Welling up watching the flags and bunting giddy in the breeze. The men in their best suits and red and blue ties, the flushed faces of the women, and the children’s are sticky with sweets – they got the day off school. When the President of America comes to Moneygall, you have to have the day off school. It’s a great day for Ireland, they’re saying. People seem so happy. It means something to them, this day. What does it mean?
I’m watching where I come from from the place where I am now. I’m looking at my home through the internet, from my couch in Portland Oregon. I’m drinking a cup of tea – British tea, the box says; British tea is the only tea I can find here that tastes like the tea at home. I’m tired and relieved.
This morning Ian and I had our interview with immigration, the final piece in the puzzle of bureaucracy. They said I could stay. They approved of me. They said they believed that we were really married and really in love but perhaps create more of a “paper-trail” for any follow-up interviews we may have. In bureau-speak, marriage means what stuff you own together. You can get out of a marriage more easily than a mortgage. A joint phone-plan is for life.
They said I could stay which means I’m free to go. The irony of this whole situation is that until I was granted residency here, I wasn’t able to leave. Now I can go home and see my family and what friends remain, they’re all in China and Morocco and Seoul and Bristol. Now we can travel, Ian and I. Now we can put our plans into action, we have permission to daydream again. We’re thinking India in September (where British tea comes from). Nepal, Bhutan… the Pacific Crest Trail. Anywhere. Everywhere.
I feel good but strange. I’m thinking about where I’m from and where I’ve been and where I’ve had to go to and what I’ve had to go through to get where I am now. I’m thinking “Where next?” “Where’s the next place, the next steps…?” I’m thinking about a quote I love by the Galician poet Rosalia de Castro; it’s been a mantra of mine for many a year now and for many a day to come I imagine:
“I see my path but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I am going is what inspires me to follow it.”