“How does one know if the grass truly is greener?” Over the past few months I have been asking myself that question every day. The logical answer is simple. In Ireland, the grass is greener (Ireland being the subject of this emotional debate I engage in daily). This logical response is based on science. The climate and terrain of Ireland’s nation forms a breathtaking and picturesque landscape made up of thousands of shades of green. So logically, the grass is greener in Ireland.
Emotionally, the question is a much more complex one. The grass is green here too, in the summers anyway. But there is so much more than the climate that makes the grass green here. ‘Here’ is my home, where I’m privileged to be close to my wonderful family and loved ones. While on the other hand, I have no known kin or loved ones in Ireland, that far off land is a place that I have always felt connected to.
The first time I can remember this connection was when I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle in London, Ontario over Easter weekend. My relatives have a tremendous music collection and for some reason on that visit I remember them playing Irish Heartbeat, an album featuring Van Morrison and the Chieftains. It was the cassette of choice whenever the family would head out for a drive. I would be sitting in the back seat of the car with my little Brother sound asleep next to me and I would try to listen to every word of each folk song amidst the chatting between the adults in the car. I was awed by the haunting melodies. Celtic music, so I was told, had that effect. At the time, I was content enough to simply listen to the nation’s traditional folk music.
Over the years, my fascination with Ireland grew. I remember one summer vacation my cousin and I were discussing our dream jobs and we both envisioned living and working in Ireland. I dreamed of owning a bakery in the countryside. There were times where I would argue the calling I would experience. There was one occasion, at the age of nineteen where I was surely headed east to Ireland. A friend and I had made an entire travel plan to go. But, for some reason, amidst all of our planning, I thought it was more logical to instead travel to Eastern Canada. My Ireland was waiting for me and for so many years, I kept making excuses. The dreams and plans I had built up and then neglected were due to the fact that I was in denial. I knew all along, deep down that I was in love with a place. A place that I had still yet to visit!
Last year, was the first time I made it to Ireland. It was the best trip I had ever experienced. The funny thing is that I rarely find myself able to talk about the trip now. I am afraid to admit just how much I think of returning and trying to make a go of my long time dreams to make a life there. Lately, Ireland is all I can think about. It was so much more than what I imagined it would be. When I leave my house in the morning to go for a run and the air is cold, I take in a deep breath and the smell of the cold brings me back there. Ireland is more than a song, a dream or a crush, it’s a soulmate. At least I think it always has been. I cannot explain the connection I feel to this part of the world, but I wish I could return to it.
I keep saying to myself that I’ll go back soon for another visit and there is no rush. That’s a lie. It took me many years to get there for my first visit; who knows realistically when I will be able to return again. But the thing about soulmates is that you can’t plan the outcome of the relationship. There is no black and white answer – only shades of green. Shades of green – that’s interesting. Perhaps that, right there is my answer. Ireland is my soulmate. It is bright, colorful and exciting. It fills my stomach with butterflies as I wonder if it’s meant to be that I should move there and if I will have the chance to continue the adventure we started. But, my home, though not a soulmate, is comforting and safe. ‘Here’ there is love from my friends and family. The love I would have there would only be my love for the land and I wonder if that would be enough. Ireland’s grass is greener, but here is home.