It's a curious business, adapting to life back home. Four months ago, I arrived back with skin slightly less white then normal, a packed suitcase full of memories and experiences from the sublime to the beautiful. I came home, fresh and excited, hopeful and full of optimism that somehow I could overcome the fragmented and harsh new Ireland that I was now learning about. People told me, don't read the papers, don't believe everything you hear-Ireland is your home, no matter what. And it is but God, has it changed.
The past 4 months have been a struggle but hope is only around the corner. The changes in our communities, our society has been so hard to grapple and somehow, I feel like an outsider. That said, it has been and is worth it having my friends and family nearby to help and support and edge me closer to finding my feet on the ground, which feels well within reach now.
In West Clare now as Spring has sprung, the frosty blue sky stretches out and the air is clear. I am taking things more in my stride now and reflecting on a frustrating baptism of fire. It would have been hard to prepare for this from the dusty Saigon streets but now that I am here and back and have no plans to leave, I have to make a go at it. I have to keep the chin up and the fire in my belly and keep faith that life with all its swings and roundabouts will eventually get easier. It will be a long road ahead but whatever about all these endless news reports about longer dole queues, emigration and all the bank stuff, none of these should get in the way of what is really important-our own spirits. We need to mind ourselves through this time, we need to take our time and not get so bogged down in each news item that assaults our ears, day in day out. I look at my parents and how they have a renewed lease of life by being more involved with the community-singing songs and playing music. I see how happy this makes them, such a simple thing but it can distract and enrich their lives no end.
As for me, now is my time to slowly figure all of this out and my new place back here. Time will tell how it all pans out but for now, it feels exciting to think about all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead. Onwards and upwards.