I’ve known for a while that I was homesick. Not that I don’t love Italy or that I’m not happy here, just that I’ve been away from my family for one year now and I’m ready to go home and see them. I’m ready to introduce my life in Italy to my life in the States.
Before we landed in Ireland, I saw it as a chance for me to relax; not to think about my finances and to have a week off. A special week to celebrate with Lorenzo. It is still that, and although I was stupid to think that I could actually travel without thinking of finances, I have done well to stick to the budget I created for myself. After the first three days in Galway, it has been a relaxing and exciting experience but, quite literally, out of the woodwork have come a few things that I wasn’t expecting.
Back in the day, Uni years were full of cheap (I mean really cheap) beer and beer pong tables wedged into every possible corner of our favorite frats. I know that many of my readers are not American and further, many of the Americans have varying opinions on Greek Life. I’ll just say that frats… have a special sort of aroma to them. I can leave it to your imagination.
At some point in history, the advisors of the board of fraternities decided that rather than use part of the house dues to pay for maids and cleaning services they would instead put that bit of money toward the ‘party fund’ and let the boys do the cleaning. I don’t think it takes rocket scientists to figure out what has happened.
This little phenomenon has resulted in a nice atmosphere of beer stained floors and sticky black corners that not even the hairiest spider would take a chance on. As an underage sorority girl, the unpleasant smell of frat air falls to the wayside and you learn to just get used to it. Growing up and getting a big girl I.D. meant I could let all that fall behind me.
What does this have to do with Ireland?
At age 21 (actually age 22; I was one year older than my class in the sorority) I went running from the frats and the fragant mix of beer stained wood and urine. I never looked far over my shoulder.
Yesterday, as a cloud of doom began rolling up behind us along Quay Street in Galway City, we ran for the nearest pub. What hit me first when we opened the door wasn’t the cheers and grunts of the pub patrons cheering (or cursing) the Rugby. It was the smell of beer stained wood.
Talk about something you never thought you would miss!
I was instantly transported to my carefree Uni days. Strange smelling wood isn’t the only thing about Ireland that has given me a little taste of home. There’s also the strangely identical houses all sitting in a row in the city’s nearby developed neighborhoods, the green space and the garlic ranch dressing I got with my cheeseburger at dinner.
When you’ve been away from home for a while, it’s nice to get a breath of fresh air and let yourself sink back into the comforts of home, just a little bit. I felt soothed, and believe it or not after a couple of meals of greasy, fried fish & chips I was happy when my couchsurfing host offered up veggie pasta!