The first stamp on my brand new passport

The first stamp on my brand new passport

Copyright 2022 by Pam Spano

Traveling has been a dream of mine for years. As restrictions loosened up, I waited anxiously to get the first stamp on my brand new passport.

That finally happened when my middle son, daughter and I attended the wedding of my son’s best friend in Ireland! It was a surreal experience. The venue made all the guests feel like we were in a fairy tale. Alice in Wonderland definitely came to mind. I fully expected the Cheshire cat to smile down at me from the 500 year old Japanese tree.

500 year old Japanese tree Copyright 2022 by Pam Spano
The view from my window copyright 2022 by Pam Spano

My children and I had never been abroad before. Walking around the old world city of Dublin was another surreal experience. No skyscrapers blocked our view. Visiting Trinity College (established in 1592!) and seeing the Book of Kells brought to mind how young our own country is.

The saying goes that Chicago is the melting pot, but I would say Dublin, Ireland is. We caught a cab after we landed and our cab driver was from a small town just outside of Hong Kong. The hotel desk clerk was from France and much of the staff had accents from the Slavic countries to Kenya.

The Irish people are friendly except the cab drivers until you tip them! (The Irish acknowledge this.) Tipping is a custom that the Irish frown upon. We always asked before we tipped. Since we were Americans, they would smile and agree to a tip.

Late one night while watching television, I saw an ad that reminded the viewer that a license was needed to watch TV. Wow.

The trip was not without a little drama. As we perused the Book of Kells exhibit, my daughter noticed a bracelet she purchased a few months ago was missing! The look on her face mirrored my own. We were both horrified. My son was bewildered because he wasn’t sure what was happening (“Why are they crying?”). My daughter didn’t want to ruin our experience, so she took some deep breaths and we both tried to focus on the exhibit.

A few minutes later, my daughter opened a shopping bag. The look on her face said it all: the bracelet was in the bag. We both had tears of relief and joy and my son was still a bit bewildered (“Why are they crying again?”) until we explained what happened.

As I look through my photos of the wedding and other places we visited, my emotions are all over the place. We witnessed the wedding of two people, one of whom I’ve known since he was three years old. We saw amazing scenery and ate our way through Dublin! There was also some retail therapy involved.

Retail Therapy copyright 2022 by Pam Spano

Most of all, my son, daughter and I have forged a new bond. We were blessed throughout this amazing trip by the people we met for the first time and even those back home who prayed for us along the way.

After we returned home and got back into our usual routines, a friend of mine asked if I had the “travel bug.” I laughed. I didn’t realize I was ready to pack my bags and do it all again!

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