We had finally arrived to the Belfast International Airport in Ireland after traveling for six and a half long hours from Atlanta Georgia. Though we had our house in America, my mom and younger sisters still considered this our true home. Our family members that we were closest to had always lived thousands of miles here and there, so we were lonely where we were. I released a sigh of relief when we finally made it to my grandmother’s house at the tip of Salisbury Avenue. There she was with a huge smile on her face and open arms,
“Hello wee darlings!” she said in pure delight and excitement, “come into the house I have the tea all set on the table for you.”
â–º SEMI FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
It had been exactly five years since the last time we had traveled home to Ireland, and the sense of familiarity and comfort still lingered throughout the entire house and within the streets. My grandfather, who still managed to wake up every morning and read the newspaper, was sitting in his usual arm chair beside the television set. I immediately ran over to him and gave him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. His pale face instantly lit up and we all sat down at the dinner table discussing of our travels from America and what are plans were for the next six weeks of vacation.
The next couple of weeks were filled with adventure. The first place we had went to was the Belfast Castle located on the Cavehill County Park. Though we hadn’t climbed mountain of Napoleon’s Nose like I had wanted to, I stood and watched the children run up and down the hills of the castle and remembered how my grandparents would take my cousins and I there, and we would innocently pretend to be nights with plastic swords slaying monstrous beasts and dragons.
When the time was right and we had revisited stores in Castle Court, and had spent time with the other family members that lived in Belfast, we decided to take a trip down to Donegal, Ireland, where the family vacation home was sitting on top of a hill right beside Donegal Beach and overlooking Tory Island.
It was calm here in the vacation house away from the city without a computer or telephone to bother us. My grandmother was outside at the side of the house soaking up the sun in her little straw hat; the children were laughing and running through the thick grasses picking up blackberries that grew wild beside the stone fences. My grandfather sat in his usual chair beside me puffing on a tobacco pipe watching the intense session of the World Cup Series, and my mother was down the lane visiting an old family friend of ours. The rest of the week was filled with visiting Bunbeg beach where the same old shipwreck had lain for years, and going down to the small town of Meenlaragh for Catholic mass on Sunday and grabbing some fish and chips for dinner.
Before we knew it vacation time at home had ended, and it was time to return our house in Georgia. On the day we were to departure, we said our tearful goodbyes at the front the Salisbury Avenue house and placed our bags in the bag of the car. Though we were all sad that we had to leave, I reminded myself that goodbye’s don’t last forever, and that once again, someday, I would once return to the place that I loved and that I called home.