mass quantities of food to give away. After she left, there wasn’t much to do until the last load of laundry finished drying so we piled into our rental car and Eric and the kids went swimming while I went to a coffeeshop to finish up the last blog post. Pizza for lunch, then a matinee showing of “Wonder Woman” (mostly liked, can’t say I loved) and then back home.
The kids took off on their bike (singular, yes, as the boy rides the bike and the girl rides standing on pegs that stick out from the back wheels) over to their friend V’s house a few blocks away, their last hour of being able to take off and simply yell “we’re going out!” that they’ll have for a while. They said goodbye and then left the bike there for V before walking over to their friend S’s house, who ended up trotting home with them. They all played a card game called Exploding Kittens, but not before first creating a Minecraft world in which one could actually make a kitten explode so that when a poor feline was decimated in the card game, they could recreate this in the pixellated world. I expressed my concerns about animal cruelty and it’s future bearing on sociopathy, however they seemed unfazed, and reassured me that no actual kittens were being harmed.  

I have trouble characterizing my feelings today, as it comes at the end of what feels like a fairly epic journey. Wistful, perhaps, comes closest, but not quite. I relate it to the feeling of having completed some big event in your life, and once it’s over, feeling a sort of empty space inside where you previously held the emotion you used in planning the event and then experiencing it. Even though I know the adventure isn’t entirely over, for in less than two months we’ll be moving to New Zealand, it’ll be different in that instead of bouncing around from place to place in a peripatetic existence, we’ll be more rooted in one place and well, I’ll be back at work. Something about the thought of that fills me with profound sadness. There are those who never like to really go anywhere, to remain settled and find comfort in that. I’ve always been the opposite, mostly happy when I’m moving hither and to.

In two months I’ll be back in a hospital seeing patients again. I wish I could say that I really, really missed working, that a year away has made me realize how aimless my life is without my vocation, and that I’m itching to get back to use my skills again. I would, however, be lying. I’ve quite enjoyed being away from the high-stress world of medicine and the headaches of hospital administration. This isn’t to say that I think I’ll be unhappy once working again, but just to say that life without it hasn’t been the doldrum plodding I’d feared.

Mostly I think I’m feeling the inexorable passing of time, in that I cannot believe all that has passed since we left home. Looking back, there are perhaps a few things I’d do differently, but sitting here it’s hard to say exactly what those would be. Friends, it’s been a full year, and I hope I can say the same after the next. 
-s

6 thoughts on “In which I share some thoughts on leaving Ireland, and the children assure me they’re not sociopaths

  1. Tammy Franklin says:

    So glad you are coming home for a bit. We hope to fit in a visit or have you guys stop by the Playhouse (which has moved… again.). Travel safely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sajbat says:

      A new home again? I hope this is a settled one! Would love to see you guys there – will check out the website to see if we’ll see a show

      Like

  2. afthead says:

    Bittersweet? Pensive? I know the emotion of which you speak. I’ve loved watching your travels around the world, and am excited to try and join you in New Zealand next year. (Not kidding. You may get a Levene invasion.) What a wonderful experience for you and your family. I too long for a change right now, and can understand your hesitancy about going back to the grind. It’s a big life out there, and it’s easy to lose it. Congratulations on living fully for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sajbat says:

      It’s hard to find the right word, a better poet than me could do it. Or I’m sure there’s a very long German word for it too. You are more than welcome to come to new Zealand! We’d love to see you there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. David Cooper says:

    I have so admired your family’s journey and learned so much from being a bug on your blogwalls. Here’s a nerdy thumbs up for the Fretzesontheloose from an English major, a passage from T.S Eliot’s “Little Gidding,” the last of his Four Quartets, and damn true:

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sajbat says:

      Leave it to Eliot to say in 4 succinct lines what I ramble on for in paragraphs. Hoping to see you in the other hemisphere!

      Like

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