Ireland Bound

Tomorrow I am shooting back across the pond to Ireland, where I will be spending the next week. I am 2 nights in Dublin, 1 in Newcastle and 2 in Belfast. I am looking forward to the highlight of my trip, a 2 day journey through Northern Ireland where I will be visiting one of the places high on my places-to-see list, the Giant’s Causeway.


This strange natural phenomenon consists of about 400,000 interlocking hexagon shaped basalt stone columns that lead straight into the sea. Legend states that once upon a time a giant, Finn McCool (don’t you love that name?), built the causeway to serve as a bridge to Scotland so he could fight his nemisis. The Scottish side of the causeway on the island of Staffa also has similar shaped stone columns.

In preparation of this great trip as well as other fun events coming up this summer, I splurged on a new camera today. I am super excited about my Canon S3 IS! Keep an eye out for new photos coming soon!

Benvenuta!

Please join me in welcoming this little darling, Rossella M. to the world, born to one of my dearest friends on earth, Giorgia.


Benvenuta Bella Bambina!

Unexpected

It was just about a year ago that we met, while on a visit to see my old friend Stephanie. I went outside to smoke with you, not because I wanted a cigarette, but because I just wanted to stand near you for a few minutes away from the cacophony of the bar. After going back in, I stole this blurry photo of you, never thinking that I would see you again, but rather as a prop to use while telling my Boston friends about a fun night out in Long Island and the cute boy with the sexy accent.

When you asked to see me again, and again, during the weekend visit, I wanted to come off as cool and smart but was sure you could through to my nervous core. Driving back to Boston that Sunday evening in the pouring rain, you texted a message to me which in that exact moment mirrored what I was thinking about you. Do you remember?

Once home, I couldn’t quite recall what you looked like and referred to this blurry image over and over to jog my memory. This sounds strange, but the precious few times in life where I have met someone who took my breath away, their exact image is fleeting in it’s accuracy. The exactness of your profile would appear in the moments before waking, or in a sideways glance, but never recaptured fully until our next meeting. Lucky for us, that didn’t take long. I flew to LaGuardia the very next weekend to see if there was…. well, if there was really anything of substance there or if it just another dead end story.

I said a year ago that I’d rather regret doing something rather than regret doing nothing. You and I have had a year of firsts, and I regret none of the twists and turns life has taken since that April night, standing beside you outside in the chilly air.

Edinburgh

I love Edinburgh, but to be fair, I knew I would. I expected the city to be cute and quaint, but instead I find it rather proud and majestic. Craggy. I haven’t seen much of it, sadly, as I have been stuck in a convention center most of the time I have been here. But that which I have seen I adore. It makes me long for the days living in Europe and wonder if I can convince Damir to move to Europe with me some day. Once married I would imagine I would even qualify for a coveted EU passport, eliminating all of the pain in the ass immigration stuff I had to go through when in Holland.

Alas, I am dreaming of life along cobblestreets, stone houses and flower stalls.

Aince awa, aye awa

Monday kicks off a month of comings and goings. First I am off to Scotland where I will be visiting vendors in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. After a week at home for recovery I am off to Ireland for tradeshows in Dublin and Belfast. Then the weekend following my return I am off again to Vermont to help my sister and Mom with some wedding planning. Whew! Then about two weeks later a long weekend in Pennsylvania for Penny’s wedding… and then…sleep.

All of this is compounded by this exciting news: after 3 months in my job I have been promoted. As of yesterday it was announced that I am the new president of my company and the owner is scaling back and starting the process of transitioning his responsibilities over to me. I am both excited and a little nervous about this amazing opportunity, as you can imagine. I don’t feel quite ready yet to take on this level of responsibilty, but suppose I have to follow my Mom’s recent advice, “Well, you better get yourself ready, Girl!”.

I don’t expect to blog much from the road, but will definitely post when I can. Hopefully will get some great pictures in between meetings.

Identity Crisis

Memo To: Long Island
Memo From: Interravision

Date: Monday, April 9, 2007

Re: Identity Crisis (Yours, not mine)

Long Island:

Please take immediate note. You are not Manhattan. Nor are you Brooklyn, The Bronx, DUMBO, or even Queens. You are not SoHo or The Village. For goodness sake, you are not even Staten Island. Though, yes, you do have many streets called “Broadway”, you are not the Big Apple. You are the suburbs outside the apple. Perhaps the green, yet bitter, leaves of the apple branch.

You, Long Island, must cease and desist your exorbitant and ridiculous rental fees.

A shithole of an apartment, dirty, falling apart and the size of most SUVs I see careening around town, should not cost $1200 plus 2 months security and 1 month broker fee (that is $4800 just to move in). In Manhattan? Fine. BUT YOU ARE NOT MANHATTAN. You are long Island. Take a long look in the mirror and get the point.

Apartments between $1000 and $1200 a month should not be relegated to dark and dingy subterranean caves with no windows that are illegally rented. And in fact, they should have an actual kitchen. With an oven and a stove that works. A STOVE, not a toaster oven. Not a microwave posing as a stove. A real stove with burners and oven.

Furthermore, an apartment that looks such as “Exhibit A” has no business being at the $1400 mark. None whatsoever.

Exhibit A

Finally, lets get our terminology straight. None of the following words should be used to describe Exhibit B: bright, nice, cozy, or “a delight”. Fluorescent lighting in lieu of human sized windows does not make a place bright.

Exhibit B

Look, Long Island, I kind of like you. I am getting used to your quirky ways, though I admit I miss Boston’s exuberance. But, our annual review is coming up and I would like to see some serious improvement take place before we sit down and discuss your future as my place of existence.

Sincerely,
Interravision

Green Roots

While I have always known a lot about the Italian side of my family tree, my Irish side has remained largely a mystery. Not that I was too concerned about it, since I have long felt closer to my Italian heritage anyway.

Since I started working with the Irish tourism market, I am constantly being asked where my Irish roots lie. It got me thinking and I started doing a bit of research. A cousin (I think) of my dad has done some intensive family history investigation and I got a hold of her results the other day.

It turns out, my great-great-great grandfather, Edward Hill, was born in 1833 in Ardara, Ireland in County Donegal, in the Northwestern corner of the Emerald Isle.


After coming to the US, he was served in the Union Army during the Civil War where he was badly injured in battle near Roanoke Island, N.C. Scenes from the movie, Gangs of New York come to mind, when the Irish poured off the ships and were immediately drafted to fight in the Civil War in exchange for citizenship. Edward lived most of his post-army days in Boston, in a Soldiers home right around the corner from where I used to live.

This is Ardara then…

And now…

While we don’t know for sure what spurned Edward to leave Ireland, certainly we can guess. The Potato Famine was raging during that time and created nearly 2 Million refugees to the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

I find it somewhat interesting that my own path in life keeps pushing me towards the paths of my ancestors, like an invisible string pulling me towards history. I went to study abroad in Italy when I was 16, not to be closer to my roots but because it was the only country that would accept students under the age of 18. I started working with Irish tourism not because of any desire to learn more about this culture (though it is an added benefit), but because it is a good job in my field of choice close to home. On the surface it seems coincidental, but on some level further down it feels more like fate, as though it has been bestowed upon me to be the keeper of our family story, our family journey.