I’m chatting w/Samantha right now via Skype chat and asked her for a topic. She picked mine and Rob’s actual trip to Germany. I know the one entitled that didn’t say anything about it. I’m wondering what I would have to say about that since we haven’t experienced it yet. I could tell you that we’re going to fly into here and meet Samantha here and then go here and there but that would pretty much be all I’d have to say. So instead I’ll tell you about our trip to Ireland, which also came to be because of Samantha.
All 3 of my children were in band. Every other year the high school band made a trip to Europe. When Shannon was a junior, plans were in motion for a trip to Italy. Then 9/11 happened and a lot of parents didn’t want their children leaving the country. New plans were made and they went to Oahu instead. That was fun for me because the last time I was there I was around her age and she got to experience everything I had seen and done. Apparently parents had relaxed by the time Alex was a junior, his band took the Italy trip. That was fun for me because while he was there I was reading “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown who was very descriptive of cities and works of art and I got to say “Alex just saw that” or “Alex will be there tomorrow”. By the time Samantha was a senior there were new music teachers. These new teachers let the kids vote on where they wanted go to. They picked Ireland. That was fun for me because I got to go. That wasn’t all that was different, the school went with a different travel agent or tour director or whatever and this new one offered what they called a Side-By-Side (SBS) tour for family members. Any family member could sign up and go to Ireland. We wouldn’t be the chaperons (right, because if I’m going to Ireland I’m going to Irish pubs) and wouldn’t even be on the same tour bus as the kids, we wouldn’t be in the same hotels and wouldn’t even be in the same cities all the time. We would, however, get to experience everything the kids did and attend all of their concerts. I went to the parent meeting for kids that were going to go and did one of those “wait, what?” things when I heard that. I couldn’t believe the opportunity for me to go to Ireland existed! 1st thought: I’m going! 2nd thought: I can’t afford it. 3rd thought: screw that, I’m going!
I drove home from the meeting, relishing in the thought of going to Ireland and thinking Rob would have absolutely no interest what so ever. When I got home and explained the SBS thing to Rob he had to do the “wait, what?” thing. Not because he was surprised but because he couldn’t understand me. I was so excited and babbling. I calmed down, took a breath and explained everything again (more comprehensively) and let him know that I fully understood if he didn’t want to go, I could go by myself, no problem. Then I had to do the “wait, what?” thing again when he told me he just might like to go. I’ve always been very proud to be Irish. Rob was always very proud not to be Irish. One year when Alex was a baby I met Rob’s grandma who informed him “oh yes, you are”. I believe he shuddered a little when he heard that so yeah, kinda surprised that Rob had an interest in going.
By the time we had to sign up he had decided yes and that meant we had to save twice as much $$$. I literally kept a stash bag. I’m aware that that means something different to a lot of people, but to me, my stash bag was something I stashed money in. It was given to me for my birthday with a gift in it. Heather, my mother-in-law to the 2nd power, gave it to me. Just a plain white bag w/handles that she’d stamped and glued shamrocks onto. Perfect! I flipped it around and wrote (of course in green ink) “Going to Ireland” on the other side and that was my stash bag. Any time I had a spare dollar, 5, 10 whatever, it went into the stash bag. I am aware that there are things called savings accounts but this is what worked for me. I am not going to drive to the bank to deposit a 5 dollar bill into a savings account, but I will put a 5 dollar bill into a stash bag that’s right here. See how that works?
My older brother, Bob, also took advantage of the SBS opportunity. We had a great time! I have many stories of our trip but this is getting a little long so I’ll just tell you my favorite story. I don’t sleep on airplanes, not because I don’t want to, because I’m unable to and it took a full 23 hours to get from Minneapolis to the Shannon Airport (I know, they named it after my daughter before she was even born). I hadn’t slept the night before we left and our 1st night in Ireland my husband’s snoring was loud enough to wake the dead. The reason I’m telling you this is because by our 2nd day I was crazy, sleep deprived which will explain why this event occurred. 1st night in Ireland we spent the night in one city and the kids spent the night in another and we were meeting up with them in Galway. It was Easter Sunday and the tour people had let us know of the services that would be available if we’d like to attend church while we were there. Rob and Bob were going to the Church of England for curiosity’s sake and Samantha and I were going to attend a Catholic cathedral across the street. I’m not much of a church goer, did that one for my mom. It was a beautiful cathedral. I liked what the priest had to say and I wondered what the difference would be delivering sermons to tourists a lot instead of just having your normal every week church goers. Would you feel you needed to entertain them more or save their souls more? I know, my brain just works differently than other people’s and apparently I wasn’t listening to everything he said if I was going through these questions in my mind. Samantha and I sat by ourselves, across the aisle, a few pews up was a group of her friends. Half way through the sermon one of her friends did something to make herself fall backwards and one of the chaperons kind of caught her and stood her back up. Samantha was also suffering from lack of sleep. When a brain is in that state there are a few different directions it can go. There have been studies that have proven that a sleep deprived person drives worse then a drunk driver. There ya go, I have put “sleep deprived” and “drunk” in the same sentence to show you where the term “punch drunk” came from. As stated, Samantha’s friend, Jessie fell and was scooped up and put upright and Samantha and I, both being punch drunk started giggling. A lot. Any other time we would have felt sorry for her. Not that day. It’s in the middle of service and people are looking at us and we’re really trying to contain ourselves because we are aware of where we are and what day it is. It took a while but we overcame that, or so I thought. We’re now at the part of the service where one shakes hands with their neighbors and wishes them “peace be with you”. Samantha and I go in opposite directions so we greet our individual circle of neighbors and end with each other. We shake hands with each other and I say to her “peace be with you”, she looked at me a little surprised and informed me that what she had been saying to her neighbors was “nice to meet you” instead of “peace be with you”.
That’s all it took to push me over the edge. Now I’m laughing hysterically. Pretty sure it’s not a good thing to do in a cathedral on Easter Sunday. I laugh loudly and according to my children, obnoxiously. While I was losing the battle of containing myself I was also keeping my eye out for someone who should have been coming to usher me out of there. Cathedrals are big and there’s a lot of echo. I think it took a good 10 minutes for me to calm down and even then I kept giggling. I’m still surprised no one kicked me out. That amazes me, God bless the Irish ;o)
Riiiiiight and I maybe should have taken my kids to church more often. Anyway, I just laughed myself silly just re-living the memory. As I said, I have lots of Ireland stories and that’s my personal fav. So, thank you, Samantha, for picking the topic that let me re-live the memory and laugh instead of just sit here and miss you.