If you’ve read the first two posts in this blog, or any of my Facebook posts in the past few days, you know the saga of my journey to Ireland. It has been fraught with a series of frustrations. After my first post stating I’d missed the flight to Dublin and had to stay the night in DC, one friend commented, “Hmm, now how to make lemonade.”
For three days I kept a positive attitude. I remained calm and just went with the flow. After all, nothing was going to change by getting upset. By the time I finally got on the plane to Dublin, I just wanted to put on my headphones and watch a movie. But we had yet another delay and kept waiting to actually take off. So the lady next to me started chatting. Turns out she’s from Dublin and was curious to know where I was headed. I’m glad she asked, because she gave me a little lesson about my final destination for the week.
“Where are you staying?” she asked.
“Teac Jack,” I responded, pronouncing the first part like a type of wood – teak.
She was completely confused. I spelled it for her. “T-e-c?” she asked with wrinkled brow.
After spelling it again she exclaimed, “Oh! Yes, that means house of Jack or Jack’s house.”
But I had said it completely wrong. She repeated the correct pronunciation several times but this time my brow was wrinkled. Finally she said it again and asked me to repeat it after her.
“Chalk?” I said.
“Yes, say it again.”
“Chalk? Like the white stick of stuff you use to write on a black board?”
“Yes,” she smiled and nodded.
Since arriving I’ve heard it pronounced like shack (makes sense to me if it means house) and chock (like chalk only without the l) and chack (rhyming with Jack).
I ate breakfast, wrote a blog post, wandered around the Dublin Airport, nearly fell asleep, got a coffee, and finally passed the seven-hour layover to board the plane to Donegal. I don’t remember the flight. I was asleep as soon as my seatbelt was fastened, praying during any awake moments that my bag would be at the terminal when I arrived.
Fortunately I had a cab waiting for me, who got me to Teac Jack straight away. Well, actually not so straight. I should have sat up front. The car sickness nearly overtook me as we drove at what felt like break-neck speeds on narrow, winding roads. But she screeched to a stop in front of the same three story, soft yellow stucco building I’d seen on the website. At least I knew I was in the right place. I paid the driver 25 euro and headed up the steps to the double wooden door entry. As soon as I said my name to the ladies at the front desk, they knew who I was.
“Oh, you made it!” they said in unison. “The rest of your group is waiting for you. Do you have your bags?”
I filled them in on the story, got my key, took the lift to the second floor, and hurriedly found my room through the tears threatening to spill over. As soon as I stepped inside, it was all over! I was done. Done looking for the lemonade. Done looking for how to sweeten that sour, bitter liquid that had been the past three days. Done waiting to see how God will use all this for good. Done wearing the same yoga pants, sports bra, sleeveless sport shirt and long-sleeved shirt purchased in the Savannah airport. I flopped down on the bed and thought it was too bad my kids couldn’t have come.
There’s enough room for all of them in here. A bunk bed for Geoff and Jeanna, a double bed for Michael and Alyssa, a small twin next to the wall for 19-month old Riley, and a twin across the room and next to the bathroom for me. But since they couldn’t come, I sprawl diagonally across the double bed and weep.
As I’m drying my tears, I hear a knock at the door. I toss the tissue into the tiny plastic receptacle in the bathroom and cautiously open the door. One of the ladies from downstairs hands me a bag of clothes.
“The lady of the house pulled some things from her closet,” she said, “We’re not sure of sizes, but hopefully you can find something to sleep in. Send your clothes down and she’ll take them home and wash them for you for tomorrow.”
Once again I burst into tears. The next thing I knew I was being wrapped up into a big hug. Perhaps there is a little sugar for this lemonade after all.