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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Now Where?

I have been back in the US from Europe about three weeks now.  I landed in Cleveland, Ohio, but this weekend I drove to Baltimore to start a job tomorrow.  There is so much change happening to me, in me, beside me, and around me that I feel as if my head is spinning sometimes.  I got to Baltimore late Friday afternoon, and just barely was able to get my apartment key and move in.  Yesterday was my first full grocery shopping ordeal American style.  Of course, I took the car and got way more than I could carry in one trip through the door. I don't think I would have made it through this landscape, flowing with hills, on my bicycle with 100 pounds of grocery items in the baskets. 

Also, after being here less than 24 hours, I was asked the Baltimore version of, "You ain't from around here, are you?"  My accent had the clerk at Best Buy stumped. Ask any European; they have the most accurate description of this accent:  American.  The years in Texas, Georgia, and Ohio have all left their imprint, and I am quite happy to leave the people in Baltimore stumped about my origins.  Meanwhile, I am looking forward to having friends visit and take in the sights here as well as Washington, DC.

About Vienna: I miss the sights, sounds, and the people (not necessarily in that order)! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I took the dare, and it is such a fantastic idea!

My dear friend Brenda lives in Texas.  When we met last summer, she told me that we could be sisters, and indeed, this is true.  Now, I'm in Ohio with my family, and I met two of Brenda's sisters yesterday (her family of origin is also from Ohio).  When I met Melissa and Mary, one of the first things they said to me is, "We could be sisters!" We laughed.  We went to eat at Hartville Kitchen, and had so much fun just hanging out, laughing, and getting to know each other.  Several people there would have known me if I were with my mom, but they could not  quite place me when I was with these other two redheads. Then, it happened.  Melissa dared me...right at the checkout at the sing the ALW Pie Jesu, and she sweetened the dare with $20, as I didn't immediately take her up on it.  Those of you who know me know the outcome.  Of course I did it.  Even after a huge dinner, I did it. Never mind that it wasn't up to my usual standards. It seems that I couldn't seem to resist a dare.  After they brought me back to Mom's house, we cracked open the music books and sang for Mom as well as the neighborhood (Mom opened the glass door to the patio to share with everyone).  Of course, it just isn't fair that Brenda isn't in Ohio to share the fun, so, we called her via Skype.  It was like a scene from childhood.  Loud singing, a dare, and more giggling than I have done in a long time.

There is a building for sale in the "downtown" area of the Village of Hartville. It has been inhabited by lots of different people/businesses over the years and looks to be well maintained.  I saw it and thought that it would be the perfect place for an art gallery, performance venue for vocal and instrumental recitals, dance recitals, and a place where people can gather for a little culture.  A few people love my idea, but for this to work in Hartville, it would have to be a place that artists and art students from the local universities would have to be willing to hang some art, and also, there would have to be sufficient support from local musicians and music students from those same universities.  The people of the village would not initially be the ones supportive of this type of endeavor based on the past history of music and art failures in that same location.  I would love to bring a little art and culture from Europe back home.  Before writing this blog post, I told four people about this idea.  They all thought it was a fantastic idea.  Now, if the four could be 400, I might be able to create a fantastic venue for local and regional people to display their artistic and musical talents. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sail and Rail

Tomorrow, I leave Ireland for England, and by Thursday, I will be back in the US for four months.  The adventure, at this point is less intrepid, but is far from over.  I remember that my boss at MCA said that he thought I would be back within a year asking for my job back. (He told me I could have it back, by the way).  I remember those who were nervous about my decision to pack it up and travel to Europe.  For those who were genuinely concerned, thank you.  For those who were or are just looking for an opportunity to say, "I told you so," here is a clue:  The adventure isn't over until I'm dead. I had a dream once that I lived happily until I was 65 then died.  If that turns out to be true, I still have lots more adventure and multiple thousands of blog posts to write.

In Ireland, I did a day trip to the Cliffs of Mohr and saw some of the Irish countryside.  It is beautiful, to be sure.  I am not enjoying Ireland as much as I thought I would.  Dublin feels depressed.  People joke about how much the Irish drink, and it is true.  There are many more pubs than coffee shops here. People seem to be lacking in lots of ways.  Their unemployment is high, and tourism is integral for many Irish livelihoods.  I have learned a bit of the history of the "Fighting Irish," and it seems that they have lost most of their population to America. I heard a figure that about seven million Americans are entitled to Irish passports.  Although abortion is illegal here, the population hasn't recovered from the time of the famine.  Death and emigration took its toll on this place.  On my tour, I also saw places that used to be churches, but they have since been converted into other things because the churches themselves closed down.  It seems that Americans are much more optimistic than the rest of the world about life and the ability of circumstances to change and improve than the rest of the world.  When someone tells an American that something is impossible, the American views it as a challenge to make it happen, but to most Europeans, it means defeat (unless they are in a position of privilege and have good connections).  In America, I am not one of the privileged. I have worked my entire life for everything, but even so, when I see how much less that other people need to survive, it changes my perspective.  I am more privileged at home than many people are here.  Also, I realize how much I don't need.  I am glad I have seen life from another perspective, and I plan to continue living the "less is more" philosophy.  Having more is not more important than the feeling of being unencumbered by stuff.