Tag Archives: Ireland

Arrival at Teac Jack

Arrival at Teac Jack

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.

It wasn’t.

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.


Just 15 Minutes


When I published my first blog post Saturday I was happy, excited, hopeful, well rested…

It’s 10am Monday in Dublin, Ireland. I’m exhausted. I have a headache. I’m discouraged, frustrated, and just about ready to take the next flight back to Wyoming. Of course, after my bag shows up and I get a shower and some rest, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Right now though, I’d like to single-handedly take down United Airlines.

Saturday I arrived early at the Savannah, GA airport after enjoying a few days on Hilton Head Island with my REALTOR colleagues and my #1 son. I was well-rested, well-fed, showered, and dressed comfortably with hair and make-up in fine shape. My bags were checked and boarding passes printed. And then the crew from IAD was two hours late getting to SAV. They arrived in Savannah at the same time we were supposed to be landing at Dulles.

The Savannah staff was great. They made sure we all had snacks and water bottles since all the shops and restaurants were closed. They rebooked

What a $14 Euro food voucher buys in Dublin

What a 14 Euro food voucher buys at the Dublin Airport

as many people as they could and turned the flights around in record time. We headed toward Dulles and I prayed my connecting flight would be running late enough I’d be able to make it.

I didn’t.

Fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes is all it took to throw off the beginning of a long-awaited and much needed vacation. My flight left without me and I spend the next hour in line at customer service. They set me up with a $7 food voucher that I couldn’t use because everything was closed. They booked me in a hotel, gave me a voucher for a taxi, rebooked me for the next day and assured me my bags would be sent out with me the next day. Just one problem though, the connecting flight in Dublin wasn’t their concern, according to my customer service provider. The Ireland domestic flight from Dublin to Donegal is on a different airline, so as far as he was concerned, it wasn’t his problem. He suggested I call my travel agent. Yeah, sure, at 1am Sunday morning. I’m sure she’ll answer.

I made my way to baggage claim to see if by some miracle my bag was there.  It wasn’t. The lady at the baggage claim counter said it would go out the next day when I did. In the meantime she had a lovely eco-friendly personal hygiene kit for me.

It was easy enough to find the taxi, but the driver didn’t know where the hotel was and thought it might be a good idea for me to go back inside and ask. He’s lucky I didn’t choke him, or just knock him out and drive the taxi myself. I showed great restraint and suggested he call the phone number listed on the note customer service guy had given me or enter the street address into his GPS. He did both and managed to get me to the Courtyard by 1:30am. I slept for nine hours in a king sized bed before getting up and starting the whole airport adventure all over again.

Fast forward to now. All of the second day flights were on time and I made it to Dublin with no issues – and no connecting local flight, no bus ticket, and no bag.

Three service counters later, I have a ticket on the next flight to Donegal and a $14 euro food voucher. I should make it to Donegal by 3pm. But if my bag isn’t there within 15 minutes of my arrival, United is buying me a new wardrobe. Yoga pants and sports bras are great, but I hadn’t planned on wearing the same clothes and flip flops for two weeks.

Handsome Irish guy at counter two told me if my bag doesn’t arrive with me in Donegal to buy what I need and save the receipts for reimbursement. We’ll see how much difference 15 minutes can make to United Airlines.

An Imperfect Start

An Imperfect Start

I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes this is a good thing. When I’m cleaning house or completing a project at work, it’s good to have an eye for detail and do my best.

Sometimes it’s a bad thing. When I’m so concerned about doing something perfectly that I don’t even try to do it, that’s a paralyzingly bad thing.

Take this blog for example. I’ve been wanting to do this for several years. I used to write a regular column for the Chester County Independent and loved that creative outlet. I’ve missed it. So I thought, why not do something similar with a blog? But I put it off because I didn’t have the perfect title, or the perfect layout, or the perfect organization, or the perfect whatever the hell I thought needed to be perfect.

So I finally thought of a blog name. It was available and I was excited. I bought the domain and found an online class on how to use Photoshop Elements to create a beautiful blog and signed up. Then I got busy. And maybe a little scared. Scared that I wouldn’t have time to devote to a regular blog, that no one would read it anyway, that I wouldn’t be able to make it as visually appealing as some of the other blogs I’ve seen, that it wouldn’t be as cool or clever as my friend’s blog, that it wouldn’t be perfect.

My kids aren’t hung up on perfection or even the perception of or the drive for perfection. They just do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They try new things, they fail, they succeed, they have adventures! They are who they are and they accept that.

As a new empty-nester, I’ve been redefining what’s important and just how perfect everything really needs to be. I’ve started working out and eating better. I’ve completely dejunked and deep cleaned my house and turned my daughter’s bedroom into a comfortable guest room.

Now I’m waiting in an airport to leave for the trip of a lifetime. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and I’m wanting to get back into writing. So what could be better than going to an immersive writing retreat in Ireland? I’m not sure, so I’m doing it!

I’ve had a long layover, so I thought I’d finally get started on this blog. Guess what! I waited too long for perfection and the perfect blog title I’d come up with has been taken. Someone who doesn’t even use capitalization or punctuation is using the title I thought would perfectly define what I was writing about and the message I hoped to share with my readers. Every variation I could think of has been used. Every synonym and alliteration is already in the blogosphere. I spent three hours plugging in ideas and seeing the red box stating this title has already been used.

Then I thought about talking to my 19-year old daughter about taking a spontaneous, solo trip to a foreign country. Leaning over and smoothing her waist-length hair into a ponytail, she flipped her head back up, twisted her hair into a bun and pinned it to the top of her head.

“You just do you, Mama,” she said as she looked me in the eye. “You’re perfect enough.”