The first stamp on my brand new passport

Copyright 2022 by Pam Spano

Traveling has been my dream for years. As restrictions eased, I looked forward to getting the first stamp on my brand new passport.

It finally happened when my second son, daughter and I attended my son’s best friend’s wedding in Ireland! It was a surreal experience. The place made all the guests feel like they were in a fairy tale. Alice in Wonderland definitely came to mind. I expected the Cheshire Cat to smile 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 Dublin’s old world town was another surreal experience. No skyscrapers blocked our view. Visiting Trinity College (established in 1592!) and seeing the Book of Kells reminded me how young our own country is.

The saying goes that Chicago is the melting pot, but I would say Dublin, Ireland is. We took a taxi after landing and our taxi driver was from a small town just outside of Hong Kong. The hotel receptionist was from France and many of the staff had accents from Slavic countries in Kenya.

Irish people are friendly except taxi drivers until you tip them! (The Irish recognize this.) Tipping is a custom that the Irish disapprove of. We always asked before tipping. Since we were American they smiled and accepted a tip.

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

The trip was not without a little drama. As we were browsing through the Book of Kells exhibit, my daughter noticed that a bracelet she purchased a few months ago was missing! The expression on his face mirrored mine. We were both horrified. My son was confused because he wasn’t sure what was going on (“Why are they crying?”). My daughter didn’t want to spoil our experience, so she took deep breaths and we both tried to focus on the exhibit.

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

As I look at my photos from the wedding and other places we visited, my emotions are everywhere. We attended the wedding of two people, one of whom I have known since the age of three. We saw some amazing scenery and ate our way through Dublin! There was also retail therapy involved.

Retail Therapy copyright 2022 by Pam Spano

Above all, my son, my daughter and I have forged a new bond. We have been blessed throughout this incredible journey by the people we have met for the first time and even by those at home who have prayed for us along the way.

After returning home and resuming our usual routines, a friend of mine asked me if I had the “travel bug”. I laughed. I didn’t realize I was ready to pack my bags and start all over again!

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