Tuesday, April 15, 2008

and i won't be warm, till i'm lying in your arms

I always cry when I have to leave Ireland. Last time it was in the airport in Shannon, listening to The Immigrant's Farewell on my ipod. This time I spent the whole flight back to London trying to read and fighting tears. And then the whole train ride from London to Guildford fighting back tears and having this chorus playing in my head;

No amount of coffee, no amount of cryin'
No amount of whiskey, no amount of wine,
No, no, no, no, no
Nothing else will do, I've gotta have you
I've gotta have you.

Ironically enough it's from a song by The Weepies. So, anyway, I had a wonderful time. I met so many wonderful people and had lots and lots of wonderful conversations. I felt like I fit, as though I belonged, I could slip in and nobody would notice that I hadn't been there all along. What a nice feeling!

This is a "Peace Line" in West Belfast, it separated the Catholic Falls neighborhood from the Protestant Shankill. It stretches for miles out of the city centre at various heights and made of various materials, always topped with nasty looking barbed wire. I spent a good amount of my time in these neighborhoods, praying, walking, and taking it all in.

This is a statue on the grounds of Stormont, Northern Ireland's House of Parliament. It is called Reconciliation. Rather ironic because the other statue on the grounds is of William Carson, a very divisive and sectarian Protestant leader from the 1920s. Thursday was the 10th anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement and I spent the afternoon wondering the grounds of Stormont, praying, dodging rain showers and hail storms, and taking photos.

Here are Heidi (the lovely Canadian YWAMer I stayed with), John (the friend of a friend who went over and above organizing a place for me to stay, meals, and a "wee" trip to the North Coast), and Rebecca (another friend of a friend with whom I shared some great conversations and a few games of backgammon) on a bridge just outside of the most beautiful hostel in the world.

We went out of the city Friday night and Saturday to Castlerock, Coleraine, and Port Stewart. The sun was shining and the sea was beautiful. We climbed on rocks, soaked in the sun, sat in cafes, had too much dinner, and a couple of lovely train rides. It was beautiful.

As I rode the bus back to the airport Monday morning I realized that a lot of things on my "Do and See List" were left undone and unseen. Most of my time was spent meeting people and hanging out. This is most definitely not a bad thing. This is, in fact, a very good thing. A big thank you to all my lovely new friends for making my week in Belfast so memorable and so hard to leave behind.

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