It’s almost too easy.
For the last five days, since we first landed in Cork, Ireland, from our former adopted home-town of Arezzo, Italy – we have been greeted by helpful, warm and chatty people. It was much the same way with the terrific people in Tuscany, but the language hurdles naturally made our adjustment into that region more complicated.
Here, if I soften my “a” when I ask for “to-mah-toes” or bring the American silent “h” to life in “herbs,” I’m pretty much all set. Oh, and they take out the “h” all together and say “tank-you” instead of “thank you.” “Tank you very much.” But, really, it is almost strange to be hearing English everywhere again. I miss Italian with its bright “Buongiorno’s” and “Ciao’s.”
Last night, Lulu turned to me and agreed. “I miss speaking Italian,” she said.
“Well, you can speak to me if you’d like,” I responded in what I thought was a helpful way.
“I miss speaking to my friends who can speak back to me properly,” she countered.
Of course Lulu, after three years in Italian schools, has a point. She and all of her friends spoke Italian every single day fluently. Not the stammering version I utter. It must be hardest on her.
That said, we enjoyed our week here in Ireland. It was surprisingly quite sunny as we toured Scotty’s new university, Lulu’s new elementary school, and strolled along the Lee River that splits in two and runs through Cork.
Cork’s residents are charming and rightfully proud of their heritage. Lulu and I were even given a tour of the city by our new friend Fionnuala Mac Curtain. Her grandfather, Tomás MacCurtain, was Lord Mayor of Cork in 1920, who was horribly killed by the British Army in front of his pregnant wife and their young son who later grew to become Fionnuala’s father. She gave me a copy of the book she wrote about her grandfather. I am honored to receive it and plan to read it on the plane tomorrow to Nigeria.
Yes, Nigeria. I am flying to Lagos tomorrow to conduct a series of communications sessions and seminars for the next six weeks (For more information, check out the Find Your Edge website!).
Many friends have urged me to keep safe as I travel to Africa. I certainly hope to! I’ll be staying at the best hotel in Nigeria: The Wheatbaker (thanks Find Your Edge team!); All vaccinations are in order (thanks Scotty Walsh); and I am registered with the State Department (thanks US Embassy in Nigeria). I hope it will be a valuable experience for the participants, the team and myself!
I said goodbye to Lulu and Scotty earlier today as they flew back to the US to be with his family in Washington State. It will be the longest time I have been away from our daughter since she was born.
As we trekked to our hotel near the airport yesterday, Lulu stopped to pick a few little flowers growing along the sidewalk.
“These are for you so you won’t forget me while we’re apart.”
I won’t forget you my angel. I also won’t forget all the incredible people we met in Italy – and are now meeting here in Ireland. I look forward to the people I will have the privilege of meeting in Nigeria, too.
Around every bend, and in spite of the differences, the world is filled with promise and adventure.
A warm embrace to you all!