Let me start by saying that I miss you. A lot. It has been too long, and a return visit is long overdue.
I am writing on this St. Patrick’s Day because I owe you an apology.
Before I get there, though, let me first say how lucky I was to spend five years strolling down your city streets and hiking your hillsides.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet amazing people, now good friends – and thank you for the daily scones and tea, pints of Guinness, and pub meals shared with those friends. I am grateful for the memories, especially the moments spent navigating beautiful country roads on the “correct” side of the pavement (though often it was to the sheer terror of the passengers joining me). I so appreciate the lessons in Irish music, history, and sports. In particular, I am thankful for the time I learned how to surf on your stunning shores, even though I occasionally felt like I was on the inside of a freezing cold froth-filled blender.
I have to say it again. I miss you.
Ok, in the spirit of keeping this letter honest, there are a few things I don’t miss all that much. The Dublin Bus is very high on that list. Other things I am happy to put behind me include 4am wanderings home after vodka-redbull-fueled Temple Bar evenings. I also don’t miss your maps and signage, both of almost no use at all. I have a vivid memory of getting lost after dark in the midlands while desperately trying to find the farm where I was meant to work, and the directions given to me by my employer included helpful tidbits like “turn left at the tree”, “we’re just down from the field”, and “…then you’ll see a rock on your right”.
Ah, but that’s nothing. Even those are good memories, things to look back on and laugh.
But, more to the point, I remember spending much of my time trying to convince you that folks from the U.S. really aren’t terrible people. Every time I saw a tourist from my home country wearing a fuzzy green shamrock hat and shouting at the top of their lungs “OH MY GOD – this is AWESOME!”, I defended my home. I tried hard (for years) to dispel the stereotype of the loud, obnoxious, opinionated, and selfish “American”.
For that, I confess, I am sorry.
I am sorry because I fear I was wrong. I worry that you are looking at us now with widened eyes, shaking your head with confusion. Or possibly shock. Well, I guess I can only imagine what you think of us during this hateful election year. If you remember, I lived on your shores when George W. Bush was re-elected. At that time I already had strangers approaching me in hallways, pleading for me to explain how U.S. voters could be so crazy.
I didn’t have an answers then, and I don’t have an answer for you now. But I can tell you with a broken heart that it appears that the “American” stereotype applies to more people living here in the US than I had ever imagined.
The evidence: Trump. 673 delegates so far. And climbing.
But alas, dear Ireland – there are others fighting for good stuff. Don’t forget about the rest of us. Remember that old expression, the squeaky wheel gets .. well… most of the media coverage? Don’t believe everything you see on TV. There are still nice people here in the US. Actually, really nice people. Kind. Polite.
Which leads me to my next point, Ireland. Do you accept my apology? Will you forgive me?
Because, you see, if this shit-show continues, I do plan to return to your beautiful shores…
…where I have no doubt you will welcome me with open arms. As you always have.
p.s. – Do you mind if I bring some friends? They are all a part of The Very Hungry Entourage, and they are kind, courteous people. And they like to eat and drink, just like me. I must also add that they are talented. One in particular took the photo for this post.