May was an interesting month.
Tim had returned to the States in late April. After a few days at my Mom’s place in Minnesota, he embarked on a 4-week road trip. Stops along the way included Rochester (MN), Kansas City (MO), and Joplin (MO) before finally arriving back in our great state of Texas! Once in Texas, he spent a few days with good friends in Lindsay (TX) before making his way to Austin to check on the RV. It’s just fine, by the way, even after nearly a full year in storage. He was able to visit a few friends during his short time in Austin before driving on to League City (TX) for a few days. From there he traveled to Mobile (AL) for a few days before driving to Enterprise (AL) to spend a week or so at his Dad’s place. If you didn’t see any of this activity, check out Tim’s Facebook page.
I continued to work on the remaining projects for St. Mary’s College, including the revision of the school website, preparing for the development of the new school app, and work on several other projects ranging from finalizing job descriptions to leadership competencies to a handbook for middle managers in the school. The distance and 6-hour time difference made things interesting in terms of communication for us, but after using Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facebook Video Calls, and Viber we finally settled on Viber as our preferred mode of long-distance communication. Sometimes we battle the green screen and pixelated images due to weak WiFi, but it still is much better than email or phone and has helped make this time easier for both of us.
It was not the easiest month for me. During our 20 years of marriage we have worked hard to spend only a few nights apart from each other. There was no guarantee that Tim would be coming back before mid-June, and it took me a bit to adjust to the idea of being in Ireland by myself without my best friend here to work with, sightsee with, and dream with. I actually became a bit depressed and struggled with that for the last couple of weeks in the month. However, thanks to the wonders of the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort, I have regained my equilibrium and am feeling my happy self again despite having determined that Tim won’t be returning to Ireland before my fly-home date of July 6th. The experience has helped me further empathize with those who have lost their best friends or spouses, as well as with military couples. I know that many are apart from their loved one for a much longer time than Tim and I will be, and I know how difficult it is, regardless the length of time.
In the midst of adjusting to life on my own in a foreign country (one that I love!), I managed to get another haircut (this time better than the one this past winter!), embark on a 4-week detox program, and teach myself much more about trading stock options. Anyone out there who is skilled in this and would like to be paid to share their expertise with me…let me know! I am eager to learn all I can!
I had a fun experience in May of going one Sunday to a local restaurant, Busker Brownes, for brunch and live jazz. While there, I met two charming women–Iris and Marguerite–and not only enjoyed the jazz with them but ended up driving them around town for an hour or so before Marguerite suggested we stop at one of the hotels overlooking the Prom to have tea. It was a fun afternoon of 3 strangers getting to know each other. Sadly, I’ve not been able to return for 3 weeks now, but hope to make it back for the jazz next Sunday with these fun ladies!
One of the highlights in the month was a Saturday drive to Dublin with my good friend Yvonne to spend time with her friend Yvonne. Yes, Candy and the 2 Yvonnes! Yvonne in Dublin is an expert in a topic that is prominent in the strategic plan I’m preparing for Mary’s, and she let me spend about 4 hours picking her brain about the best practices for introducing the topic to the school. Another highlight was a spur-of-the-moment trip to Athlone with Yvonne. She was attending a short, work-related seminar and I rode along with her. I was able to enjoy the sounds and sights (video with bagpipes from the fort across the river) of life passing by from my vantage point on the Radisson hotel’s patio.
Other highlights included a few hours spent at Trá Mohr (pronounced trah more). Trá means beach in Gaelic and Trá Mohr is a lovely beach between Spiddal and Inverin. While enjoying one of the nicest sunny days in May, I was approached by a friendly older man who had just completed a running workout on the beach. We struck up a conversation and 45 minutes later had discussed a number of topics including Trump for President, basketball in Ireland, life as an expat (a native Irishman, he had spent most of his life in Chile and Brazil), and young people who don’t say hello when they walk past (one of his pet peeves). It was great to connect with yet another stranger…I absolutely love the friendly ways of the Irish!
I was fortunate to be invited a couple times to meals at Chez Murphy and to enjoy Caitlín’s yummy cooking! In addition to having coffee or lunch with Yvonne several times, others such as Rowena Kelly were kind in reaching out to me during the month, and although I wasn’t feeling my best on any given day it was nice to be thought of. I continue to get physio sessions for my feet from our good friend Mike, and I may be nearing a partial solution for the pain.
The weather was beautiful for much of the month, and I read in Irish news that they are predicting the best summer weather that they’ve had in years! It has been mid- to upper-70s and sunny the past few weeks…perfect weather! Here are miscellaneous shots from the month.