7.13.2010

a trip overseas.


A peek inside my apartment would reveal that I long to visit Ireland. A dogeared, marked up copy of "Ireland for Dummies" sits on my dusty bookshelf. The hues of green rolling countrysides, grey-blue seascapes and colorful cottages are reflected in pillows, couches and cozy throws. As a dreamer, I've spent a considerable time imagining how a gal like me might make her way to Ireland or with whom she might do so--certainly not a rigid group tour that allowed for no personal exploration. The times I've written that story in my mind, it was me in a rural cottage, spending hours reading and relaxing. Maybe even writing a book that only my mother would buy.

But the storyline got complicated after a few chapters: What if I got scared at night? Could I learn to drive on the left side-even if only for a week or two? Would the entire experience leave me feeling like a lonely spinster? There were other options: Perhaps a trip with a girlfriend. If not that, then a someday-honeymoon. But, both options seemed flawed. My girlfriends' hubbies weren't likely to warm to the idea of their wives vacationing without them. And at twenty-four, being the furthest from marriage I've been in my life, I am not sure a Prince Charming even exists. Why should a girl wait around for an extinct, or at best--seriously endangered, species to wed her and sweep her off to the place of her dreams? What year is this...1920?

But how I actually would get to Ireland, and with whom...that I could not have forseen. Only the unpredictable insanity provided by reality could write that story.

This winter, my best friend attempted to set me up with a good friend of hers, who I'd not yet met. He is currently, and somewhat indefinitely, overseas in Iraq. During this time I was seeing someone, school owned my existence, Iraq owned his, but we laughed, exchanged contact information and became friendly, long-distance pen pals. He wrote me during the daytime, stuck at long shifts during stifling, dusty Iraqi days...and I wrote to him late at night, in between my homework of paintings and papers. In time, he moved to a new base, spring arrived, my school year came to a close...and then he asked me a funny question:

"What would you say if I said we should go to Ireland together?"

At first, I responded with a quick and flippant yes--the kind of silly answer you give when someone asks you if you would like a million dollars. But then, realizing we both had an ample amount of vacation time with no exciting plans...the wheels began to turn. It would make an incredible story. We're young. We're risk-takers. We seem to get along well enough to spend a few days together in the name of adventure...

And so we did it. I applied for a passport, we both requested two weeks off. He began scheduling a mind-boggling number of flights to get one Wisconsin girl and one Iraqi boy to Boston, both to Ireland and back again. Hotel rooms were booked, a rental car reserved. My passport arrived...navy and gold embossed, smelling like crisp paper and a crazy sense of adventure.

My imagination could not have written this one: I am vacationing in a foreign country with a man I've never met. We leave in thirty-four days. :)

I love being single.

22 comments:

  1. SO great....i love this. so excited for you...can't wait to see the photos and hear all about this amazing irish adventure!
    cheers!
    k

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  2. Oh my goodness this is the most amazing thing ever. I secretly hope you both fall head over heels in love with each other! But I bet you will have an amazing time in Ireland. What an adventure!

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  3. Wow! Bethany, this is the stuff of romantic novels! Wow how exciting, what an adventure you will have!
    xx

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  4. This is SO exciting!!! Of course I think we all just want you to fall in love in some dreamish romantic way, but remember to have fun!!

    Wow... I can't wait for you!!

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  5. omg are you serious?? This is crazy and amazing and i love that you're doing this!!! I seriously CANNOT wait to hear more about this.

    Oh and the pic? Simply adorable once again :)

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  6. Oh, I love it!!! How super exciting is this? You will love Ireland. It's so green and beautiful and the people are so friendly. I can't wait to hear all about your adventure there, and about meeting this lovely man who's going to travel across the world to spend some time with lovely you!

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  7. What an amazing time you'll have. This is how I met my husband...only it was a vacation to Maine and not Ireland. After 10 days of getting to know him we were inseperable!

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  8. How amazing is this??? I can. not. wait. to hear all about it-- and mostly I can't wait to see the charming pictures you take.

    Have so much fun and be super safe!

    LB

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  9. What an awesome + exciting adventure!

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  10. wow. that sounds amazing. i can't wait to hear all about it. did youever watch P.S I love you???? :)

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  11. wow, how dreamy! i feel a novel coming on.

    congrats on your adventure. you will love it there. my 3 week blip in ireland+england in college left me with one wicked bite from the travel bug.

    bon voyage! can't wait to hear every epic detail!

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  12. How exciting!! I hope you'll have a great time! Maybe you'll come home with a boyfriend ;)

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  13. Ooh! Your artist's eye will be sooooo busy. I'd love to see the collage you put together after this trip. What a wonderful opportunity for adventure!!

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  14. That is one adventure you're about to embark on!

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  15. You know what I love about this picture? The expression on your face. The knowing smile that something wonderful is about to happen and that you are eager for its arrival.

    We are all so excited for you--I know you'll have little doses of "my readers will like to know about ___" when you are over there.

    Can't wait to hear the details!

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  16. what a crazy story - but such a fun one! have a blast. :)

    p.s. love the grass-green cardigan!

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  17. what an incredible, amazing story! and freakin exciting!! :) how romantic it would be if he turned out to be a Prince Charming, but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves... hehe... for now, just have fun! :)

    oh, and I totally think this sounds like the beginning of a fantastic novel that you should totally write! I'd buy it! :)

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  18. Being single can be one of the greatest blessings! I saw more of the world, met more people and discovered more about myself then I could have ever hoped for...while everyone else was getting married, I was on my own little adventure. I can't wait to hear all about it.
    PS. I would buy your book, I love reading what you have to say!

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  19. i'm a little late to the party, but just have to chime in and say... AMAZING! I love how you are seizing the opportunity and taking advantage of the freedom you have as a single woman. (but, add me to all your devoted followers who (not-so) secretly want you to fall head over heels in love in a devastatingly romantic fashion.)

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  20. SHUT UP! That's so awesome. If one never took up great adventures, life would be SO boring. I'm excited for yo and will be giddy to see how the trip unfold on your return.

    So, have you seen a photo of this guy? Is he cute? ;)

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  21. How completely inspiring!! I feel the same way about England and am planning a trip for December. Wish I had a mystery man to vacation with too! :) A million good wishes!

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  22. So adorable and just amazing!

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