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Did I know? Was there a whisper in my heart? Tonight I’m looking at old pictures. Snapshots taken at the beginning. I wonder if the girl looking back at me had any idea of the changes in store for her. The answer is simple. No, of course she didn’t. She was dreaming other adventures, and longing for what she has now. But it’s awfully fun and romantic to imagine she did…as she peeks out from under her wool cap.

Today I got an iPod Touch. I’ve spent too many hours tonight playing with it when I should be studying. Skype, gMail, and Beejive have been installed. iTunes music has been updated. Since we will now both have skype installed on a mobile wireless device our international text costs should be reduced. That’s the idea, anyway.

“Ireland is in a recession.” “As is the rest of the world.” “Yea, but it’s really bad in Ireland.”

What if I can’t find work? What if I run out of money? What if I feel worthless because of this? I mean, there are loads of qualified Irish people looking for work, too.

Leaving a solid job with a major University is scary right now. I console myself with the knowledge that I would be forced to make this decision soon anyway, regardless of the move. I only have 4 remaining prerequisite courses. The semester before I finish those I must apply to the University for upper division course work. Once accepted and enrolled, I would be a full-time student and the job would be history. I must remind myself of this.

“Ireland is in a recession.” “Yea. So is the rest of the world.” “But it’s really bad in Ireland.” “Thank goodness you’re a bohemian student. You have an excuse to be broke and work in a coffee shop.” “True that.”

I’ve started to cull my belongings and divvy up decorative items and cook wear to the kids. My antique bedroom set will go into storage, for now, as will my antique plates, serving bowls and cutlery. Items that were precious to my Grandmother, therefore priceless to me, will be safely stored in a climate controlled building. Other items, like my clothes, jewelry and SHOES will have to be transported. I’m still torn about my books! I’ll probably bring a few that I consider mandatory reference materials and the rest of the library will be stored.

As to the clothing, my brilliant plan is to bring over two really full suitcases when I visit in May and leave it all there. Then bring two more in September, possibly even paying the extra baggage fee to take another large checked piece. I was pleasantly surprised though when I solicited bids from international shippers. For the number of boxes I would have and the exact pieces of furniture, I could actually ship the items most important to me for as little as $2000. That is incredible. Additionally, everyone was willing to be competitive with bids. I think I might be able to name my price….if it comes to that.

This year is a test year. Having never lived in the same place, we want to make sure we are compatible and that our love translates to the day to day. I can’t express how nervous and excited and terrified and ecstatic and petrified and joyful I am. To finally see him every day. To do the simple things together, like relax on the sofa after work and go to the cinema. Not to mention, plan for the future, drive up to Letterkenny to see his Mom and Sister, meet his brand-new-almost-here-any-day-now niece, go to the beach for walks, explore parts of the country I’ve never seen, TRAD music and rain.

I know many people don’t like the Irish weather, with its daily shift through the seasons, but I adore it. My first trip abroad was to Scotland when I was 15. I was moved by the infinite shades of green, and the mist. The fine, gentle mist that seemed to envelope the world. I felt protected and comforted. Wrapped in a silky mantle, my skin caressed. Where I grew up the sky stretched from horizon to horizon. Flat, open land that yawned up at the clear, bright firmament. We did have daily showers. Short spurts of moisture brought up from the Gulf. We also had Blue Northers, which I loved with every fiber of my being. I would sit on the grass watching the steady march of the approaching front, with it’s dark blue-gray vastness boiling in the atmosphere, Blue Norther and shudder with delight as the wind shifted and the temperature plummeted. I guess because I am use to weather, and not seasons, I don’t mind the mix in Ireland. Maybe I just have a deep appreciation for the green life that comes of all that rain. The lushness my body feels when it’s drenched. Of course, I could just be crazy.

I had been warned about the unique challenges of a long distance relationship. I was duly advised of their difficulty and near impossibility. But, being a head strong Texan, I wasn’t gonna let a little challenge deter me. And since we do everything bigger here, I reckoned if I was gonna do this long distance thing I needed thousands of miles, a deep ocean and another continent!

Dating across an ocean for 18 months has been a unique experience. Google Chat is a God-Send! I’ve spent more than one date night watching movies on Youtube while simultaneously video chatting on Gmail. date night It’s time consuming, requires real affection (addiction!) and is tremendously cute in its way. But no more. The techno-geekery-love-affair is almost behind me. Gone will be the days of taking whatever cheap flight I can find, even if it requires a six hour layover in Atlanta. Immigration at Dublin airport will no longer need to tease me, asking when the wedding is. I am moving!!! Come September, 2010….or thereabouts, we are taking the plunge. I am moving in, we are applying for my Visa stamp and life will be oh so much sweeter, and less nerdy!

For years I have daydreamed of living in Ireland. I thought it would be graduate school that granted that wish. In the end, it is love of a Donegal man.

And when she closed her eyes and kissed him under the warm May sun, she knew. Her heart forever belonged in Donegal.

Deep in the heart of Texas lived a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. She ran barefoot in the fields, day after day, until the bottoms of her feet were black!  She spun round and round til she fell to the ground, and face turned upward staring at the clouds she dreamt outrageous dreams.  When she grew up she fell in love…and decided to move to Ireland!

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